There Are Always Possibilities


OK, this is nominally a book review, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit rooted in the period when I read it.

I’d been meaning to get around to reading God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God since January, when some people at church were talking about starting a reading group for it. As it happened, however, I didn’t start it until the day Susanna called off our engagement.

The basic idea is this — there are parts of the future that are written, and there are parts that aren’t. God is sovereign over the universe, and has the ability to control anything He chooses to. However, He chooses to give man free will, and that free will means that man can make choices that affect the future. God is aware of all the possibilities those choices present, but not what choice will be made until it is. This doesn’t mean — and this is the part that challenges people — that God isn’t omniscient. People hear that, and assume the book is arguing that there are things God doesn’t know. To the contrary, the book is adamant that God knows everything, but argues that the outcome of those choices can’t be known until they are made. God doesn’t know that I’m going to choose X in much the same way He doesn’t know Hillary Clinton is president — not because He’s not all-knowing, but because it’s not knowable.

Now, at this point, I realize the odds are pretty good that you’re shaking your head in pity at my waywardness, and I’m not going to try to spend any more time on whether the book is right or not. It does a thorough job making its case, rooted in scripture, and there’s really no need for me to try to present a watered-down version here. To be honest, however, I really don’t know. I’ve long wondered about this issue, but don’t know that I’m ready to completely embrace everything the book argues.

However, I think it matters less what you believe in this case than what you live, and I think a lot of Christians, even if they say they don’t believe this, live like they do, to varying degrees. But I think it actually makes us better to live as if we believe it completely.

We should pray as if God heeds our prayers. We should live as if our choices affect our fate.

The most interesting thing I’m struggling with, however, is the idea that God makes decisions, blesses people, makes promises, etc., based on our potential. He sees who we are, and who we could be, and acts accordingly. An example being Saul, whom God annointed and blessed as king based on the fact that He was a good man, and should make a good king. Saul, on the other hand, utterly failed to live up to that, and God had to revoke his blessing and install David as king.

And the application of that one is a bit more interesting. It brings up the possibility that God acts in our life based on what should happen. He could, hypothetically, to choose a perfectly random example, bring two people together and bless their relationship based on the potential they present. These two people should make right choices and should have a great relationship, just as Saul should have made a great king. But they fail not to live up to that potential. More to the point, they choose not to. When that happens, does the blessing get revoked? The annointing removed?

I’m really not doing the question justice, because it would require a lot more scriptural support to get too deeply into it.

But it’s very much something that I’m working through at the moment.

One Response

  1. […] recently by the similarities between what’s been going on on Lost recently and the book I blogged about recently, God of the Possible. For those that don’t watch Lost, the current season has included a time-travel story. The […]

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