A logical refutation of open theism

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Following is an attempt to provide a logical proof that God knows all future events exhaustively and that the open theism view that God does not know the future free will choices of creatures is false:

  1. God is the only eternal, uncaused, and self-existent being who was before all things.
    1. God has always existed and is eternal by nature.
    2. God has always been eternally self existent with nothing needed or implied to be necessary for God's existence other than His own nature and essence.
    3. Note:  Saying that God is before all things, i.e., before time, can be problematic since the word "before" implies time and since we are trying to describe a "time" when "time" did not exist.  There are natural difficulties with this approach.  But, suffice it to say that God was before all things and that there was a "time" when God was all that existed.
  2. Time is that non-spatial, continuous succession of events from the past, through the present, and into the future.
    1. Time exists as a function, as a relationship to things that change.  If nothing exists, then nothing changes, and time is non-existent.
  3. Since God is eternal by nature, God is not restricted by nor contained within time, nor is He restricted by a continuous succession of events from the past, through the present, and into the future, nor is time an attribute of God's nature.
    1. If you say that time is a property of God's existence, then in order to arrive at the present, this means that an infinite amount of time must have passed in order for us to arrive in the present.  But, an infinite amount of time cannot be traversed.  Therefore, time must have had a beginning. Since God did not have a beginning, time is not a part of God and God is not restricted by time.
      1. If the person affirms that time is a property of God's existence, then that means we have traversed an infinite amount of time in order to get to the present.  But that is impossible, so time can not be a property of God's existence and nature.
    2. If the response is that the future does not exist, how does anyone know that?  It is at best a guess.  If the future does not exist then how can God perfectly predict or known anything future for sure?
    3. Time is that non-spatial, continuous succession of events from the past, through the present, and into the future.  Working with this, we can see that God cannot be restricted by time and is outside of it.  This is why...
      1. All "events" occur in time.
      2. An event that occurs in time is an event that came into existence at its occurrence.
      3. Any event that comes into existence has a beginning.
      4. Any event that has a beginning was caused to occur by something else.
        1. This is so since something that does not exist cannot bring itself into existence and must be brought into existence by something else.
      5. If we stated that God exists relative to time, then God exists as a sequence of events.
      6. If God exists as a sequence of events, then the events in God's existence all have causes.
      7. However, there cannot be an infinite regression of causes.
        1. This is because all things that are caused to exist must have been caused to exist by something else.
      8. Since there cannot be an infinite regression of causes, there must be an initial uncaused cause.  But, since time is a sequence of events, and all events have causes, then time must have an initial uncaused cause to it.  This means that time had a beginning.
      9. If time is a property of God's nature, and time is a series of consecutive events, then God's nature requires a beginning.
      10. This would mean that God had a beginning. But, this is not possible since something that has a beginning cannot bring itself into existence.  Therefore, God could not have brought Himself into existence.
        1. For something to perform an act, it must exist.  Something cannot bring itself into existence if it does not exist by which it can then perform an action by which it can bring itself into existence.
      11. Since God cannot have had a beginning, God cannot be restricted by time, and time cannot be an attribute of God's existence.
      12. Therefore, the past, present, and future are irrelevant to God's nature, not part of God's nature, and God exists independent of them which means that the future is knowable by God.
  4. God is the Creator of the universe and is independent of it.
  5. The universe exists in relationship to time which is a consecutive series of events that relate to change and sequence.
  6. God is not subject to or limited by the constraints of the universe, which includes the constraints or limits of time or any properties of time that may limit us as humans.
  7. Since God created the universe, and since God is not subject to time, and since the universe operates in time, God also created time when He created the universe.
    1. To say that God did not create time and that time has always existed, even before the universe existed, would imply two things:
      1. First, that time is a part of God's nature.  If time is a part of God's nature, then God is subject to its constraints.  But this is problematic because God is timelessly infinite by definition (Psalm 90:2) and has no initial event where He was brought into existence.  Since something cannot bring itself into existence if it does not exist, God must have always existed and has no initial event.  Furthermore, if God is infinite and without beginning, then God is timeless -- since the concept of beginning is not applicable to God.  Therefore, time is not a property of God's existence since He is not subject to its constraints and has no initial event connected with Him by which time "moves."
