What is the significance of Jeremiah 19:5?

The Lord says that Israel has “gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind.”

Here, as elsewhere, (7:31, 32:35), the Lord expresses disappointment, if not shock, over Israel’s idolatry. The most straightforward reading of the text suggests the Lord is admitting that it never occurred to him his people would actually behave in this deplorable manner. However we understand the phrase “nor did it enter my mind,” it would at the very least seem to preclude the possibility that the Israelites’ idolatrous behavior was eternally known in God’s mind. If God was eternally certain that the Israelites would do exactly what they did, as the classical understanding of foreknowledge requires, it is difficult to see how God could be speaking truthfully when he says it did not enter his mind that they would do this.

If we accept that the future is partly open, however, we can understand the Lord to be honestly expressing his dismay at the Israelites behavior. Of course the Lord would have known about the remote possibility of this behavior, for he knows all of reality, and whatever comes to pass was eternally possible to come to pass. But the remoteness of the possibility grounds the authenticity of the Lord’s declaration: he never thought they’d actually sink this low! And so far as I can see, such a declaration is utterly unintelligible if God was eternally certain the Israelites would sink precisely as low as they did and behave exactly as they did.

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:
Verse:

Related Reading

Is it true you’re an “Open Theist” and that you don’t think God knows the future perfectly?

I am an “Open Theist” – though I honestly don’t care for the label, because as I’ll show, the uniqueness of this view isn’t in what it says about God but in what it says about the nature of reality. (I think it would be better to call us something like “Open Futurists.”) In any…

What is the significance of Exodus 4:10–16?

Immediately after convincing Moses of his ability to [somehow!] convince the elders of Israel to listen to him, Moses says, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent…I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (vs. 10). The Lord reminds him that he is the Creator and is therefore bigger than any speech impediment.…

Topics:
Bible in the shadow of the Cross

Answering an Objection to a Cross-Centered Approach to Scripture

Through Greg’s Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been getting some great feedback and questions regarding his cross-centered approach to Scripture. Several have voiced questions similar to the reader’s (below), so we thought it would be helpful to post Greg’s answer here on his blog.

Podcast: Is Open Theism an Accommodation?

Or for that matter is accommodation an accommodation? Greg talks about things that impact God. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0407.mp3

Open2013

As I’m sure many of you know, the understanding of the Christian faith and the model of the Christian church is in the process of being transformed. All around the globe, and in a multitude of different ways, we are seeing new wine being poured out and old wine skins bursting apart. Many of us…

Who Rules Governments? God or Satan? Part 1

Running throughout Scripture is the motif that depicts God as the ultimate ruler of the nations. On the other hand, the NT teaches that the ruler of nations is Satan. What do we do with these two apparently conflicting motifs? First, because OT authors tended to understand the creation along the lines of a king-centered…