Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Open theism

Krista and I have been talking a lot about open theism over the last few months, mostly because we are theological geniuses. We just sit around in our bathrobes in the morning (well, I actually wear a silk smoking jacket over my pajamas), drinking our mimosas and debating the latest theological fads. I smoke a pipe, and Krista has one of those long, girly cigarette holders. The children play in their nursery with the nanny to give us time to reflect on the weightier matters of the universe.

[A Note from our Lawyers: Matt does not have a pipe, nor Krista a long, girly cigarette holder. The children have neither nursery nor nanny. The Mikalatii do not sit around drinking mimosas. We suspect that Matt does not know what a mimosa is. He says, "Some sort of orange juice." They do not spend all morning in their bathrobes. Matt does not have a smoking jacket. He does not, in fact, have pajamas.]

So, open theism says that an infinite, omniscient God would know all future possibilities. I have no problem with this, because, you know, I read science fiction. I know all about traveling back in time to kill your own parents and time paradoxes and mulitverses and so on. Open theism goes on to say that God chooses not to be completely omniscient in the sense that he leaves us with free will, allowing us to make choices that will take us on different paths (although he would have foreseen all of them).

In some sense this boils down to God not knowing the future. And I've been prattling on in this post just so I could come to this point: I am reading Isaiah right now, and it is very clear that God knows the future. Not just his own actions that he has decided to take, but the whole shebang. He keeps saying things like, "I told you these things long ago, before they happened I announced them to you." And he mocks false gods and idols because they cannot tell the future. It seems that the ability to know the future is, according to God, a defining characteristic of deity. I don't think that eliminates free will. I just think he knows what we're going to choose.

So. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.