This is the third in a series of four posts on the objections made to open theism that I identified in the first post at Open Theism, “An Introduction to Open Theism.” It expands on “demeaning His sovereignty and diminishing His glory” in this passage in the post:
Opponents of open theism also charge that it undermines God’s omnipotence and omniscience, thus demeaning His sovereignty and diminishing His glory.
Opponents of open theism charge that it demeans God’s sovereignty because according to it much that happens is the result of decisions made by created beings, humans and fallen angels, rather than what God wants.
However God’s giving us (and angels) free will so that we could resist His will if we chose to doesn’t mean that He put himself at our mercy, as opponents of open theism claim. He retained the right and power to intervene when and how He wished so that He could make things ultimately work out according to His will. He demonstrated this when, as pictured in Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus Christ became one of us, was crucified, and rose from the grave so that we could be reconciled with God.
For fuller responses to the charge, see Gregory A. Boyd’s answer to it on pages 147-150 of his God of the Impossible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000) and the chapter on God’s sovereignty in John Sanders’ The God Who Risks (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998; pages 208-236).
From the beginning to the end of his God’s Lesser Glory (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2000), Bruce A. Ware expresses his concern that open theism diminishes God’s glory. In its concluding chapter, “God’s Greater Glory and Our Everlasting Good,” he identifies three ways in which he thinks open theism diminishes God’s glory: God’s failure in the past to move the world forward in the way that He intended and His possible failure to do so in the future, our receiving credit for good produced by our free actions, and God’s lessened sovereignty (see above). For Ware’s explanations of the three ways, see pages 219-230 of God’s Lesser Glory.
Personally I would find it hard to view as glorious a God who foreordained (or who foresaw but couldn’t do anything about) all the evil and suffering in the world. To me, recognizing that evil is brought about created beings and that God will ultimately intervene to bring about His will enhances rather than diminishes God’s glory.
For an eloquent response to Ware’s concern, see pages 182-183 of Clark H. Pinnock’s Most Moved Mover (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 2001).
My son-in-law made an excellent comment on “Open Theism Lessens God’s Sovereignty and Glory.” It contains both an analogy and a Biblical example that demonstrate how open theism enhances rather than lessens God’s sovereignty. To read it, either click Replies under the post’s heading or the following link:
Next week I’ll give the last in this series of posts on objections made to open theism.