What is the significance of Revelation 3:5?
“If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life…”
If God is only the God of certainties, it is not clear how he can honestly speak in conditional terms (“If you conquer…”) and it is not clear why he would have to blot anyone’s name out of the book of life. If he has always been certain who will and will not “conquer,” why record the names of those he knows from the start—from all eternity!—will not conquer in the first place (cf. Exod. 32:33)?
Other scriptures describe names being recorded in God’s book of life from the foundation of the world (cf. Rev. 13:8, 17:8; for further explanation of how verses such as these square with Open Theism, see here and here). But no passage states that the names were written at or before the foundation of the world—which is what one would expect if the classical view of the future as exhaustively settled is true.
This verse also exposes the general inadequacy of the classical explanation of verses which show change in God. It explains such verses by saying that they speak to us in terms of how things appear (“phenomenological anthropomorphisms”), not as they truly are. But (however literally or figuratively we take this), when has anyone ever been privy to God’s book of life? The reason why this and many other verses don’t easily square with the classical explanation is that their subject matter lies outside the human purview. They describe what God thinks, feels, intends, or writes in his “private journal,” as it were. If any verses describe God as he truly is and not just how he appears to us, they are these verses!
This passage is one of the most persuasive evidences of divine foreknowledge in the Bible. The verse proclaims the Lord as the one “who says to Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall carry out all my purpose’; and who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall…
What about natural evil? How does free will help to make sense of this? Greg reflects on the origins of sickness, natural disaster, animal suffering and so on. Hope you’re enjoying the series so far. There’s more to come!
The Lord gives David three options of how Israel may be judged. “Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.” Paralleling 2 Samuel 24:12–16, this passage reveals that the Lord gives people genuine alternatives and then responds to their choices. If the future is unalterably settled in…
It is quite common for us to talk about the attributes of God as omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) and omni-present (present everywhere), but what about God’s unlimited resourcefulness? Consider the story of Moses’ commission in Exodus 3 and 4. Here the Lord instructs Moses to tell the elders of Israel that the Lord has heard…
Greg talks about his unusual transformation out of Calvinism. Episode 471 The Interview: http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0471.mp3 Photo by Paola Franco on Unsplash.com