As we’ve documented in this series for the past year, Open Theism is wrong on most of its beliefs about who God is, what He knows, and when He knows it. The Open Theism ‘god’ is quite small in comparison to the God of the Bible. The Open Theism ‘god’ is big enough to create the universe, but not big enough to know what His creatures will do with what He created for them. He can’t control what he created and doesn’t know what the future holds for him or them. The ‘god’ of Open Theism hopes his creatures will do right and come home, but he can’t know with any certainty until they either do or don’t. The ‘god’ of Open Theism doesn’t seem much better than the ‘god’ of deism who created the universe but had no interaction with his ‘creatures.’ Which one seems worse to you?

So what, you ask? Open Theists have a low view of God, but why is that a problem?

Good question and we’ll try to answer it.

Problems with Open Theism

I. The first problem with a low view of God is that it is the wrong view of God. Being wrong about something is the opposite of being right about something. That’s a problem.

II. The second problem is that a low view of God leads to a high view of ourselves. That’s a problem because it’s not true. As we’ve seen throughout this series, God is God and we’re not. He is Sovereign and All-Knowing and we’re not.

III. The third problem of a low view of God and a high view of ourselves is that people think of themselves as being ‘like God.’ That’s a problem because it’s exactly what Satan wants us to believe.

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5

The problem with Open Theism is that it accomplishes Satan’s desire for humanity: to think of themselves as being ‘like God.’ Satan is a liar and a deceiver and Open Theism has fallen for many of the devil’s lies and deception.

Satan knows who God is, what He knows and when He knows it. Satan has been in a position to confirm the existence of the Sovereign, All-Knowing God. Satan also knows that God has given him permission to cause problems for people. God allowed Satan into the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve. God allowed Satan to test Job (Job chapters one and two).

I say God “allowed” Satan to tempt Eve and test Job because of God’s Sovereignty. Satan knows he can’t do anything without getting God’s approval first. Satan is a powerful angel, but he is limited in his power. God put limits on him and will one day take everything away from Satan and cast him “into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

God also allowed Satan to tempt God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, God the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days by Satan (Luke 4:1-2). Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations perfectly and never sinned. Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

IV. The fourth problem of a low view of God and high view of ourselves is that we can easily miss the entire point of the Gospel of Christ.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10

What we find in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is strong evidence that the theology of Open Theism is wrong. Everyone is dead in trespasses and sins (the word “dead” in the Greek means “lifeless corpse”). Everyone lives their physical lives according to the course of this world, according to the devil, and according to the lusts of the flesh. Everyone is “by nature children of wrath.” That’s the correct view of humans.

What about the correct view of God? God is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Why? So that in the ages to come (the future) God might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


Ephesians 2:1-10 is an excellent example of the Nature/Nurture of God and the nature/nurture of humans. God’s Nature includes His Sovereignty, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Holiness and Righteousness. Humans, by nature, are dead in trespasses and sins and children of wrath. Whose wrath? God’s wrath. God’s Nature also includes Love, Grace and Mercy. God made humans alive together with Christ even when they were dead in trespasses and sins. God, who is “rich in mercy,” did that “because of His great love” for us. Human beings, dead in trespasses and sins, hopeless and lifeless, have an opportunity for forgiveness and life because of the fulness of God’s Nature.

Here’s what I mean by that. If God loved us and had mercy on us but wasn’t All-Knowing and All-Powerful, He would just have to look on as we perished in our sins. If God was All-Knowing and All-Powerful but wasn’t loving and merciful, He would look on our nature under wrath and let us perish.

We are blessed beyond measure because of God’s full Nature and His desire to Nurture us to spiritual health. We become spiritually healthy when we are saved by grace through faith.

Humans, by nature, are children of wrath. Humans need nurturing, but who is going to do that for them? Other humans? The weak ‘god’ of Open Theism? I don’t think so.

Jesus came to earth to save sinners. He was on a rescue mission of the highest order. Why did Jesus come? Because He was the only Being in the universe who could save sinners. Sinners can’t save themselves. They need a Savior.

  1. All people are sinners.
  2. All sinners are dead in trespasses and sins.
  3. All sinners are by nature children of wrath.
  4. All sinners are incapable of saving themselves. They don’t deserve salvation and are unable to earn salvation.
  5. All sinners need a Savior.
  6. All sinners need Jesus because He is the only Savior capable of saving sinners.
  7. All sinners who are saved are saved by grace through faith. They have nothing to do with their own salvation because they are dead in trespasses and sins. Salvation is the supernatural work of God who loves sinners even when they are dead in trespasses and sins.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

We are saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrected life of Jesus.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:9-11

Only the God of the Bible can save to the uttermost. As the author of Hebrews wrote about Jesus:

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Hebrews 7:24-28

Only Jesus Christ can save. He is Superior to all others in the universe because of His Eternal Nature and His Everlasting Nurture.

Nurture and Change

Open Theists often point to places in the Bible where it says God was “sorry” or that He “changed His mind” or “repented” of something. They mistakenly file that under the Nature category instead of the Nurture category where it belongs. We know from Scripture that God does not change (e.g. Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). As Moses wrote – “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (NIV) What a comfort that is to know that God does not lie like humans do or change His mind like humans do. God is not like humans. He’s GOD.

God is the Supreme Being. We are human beings. We lie, we change our minds. God doesn’t. God is Perfect. We are imperfect. God’s knowledge and understanding are complete. Our knowledge and understanding are incomplete. How is a Perfect, Sovereign, Eternal, Self-Existent God going to communicate with sinful, imperfect human beings?

God communicates with humans in ways that we understand. God tells us the truth about Himself so we know He is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Everywhere Present at the Same Time, Unchanging, etc., but He talks with humans in ways humans understand.

