Hi Jimmy, so as I understand what the article is saying is that Open Theists believe that God has limited knowledge of the future and exercises limited control over events on earth. I can’t say I’ve ever really run into a discussion on that subject. Most of the conversations on the subject of free will are in relation to salvation, Heaven, Hell, and so on. I haven’t personally encountered anyone who has taken it down this road. But I’ve heard that argument before.
I think the primary point of contention, where people go wrong, is that since we do not know the exact point in which to delineate God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will, we come up with all sorts of explanations such as this: that God is not fully sovereign because we have free will. It is certainly a tempting argument because it gives us some nice ground to stand on for explaining suffering, etc.
But in the end you lose far more than you’d gain if that were true. If God is not fully sovereign and cannot accomplish His ends as he has set forth, then what hope is there? I think that ends up painting a fairly bleak outlook on life.
I also don’t think you can make that case Biblically, certainly not without throwing out most of the Bible.
I would say that Open Theism has a lot to overcome given that the Bible is God’s story and unfolds as He has laid it out. It is implied throughout the Bible that God is orchestrating everything that happens and God also directly refutes the idea that He is not in control. Just a few examples:
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the ned from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.”
Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it
Then you can also look at all of the exacting prophecies God made that were fulfilled. The exile to Babylon, the return to Israel, the birth and rule of Cyrus, the destruction of Jerusalem, all the dozens of prophecies about Jesus: riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the suffering he endured, death on the cross, and on and on.
God uses prophecy as validation that He is who He claims to be. If God were not fully sovereign, He would not have been able to fulfill his prophecies so exactingly.
I think if you look closely at the verses that support open theism and interpret them in light of the whole of scripture (not just taken out of context) they don’t contradict God’s omniscience at all. To use the examples from the article you provided:
In Exodus 32:14, God isn’t changing His mind because of Moses’ intercession in prayer, His intent the entire time was to bring Moses into that role of intercessor. After all, God had just rescued Israel from Egypt and had promised to make a great nation of them, He wasn’t about to destroy them and go back on His promise. He drew Moses into the process by inciting him to pray for the outcome God had intended all along.
In Genesis 22:12, God never intend for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God specifically states in Deuteronomy 18:10 not to sacrifice your children. This situation was a picture of God sacrificing His son (Jesus). Whereas He called on Abraham to relent in sacrificing his son, God did not relent in sacrificing His. Note also that God provides the sacrifice Himself in place of Isaac, and later on in Jesus.
In Isaiah 5:3-7, God isn’t expressing surprise at how Israel has gone astray, He is asking what more he could have done to prevent it. Which is actually ironic if you think about it, because people are arguing that this is God expressing limits to his authority, yet in reality God is saying the only thing more that He could have done to ensure their obedience was to remove their free will entirely.
I really like what @Jables said “To me if God says He is going to do something, but cannot be certain that He can, then His faithfulness comes under question.” That is an excellent way of putting it.
Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
Teaching like this is pretty scary because it isn’t Biblical, but is neatly wrapped in Bible verses. It erodes our hope for the future, the idea of God’s faithfulness, and also the majesty of God. Plus it forces you to interpret the Bible largely metaphorically, or simply to deny sections of it.
And again, it all comes down to the fact that we cannot clearly define the intersection between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, so we come up with ideas that solve the lack of definition. You can go to one of the spectrum with open theism or to the other end with extreme Calvinism (all people are just robots pre-programmed to do X, Y, and Z). Both are equally wrong and truth is somewhere in the middle.