I finished a 10 page paper on Open Theism yesterday. It is a response/critique of Clark Pinnock’s book “Most Moved Mover: A Theology of Gods Openness (The Didsbury Lectures)” (Clark H. Pinnock). I am going to post the pieces over the next week. In the interest of full disclosure, I hold a more Arminian view of God, though my postmodern sensibilities preclude me from self-categorizing. I also generally find the Open Theism conversation helpful for re-understanding the doctrine of God, though some aspects leave me wanting. I hope this study helps you as you wade through your own understanding God’s nature and relationship to our world.
“When a person takes leave of God, we need to ask what sort of God did they take leave of.” In his book, Most Moved Mover, Clark Pinnock observes that we need to reevaluate our concept of God in light of the Exodus from the Christian story within our Western post-Christian, postmodern culture. I heartily agree. In our emerging post-Christian world, we need to ask hard questions about the concept of God out of which people are leaving, and why and how we the Church are offering up this conception; now is the time to reevaluate the doctrine of God. Such a reevaluation of the Church’s concept of God already began in the mid-1990’s with the landmark book, The Openness of God. Through this book, the authors offered an innovative, well reasoned argument that the God known through Christ desires responsive relationship with his creatures, while asserting now was the time to reconsider such classical theistic views on God’s immutability, impassibility and foreknowledge. Seven years later, Clark Pinnock wrote to extend and revise their original conversation.
In his book, Pinnock says we need to re-understand and re-articulate our concept of God. While rejecting Classic Theism as reducing God to the “unblinking cosmic stare” as described by Dallas Willard and insisting traditional Arminianism does not go far enough in “opening up” the nature of God, Pinnock writes to make a case for the so-called open view of God as described by Open Theism. Pinnock and the open view envision the God of the Holy Scriputres in these ways: it portrays God as a Triune community who seeks relationships of love with humans, having bestowed upon them genuine freedom for this purpose; Love and Freedom are central concerns because God desires loving relationships, which require freedom; it envisions God making a world where the future is not yet completely settled in order to make room for His creatures to exist, rather than treating them like puppets; it recognizes creating such a world was risky, but it was better to have a world in which humans could freely love God than one where He always gets his way; God grants humans significant freedom to partner with or against His will for their lives and enters a dynamic give-and-take relationship with Himself; finally, while God takes a risk in such a give-and-take relationship He is endlessly resourceful and competent to bring the world and His plans to an ultimate end goal. The aim of this paper is to analyze and interact with Pinnock’s view through four “pillars”—Hyper-Relationality, Sovereignty, Changeability, and Temporality—and offer points of support and critique in an effort to help present an alternative understanding of God to a culture in need of such an alternative.