eternal blueprint or not?

. . . John Sanders is an open theist and affirms dynamic omniscience, meaning God knows the past and present exhaustively and knows the future as partly definite and partly indefinite. “The future is not an ontological reality (a thing) that already exists. God, together with creatures, creates the future as history goes along.” [1] According to the “risky” view of God’s providence, “God has beliefs, many of which turn out to be false as, due to the free decisions of men and women, what he supposes will happen, does not in fact happen.” Therefore, “God’s omniscience is restricted in the way indicated, but his infallibility must also be surrendered.”[2]

John Sanders insists, “God has sovereignly decided not to control everything that happens,” because “there is no eternal blueprint by which all things happen exactly as God desires.”[3] Sanders exercises his view by pointing to Mary, the mother of Jesus. When God chose Mary to conceive His Son, Sanders writes, “God became genuinely dependent” upon Mary. “God does not unilaterally achieve his goal of incarnation by forcing his will on Mary.”[4] According to Sanders, God would have found someone else if Mary had refused His “offer” because he believes Mary’s decision – her acceptance – was not known by God. “ Sanders believes that God is dependent on us, for our choices, in our time and space. “God is not behind every single event that happens in life.”[5]

Sanders believes that if God has a preordained plan of providence, then God is a tyrant who forces his will upon people. But if God’s plan only includes general providence, then God does not always get his way because he is contingent and dependent upon human choices.

What is more disconcerting: the God who is in control of everything or the God who is in control of only some things?

[1] Sanders, The God Who Risks

[2][5] Helm, The Providence of God


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