Most Christians would agree that God knows the future. Disagreement enters in when trying to determine how he knows the future. Does he know because he foreordains everything, or because he is able to peer down the corridors of time and foresee everything that will happen? Or, does God not know the future for certain, but instead knows the future as a set of possibilities that may or may not happen?
I have had a fairly diverse experience in teaching about God’s foreknowledge, having gone to Woodland Hills Church in Minnesota, sitting under the preaching of Greg Boyd (Open Theist), then having spent many years at Bethlehem Baptist Church under the preaching of John Piper (Calvinist). And now at seminary, I am sitting under the teaching Roger E. Olson, one of the more outspoken Arminianists.
I will admit, it can be very easy to decide to believe one way or another simply depending on who you are surrounded by, and the influence that others around you have – especially pastors or teachers who clearly know far more than you do. It is difficult to spend sufficient time personally studying topics such as this, and the tendency is to trust other people who have put in far more time and research than you.
We studied this topic in my Intro to Christian Theology class this week. I found it very insightful, and it helped to better understand each perspective. I have concluded that all three views have both convincing arguments, and issues. None of them are perfect, as if it were that easy, the debate would cease to exist. This borders along the lines of doctrine/opinion, and is not essential to the core of Christian belief. The two most opposing sides, Calvinism and Open Theism, both believe in the all of the same foundational beliefs about God and Jesus that are essential to salvation.
I have decided that I am undecided. There are things that make sense with each view, and the Biblical arguments are definitely interesting. There’s just as good of a chance that none of these views is perfectly correct anyway! I had to write an opinion paper on the topic for class, which is available for download if you wish to give it a read.
If you have any input, experiences, ideas, etc., please leave a comment.