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Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views [Paperback]

By James K. Beilby (Editor), Paul R. Eddy (Editor) & Gregory A. Boyd (Contribution by)
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Item description for Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views by James K. Beilby, Paul R. Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd...

Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views provides a unique venue for well-known proponents of four distinct views in the openness of God debate to present their case. Paul Helm of King's College, London, presents the Augustinian/Calvinistic view. David Hunt of Whittier College contends for a simple foreknowledge view. William Lane Craig of Talbot School of Theology argues for middle knowledge, or Molinism, and Gregory A. Boyd of Bethel College presents the openness view.

Publishers Description
The question of the nature of God's foreknowledge and how that relates to human freedom has been pondered and debated by Christian theologians at least since the time of Augustine. And the issue will not go away. More recently, the terms of the debate have shifted, and the issue has taken on new urgency with the theological proposal known as the openness of God. This view maintains that God's knowledge, while perfect, is limited regarding the future inasmuch as the future is "open" and not settled. Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views provides a venue for well-known proponents of four distinct views of divine foreknowledge to present their cases: Gregory A. Boyd of Bethel College presents the open-theism view, David Hunt of Whittier College weighs in on the simple-foreknowledge view, William Lane Craig of Talbot School of Theology takes the middle-knowledge view, and Paul Helm of Regent College, Vancouver, presents the Augustinian-Calvinist view. All four respond to each of the other essayists, noting points of agreement and disagreement. Editors James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy introduce the contemporary debate and also offer a conclusion that helps you evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each view. The result is a unique opportunity to grapple with the issues and arguments and frame your own understanding of this important debate.

From Publishers Weekly
The recent evangelical debate about divine foreknowledge has been compared to the inerrancy debate of the 1970s because of its heatedness; this collection attempts to offer several viewpoints on the basic controversies (i.e., what did God know, when did he know it and do human beings really have free will?). But in bringing together these four authors Gregory Boyd with the open view, David Hunt with the simple-foreknowledge view, William Lane Craig with the middle-foreknowledge view and Paul Helm defending the Augustinian-Calvinist view the collection illustrates another similarity with the inerrancy debate: a mind-numbing complexity of argument. The editors have sought "to make this book accessible to educated laypeople and college students who have had a first course in theology or philosophy." While Boyd's essay is very accessible, the others are filled with technical terms ("while it seems clear that intramundane causation is transitive") and a puzzling tendency to speak in algebraic variables ("If it is accidentally necessary before X is even born that X will do A, then X never has it in his power to do other than A..."). Needing over seven pages of glossary, this book is unlikely to find a wide audience, but it will still prove useful for those seminarians and clergy who wish to get several different perspectives on the debate. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views by James K. Beilby, Paul R. Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 10/29/2001 page 60

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   221
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 28, 2001
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830826521  
ISBN13  9780830826520  

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More About James K. Beilby, Paul R. Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James K. Beilby (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of systematic and philosophical theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Paul Rhodes Eddy (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of biblical and theological studies, also at Bethel. Together they have coedited four successful multi-view volumes, and each has authored or edited a number of other books.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Boyd, Gregory A.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views?

A Book Worth Looking Through  Mar 19, 2006
If you are looking for more of a philosophical look into the issue of God's foreknowledge at an acceptable reading level, then this is the book for you. I, however, was not. I found that Greg Boyd was the only author to present his view from a purely biblical/theological position, and was then chastised for his approach because he was not using an "objective" philosophical framework by which to defend the case of "open theism."

I found the articles by both David Hunt and William Lane Craig to be highly speculative and way too dependent upon philosophy to be helpful. BUT, I must say that the worst article was the presentation of the Augustinian view by Paul Helm. For someone who has written an entire book on the Providence of God, this article looked thrown together and showed a complete lack of passion.

If for no other reason, read the the "Open-Theist View" by Greg Boyd. Even if you don't agree with his position, it gives an excellent overview of the biblical data in favor of open-theism.
Excellent Introduction to the Foreknowledge debate  May 3, 2003
Most of the reviews on this page miss the boat entirely. Rather than actually reviewing or recommending DF the reviewers are merely venting their anger because their particular view is challenged.

