Ask an Open Theist (Greg Boyd)….

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Today I am thrilled to introduce our first “Ask a…” guest of the year: Greg Boyd. 

Greg is an internationally recognized theologian, preacher, teacher, apologist and author, who has authored or co-authored more than 18 books and numerous academic articles (among them Letters From a Skeptic, The Myth of a Christian Nation, and Repenting of Religion). Greg is the co-founder of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota where he serves as Senior Pastor, speaking to thousands each week. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Charlie Rose Show, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC and numerous other television and radio venues. Greg blogs at 

I interviewed Greg last year about his most recent book, Benefit of the Doubt, but today I want to invite you to engage Greg around one of his most interesting (and controversial) beliefs—that of “open theism.” 

For those unfamiliar with the term, here’s how Greg describes Open Theism: 

If I had to define “Open Theism” in one sentence, I would say that it as the view that the future is partly comprised of possibilities and is therefore known by God as partly comprised of possibilities.  (By the way, I prefer to refer to this view as “the open view of the future,” since the most distinctive aspect of Open Theism is not its understanding of the nature of God, but its understanding of the nature of the future). 

To expound a bit on this definition, the open view of the future holds that God chose to create a cosmos that is populated with free agents – at least humans and angels (though some hold that there is a degree of freedom, however small, in all sentient beings).  To have free will means that one has the ability to transition several possible courses of action into one actual course of action. This is precisely why Open Theists hold that the future is partly comprised of possibilities.  While God can decide to pre-settle whatever aspects of the future he wishes, to the degree that he has given agents freedom, God has chosen to leave the future open, as a domain of possibilities, for agents to resolve with their free choices.  This view obviously conflicts with the understanding of the future that has been espoused by classical theologians,  for the traditional view is that God foreknows from all eternity the future exclusively as a domain of exhaustively definite facts. 


I figured you might have questions about this! If you do, leave your question for Greg in the comment section. Please take advantage of the “like” feature so we know which questions are of most interest to readers. At the end of the day, I’ll choose 6-7 questions to send to Greg for response. You can look for the follow-up with his responses in about a week. 

Check out the other interviews in our “Ask a…” series here. 

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