Does God Have a Future?: A Debate on Divine Providence

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Baker Academic, 2003 - Religion - 222 pages
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Does God change his mind? How can God plan everything yet respond to our prayers? Does God transcend time? The debate over providence and divine foreknowledge, sparked by the openness of God movement, is the most controversial issue in evangelical circles today. This debate, which concerns the very heart of God's nature, has at times become heated. Does God Have a Future? counters this harsh dialogue by pairing Christopher Hall, who affirms the classical view, with John Sanders, one of the foremost proponents of the openness view.

For more than a year, Hall and Sanders engaged in a friendly yet probing exchange of e-mail correspondence responding to each other's questions and concerns about providence and foreknowledge. Throughout, the authors displayed their respect for each other while vigorously disagreeing about important issues. This book is a compilation of those letters, offering equal treatment to both classical and openness views without unfair caricatures.

A version of Does God Have a Future? appeared as a two-part Christianity Today article in 2001. All those interested in a serious, balanced presentation of the classical versus openness of God debate will appreciate this theologically sophisticated yet accessible book.

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Contents

What This Book Isand What It Is Not
7
How I Came to the Open View
11
My Pilgrimage
14
Practical Problems for Classical Theism
18
Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac
21
Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac
25
Judass Betrayal and Peters Denial
28
Judass Betrayal and Peters Denial
30
How Do We Know What God Is Like?
101
The Church Fathers on Impassibility
106
The Western Fathers and Impassibility
117
Classical and Open Theism Compared
123
Scripture on Immutability and Foreknowledge
124
Omniscience and Foreknowledge
130
Views of Omniscience
137
Classical Freewill and Open Theism Compared
142

Implications of Open Theism
32
Implications of Open Theism
34
Openness and the Problem of Good and Evil
37
Openness and the Problem of Good and Evil
40
Antinomies and Logic
43
Antinomies and Logic
47
Logic and Metaphor
51
Metaphor and Interpretation
55
Impassibility Immutability and the Incarnation
60
Impassibility Immutability and the Incarnation
64
Impassibility and Prayer
71
Impassibility and Prayer
75
Impassibility and Ontology
82
Thomism
87
The Revelation of God in Jesus
94
Further Thoughts on Some Divine Attributes
144
Classical Theism
149
Biblical Texts Supporting Open Theism
153
Biblical Texts Supporting Open Theism
158
Openness and Tradition
167
Tradition and Theology
176
Can We Question Theology?
185
Dialogical Virtues
189
Learning and Virtue
194
Postscript
197
Summary Definitions
201
Notes
205
Glossary
215
Copyright

About the author (2003)

Christopher A. Hall (PhD, Drew University) is distinguished professor of theology and director of academic spiritual formation at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has authored a number of books, is an editor at large for "Christianity Today", and is associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

John Sanders (Ph.D., University of South Africa) is professor of religion and theology at Huntington College. He is the author of The God Who Risks and coauthor of The Openness of God. Christopher A. Hall (Ph.D., Drew University) is associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Eastern College. He is an editor at large for Christianity Today and author of Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers.

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