C.S. Lewis, the God who takes risks and Open Theism

C.S. Lewis wrote that God takes risks, therefore he is what is known as an “open theist.” Here is Lewis:

“The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. … If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will – that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings, then we may take it it is worth paying.”(C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity).

(See “The plan of salvation: Is it worth the risk, my Son? What, risk! Ask Jacques Derrida, CS Lewis and Thomas Oord.”).

Lewis says above: “Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk.” What does Lewis mean by “what” in “he knew what would happen? In this passage it seems that Lewis is not referring to God’s micro ignorance of every future event but rather of his macro uncertainty of whether humans will use their free will for evil. If God was certain that humans were going to do evil, we could not describe God as taking risks.

As for God taking a risk (by creating humans), such a statement implies that when Adam and Eve sinned, God went something like this: “Ouch, what I dreaded could happen did. Oh well, it was still worth the risk.”

This “God of the risks” does not exist in any Christian movement except the modern movement – before Lewis – of “Open Theism.” It’s basic idea is that if God foreknows what a person is going to do, it’s no different from God decreeing what a person is going to do, because if a person wants to change his mind, he cannot change what God foreknew. In open theism, genuine human freedom implies that God cannot know future human thoughts or acts because divine foreknowledge implies foreordination, that is, predestination. (See “The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence” by John Sanders ).

Does anyone know how God would react in a risky universe? When it comes to humans doing bad, what Andy Stanley does know is that God is embarrassed and much more; he has knee-jerk reactions. That is why, says Stanley, the Carmen Christi (Philippians 2:6-11) is in Bible.

Philippians 2:6-11
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Say you’re in a church where the pastor/minister teaches vital doctrines, namely, that he stands on revelation alone, and preaches the biblical doctrine of sin and condemnation and hell, and also that the only way of salvation is in the Son by His blood, His death and glorious resurrection, and the power of the Holy Ghost upon it all, and then in one of his sermons reads Philippians 2:6-10 and says – not once but twice – that what is described in that passsage is God’s “knee-jerk reaction.” That is what drives God in Philippians 2:5-12, says Andy Stanley, in the second video of the Louie Giglio’s four-part video series “How great is our God.”

(See “The violation of Philippians 2:6-10: Knee-Jerk theism).

My question is this: If God could not be sure whether humans would choose to be bad, then doesn’t it follow that God cannot tell what the content of this bad – or any human good – will be. This is pure open theism: God knows the past, knows the presence, but not the future. Man’s pristine freedom remains intact. Goodbye you Calvinist robots and hello CS and Andy.

8 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis, the God who takes risks and Open Theism

    • Free will doesn’t sacrifice anything about everything. It is the primitive assumption of humanity to be able to freely choose in and outside of Paradise lost. The conception of free will it’s the pragmatic beginning of every civilization or culture worth the name of it. Then to oppose this concept is an ‘abomination’ of conceptualization. To undermine in any way free will concur in reaching Spinoza’s idea of God…without man’s free will there no free willed God but Calvinism doesn’t know this 🙂

  1. C.S. Lewis also had a very significant problem with the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. He was almost bitter about this enigma. Evidently Lewis must have been a superficial reader of the Bible and didn’t take time to really think through the issue. Luke links Jesus with Adam, an essential connection for substitutionary atonement. The line of David’s son Nathan is Mary’s physical descent that links Jesus to the seed of David.

    • Well….And it works to see Mary as such  after all there is a primordial Eva scientifically proven. Mitochondrial Eve. Mary is also for Catholic theology the new Eve ( the new woman) as Jesus is the new Adam and strangely enough in all considerations (scientifically and theologically in RCC) it works :-).

      • The idea of Mary being the “new Eve” doesn’t make much sense because Eve came out of Adam.

        In theology there is this teaching of “Headship” which explains how sin is transferred or inherited through the generations. Federal Headship maintains that Adam was humanity’s representative, so, when he sinned, all sinned with him because of sponsorship. Natural Headship believes all humanity was in Adam physically and in some sense participated in Adam’s fall.

        Some see that the sin nature is inherited through the father’s contribution in conceiving a child. So it was necessary for the Redeemer to be born of a woman but not of a man. So, Mary could herself have a sin nature inherited from her father but yet conceive the Christ, the sinless Godman, since the woman does not pass the sin nature through her contribution in producing a child.

  2. Pingback: O Jerusalem Jerusalem! Grammar is of the Lord | OneDaringJew

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