Christian Doctrines

Alexander Pruss on Open Theism

Open Theism is basically the view that God does not know the future. The Evangelical Philosophical society recently tweeted this post by Alexander Pruss on the topic. I found it very interesting. The argument he presents is (quoted word for word from his blog):

  1. (Premise) If p is overwhelmingly probable on the balance of God’s evidence, then God believes p.
  2. (Premise) If open theism is true, then some of the propositions that are overwhelmingly probable on the balance of God’s evidence are false.
  3. Therefore, if open theism is true, God believes some falsehoods.
  4. (Premise) God believes no falsehoods.
  5. Therefore, open theism is false.

I think that perhaps the best way for the open theist to avoid this argument may actually be to deny (4), for which Pruss does not argue. The open theist could hold that: (4`) Possibly, God believes falsehoods. I doubt that many open theists would be perturbed by accepting this premise, but I may be wrong. If I’m right, however, Pruss’s neat argument doesn’t work. Again, check it out.


About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


7 thoughts on “Alexander Pruss on Open Theism

  1. I wondered the same thing when I read it. I’m gonna send it to one of my open theist friends and ask him if God believing a falsehood would bother him very much. I suspect he’ll say no. Why don’t you post that comment on Pruss’ blog?

    Posted by Robert Whitaker | October 19, 2010, 3:28 PM
  2. “Open Theism is basically the view that God does not know the future”. Actually its not.

    Open Theism is the view that the future is partially open in its nature. Hence, it is impossible for anyone to know it completely in fixed terms because it has hasn’t happened yet.

    Hence, Open Theism is nothing to do with the nature of God. It is about the nature of the future. It is a very important distinction. God is omniscient. He knows everything that can be known. If my premise above about the future being partially open is true then an all knowing God can’t know all the future comprehensively, not because of any shortcoming in God, but because the very nature of the future doesn’t allow it.

    It really similar to the argument that God can’t make square circles. To say that doesn’t suggest any shortcoming in God’s omnipotence, because the nature of the circles isn’t to be square. Similarly with the future and God’s omniscience.


    Posted by Tim | October 21, 2010, 2:01 PM

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