God Doesn’t Will to Know Everything in Advance

In a previous post, I shared the story that Roger Olson related about Moltmann and Open Theism. When Olson explained Open Theism to him, Moltmannn related it to his understanding of the self-limitation (kenosis) of God, which he regards to be exemplified not only in the incarnation of Jesus, but in the very act of creation itself. Below is a selection from Science and Wisdom where he articulates the relationship between the self-limitation of God and all those “omni” attributes that Christians frequently talk about. This is the closest resonance I’ve seen to Open Theism in Moltmann’s written works:

What can be said about the self-limitation of omnipotence in God’s love for those he has created can be said about the other metaphysical attributes of his divinity too: omnipresence, omniscience, invulnerability, and self-sufficiency. God doesn’t know everything in advance because he doesn’t will to know everything in advance. He waits for the response of those he has created, and lets their future come. God is not incapable of suffering; he opens himself in his Shekinah for the sufferings of his people, and in the incarnation of the Son for the sufferings of the love which desires to redeem the world. So in a certain way God becomes dependent on the response of his beloved creatures. In Christian theology one would not go so far as to declare God ‘in need of redemption’ together with his people Israel; but nevertheless, God has laid the sanctification of his Name and the doing of his will in the hands of human beings, and thus also, in its own way, the coming of his kingdom. It must be viewed as part of God’s self-humiliation that God does not desire to be without those he has created and loves, and therefore waits for them to repent and turn back, leaving them time, so that he may come to his kingdom together with them.
Jürgen Moltmann, Science and Wisdom, p. 64

For more on this subject, be sure to check out my previous post, Moltmann, Open Theism, and the Kenosis of God


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