In yesterday’s sermon I mentioned the debate over “Open Theism”. This refers to the belief some Christians have that God does not know all things about the future. They believe God has limited Himself in order to keep human free will intact. He knows when the second coming will be and how He will bring all things under the feet of Christ. The things about the future that He has already predetermined to do, are things He does know. I mentioned a few Scriptures to which they point as evidence of this. I said that I disagree with their opinion on this issue. But I didn’t take time to reply to all of those in the sermon (time constraints prevented me). So I would like to address one of those passages now.
In Genesis 22 God tested Abraham’s faith by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham was getting ready to bring the knife down to slay his son and God stopped him. Verse 12 says, that the angel of the Lord said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” The open theists say God apparently did not know what Abraham would do.
I believe God knew what Abraham would do. God is speaking in relational terms in this to make it sound like He was saying, “You have proven yourself to me”. It’s kind of like when God came in the form of three visitors to Abraham saying He was going to go to Sodom and Gomorrah. In Gen. 18:21 God said, “I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” That sounds as if God had to go check things out because He heard an outcry but didn’t really know what was going on there. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” So God knew – but He is speaking relationally to make it sound like He wasn’t sure.
The point of the story in Genesis 22 is God tested Abraham’s faith – I believe – to show Abraham and others just how sold out to the Lord Abraham was. Abraham became a father of faithful obedience. I believe God gave us this story to inspire us to such obedience – sacrificial obedience. The question we should be asking isn’t what God knew (He knows everything). The question we should be asking is, “What does God want from me to show my love for and trust in Him?”