      2. Second, that time has a quality that has an independent existence from God and is separate from the creative work of God.  This is problematic because it would mean that time is its own eternally existing thing which would imply that time is in some way equal to God in its eternal nature as well as being outside of God's creative work.
    2. To say that God did not create time and that time has always existed, even before the universe existed, would be a non-sequitor statement since time is a relation of sequential events and if the universe did not exist, there is no ability for sequential events to occur.  Therefore, there cannot be a time when time did not exist.  But we must realize that the difficulties of our conceptual language in relation to time prevents us from accurately describing its relationship to the universe as well as the "time" before the universe.  Therefore, when referencing a period before something, the concept of time is automatically included.  How then can there be a period (which denotes time) before the time when time didn't exist?  I do not believe that this syntactical/logical paradox can be surmounted.
      Therefore, due to the limits of our syntactical/logical descriptions, I will refer to a "time before time existed" to describe the condition of all existence to mean God's existence alone and apart from time and apart from the existence of the universe.
    3. Comment: If it is true that time is a function of matter and space, as science has proclaimed, and since there was a "time" when God was the only thing in existence, then matter and space had no existence.  Therefore, time did not exist.  God created the universe giving space and matter their properties which included the property of having a beginning. Therefore, time is a property of the universe which was created.  This means that God created time and is not subject to it.
  8. Since God created time, God has always existed and continues to exist outside of time and is not subject to its properties.
    1. This means that God is not subject to a succession of events that moves from the past, through the present, and into the future.
    2. Furthermore, past, present, and future (which are aspects of time in a consecutive continuum) are irrelevant to God's nature and existence since He exists outside of time.
    3. Note:  Again, the term "always" is used here in a reference before time.  But, "always" denotes time and I am using it in a sense to describe a state of "non-always."  I am aware of this difficulty in description and request that the reader bear with me as I attempt to describe the indescribable.
  9. God is omnipresent.  This means that He exists in all places in the universe as well as outside of it (as far as can be described to exist outside of existence).
  10. God's omnipresence is not restricted by time because God, by nature, is not restricted by time.
    1. If God's omnipresence were restricted by time, then God would be subject to time and not be omnipresent.  Since the future is an existence relative to creation, but not to God, He can exist in the future.
    2. If it is said that God can only be omnipresent in the present sense, then He is constrained by time.  But this cannot be since He created time and is not limited by it.
  11. Since God is not restricted by time, and since He is omnipresent, then the future is a present reality with God.
    1. Remember, since God created the universe and time, He is not restricted to time or by time.
    2. Also, time is irrelevant to God's nature and existence since God has existed before time existed.
  12. Therefore, because God is in all places at all times, God knows all things, even the future free will choices of free creatures.  This means that the open theism view that God does not know all future events of free will creatures is false.
    1. The future free will choices of man held by the open theist position is a libertarian free will.  This means that people are completely free to be able to make choices equally for good and equally for evil based upon their free will ability -- even in contradiction to the biblical references declaring man's depravity.  See Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 3:10-12; 6:14-20; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3, etc., for biblical descriptions demonstrating man's enslavement to sin and his inability to be completely free in this sense.
    2. Compabitilistic freedom is the position that a person is only as free as his nature permits him to be free.  If he is a slave of sin, for example, then he is not free to be free from sin but must act in accordance with his nature; otherwise, he is violating his own nature which is self contradictory.
    3. Furthermore, this free will, the open theists say, is something God chooses to not know in the future.  But, a problem arises.  If God knows that in the future someone will make a choice, how can He then decide to NOT know it since He must know in the future that a free will choice is to be made?  In other words, God knows a choice will be made yet chooses to not know it?  How would he know a free will choice is going to be made in the first place if He doesn't know what the choice is?
      Also, does God look past that person's free will choice to something else in the future?  Countless choices will be made in the future.  For God to be able to ordain future events, He has to be able to know the future.   If so, then it is possible that God can easily deduce what the outcome of that free will choice was since God can see the effects of it upon others and see the effects of it upon His divine plan -- otherwise, God cannot be sovereignly in control.  This means that God can indeed deduce all free will choices by simply looking past the future choice to see what choices were made.  If He does NOT do this, then God must NOT look into the future regarding anything and everything related to human freedom.  God would be largely ignorant and incapable of governing the world since He cannot know what the outcome of things will be.  The open theist position is illogical and self contradictory.

 

 

 

 
 
CARM ison