Pay them no mind. DF is an excellent book. Buy it and read all the views with as much of an open humble mind as you can. It's better than the alternative spoon feeding that is rampant in many circles of Evangelicalism today.

The glossary is a great idea more publishers should follow.

Keep em coming Eddy, Beilby, Gannsle ....etc.

Gregory Boyd Fails to Make Biblical Case: openism??  Feb 8, 2003
"the prophet who prophesies will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord ONLY IF HIS PREDICTION COMES TRUE."(Jer.28:9)

This is the inerrant litmus test of Bible prophecy: 100% Definitive Factuality in ADVANCE of freely chosen agent decisions, 0% error rate. Openism is DOA,AWOL,Mene-Mene-Tekel-Uparsin at this point! The handwriting is on the wall!

"Hear the Word of the Lord all you exiles in Babylon. This is what the Lord Almighty says about Ahab and Zedekiah who are prophesying lies to you in My Name. 'I will hand them over to King Neb. and he will put them to death before your very eyes. Because of them, all the exiles from Judah in Babylon will use this curse: The Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.'"

An irrefutable case of EXHAUSTIVE DEFINITIVE DIVINE FOREKNOWN FACTUALITY about the future free decisions of Ahab; Zedekiah; King of Babylon specifically using fire for execution; and all exiles using the exact, precisely predicted curse based on the free decisions of Ahab, Zedekiah, King (all inextricably interlinked) in the OMNI-Mind of God, freely played out in time

Openism's 'extensive indefinite forecasting' cannot account for such prophecies. (Too many to list here - see separate reviews for 'Beyond the Bounds'; 'God Under Fire'; 'Bound Only Once'.)

Why must Gregory Boyd set up a hyper-Calvinist view as straw antagonist, then make his 'case' for why his Open Theory is the 'most Biblical' (compared to what??)? Ajarism (Free Futures are seen by God as through an ajar door darkly) can't help but seem more palatable by comparison with the ultra-Calvinist
'Closed door known but to God' or Liberal Process 'Wide-Open door unknown to God'.

The nebulous argument for 'Infinite Intelligence' to compensate for 'Non-infinite knowledge of free futures' (known as Divine Nescience,i.e Ignorance) is verbal legerdemain for denial of genuine, meaningful OMNI-science as the Bible teaches.

God is, according to Boydian theory, MULTI-scient or MAXIMI-scient (God knows a lot, more than anyone, the maximum logically knowable, but not quite EVERYTHING as the Bible says).

Instead, Gregory makes God out to be of such great intellect to work around His deemed lack of Infinite Foreknowledge of all future mortal free Shalls and Shall nots, Wills and Will nots. Boyd invents a new sub-Attribute to compensate for eviscerating another Attribute to allow God to come out O.K. in the end.

But it backfires. It only creates a deity in a limited human's intellectual image. In exchange for the Biblical Jesus of Infinite awareness, foresight, prescience and precise knowledge of all Space-Time events/decisions from Eternity Past to Eternity Future and all in between, we are left with a supreme weather forecaster or chess grandmaster. However as we all know, weathermen are often surprised, wrong, erroneous and mistaken. Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue have both lost against each other. Is this the sort of Jesus that Gregory Boyd sincerely believes in, trying to persuade others to accept,too?

'Infinite Intelligence' is woeful consolation for 'knowing' free agent futures as predominantly possibles, maybes, contingents, risky what-ifs, potentials, probables, likelihoods,
projections, indeterminates, variables, random chance, unpredictabilities, uncertainties that may after all not materialize to divine expectations/forecasts.

It is here that the equally nebulous Boydian concept of 'Theo-Repentism' must be triggered to explain how Jesus handles free futures that don't work out as anticipated. When confronted with new information, or in relating to free decision makers, the Eternal Lord Jesus then changes the divine mind, repents (of wrong-doing, wrong-guessing,wrong-imagining, wrong-thinking,wrong-prognosticating, wrong-speaking,wrong-predicting, wrong-prophesying, etc.) or regrets, rues prior decisions based on incomplete data, wishing they could be do-overs or in need of retraction or repair. Infinite Intelligence kicks in at this stage for 'divine damage control' to salvage a draw and prevent checkmate from all the free-ranging opponents who act/decide contrary to the limits of divine predictability in the chaotic chessgame/meteorology of life.

