My silence has been largely for two reasons. Firstly, whenever I sit down to blog, I have just so much to write that it becomes a long, convoluted and complex post that isn’t much fun to read. So I give up. That’s because, and this is also my second reason, I usually have to blog at night. I used to do it in the morning when my mind is at its best, but these days I’m taking care of my son in the morning (and you try and use a laptop with a one-year old around!)
I’ve decided the best way to do this, going forward (for a while), is actually to discuss what I’m reading. That way each post can remain short as it would link into a kind of series. I read at night before going to bed, so to jot down some of my thoughts the next morning wouldn’t take too much effort and it already links into accessible material. I usually read whatever I’m currently thinking about (I pick my books carefully) and rather than have all my thoughts on a subject together before I blog (how I used to do it in the past), I’m now just going to blog as I go through the process.
Well… not entirely. The first book I’ve actually already read, but I’m going to be re-reading it. It helps to place my thoughts for the last year or so as well, so contextually it works.
God of the Possible by Greg Boyd
Who is the writer? Greg Boyd is a writer and pastor of Woodland Hills Church (Minnesota, U.S.). He is best known for his writings on Open Theism, what he calls the Warfare Worldview, and apologetics. He is a sceptic turned Christian.
What’s the book about? In short, the book is a ‘Biblical introduction to the Open View of God’ (Open Theism).
What is Open Theism? Basically, Open Theism is a theological system that teaches that God sovereignly chooses not to know every aspect of the future. It’s actually not so much about the nature of God as the nature of time, as it’s saying that the future actually doesn’t exist yet – not in our experience and not even in the mind of God. What does exist, and what God does know, are infinite possibilities.
Bibically, Open Theism bases its ideas on scriptures where we see God change His mind due to human intervention, God lay down conditional promises (do this and this will happen, do that and that will happen) and scriptures around how God wills the whole world to be saved, amongst others.
For a start, see how God changes His mind with King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20.
For more, read the Wikipedia entry.
Why am I reading it? I stumbled onto Open Theism several years ago while reading some John Piper. Those who know Piper will know his Calvinist background. Open Theism is obviously in direct opposition to many Calvinist ideas. It sounded very interesting, so I checked it out. Since I did that, it’s always bugged me. I find it quite compelling. Its basic arguments line up very much with my own experiences of God and life. But because it’s labelled a heresy in many circles (Michael Eaton, one of my favourite theologians, has called it as such) I’ve kind of kept it at arms bay, just reading snippets here and there.
In recent years my faith has taken quite a knock as friends have passed away, people who I’ve cared a lot about have lost their loved ones, and I’ve experienced many of the hard and confusing things of life. In short, I’ve had to address what is commonly known as the Problem of Evil. Since I tend to be something of a philosophical kind of guy, my way of working through these hard questions is to look to theology and philosophy.
Secondly, how our decisions make a difference – and if they really do – is for me an important topic. Because I need to know how to make decisions. How God responds to my decisions (or, is it that I respond to His?), how He expects me to make decisions, and exactly what He is doing – especially with hard situations – revolve around this topic.
All this, and my thoughts, will become clearer as we go through this book. We’ll start with where the book starts in its introduction – 2 Kings 20. Stay tuned!