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.

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