"The Creation, The Fall, The Cross" My Open View Theist Perspective
Imagine if you were going to play a game of chess. Which of these two models of a chess champion do you think should receive the greater glory?
Let’s just say that I am a chess player and I create a chess game. I preprogram the computer with a set program so that every move that I make, the game must respond a certain way. The opponent (which is NOT a true opponent) MUST act a certain way based upon a series of pre-calculated moves that I have hyper-sovereignly superimposed. There are times when I, just for sheer pleasure, willingly sacrifice many chess pieces, and I am not disgruntled at all by what I do. You come into the room and ask me WHY I do this. I tell you that it is for my glory and you really don't have to understand. Just rejoice and trust me. It is simply because it is "my will" to do so. Invariably, I reach the end with pieces left on the board and my opponent has NONE. I win. Just how big of a man am I, if I should boast of a victory?
In this second case, I take on a real life chess player. I am confident that in the end I will win. We sit down to play. I sit back and lay out my moves in such a way that as things take their natural course the pieces gradually fall close enough into my desired will. Unlike the first model, I am challenged. At some point in the game it MIGHT even look like I MIGHT NOT win. Certainly, there may even be some temporal losses along the way and I may need to change my strategy, yet I am confident that I can and WILL overcome. I do not definitely know what moves my opponent may make. Because I knew about my opponent, I have a strong general knowledge of what some of his options and moves might be. But certainly NOT an exhaustive definite foreknowledge of what he will freely choose to do. As the game progresses however, I am able to make the right moves in the right time so that in the end, my predetermined goal of victory was ultimately, and purposefully achieved despite what loss that my opponent had caused. I WIN!
Out of these two models, 1 or 2, which is the one of lesser glory? Model one, who unlike ourselves takes upon himself no challenge and acted unexplainably? Or model 2, who faced the odds and was able to overcome, and thereby left an example for us all?
Surely the first model was of a lesser glory! It was the one that RISKED that was worthy to receive honor.
In the second model, did I HAVE to know EVERY move that my opponent was going to make in order to win? NO. WHY? Because I was the SUPERIOR chess player. Did I have to have my HANDS ON my opponent in order to control the outcome? NO. WHY? Because I was the superior chess player. Did I have to know everything that we were going to do BEFORE the time to come, to know what to do in the present time? No. Because I was the superior chess player, I COULD leave some things up to chance. Because I was the superior chess player, a temporal setback could not thwart my ultimate purpose.
WHICH model do you suppose you would rather follow? I was falsely introduced as a new Christian to a model one type of god. A little "g" god who people claimed had his will accomplished in EVERY THING and that nothing that happens out of luck. That everything that happens happens for a reason. That there was a specific purpose of everything that happened and that in times where it seemed to be a clear violation of the word of god it was only because his ways were so much higher than ours, that we could not truly understand him. A god who not only knew who all would be saved but had completely determined before time who would be among that group. That all of the chesss on the board in the game of life that he did not care to see, he would willfully destroy for no other reason than that it was his prerogative and unexplainable desire to do so.
The first model represents the model of God known as “Calvinism “. In this model, Calvinism denies the love of God because God supposedly predestines all things without reservation. Satan, man, and all of creation are not truly free will agents but micromanaged beings whose fate was sealed before their creation. Satan and men are pawns in the hand of God in the chess game of life, whom, after he has fulfilled his will, will arbitrarily discard and damn simply because it is his prerogative to do so. There can be nothing left open to chance. If God does know all things concerning the future free will actions of his creatures, then surely the future is set in stone. If I know, for instance, that a disaster will take place within a week by exhaustive definite foreknowledge, then that disaster MUST take place, because it truly is the known future. It is not possible, therefore, that it MIGHT NOT take place or else I did not have exhaustive definite foreknowledge. Therefore, a set of circumstances MUST take place in order to bring this disaster about. The future, due to exhaustive definite foreknowledge, necessitates that the future must be determined. It is impossible to exhaustively know the future without the future thereby being determined. And, if God controls all things at all times without reservation, then it is impossible to not have exhaustive definite foreknowledge. In the first model, the chess player and programmer had exhaustive definite foreknowledge of what his machine would do. The machine acted in accordance in to its specific program. There could be no room for error in the program or else the programmer would have failed.
DOES GOD have E.D.F? Does God have to KNOW all details from the end over to the beginning in order to declare his will from the beginning to the end? Does God have to control everything in order to control anything? Can God and chance co-exist? Can God be sovereign without being micromanaging? Genesis chapter 2 is the first opportunity of an interaction with mankind. WE will let God speak for himself in this series.
Now, if I were a God of exhaustive definite foreknowledge and absolute all inclusive control then I would certainly want to convey that in the first book of the Bible. In my EDF I would know that man would print the bible. In fact, I would make man do so. So before I give illustrations that could fool man into believing that I did NOT have EDF or Micromanagability, I would be sure to illustrate how I DID have those traits from the beginning.
