Imagine that you just graduated from a Masters’ degree program and received a promotion at work as a result, and someone asked you, ‘What does it matter?’ with reference to your graduation and promotion. You might be taken back by the brashness of their question but you’re a polite person so you respond by saying, ‘Well, it helped to equip me to do my job better and now, as a result of taking a position of greater responsibility, I take home more money to benefit my family.’ You think you hit their underhanded, off-speed, softball pitch of a question out of the park. But they don’t. Unmoved, they unleash a series of existential questions with more than hint of nihilism to boot: ‘So what? What does it really matter if you do your job a little better and bring home a little more money? So you make someone’s day potentially a wee bit brighter? Eventually darkness will set in and your ‘momentary brightness’ will be eclipsed and forgotten by the pain of life’s tragedies. And what exactly does a little bit more money do for your family? Add a little bit more activity, entertainment, and comfort to your fleeting life? You won’t even remember 1% of it when you’re on your deathbed and neither will those you spent that time with.’ It’s at this point you realize why this person doesn’t have many friends. He lacks a filter but he is asking questions that demand an answer. In the final analysis, what profit is there in wisdom – whether it be intellectual or moral?
What is Open Theism?
Open Theists believe that the future is “open” to God and that the future itself is based upon man’s self-determining free will. To put it another way, according to the open theist, God does not know the choices that will be made in the future because they aren’t made yet. He knows the present exhaustively, inside and out. What He doesn’t know is the future; that is beyond His determination.
The open theist will affirm that God does know what He can do or will do in the future but He does not know what man will do. He can know what a man or woman or angel will do to the extent that He can exert influence; but beyond His influence their reaction is a veiled mystery until the decision becomes a reality. He knows the potential possibilities but He does not know the actualities. Part of the reason for such positioning is based upon the open theist’s understanding of ‘Libertarian Freedom’. This notion suggests that man only has true freedom when God does not know what he will choose. Since God does not know the decisions that will be made He does not know the future, and being that the future is open [they contend] man’s free choices are real and not illusory.