Analyze Feinberg's assessment of openness theology.
According to Feinberg, openness theology is a corrective
mediating to classical and process theism (Feinberg 2019, 69). Openness
theology may have agreements with both classical and process theism;
there are many di#erences in which Feinberg $eshes out. Openness
theology may hold to the standard that God has all the traditional
attributes, but in hopes not to create a 'nite and impotent God, chooses
not to exercise them to leave room for human free will (Feinberg 2019,
69). Therefore, the denial of God's divine foreknowledge provides a
signi'cant di#erence to those who hold to the classic model (Ware 2001,
Chapter 4). The classic model, which has been the dominant doctrine in
past church history, states that God is overall immutable and
unchangeable, knowing that future, including all of the actions of His
created beings (Feinberg 2019, 65). This would then hold that openness
theology denies the standard of God's omniscience and omnipotence.
Feinberg lays the foundational assessment that when it comes to
open theology, the two basic concepts center around the idea of God's
love and are established initially by Richard Rice's book,The Openness of
God. These two convictions state, "love is the most important quality we
attribute to God, and love is more than care and commitment; it involves
being sensitive and responsive as well (Feinberg 2019, 69)." Therefore,
through the Old and New Testament, this would give the reader the
understanding that love is the prominent attribute of God, who is,
therefore, able to be moved to do the thing that He has not planned to do
through prayer and petitions (Feinberg 2019, 72).
Discuss at least three theological reasons for agreement or
disagreement with Feinberg. These reasons should not be given
as mere personal preferences but should instead reect solid
biblical/theological data that support the position.
Feinberg comments that the open view is a distinct alternative to
both process and classical models and that openness theology establishes
that those two models are not the only choices (Feinberg 2019, 72). I
could not disagree more with this statement, and there are three
theological reasons why openness theology should not be considered an
option, as Feinberg alludes to.
First, unlike the belief of open theists, God is absolute and is
entirely immutable. This states that God is not capable of "being acted
upon or a#ected emotionally by anything in creation (Elwell 2001, 599)."
God is absolute perfection, and it would be impossible for Him to improve
or change. We see this in Malachi 3:6, in which God states that He does
not change, and in James 1:17, James writes that there is no variation with
God. There may be change in this world, but God does not change in His
response to His creation (Enns 2014, 193). This would prove that God's
love does not change, and Christians can stand 'rm in His promises like
Second, God's omniscience is not thwarted by human will.
Feinberg states, "Hence, the open view rejects attempt to synthesize
divine foreknowledge and libertarian free will and claims that God does
not know the future. He has a thorough knowledge of past and present,
and He knows us completely. This often enables him to have a good idea
of what we will do, but until we do it, there are no guarantees (Feinberg
2019, 71)," I disagree, God knows past, present, and future events. Future
events are eternal now's to God. We see throughout the Old and New
Testaments that God knows the future. For example, God knew that other
nations would dominate Israel in Daniel 2 and 7. We also see from
Scripture that God knows the events that will transpire during the end
times found in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-19 (Enns 2014, 198-199).
Thirdly, God's omnipotence and sovereign control over the world.
Feinberg states about open theists hold to the belief that humans have
free will, and regardless of what the agent chooses, it is just as possible to
choose or do something else, and therefore, God does not determine our
actions. This is dangerous because it approaches the standing of human
reason without the adequate use of the Bible. Open theists leave open the
mindset that God possibly fails, can change, or is worried and unhappy
can therefore humanize God and are unbiblical (Enns 2014, 216). We see
that God is in sovereign control in passages such as, Proverbs 16:9.
Does Wells agree with Feinberg? Explain.
No, Wells disagrees with Feinberg because God's omniscience and
omnipotence have not changed and cannot be changed by human will.
Wells writes about God's plan for redemption and that God's plan has not
changed. "It is that he is for us, that he has always been for us. He was for
us in the far reaches of eternity… it was there that he planned to act for
us (Wells 2014, 134)." God's foreknowledge is not hindered only by
current events but extends into eternity. God is not dependent on our
actions, and He has acted before we could act (Wells 2014, 135). Wells
opposes openness theology by establishing that God's power is limitless,
as stated in Isaiah 40:25. Through the gospel, we see that God's power,
presence, and knowledge are "utterly beyond our mere human
capabilities (Wells 2014, 79)."
Elwell, Walter A.Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids,
MI: Baker Books, 2001.
Enns, Paul I., and John MacArthur.The Moody Handbook of Theology:
Revised and Expanded. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014.
Feinberg, John S.No One like Him: the Doctrine of God. Wheaton. Illinois:
Crossway Books, 2019.
Ware, Bruce A. “Chapter 4.” Essay. InGod's Lesser Glory: a Critique of
Open Theism. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 2001.
Wells, David F.God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-Love of God Reorients
Our World. Nottingham: IVP, 2014.