transcendence in open view perspective

“So the open view of God draws some important parallels between the divine and human experience, but it does not by any means equate the two. God is like us in being sensitive to the experiences of others, but radically different from us in the profound depth of his feelings. Like traditional theism, the open view of God affirms divine transcendence, the radical difference between God and all things human, But whereas traditional theism seeks to safeguard God’s transcendence by denying divine sensitivity, the open view of God does so by maintaining that his sensitivity and love are infinitely greater than our own.”- Richard Rice in The Openness Of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God, pages 42-43.

The Open Theism movement as Greg Boyd has argued, is not about the nature of God, but about the nature of time as God has freely chosen to create and interact with it. I think this is a very important distinction. There are excellent conversations going on about Open Theism online now, like with my friend Jacob over at Open My friends Tom and Dwayne have been fairly active this month at An Open Orthodoxy, and I have engaged them a few times here and on Facebook, and plan to do so in the near future. One part of the discussion they having is on Vulnerability and God’s Glory, an intriguing argument, but I want to direct you to a comment left by Jeff in the comment section, relevant to our discussion on divine transcendence and the Open View:

“I don’t have a problem with the notion, per se, of disinterestedness. It’s just that we have no analogy of a free action resulting from zero motivation. But motivation is the opposite of disinterestedness. So the philosophical problem seems to be this: No interest, no libertarian choice. No libertarian choice, no validity of induction even. In short, no interest, no way to account for warranted belief of the kind there is a consensus for amongst people who believe in a rational moral order.

So given that scripture never talks that way in the first place (indeed, it talks just the opposite), I’m not seeing the reason to embrace a huge philosophical problem while additionally rendering scripture of no value in terms of authorial-intent hermeneutics. Without authorial-intent hermeneutics, we don’t even have historical evidence for the best (only?) otherwise explanation of the rapid rise of Christianity in a resistant Roman empire. History is a science that uses warranted belief when it says anything pertinent at all.

At the other extreme of “motivation,” you don’t want a motivation that requires us to believe that God is continuously creating from a non-regulated motivation to expand His bliss creation-ward. Because then you basically have a necessary God-world relationship which is necessary BECAUSE of His seemingly necessary motivation. How, IOW, do you explain a contingent ORIGIN of such a motivation such that we can still conceive of a pre-first-creation God? For without that, the Christian godhead isn’t/aren’t the only necessary being(s).

Divine risk of sympathetic suffering with created, sentient beings is what coheres with authorial-intent-exegeted scripture as well as renders creation analogically-explicable as a free act (which renders explanation of our experience finite/final and therefore consistent with the existence of bona-fide distinguishable warranted beliefs about explanations qua explanations).”

Jeff, in the comment section on Tom & Dwayne’s post “Vulnerability: The Capacity of Finitude to bear God’s Glory.”

Part of God being radically different from human beings is God’s freedom to be God, to freely choose to love humanity and creation, and to free others to love God. Just as the truth of the Holy Trinity points to the fact that God is intrinsically covenantal, so to are the divine attributes, including divine alterity.

0 thoughts on “transcendence in open view perspective

  1. Jeff

    “Part of God being radically different from human beings is God’s freedom to be God”

    Jeff here. I’m not seeing what you mean by claiming God is free to BE God. Are you saying that God is causing His own existence moment by moment, and freely/voluntarily at that? If not, do you think free action is uncaused action?


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