Sound puzzling? It is. Especially when you read the seminal book by Gregory Boyd that started it all: 'Trinity & Process' (see separate review), based on Hartshorne's 'Omnipotence & Other Theological Mistakes' (see review where you discover that Boyd's Omnipotence is no less limited than his Omniscience).

It seems OMNI (Latin for All) cannot mean OMNI anymore, at least for Open Theorists. What then becomes of OMNI-presence? Infiniteness? Eternality?
Transcendence? OMNI-sapience (ALL-Wise)? What happens to all the Historic-Evangelically understood Trinitarian Attributes? How are they Openistly redefined/updated for modern consumption? Only God knows (or, maybe He doesn't? Stay tuned!)

Most unfortunate that books like this which incorporate non-evangelical 'theology' alongside historic Christianity are distributed for uncritical consumption by a non-discerning readership. Seeking wider respectability, Openism/Ajar Theory merely shows with every published page how far Boyd-Pinnock-Sanders have headed AWAY from the Bible and TOWARD a vivid, free agent imagination a la borrowed elements of Hartshorne's Processistic, non-Scriptural philosophic fabrications.

The LORD said it best in Job 42:7 "I am angry with you..because you have not spoken of Me what is right."

This book rates 3 stars for including 3 Biblical/Evangelical views, but subtract stars for Gregory's use of contemporary philosophic presuppositions applied to selective misinterpreted Bible texts to provide a marginal audience the latest heterodox option to counter the straw antagonist of hyper-Calvinism.

Ultimately can't persuade in any cogent, balanced, unbiased way.

The OMNITrue One Who has Eternal Exhaustively Divine Definitive Foreknown Factuality of ALL Free Futures, Infinitely Uninformable ,Unrepentable,Inerrant, Incorrectible, Infallible, OMNI-Present (Ever-Present I AM in ALL point-moments of space-time: Length-Width-Height-Past-Present-Future), Eternal, Limitlessly Aware,OMNI-Relational,Interactive LORD Jesus said,

"Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"

Extensive Indefinite Forecasting?? Theo-Repentism??  Jan 24, 2003
Just one Scripture from Jesus settles the Foreknowledge Issue once for all:

Not forecasting, possibilizing, but TELLING. Not if, but WHEN.
Not may,might,could,perhaps should, but DOES happen. 0% Uncertain. 100% definite. That's genuine Omniscience. Amen.

Interesting that this book would present as one of the "evangelical" options of what God knows and when He can know it:
the curious notion that God possesses EXTENSIVE INDEFINITE FORECASTING (a la weather prognosticator or chess grandmaster) subject to all the iffiness and unknowable randomness of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Chaos Theory working themselves out in a fallen world unbeknownst in advance to the Creator! Boyd's presupposition is THE FUTURE DOES NOT EXIST YET, EVEN FOR THE OMNISCIENT/ETERNAL CREATOR GOD, except as mere possibilities yet to be freely actualized.
Therefore He is the deity of what is humanly,logically possible.

Boyd's Neo-Processistic philosophical theorizing becomes more incoherent with each book. How can God know how He will definitely act in the future if He doesn't know how sinners and demons will definitely behave? If our decisions don't exist until we freely make them, how can God's decisions exist until He freely makes His in response to ours in response to others in response to the devil's in response to... ad infinitum?? If all God can know are ultimately possibles (not actuals, definites), then ALL He can know about future agency is INDEFINITE (MAYBE). Thus Boyd teaches EXTENSIVE INDEFINITE FORECASTING - which he calls Omniscience! Talk about verbal legerdemain! God can only know what is humanly,finitely knowable

