Heresies: Open Theism


Open Theism is a heresy that teaches a false representation of God, asserting that God is not knowing of all that will come to pass. Sometimes called “Free Will Theism,” Open Theism is associated often – but not always – with adherents of Pelagianism. Unique for a heresy, Open Theism is relatively new and contained to the 20th and 21st Centuries (although that doesn’t mean aspects of the belief system didn’t exist prior).

Designed to make compatible the notions of God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will, the heresy claims that God’s knowledge is “dynamic” or flexible and changes with eventualities and conditions on Earth. In other words, Open Theists claim that God knows all certainties in future events, but he is not necessarily aware of how the future will unfold until events make such outcomes certain. This accounts, Open Theism argues, for how God acts in accordance to man’s free will. Their argument supposes that if man is truly free, God cannot fully know with certainty how the future will unfold when it depends upon man’s free choice.

Monilism is a variety of Open Theism that is less overt in its undermining of divine Omniscience in the hypothesizing of a “Middle Knowledge” in which God knows all possible outcomes, but doesn’t know which outcome in particular will occur.

Modern adherents of Open Theism include Clark Pinnock and Gregory Boyd, and William Lane Craig is perhaps the best known proponent of the near cousin to Open Theism, Monilism.

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