Can God change His mind? Exploring Open Theology Part 1.

In my last post I rather triumphantly announced my discovery of an alternative perspective to Calvinism and Arminianism – open theism, or open theology. I am still coming to grips with what that is about, and have not reached any personal conclusions yet, other than that I am excited about the possibility of unpacking another way of understanding how God relates to his creation. So please consider this post and others that follow on the subject as a work in progress. This website seems to have some good thoughts to kick off this process, and until I can get my hands on a theological book or two, I will just work my way through some of the thoughts presented on the site.
The first premise is God’s sovereignty over all – no problems with this one.  Love is defined the primary attribute of God – present before creation.  Holiness and justice of God are expressed in relation to his creation – very similar to some of the stuff John Franke spoke about at Forge, and the subject of a  previous post on this blog.  Again, I am feeling on comfortable territory here.
The second point refers to “sovereign freedom”  – where God decided that our requests and actions can impact on His actions.  This means God can be influenced by what we do. To some extent, most practising Christians must believe this – or why would we seek God’s interventions and pray for healing etc?  I think there is a biblical precedent for this, rather poignantly reflected in the discourse between Abraham and God.  Abraham pleads for God to spare the city of Sodom, initially if fifty innocent people were found.  By the end of the discussion, God agrees to spare the city if only 10 innocent people were found.  Is God in his justice able to be bargained with?  You can read the story for yourself in Genesis 18:23-33.  The Biblegateway topical reference to this story calls it the condescension of God. This would suggest that God patronises Abraham.  I don’t think that this is the case.  It seems to me that God is genuinely listening to Abraham.  Just before God has this discussion with Abraham, God tells him that he is going to pop down to Sodom to see if the people were as wicked as he heard them to be.  After the discussion the Angels of the Lord meet Lot, and God is merciful to him.  I think that it is possible to interpret this story to say that our intercession before God has impact – in this case it saved lives.  In God’s justice, he could have wiped out Sodom.  The appeal to his mercy appeared to alter God’s course of action.


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