Before “Open Theism”

OPEN THEISM’s claim that, “…The future for God is partially indeterminate…” Is NOT an ORIGINAL thesis of “The Openness of God,” (1994).
Quite a lot of people think that Pinnock et. al., are responsible for the first instance of a Biblical DENIAL that God lives in an eternal now, and AFFIRMATION that the future for God is partially unfixed, or yet to be determined. But that is inaccurate. That was first published in 1941, over 50 years prior by Gordon Olson. Consequently, referring to Gordon as an “open theist” is getting the cart before the horse. The fact is, that Clark Pinnock, in a letter dated in 1978, credited Gordon Olson as being influential to his own thinking. A pity that he was not more forthcoming about Gordon’s influence in “The Openness of God”.

Gordon Olson, a conservative Biblical Theist, published “The Foreknowledge of God: An Inquiry as to the Truthfulness of the Doctrine THEOLOGICALLY AND SCRIPTURALLy,” in 1941, where he concluded that “the God of the Bible is not the God of Theology,” and that “…The future for God is partially indeterminate…”

Gordon Olson credits the impetus for his own Engineering Research methods to discover what the Bible taught about the doctrine of Foreknowledge (‘predestination being such a ridiculous absurdity on the face of it’) to a book published in 1882, by Lorenzo Dow McCabe entitled, “The Foreknowledge of God, And Cognate Themes.”

“My mind found great relief in the arguments of the work, and the assertion that the denial of divine foreknowledge could b e interpreted in the Scriptures.” That led Olson undertake his own research, “…prepared, mostly during summer vacations, for four years:” and the N.T. in a marathon read during a two week vacation.

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