A few days ago, a member at my church got in touch with me about some unhealthy theology that a loved one of hers was beginning to wade into. This person had stumbled across a theologian whose teaching had raised her suspicions. She was determined to understand the teaching she was dealing with and she wanted to be able to point her loved one toward better alternatives.
She was right to be concerned.
Her loved one had stumbled across the late Clark Pinnock and some of his writings about a concept called open theism. This is the teaching that some aspects of the future remain unknown, at least with certainty, to God. While Pinnock and other open theists state that parts of the future are unknown to God, the Bible says otherwise. God is omniscient. “God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act” (Grudem, 1994, p. 190).
- God knows himself so when he reveals himself to us we can trust him.
- God knows all things including the entire realm of possibilities that may result from the hundreds of choices each of us make every single day.
- And, God knows all of it in one panorama; where we see one or two pixels at a time he sees the entire sweep of history all at once and in high-definition.
I don’t know about you. It’s comforting to me to know that we serve a God who is wise enough to know everything that has, is, or will ever happen and, at the same time, good enough that he allows his creatures to experience free will. We err greatly when we believe and teach, as Pinnock did, that our own choices trump God’s knowledge. And we err greatly when we believe and teach, as some have done, that God’s omniscience reduces us to mere puppets on a string or resigns us to hopeless fatalism. God is good and wise enough to hold both of those tensions in perfect, divine balance.
So, what’s the best antidote to unhealthy theology?
When I consider all of this, I can’t help but think that it’s pure wonder. What else can you do? How else can you react? Since we serve a God this great, there’s little else to do than to be in awe.
Each of us may carry around elements of unhealthy theology. Hold them up to the light of the truth of God’s character. Wonder at his grandeur and goodness. That’s the best antidote to unhealthy theology.
Reference: Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.