What are the basic tenets of open theism?


Following are the basic tenets of Open Theism; it is with these presuppositions that open theists approach the Bible and interpret it:

  1. God's greatest attribute is love.
    1. This attribute of God is often elevated above His other attributes and used to interpret God in such a way as to be a cosmic gentleman who wants all to be saved, mourns over their loss.
  2. Man's free will is truly free in the libertarian sense.
    1. Man's free will is not restricted by his sinful nature but is equally able to make choices between different options.
    2. By contrast, compatibilist free will states that a person is restricted and affected by his nature and that his nature not only affects his free will choices, but also limits his ability to choose equally among different options.
  3. God does not know the future.
    1. This is either because God cannot know the future because it does not exist, or...
    2. It is because God chooses to not know the future even though it can be known.
  4. God takes risks.
    1. Because God does not know the future exhaustively, He must take risks with people whose future free will choices are unknowable.
  5. God learns.
    1. Because God does not know the future exhaustively, He learns as the realities of the future occur.
  6. God makes mistakes.
    1. Because God does not know all things and because He is dealing with free will creatures (whose future choices He does not know), God can make mistakes in dealing with people.  Therefore, God would change His plans accordingly.
  7. God changes His mind.
    1. God can change His mind on issues depending on what He learns and what He discovers people do.  Usually, God's change of mind is due to Him being surprised by something for which He didn't plan or expect.

As you can see, Open Theism presents a view of God contrary to classical and historic Christianity which sees God as sovereign, all-knowing, and unchanging.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.