Today in our theology class we had a rather lengthy discussion about a new brand of theology known as Free-will theology, or open theism. For those who many not be familiar with this term, let me do my best to explain. Keep in mind that I myself am just a student, so this will be pretty simplistic. Open theism basically says that God is present with us in time but does not know the future. Now, because God knows us better than we know ourselves and because he knows all things, he can predict with a high degree of accuracy what will happen, but in truth the future is impossible to know. Because God does not know the future, this gives us true free will. The open theist's contention is that if God knows what I am going to do before I do it, then I am not truly free. This free-will theology isn't challenging God's ability to know all things- they just claim that it is impossible for anyone, including God, to know what will happen next because that is based on humans freely choosing to create that future.
Ok, for many that probably sounded a lot like mumbo-jumbo and reminds you of why you never went to seminary, but here's the deal. For my part, I believe that just because God knows what I will do tomorrow, the next day, or in 2022, that doesn't limit my free will to do that. It just means that God can see the scope of my life and is most capable of guiding and directing me because he knows me from start to finish. The heart of the matter for me, however, has nothing to do with these attempts to define God. We can get so caught up in trying to explain and rationalize what we don't know about God that we lose sight of what we do know.
What do I know? I know that God knows me better than I know myself. "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know what I am going to say even before I say it."
I know that God made me on purpose and crafted me according to his design. "You made all the delicate parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. You saw me before I was born. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."
I know that God sees me and is with me wherever I go. "You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I go down to the place of the dead, you are there, too."
I know that God guides and directs me so that I can follow Him. "You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. "
And I know that God in his infinite goodness and loved has turned his mind towards me. "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable. I can't even count them...when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!" (all references- Psalm 139, NLT)
It can stretch our mind and develop our understanding to try and comprehend God in all His fullness. But the heart of our faith is in what God has already revealed to us. Rest in His Word, and remember that the Word became flesh, lived among us, and gave His life for us that we might know Him who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Journey in His grip.