One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “Open Theists have the same understanding of God’s character as Arminians do. Open Theists believe that God is good, and that for His part, He genuinely wants everyone to be saved. But Open Theists agree with Calvinists that God can’t know the future unless He ordains it. Open Theists conflate certainty with necessity, just as the Calvinists do, but they take it the opposite way. Open Theists believe that if God knows the future, then humanity can’t make genuine decisions. But, from the Arminian view, if God can know the future without ordaining it, then Open Theism becomes unnecessary.” (SEA)
Let’s restate the chart, in order to highlight the consequences of Calvinism:
Calvinist, James White, writes: “How God can know future events, for example, and yet not determine them, is an important point….” (Debating Calvinism, p.163, emphasis mine)
White writes: “How can God know what these free creatures will do in the future, if they are truly free (the argument open theists are aggressively promoting today)?” (Debating Calvinism, p.168, emphasis mine)
And there’s the problem. That statement is a self-inflicted wound upon Calvinism.
Dave Hunt responds: “White denies omniscience in his repudiation of any ‘grounds upon which to base exhaustive divine foreknowledge of future events outside of God’s decree.’ If God must decree the future to know it, He’s not omniscient.” (Debating Calvinism, p.389, emphasis mine)
Dave Hunt is absolutely correct. According to Calvinism, God must predetermine everything in order to foreknow anything, and which leads to the strictest form of Determinism, and ultimately the “author of sin” charge. Simply ask the Calvinist: “Could God infallibly know what any random demon in Hell would think next, if God did not determine it for them?” You see, for a Calvinist, if God did not determine every demon’s thought, for all eternity, then there would be no basis for God to be able to logically foreknow it. That means, according to Calvinism, that every thought of every demon was first thought up by God, and decreed for them to think, from eternity to eternity. Now where do you think that that kind of theology leads to?
Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, writes: “He knows all things will happen because he ordains everything that does happen. This is crucial to our understanding of God’s omniscience. He does not know what will happen by virtue of exceedingly good guesswork about future events. He knows it with certainty because he has decreed it.” (What Is Reformed Theology, p.172, emphasis mine)
Sproul adds: “The Westminster Confession avers: ‘God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass….’ This statement refers to God’s eternal and immutable decretive will. It applies to everything that happens. Does this mean that everything that happens is the will of God? Yes.” (What Is Reformed Theology, p.172, emphasis mine)
Does this type of foreknowledge in any way distinguish God from man? Why would there ever be a reason to speak of God foreknowing something if that which He foreknows is merely what He unchangeably causes? As an analogy, imagine if I said, “I foreknow that a certain bank is going to be robbed tomorrow,” but that I only know this because I secretly planned to be the one who robs it. Or, imagine that your neighbor comes over and says, “Someone shot my dog,” and you act outraged and say, “Well I knew that your dog was going to get shot in this neighborhood because it’s a really bad area,” when in reality, you are the one who shot the dog. This kind of omniscience is no better than that of any normal man, but yet it’s exactly the kind of omniscience that Calvinists attribute to God.
Laurence Vance writes: “This is nothing but the aforementioned teaching that God cannot know anything unless he previously decreed it, as Pink says elsewhere: ‘God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be.’” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.266)
Vance adds: “As mentioned briefly at the beginning of this chapter, the claim of the Calvinists that God could not have absolute knowledge of future events unless he actually decreed them to happen is a direct attack on the omniscience of God. What kind of power does it take to know something one has already decreed to take place? To take away God’s absolute omniscience under the guise of an all-encompassing decree is not only a deliberate rejection of the word of God, but a subtle attack on the nature of God himself. In their zeal to uphold their ‘divine determinism,’ Calvinists are actually denying not only God’s ‘middle knowledge’ (knowledge of what will or could or would happen), but his ‘simple knowledge’ (knowledge of what will actually happen), and limiting God to possessing only ‘present knowledge’ (knowledge of what has actually happened). In this respect the Calvinists are no different than those philosophers and Arminians who deny to God absolute omniscience.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, pp.389-390)
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “God is both omnipresent and omnitemporal. He doesn’t need to ‘look down the corridors of time’ because He exists in all times. Right now, He is just as present with David and Moses as He is with you and me right now. I see time as a dimension of space, so how God interacts with time is the same as He interacts with space. He doesn’t have to determine it, in order to know it; He can see it right now.” (SEA) All time and space stands before God. For more on Foreknowledge, see here and here.