Bobby Grow over at The Evangelical Calvinist Forum wanted to make it clear to the world that Thomas Torrance wasn’t an open theist. Of course Torrance wasn’t an ‘open theist’. But in the course of comparing open theism to Torrance, Bobby quotes Boyd to confirm the definition of open theism. So far so good. But then Bobby elaborates on Boyd:
Whether or not (and he does not) Boyd wants to associate his ‘open’ view with his doctrine of God or not, does not change the reality that this (his) view does implicate his doctrine of God, and his conception of a God-world relation; in particular, as the quote illustrates, how Boyd conceives of God’s posture and activity towards the future of this earth, and the human decisions that shape it. For Boyd, then, God’s life becomes contingent upon the way we as human beings ‘decide’ to go one way or the other; and God then responds in kind to our decisions, even if he does so from a more privileged and knowledgeable place than we ourselves do. The implication being that God is ‘open’ to our future, thus filling in the gaps or contingencies embedded in creation as he ‘responds’ to our ‘free’ and unconditioned choices (which ends up collapsing God into creation [making God’s decisions about his relation to creation contingent upon creation’s decisions about the future, both generally, and particularly], which would be akin to the kind of pantheistic theology of someone like Jürgen Moltmann.
This is all patently false. Nothing of the sort is implied in open theism. Grow then goes on to reference comments of Torrance’s that he thinks no open theist could agree to, which in fact he thinks open theists are committed to disagreeing with. If Grow took the trouble to acquaint himself with the work of Greg (and others like Sanders, Rice, and Hasker) on these matters — particularly Greg’s work on Hartshorne in Trinity & Process — he’d know that:
(a) Greg does indeed associate his open theism with his doctrine of God. In fact, Greg settled on the open view precisely as the result of his work on the doctrine of God (cf. Trinity & Process).
(b) It doesn’t follow from open theism that “God’s life becomes contingent upon” creation in any objectionable sense noted by Torrance. Are some divine choices (like whether God blesses or judges people) contingent upon the human choices which warrant such divine action? Yes. But this hardly reduces “God’s life” without remainder to the contingencies of the world.
(c) Nothing of Torrance’s comments that Grow cites cannot be wholeheartedly affirmed by an open theist — viz., the self-existent fullness of God’s triune reality, God’s freedom from creation, the absolute gratuity of the world, etc. Affirming just these divine perfections sans creation was precisely the aim of Greg’s work on Hartshorne.