Does God have a Future? The Openness of God, Past and Present

Attendees are encouraged to read The Openness of God (republished as God's Foreknowledge and Man's Free Will) and bring a copy for signing at the Meet the Author and discussion time during lunch at 12:30 p.m. 

November 10, 2012
Richard Rice, PhD, Professor of Religion, Loma Linda University

Since InterVarsity Press published The Openness of God 18 years ago, the position presented there has been the object of extensive analysis, vigorous criticism and a variety of characterizations. The harsher voices assert that open theism undermines biblical Christianity and call on Christian leaders to declare it “beyond the bounds of orthodox Christian teaching.” Others are less strident. While a few regard open theism as a modified version of process theology, others describe it as “revised classical theism,” since it retains “a supernatural view of God’s existence, power, revelation, and acts in history.” Along with considerable criticism, open theism has also generated a measure of appreciation. Even among its detractors there are those who allow that open theism has made important contributions to theological discussion.  The presentation on November 10 will trace this interesting history and explore what future there may be for the view that God, indeed, has a future.

Questions to ponder:

  1. What picture, or pictures, of God appear in the Bible? Which are more prevalent? Which are more important? Is there a difference between the narrative and didactic portions of Scripture when it comes to the way God is described?
  2. What view of the future does biblical prophecy involve? Is the future entirely determined, partly determined, essentially undetermined?
  3. What does perfect knowledge, or “omniscience,” involve? Does it mean that God sees the future in all its detail?
  4. Can a perfect being change? Is God genuinely affected by the things that happen in this world? Is God ever surprised? Do our prayers have any influence on God?

Richard Rice

After receiving the PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School, Richard Rice joined the religion faculty at Loma Linda University in 1974. He taught at La Sierra for 24 years and at Loma Linda since 1998. His bibliography includes 14 books and over 100 articles. His current projects include a book of the theology of suffering for InterVarsity Press. His wife Gail also teaches at Loma Linda University. They have two children and three delightful grandchildren. Their daughter Alison is a professor of French literature at the University of Notre Dame. Their son Jonathan is a physician assistant in Thousand Oaks, CA.

This lecture marks Dr. Rice's seventh presentation to the San Diego Adventist Forum, beginning in March 1981 with the title Divine Foreknowledge and Human Will.


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