If you have read my blog you know that I am not a supporter of Open Theism. I do not believe it accurately represents the Biblical account of divine omniscience. However, many are quick to discount Open Theism without having a clue as to what Open Theists really believe. Many have gained their view on Open Theism by reading critiques of the view rather than reading from the defenders of the view. Critiques aren’t always accurate and many who offer critiques have not familiarized themselves with the view they are trying to refute [link]. I have seen Open Theism misrepresented by Calvinists and Arminians. For those interested in gaining a proper perspective on the Open view from a strong proponent of the Open Theism, I recommend reading the following articles by Greg Boyd [link].
While I disagree with Open Theism I respect Open Theists as they are trying to honestly grapple with certain passages of Scripture that seem to contradict classical understandings of divine omniscience. They reference passages in the OT where God is portrayed as learning, seemingly uncertain of future contingencies, changing His mind, and regretting certain decisions that He has made (e.g. Jer. 3:7–8, 19–20; 18:7–10; Isa. 5:1–5; Ezek. 12:2; Gen. 6:6–7; 1 Sam. 15:11, 35; Exod. 4:1–9; 32:10–14; Jonah 3:10, etc.). Those who hold to the classical position regarding God’s omniscience interpret these passages in light of Scriptures which seem to teach God’s exhaustive foreknowledge (e.g. Isa. 46:10–11; Isa. 48:3). The Open Theist takes the opposite approach and looks to interpret passages like these in light of those passages which seem to limit God’s knowledge. How can we know which is the proper approach? I am satisfied with the approach of those who hold to the classical view, but I cannot say that the approach of Open Theism presents an invalid hermeneutic. It is just a different hermeneutical approach and therefore leads to different conclusions (and those conclusions are what Open Theism amounts to).
Again, I reject Open Theism but I am “open” and honest enough to admit that they make some strong points which are not easily dismissed. Their position is built on Scriptures (like those listed above) and an honest attempt to understand those Scriptures against the backdrop of the entirety of the Biblical data . I admit that I find the typical answers to their questions concerning the passages they cite to be unsatisfying (I don’t think that these passages can be explained away as just anthropomorphisms). I think that we who reject Open Theism need to fairly represent their views and grapple with those passages which seem to support their view. And I think we need to respect the fact that Open Theists are primarily concerned with being honest with God’s revelation, and that this desire is what drives them to the conclusions we (those who hold to the classical position) find uncomfortable.