Open Theism

I thought that…

Jeremiah 3:7  I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.Jeremiah 3:19-20  I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me… “Thought” can be “said,” though, and “but” can be “and.” As in these translations: “And I say, after her doing all these, Unto Me thou dost turn back, and she hath not turned back.” (Young’s)”And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from following me. Surely as a woman treacherously departeth from her companion, so have ye dealt treacherously with me.” (Darby) “Said” and “and” are actually the usual meanings of these words here, “thought” and “but” are less-often-used meanings, especially “thought.” Now if she does return in the future, and does not turn away forever, then what God said is true, and is not a mistake: Jeremiah 31:18  I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: “You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God.”

Jeremiah 51:8-9 “Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Wail over her! Get balm for her pain; perhaps she can be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed…” “Perhaps” is used, yet with knowledge that this hope is vain. Also, this word can have other meanings than “perhaps,” though that is its usual meaning. So God is evidently speaking from our perspective, as here: John 6:5-6 He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. This verse also shows that God knew what would happen: Jeremiah 7:27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.”

ISA 5:4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? But God is not asking for advice on his garden! He is asking them, and not needing information (re John 6:5-6) as indicated in the following verse: ISA 5:5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard… God doesn’t wait for their opinion, he tells them what more he could do, in fact. This would seem to indicate that good fruit in peoples’ lives doesn’t come from unvarying, pleasant circumstances: HEB 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Jeremiah 48:11 “Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another– she has not gone into exile. So she tastes as she did, and her aroma is unchanged.” But this vineyard will be restored, and will even bear good fruit: ISA 27:6 In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. So God will not be frustrated, in his purpose for this vineyard. MT 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad…” If God can “make a tree good,” this would imply a way to change a tree that bears bad fruit into a tree that bears good fruit. This is a miracle! So ordinary gardening cannot do this, this involves suffering, even judgment, as described here: EZE 24:13 “In your filthiness is lewdness.  Because I have cleansed you, yet you are not clean, you will not be cleansed from your filthiness again, until I have spent my wrath on you.” Jer 9:7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?”

According to the Open View, if God intends to bring about some outcome for others, that depends on human choices, and then if they put hope in God that he will accomplish his purpose, they can be disappointed, not only in the outcome not happening, but also disappointed in God himself, thinking he could do what he could not. Now such a failure need not necessarily be because of a fault or a weakness. But still, the only way we can never be disappointed in God, if he is as the Open View says, is if we never hope in God, that he can bring an outcome about, when the outcome involves free human choices. With this approach, I am safe from disappointment. But is this Scriptural? ISA 49:23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. This prophecy involves human choices! What if the kings decide not to adopt, nor the queens to be mothers? What if they refuse to bow? And here is the previous verse: ISA 49:22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders.” Here are more human choices! What if they will refuse to carry the sons and the daughters? And here is another example: AC 27:25 “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” But this refers to a promise that none on the ship would die, which certainly involves human choices. Yet Paul is hoping in God, and he believes that this promise will be fulfilled, exactly as he was told. And in the area that the Open View holds God will never force the issue, in the area of salvation, we can consider this verse: AC 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Now there is a condition here, but once the jailer believed, then his household would be saved, he was told. But the Open View must deny this, and say that the jailer could not dare hope that his family would be saved, lest God fail in his purpose, and he would be disappointed. And similarly with these verses: EZE 36:29 I will save you from all your uncleanness.EZE 37:23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. We may hope in God! That he can do this, that he can do all that he tells us he will do.

Ecclesiastes 9:11  I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. If God only estimates the future, then don’t time and chance happen to him, too? Then someone less strong or less wise than God can nevertheless come out better, and we should sometimes bet on the dark horse, and not always depend on God. And the probabilities of people choosing one way or the other can change, so then the best decision today, based on today’s probabilities, may not be at all the best decision tomorrow, even from God’s perspective.

JER 3:7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not… But it also seems God knew this would happen: Jeremiah 7:27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.” AM 5:2 “Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.” And this verse is when the Lord is still pleading with Israel: AM 5:4 This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live…”

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