Does God have to know everything?

Does God necessarily have to have an exhaustive foreknowledge or have complete knowledge of the future in order to still be considered omniscient?

The late evangelical-Baptist theologian, Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010) of McMaster Divinity College put forth a middle-way theology between classical Arminian/Freewill Theology and Calvinist/Process Theology.  He called it “Open Theism” theology (also called free-will theism, the open view of God, relational theism).

In Pinnock’s openness theology, the future is an open question; it is not completely known, as far as, the knowledge of God is concerned.  Certain things are not yet settled because human agents have not yet made their choice. For him, even though God is omniscient, it did not have to mean that the future had to be completely foreknown.  He believes that the future is decided by both God and also by human agents. There is room for human agents to determine the future’s difference.

If I changed my mind about something that had an eternal consequence, would that impact God’s decision in the future?  If your answer is “Yes”, then you’re an Arminian.  If it’s “No” because God already knows what you will do in the future, then you’re a “determinist”.  What are you?

3 thoughts on “Does God have to know everything?

  1. I followed, and enjoyed, everything until the last paragraph. It rather stumped me-as unrelated. You talked about the middle road thinking of open theism, then asked questions about the 2 extremes-or so it seems. I had to read the paragraph 4 times before I could connect it.
    Any way, I like Pinnock’s train of thought. It definitely discounts ‘pre-ordained’ and supports ‘freedom of choice’.
    I feel that God has a magna plan, the choices we freely choose determine the direction God will move in order to achieve that magna plan. Does God already know what choice we will make? I have always been taught so, but to me that eliminates freedom to choose. Pinnock’s thinking has some merit. Need to read more from him.


  2. Bob, thanks for referring the book. I didn’t come across this before. Open theism is hard to understand and scary for hardcore 5-point calvinists.


  3. Many within my little sphere abhor the possibility that God, being omniscient, doesn’t know everything about everything – past, present and future. Still, I for one find Greg Boyd’s book, God of the Possible to be a compelling and strong presentation for Open Theism and would recommend it to anyone wanting more information.


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