Would it make any difference if God didn’t know the future? What would we lose if God was not all-knowing? Would it really matter if God was as surprised as you and me by the events of tomorrow? Would it change how we pray? Would it change our convictions? Would it change our outlook on life? What difference would it make if God was not sovereignly in control?
This summer I am teaching a class at United Evangelical Free Church on what we believe as a church. It is a study of the EFCA Statement of Faith. This week, we are considering “Article 1: God.” In that article is a phrase that addresses my questions about the boundaries of God’s knowledge. As an association of churches, we believe that God has “limitless knowledge and sovereign power.” In other words, his knowledge and power have no boundaries. There is nothing he does not know and nothing he cannot do.
The phrase is specifically written to counter the arguments of “open theism,” popularized by Pastor Greg Boyd in his book, God of the possible. If I understand the argument correctly (and this is an assumption on my part), open theology presents the idea that God is a personal God who is open to the prayers, decisions, and actions of people. Consequently, the future has not been determined. Since it has not been fully determined, it is not knowable. Therefore, God is limited in his knowledge of the future.
The EFCA has taken a clear stance that repudiates that position. We believe that God can and does know the future free choices of human beings and that nothing is outside his sovereign will.
I am grateful that phrase has been included in the Statement of Faith. If God is limited in his knowledge, how can you ask God to guide your life choices? How can you have confidence that he will lead you in the right direction if he does not know himself how it will turn out? How can you have confidence that he will cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28) if he does not know the final outcome?
I believe the sovereignty of God is one of the bedrock issues of faith. Knowing that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, and unchanging gives me a sense of security in an increasingly insecure and changing world.