“Is There Knowledge In The Most High?” (Psalm 73:11) -- By: Larry D. Pettegrew

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 12:2 (Fall 2001)
Article: “Is There Knowledge In The Most High?” (Psalm 73:11)
Author: Larry D. Pettegrew

“Is There Knowledge In The Most High?”
(Psalm 73:11)

Larry D. Pettegrew

Professor of Theology

The importance of one’s view of God highlights the necessity of learning about Open Theism, a new approach to understanding God that deviates substantially from classical theism. Open Theism contends that some things happen that are contrary to God’s intentions and that He took risks in creating a world in which He does not know and control everything. Open theists defend their system by claiming that classic theology suffered ill effects in the early church and throughout church history when theologians allowed their thinking to fall under the influence of secular philosophy. In response, classic theologians point out the same problem with Open Theism. Open theists also defend their view by reinterpreting OT events so as to disallow anthropopathisms in biblical descriptions of God and by passages emphasizing divine ignorance. In reconstructing the doctrine of God, open theists emphasize the love of God above all His other characteristics, deny the immutability and impassibility of God, dispute God’s full control of world affairs, and question God’s exhaustive knowledge of the future. They further defend their doctrine of God by claiming their system as a better explanation of human tragedies. Their view of God forces a revision of other areas of doctrine, including eschatology, angelology, Christology, and soteriology. All of Open Theism’s distinctive positions are contrary to sound biblical teaching.

* * * * *

It is really quite peculiar. After two thousand years of Christian theology, serious Bible-believing Christians are once again debating what God is like. The debate is not even about the peripheral matters or technicalities. It actually revolves around some of the basic attributes of God. Does God control everything in the universe (omnipotence)? Does God know everything that happens and will happen (omniscience)? On one side of the debate is classic theology. God sovereignly controls the universe and knows the details of the future, including the future decisions and acts of free moral agents. On the other side of the debate is a new theology, also claiming to be evangelical, often called “Open Theism.”

The debate impacts Christianity in several ways. On a personal level, a person’s worldview depends on knowing who God is and what He is like. A. W.

Tozer once wrote, “… [T]he most portentous fact about any man is … what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”...

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