Posts tagged Eastern Orthodox
If God “meticulously” controls His creatures wouldn’t that be the end of any thinking along the lines of God not having exhaustive foreknowledge?
Reply to Anonymous:
If God meticulously controls everything which happens such that nothing ever happens but what God decrees should happen, then must God not have exhaustive foreknowledge of all future contingent events? Not necessarily since God may lack exhaustive foreknowledge and simply exercise meticulous providence as things unfold. To be honest, I don’t know of anyone who holds such a view, but it does bring out the fact that certain other beliefs must accompany meticulous providence in order to rule out lack of foreknowledge. Typically, timelessness and a strong notion of immutability are added to the mix of divine attributes which would then require that no change in God’s knowledge take place. In addition, regarding human nature, either determinism or compatibilism (you are free so long as you get what you desire but your desires are determined). Given these additional beliefs, God would eternally know all that God has decreed should happen.
Also, a distinction may be drawn between divine foreordination of all things (meticulous providence) and foreknowledge. Foreknowledge was used by the early church fathers, Arminius and Wesley to claim that God did not exercise meticulous providence. Instead, God “foresaw” who would exercise saving faith and then, on the basis of that knowledge, God predestined those people for eternal life. According to this view, divine foreknowledge does not entail foreordination of all things. God foresees what humans will freely do. Calvin repudiated this notion of the early church fathers that God foresees faith in humans and then elects them. On the contrary, says Calvin, God “foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place.” God knows the future because he determines the future. This debate was over whether God is ever affected by human decisions.
From what has been said we see two things: (1) that meticulous providence combined with timelessness, immutability and lack of libertarian freedom in humans ensures that God knows all that will happen in our future because God foreordains everything; (2)just because God possesses foreknowledge does not imply that God has foreordained all things. At least, this is the claim of the early fathers, the Eastern Orthodox church, Arminians, Wesleyans and all proponents of simple foreknowledge. This is, of course, a hotly contested belief. Nonetheless, a great many Christians have believed that God could have foreknowledge without exercising meticulous providence.
Is there any room in open theism for the traditional Arminian affirmation of the necessity of prevenient grace?
Reply to Anonymous:
Yes, though I don’t believe there is anything in open theism which logically entails the necessity of prevenient grace, all of us affirm it as necessary due to sin. On the whole, our view tends to line up with Wesley, and the Eastern Orthodox church on this matter.
Dr. John Sanders