We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

Why do you claim that everybody, whether they know it or not, believes that the future is partly open?

Whatever a person may theoretically believe, they act like the future is partly open. For, as a matter of fact, there’s no other way to act.

Think about it. Every time we deliberate between options on the way toward making a decision, we assume (and we have to assume) that a) the future consists of possibilities and b) that it is up to us to resolve these possibilities into one actuality (that is, our concrete decision). It’s simply impossible to deliberate in a way that manifests a different set of beliefs.

Go ahead and try it. Right now, think about a matter you need to resolve with a decision. Consider your possibilities and weigh your options. Now, try to do this without presupposing that these possibilities are genuinely real and genuinely up to you to resolve. You may consciously believe that the fact of what you’re going to decide has been “out there” for an eternity in the mind of God, but you can’t act on this belief as you deliberate. In fact, you act against this belief in your very act of deliberation.

What makes this interesting is that it’s something of a truism that we reflect our true convictions more by how we act than by what we say or even think (for our conscious minds are frequently deceived). If I truly believe my car is rigged to explode when I start it, for example, and if I truly believe life is worth living, then I will not get into my car and start it. If I profess these two beliefs and yet get into my car and start it, you’ll know that I’m either insincere or self-deceived in professing one or both of these beliefs. Our truest convictions are manifested not by what we say or even think, but by how we act.

From this it would seem to follow that everyone – including those who adamantly deny it – really believes the future is partly open. Just watch how they deliberate.

Here’s the irony. In the very act of deliberating about whether to embrace or reject the open view of the future, people presuppose the open view of the future is true.

The only remaining question, then, is whether they’ll get their theoretical beliefs about the nature of the future to line up with their core conviction about the nature of the future. .

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:

Related Reading

Podcast: If Open Theism is True, Does it Make Sense to Pray For Intercession?

Greg talks about prayer and freedom. Specifically, if free will is so important, why would God override it in answer to prayer? http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0123.mp3

How do you respond to 2 Samuel 16:10?

David says of Shimei’s cursing him, “If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” Some compatibilists cite this text to suggest that David regarded evil deeds, including cursing, as taking place in accordance with the sovereign will of God. If we accept…

Podcast: Where Does Omniscience Fit In Within Open Theism?

Greg pontificates on what God knows.  http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0280.mp3

Lighten Up: Open Theism T-Shirt

T-shirt on Zazzle designed by Jin_roh.

Don’t Wilberforce’s achievements refute your stance on the separation of faith and politics?

Question: William Wilberforce was a Christian whose passionate involvement in politics almost single-handedly brought an end to the slave trade in 19th century England. Don’t his achievements show the importance of Christians being involved in politics, thus refuting your contention that Christian’s should keep their faith and values separate from politics? Answer: First, while I…

Isn’t Faith Inherently Irrational?

Is Faith Inherently Irrational? Many people seem to assume that faith is giving credence to things that don’t make much sense and for which there is little or no evidence. Take the doctrine of the Incarnation, for example. This is the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus is “fully God and fully human.” Now, to many…