God’s omniscience – a rope of sand

One of the first hits on a Google search of open air preacher Jesse Morrell is a blog post detailing what it claims as Morrell’s heresy. Now heresy is a peculiar term levied throughout the ages for the most ridiculous reasons. Any search on historical accusations of heresy will reveal issues that modern Christians could not care less about. Anyone using the word heretic should immediately be viewed with suspicion. They better have insurmountable evidence, or else their ploy can easily be dismissed as a desperate ad hominem attack in lieu of real evidence.

This particular blogger points to a few reasons Morrell is a heretic, one of which I will deal with in this post: God’s omniscience. The blogger writes:

Jesse believes that God doesn’t know the future, but kind of just makes the best choices He can as He finds out what free moral agents decide. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the whole Bible!

That is a peculiar claim. The entire Bible supports that God knows the future? Remember, in the sense that this blogger uses the term, he means “know” as if God can see the future like a movie. This is opposed to me knowing that I will go to work tomorrow. I can know things because I make them happen.

The blogger decides to post a few nuggets of evidence for this claim, presumably his best evidence.

(Remember, to be actual evidence these verses must demonstrate not only that God knows the future but that he does so in such a way distinguishable from me knowing that I will go to work tomorrow. God has a huge advantage over me in this regard. Whereas I can get sick, die, or be abducted by criminals, God is immune to such contingencies.

Also, these verses must demonstrate that God knows the future in a way distinguishable from the way Austrian economists knew the price of gold would skyrocket after price controls were lifted. If someone understands human action/nature they can easily predict events, especially if they understand unseen consequences.)

With these two factors in mind, here are the verses offered as evidence of omniscience:

Verse 1:

Isaiah 42:9 – “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Is this verse referring to:
a. God does the things which he says will happen in the future.
b. God predicts human action accordingly.
or
c. God knows the future like a movie.

From the context and face value, the answers can be any or all.
Calvinism: 0 of 1.

Verse 2:

Isaiah 46:5-10 – “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me… Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

Is this verse referring to:
a. God does the things which he says will happen in the future.
b. God predicts human action accordingly.
or
c. God knows the future like a movie.

God will cause “the end” assuming this is referring to the end of the world or the end actions of God. So this would most like fall under answer (a). Even if it is not the end of the world, both this and the next sentence, in context, refer to God doing “all [his] pleasure”. The context tells the reader God’s answer is (a). God can tell us his own future actions.
Calvinism: 0 of 2.

Verse 3:

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Is this verse referring to:
a. God does the things which he says will happen in the future.
b. God predicts human action accordingly.
or
c. God knows the future like a movie.

I would answer (d) none of the above. Calvinists often like to quote random verses that have nothing to do with supporting their premise.

This verse is explicitly about fetology. God knows unborn babies before they are formed (not to be confused with conceived). Another fallacy would be to extend God knowing one future event (and this is not a future event) to knowing all future events.
Calvinism: 0 of 3.

Verse 4:

Acts 15:18 – “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

Is this verse referring to:
a. God does the things which he says will happen in the future.
b. God predicts human action accordingly.
or
c. God knows the future like a movie.

Do I need to even answer this one?

This verse has the added feature of English language ambiguity. Does God know all his own works that he has completed from creation to now? Does God progressively know from creation to now all his own works that he has completed as he completes them? Does God now know and have always known all his own works now and for always? Sketchy people rely on ambiguous verses for support.
Calvinism: 0 of 4.

Verse 5:

Romans 8:29-30 – ”For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Is this verse referring to:
a. God does the things which he says will happen in the future.
b. God predicts human action accordingly.
or
c. God knows the future like a movie.

This verse gets a little tricky. It is important to remember the fallacy of moving from specifics to generics, in any case.

The words foreknow and predestine have historically been mutilated from their real meanings. Take this instance of the same word “foreknow”. This is Paul speaking:

Act 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, God knows;
Act 26:5 Foreknown of me from the beginning, if he would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

From these verses, does it appear God knew Paul from the beginning of time? If the Calvinist answers yes, he has a huge problem: I changed the words in this verse. Every reference to “the Jews” I changed to “God”. The real verses are as follows:

Act 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
Act 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

This foreknowledge is not from the beginning of time. It just means that it started to be known sometime in the past. Beginning refers not to the beginning of history, but from Paul’s childhood (not even his birth). I have addressed “predestination” elsewhere. With this in mind does Romans 8:29-30 prove the Calvinist’s point? The answer is a resounding “no”.
Calvinism: 0 of 5.

It is funny that this Calvinist calls Morrell a heretic based on these verses. It shows the lack of intellectual rigor and integrity of these so-called theologians who attack Open Theism. Does this blogger answer any of Morrell’s own words or look to see if Morrell has answered any of these “proof texts”? It does not appear so.

Calvinism: heavy on rhetoric, light on evidence.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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