A careful study of the Bible shows rather the truth that there is NO LIMIT to the extent (past,present,future) of God's knowledge. It is ETERNALLY EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DEFINITIVE FOREKNOWN FACTUALITY OF ALL FREE FUTURES-OMNIPRESCIENCE
His understanding is INFINITE. That God definitely knows in advance precisely what sinners and demons WILL/WILL NOT do doesn't mean therefore that they are thus forced to, or thereby lose their agency/moral responsibility. Neither is God to blame for the foreknown exercise of their agency. He retains full final say, ultimate control and awareness as definite in advance of ALL they will choose to do. Because some mortal minds can't reconcile this profundity, Open Theory (Ajarism) is the misbegotten result. With all due respect to sincere but sincerely wrong Gregory Boyd, there is little about Neo-processism or EIF (EXTENSIVE INDEFINITE FORECASTING) that can be understood in any sense as Biblical or Orthodox Truth about God's Attributes such as OMNISCIENCE/OMNIPRESENCE. God is ever PRESENT at every point/moment of space/time, including ALL the FUTURE. The I AM is ALREADY THERE/THEN waiting for us just as He IS with us HERE/NOW.

Otherwise well-written. 1 star for attempting to resurrect the long-discredited 'Nescience' pseudo-theology of the late 19th Century (with some elements of 16th Cent. Socinianism) via a self-refuting misunderstanding of how God interacts with ALL FUTURE MORTAL AGENCY: Comprehensively, and for Open Theorists, Incomprehendible.

Helpful Intro to Current Thinking on a Throny Problem  Jun 15, 2002
First off, I think we owe a good deal of gratitude to Inter Varsity for their "Four Views" series of books. (Or maybe we owe it to Zondervan. I'm not sure whose came first.) The format of reasoned debate in print between representatives of current major views on a controversial topic is the best way I can think of for the interested layman to begin constructing his own views.

As for the book at hand, it presents a wide-ranging, though not exhaustive, spectrum of thought on how divine foreknowledge can be reconciled with human freedom. Gregory Boyd -- you've got to love him or hate him, it seems -- presents an "Open Theology" view, while Paul Helm takes the other extreme of pretty much traditional Calvinism. In the middle, David Hunt presents a simple foreknowledge view and William Lane Craig gives us the Molinist or "middle knowledge" perspective.

Boyd's explication of Open Theology is a clear and well-reasoned argument, starting from scripture. He answers most objections quite well, though I think he is on some shaky ground when he talks about specific prophecies such a how Jesus knew that Peter would deny him exactly three times. In any event, after reading his essay, I would think that most readers could conclude that Open Theology, thought perhaps incorrect, is not the evil heresy that it is often said to be. But, if you read many of the reviews on this page, you will see that quite a few people disagree with me here.

David Hunt gives a well-reasoned justification of the simple foreknowledge view that God simply knows what the future is going to be: He simply knows what it is that we will freely choose. After reading Hunt's essay, it seems to me that this view is the only real challenger to Boyd's open theism (or maybe vice versa).

William Lane Craig is due a great deal of credit for making Molinism accessible to the lay reader. Though I had to read his essay twice to understand it, it is the first essay I have ever read that made sense of Molinism for me at all. One weakness of Craig's argument is that he simply assumes the possibility of truth in what are known as "counterfactuals of freedom". A counterfactual of freedom would be something like "If it is Sunday, Sam will freely go to church." But he never answers the question of how Sam can go to church *freely* if his going to church is *determined* by the fact that it is Sunday. (Was that confusing? Take heart. If you understood anything I just typed, you are in a better position to understand Craig's essay than I was.) Craig's essay was also disappointing in its tone. He is by far the most belligerent of the four writers. He is informative, but he is not pleasant to read.

Paul Helm's essay from a Calvinist perspective was a bit of a disappointment. He spends alot of time arguing for why we need a compatiblist view of freedom, that is, a view in which God's foreordination and determination of our actions is completely consistent with our having the freedom to choose. But he never, as far as I can tell, bothers to answer the obvious question: Just how could this compatibilism even be possible? Whether this is a weakness in Calvinism or a weakness in Paul Helm's particular essay, I will leave to others to judge.

All in all, a good book to give a kick start to your thinking on this thorny problem. The writers, by and large, are excellent representatives of the most important views on this subject.


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