Open Theism and 1 Samuel

‘God rejected Saul from being king as a CONSEQUENCE of his having rejected the word of the Lord and not because God decreed from eternity to cause him to sin just to make Saul look bad. 1 Sam 15:23.

Later in the chapter, Samuel tells Saul that God from that day has decided on raising up a new king. God has made a firm decision on this and says in verse 29 “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” This only indicates that God was not going to budge on this decision to remove Saul. It does not mean that God never changes his mind. How do we know this?

We know it because just a few verses later, we read : “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.”

When did the Lord sorely regret making Saul king over Israel? Only after Saul’s sin became certain reality. God was not ‘regretting’ it in eternity past always being conscious that Saul’s sin was inevitably occurring before God’s eyes. There is no suggestion of any such nonsense in the text.

Everywhere in the Bible we repeatedly see examples like this where God is disappointed where his expectations and hopes are set at nought by the wrong use of our freedom.

Our expectations of God are sometimes disappointed if we have a theological idol that has been painted with our concepts as to what a ‘perfect’ God should be like. We need to simply agree with how the Bible reveals God. If you think this God is ‘puny’, just remember, he sent an angel to wipe out 180,000 Assyrians in one night. You’re no next challenger. He is still who the Bible reveals him to be and still deserves to be treated as God.

Here’s one more proof that God never predestined Saul’s downfall before Saul actually sinned: In chapter 13 of 1 Kings, “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.”

Wow, look at that. And, don’t just pass it by, but LOOK squarely at the wording, because wording is important. “for now WOULD the Lord HAVE established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.”

These things are written for our instruction and they are not ‘anthropomorphisms’. We are Christians who take God at his word and recognize that God uses plain speech. The future is not fixed. So what are you going to decide to determine yours?’

source: Doug Gibson (TheologyDiscussionGroup on facebook).


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