Within the debates on Scripture and what the Bible means there are two main opposing theological ideas.

  1. Closed Theology – The history was complete, predetermined, predestinated, or had run its course before God’s intervention. In other words, the course of history was set, unchangeable, in a word closed.
  2. Open Theology – History is flowing in real time following a general blueprint; the future is yet to happen leaving room for free will as well as time and chance.

Personally, I believe without doubt that the only way to correctly interpret the Bible is through the lens of Open Theology. The main proponents of history being closed, finished, unchanging, are Calvinism and Arminianism in all their forms.

The difference between the two is in the question of the foreknowledge of God; what does he know and how does he know it.

Open Theology views history as flowing in real time but following a predetermined blueprint where certain things are predestinated and certain things contingent on the condition of man’s obedience, God’s judgments, man’s free will, and “time and chance.” These all work together to perform God’s will.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

The matter contained in prophecy and revelation about the future are not predictions, not looking ahead, but where God is going to direct history and cause it to happen.

When it comes to salvation, it is not pre-known. God is dealing with the hearts of men attempting to get them to look to and trust in him and his mercy in real time. Men do not come into existence until conception and do not become living souls in need of salvation until birth.

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