God, the sovereign creator of language says what he means and means what he says:
Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
Plant creation came before man…
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God knew that it was POSSIBLE that Adam could eat of this tree, but he certainly did not desire for man to partake…he commands him NOT TO. If it was impossible for God to NOT take of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the command to not partake would have showed the Lord to be very double minded. In fact, if God KNEW that Adam would take of the tree, then the future was, by necessity, predetermined. If God did not want man to partake of the tree, then surely taking of the tree would not only constitute sin, but it would also prove that God did not emphatically know that Adam would partake. Adam was told to not take of the tree. That is God’s REVEALED WILL. But did God get his will or is Satan going to get in the way? If God did predestinate the fall, then the Calvinism is right and we should rename “The book of Genesis” The book of “GENOCIDE”! The story continues…
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Genesis 3:2-3 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
That is NOT what God said. God did not state this threat in the conditional, but in the affirmative. LEST is not the same as SHALL! We are not to be Bible correctors like Satan! Amen!? Yet, we know the outcome…
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Evidently God does not choose to micromanage his creation. Things can and do happen that God expressly desires to NOT happen, yet we shall see that he is in the business of fixing up man’s errors.
Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
God DOES have all present knowledge and Adam and Eve would have known this or else they would not have made fig leaf camouflage when once they’re eyes were opened. Conscience kicked in and they KNEW that God would soon be coming so they made fig leaves and then hid themselves. Remember, they were always naked. And when a woman and a man are going to reproduce they are naked, this is more than obvious. It is therefore logical that the reason that they sew fig leaves IS to hide from God. God knew WHERE to FIND ADAM and WHEN to communicate with him. God COMES to WHERE ADAM IS AT and says IMMEDIATELY:
Genesis 3:8-9 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
God showed up at the right time and the right place with the right questions to deal with Adam after his sin. This hardly appears to be a coincidence!
Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
God came at the RIGHT TIME. Before they had a chance to TRULY FLEE! God, who knew the POSSIBLE outcome according to Genesis 2 and asks a question to Adam to prick his conscience.
Genesis 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Adam confesses his sin to God. It would look like man would certainly receive death at the hands of God at this present moment. Yet, He gives HOPE…
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
From studying out various scriptures, we know that this is a prophecy of the coming Son of God who would be killed by Satan, yet conquer Satan through the cross. God gives further instructions:
Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God DID keep his word about killing Adam, but in his mercy he can and DOES adjust his plans. Mercy is not getting what we deserve, surely this is what was demonstrated to Adam. “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” WAS modified through a substitutionary atonement! God, in his free will and compassion must have changed his mind. Adam breathes a sigh of RELIEF. God already repented and changed his mind! In the word of God “in the day” has only one meaning…it is the obvious. Adam should have died during THAT DAY, but he did not. Adam makes a statement in good faith:
Genesis 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God reconciles man, this was unknown to Adam for God to do so…
THIS IS WHY we can ask God for mercy! God can and does break his rules and yet retain his integrity through MERCY. Adam would still receive the wages of his sin, but its actual administration was prolonged to a gradual process as opposed to an immediate judgment. Christ dying for us is the perfect example of God breaking his own rules through mercy and yet retaining integrity. The just should never rightfully be put to death for the unjust, yet God did so because he loved us. In Adam, we lost the chance of immortality, but In Christ it is secured. God further creates another plan to ensure his success…
Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Genesis 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
God stated what??? “LEST” he “take also of the tree of life”. Remember what we have known about this word. It is possible, not affirmative. The future was OPEN to God. Adam MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT partake. God left SOME aspects of the future OPEN. What was NOT OPEN was that the earth would be cursed and that the promised seed would come! And just to prevent what would be possible God declares:
Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
We see that God does not CAUSE all things to happen and that it can and does go against his purposes at times. WE can therefore conclude that God is sovereign in his purposes, but does not micromanage mankind. Calvinism denies the immutability of God's holy character. If God is holy then he can do no act of "unholyness". Therefore he can and does command us to be holy even as he is holy. Yet in the god of Calvinism, we are told that God, in his will, decrees all things without reservation for he is absolutely sovereign. God therefore must, by default, be the very author of sin because he decrees ALL things and is in incapable of NOT doing so. Thankfully, God did not want the fall to occur; otherwise he would have been the author of sin. We also see, as dispensationalists, that God does things to correct the errors of man and ultimately seeks to have his WILL. That is the lifeblood of dispensationalism.
My goal was to show you that our God is not the God of Calvinism, but the second, superior model, the God of the Open View. That with God some things in the future are left open to him and to us. That God does not have to know EVERY MINUTE detail of what he will do BEFORE TIME, in order to know what to do AT THE RIGHT TIME. That with God some things in the future are left open to absolute free will and chance so that the future is still open to him. Along with this, he is well able to overcome and work WITH us in love. That he does not have to have exhaustive definite foreknowledge of everything that will happen in the future in order to accomplish HIS ultimate goals for our lives. That He has a genuine, sincere, interactive give and take relationship with us. Who is moved when we are moved, and that he is the MOST moved. Who is NOT dormant and lifeless outside of our world, but is the “Most Moved Mover” in our life. Let us, in the time to come, look at the God who alone is thee worthy victor in the game of life, for he is “The God Who Risks” and “The God of the Possible”.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ASV) Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.