Perhaps no theological topic is more hotly debated within evangelical Christianity these days than God’s foreknowledge. Is the future exhaustively settled, or does it include possibilities, or maybes? In encountering such questions, a growing number of evangelicals are becoming dissatisfied with the classical view of foreknowledge and have accepted an alternative, open view of God. In God of the Possible, theologian Gregory Boyd offers an accessible introduction to the freewill theism position.
Boyd begins by laying out and critiquing the “motif of future determinism,” which forms the basis of the classical view of foreknowledge. He goes on to explicate several Scripture passages that depict the future as partially open and that God therefore knows it as such. He then discusses some practical areas in which he thinks the open view can make a positive difference. Finally, Boyd addresses the most frequently asked questions and typical objections raised against the open view. An appendix explores other passages supporting the open view of God and the future. Exploring issues of foreknowledge, freedom, and the future, Boyd presents biblical, theological, and philosophical insights into the openness issue in this introductory, yet provocative, book. While geared particularly for a lay readership, more advanced students of theology will also benefit from his presentation.
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In this book Greg Boyd offers a thoughtful, caring, and courageous contribution to that new interpretive undertaking, a contribution that is marked by careful, disciplined thought and sensitivity to the materials with which he works. His careful analysis makes clear that the classical theological tradition has been ‘misguided’ in its governing categories imposed from Hellenistic philosophy. As a consequence, theological development has proceeded in categories that have distorted the truth and radicality of biblical revelation and left the church with much to unlearn. . . . The outcome of his study is to take the Bible seriously, to notice how venturesome is the decisive text of revelation and how inscrutably it moves beyond all of our intellectual attempts to control or domesticate. . . . Readers who want old settlements should be on notice. But those who are open to the leadings of the testimony of Scripture, Boyd invites to a faithful and vigorous rethink.
—Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
A stunning book—on the biblical truth of an open future and the revolutionary benefits of believing it. What a great way to begin the new millennium theologically with the open view of God. I only hope that his witness is heard before the self-styled guardians of the tradition marginalize him.
—Clark H. Pinnock, professor emeritus of systematic theology, McMaster Divinity College
Greg Boyd presents a powerful argument for the open view of God as omnipotent, sovereign, and yet vulnerable. Boyd’s God is alive and personal as well as infinite and perfectly wise. The portrait of God drawn here is unrecognizable compared to the caricatures of openness theism’s God crudely crafted by many of its critics. It is much more majestic and beautiful as well as biblical. Inquiring Christian minds will love this book for its creativity and clarity. Closed minds will despise it for the same reasons. Those who have been merely ‘open to the openness of God’ will find its arguments difficult to resist. Everyone who reads it will be challenged to reconsider traditional ideas of God in the light of a fresh reading of Scripture.
—Roger E. Olson, professor of theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
Gregory Boyd gives a strong and accessible argument for views that challenge some traditional theological positions. Many will disagree, but fair-minded readers will come to understand both that the ‘open God’ position is motivated by a desire to be faithful to the Bible and that it is consistent with both classical Christian orthodoxy and evangelical distinctives. Boyd himself provides a fine example of how evangelical Christians may disagree in a loving and respectful manner.
—C. Stephen Evans, dean for research and scholarship, Calvin College