Here’s an example that Open Theists like to use to make their point:

And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. Genesis 6:6-7

Open Theists would have us believe God didn’t know people would get so far out of hand that He might have to destroy what He had made. They believe God was surprised and hurt by people’s wickedness because He didn’t know what would happen in the future. Open Theists believe God was powerful enough to do what He said He would do and destroy the world He had created, but not knowledgeable enough to know what His creatures would do, even though He had watched their behavior go from bad to worse over a period of many centuries. Why would even the small god of Open Theism be surprised after watching the growing wickedness of humanity for a long time? Doesn’t make sense either way.

Open Theists view those verses and others like it in Scripture from a ‘small god’ perspective. They push that small ‘god’ view on to God’s Nature. They need to read the next verse:

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8

Noah found grace in God’s eyes because that was part of His plan from Eternity, from before time began. God’s purpose from before the foundation of the world was to bring eternal salvation to fallen humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s God’s Nature. The way He communicated to Moses to write Genesis was to include wording that Moses and all readers of Genesis would understand.

God was not fumbling around in Heaven wondering what in the world He was going to do with an entire population of humans who were destroying everything He intended to do on earth. It was all in God’s plan. God knew before time began that He would select a man named Noah to receive His grace and build an Ark that would save His chosen people.

God’s ultimate expression of Nurture was when He sent His Son to earth to live a perfect life and die a sinless death. The emotions Jesus expressed while on earth are the emotions of God, because Jesus is God. God the Holy Spirit can be grieved and quenched. Is that because God the Spirit is really just a little ‘god’ who humans can manipulate and hurt or is it because God the Spirit uses language that we understand and to which we can properly respond? I believe it’s the latter.

God is Brilliant in how He relates to His creatures. God is so far above us that there is no way we could possibly understand Him unless He came to us in love and grace and made Himself known in ways we can understand. That’s what God has done through His Nurture.

Let’s not confuse Nurture with Nature like Open Theists have done.

God’s Nature and Nurture:

Brief Reference Guide

This guide will give you a brief view of how God’s Nature and Nurture combine perfectly to accomplish God’s eternal plan and bring you great joy as you obey Him.

Old Testament Scriptures

  • Genesis 1:1, 31
  • Genesis 17:1
  • Genesis 18:14, 25
  • Genesis 21:33
  • Genesis 50:19-20
  • Exodus 3:14
  • Exodus 14:14
  • Exodus 15:11
  • Exodus 34:5-7
  • Numbers 14:18
  • Deuteronomy 4:15-19, 31
  • Deuteronomy 7:9
  • Deuteronomy 8:18
  • Deuteronomy 29:29
  • Deuteronomy 30:3
  • Deuteronomy 31:6
  • Deuteronomy 32:27
  • Joshua 3:10
  • 1 Samuel 2:10
  • 2 Samuel 22:3-4, 26
  • 2 Samuel 24:14
  • 1 Kings 8:27, 39
  • 1 Chronicles 16:25-36
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
  • 2 Chronicles 6:29-31
  • 2 Chronicles 7:13-15
  • Ezra 9:15
  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • Job 28:24
  • Job 27:23
  • Job 37:16
  • Job 42:1-2
  • Psalm 3:3
  • Psalm 5:11
  • Psalm 16:1
  • Psalm 18:30
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • Psalm 25:18
  • Psalm 32:1, 7-8
  • Psalm 33:6, 9-15
  • Psalm 34:19, 22
  • Psalm 44:21
  • Psalm 46:1
  • Psalm 59:16
  • Psalm 62:2
  • Psalm 84:2
  • Psalm 85:2-3
  • Psalm 86:5, 15
  • Psalm 90:1-2
  • Psalm 91:4
  • Psalm 99:8
  • Psalm 102:25-27
  • Psalm 103:3, 8, 11, 17-19
  • Psalm 106:1
  • Psalm 107:1
  • Psalm 113:4-6
  • Psalm 118:6
  • Psalm 119:114
  • Psalm 121:7-8
  • Psalm 130:4
  • Psalm 135:6
  • Psalm 138:7
  • Psalm 139:1-12
  • Psalm 145:8-21
  • Psalm 147:4-5
  • Proverbs 15:3
  • Proverbs 16:4, 33
  • Proverbs 18:10
  • Proverbs 19:21
  • Proverbs 21:1
  • Proverbs 30:5
  • Isaiah 6:5-7
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • Isaiah 14:24-27
  • Isaiah 26:4-5
  • Isaiah 28:16-19
  • Isaiah 30:18
  • Isaiah 40:13-14, 26-28
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Isaiah 42:9
  • Isaiah 43:13
  • Isaiah 44:6-8, 24-28
  • Isaiah 45:1-9
  • Isaiah 46:9-10
  • Isaiah 54:17
  • Isaiah 55:8-9
  • Isaiah 57:15
  • Isaiah 66:1, 8
  • Jeremiah 1:5
  • Jeremiah 3:12
  • Jeremiah 23:23-25
  • Jeremiah 27:5
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Jeremiah 32:17, 27
  • Lamentations 3:22, 37-39
  • Daniel 2:20-23
  • Daniel 4:35
  • Daniel 6:26
  • Daniel 7:15-18
  • Daniel 9:9, 14
  • Joel 2:13
  • Amos 3:7
  • Amos 4:2, 13
  • Micah 5:2-5
  • Micah 6:8
  • Micah 7:18
  • Nahum 1:7
  • Malachi 3:6

New Testament Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:7
  • Matthew 6:8, 12-14
  • Matthew 9:1-18, 13
  • Matthew 10:29-30
  • Matthew 11:27
  • Matthew 16:16
  • Matthew 24:1-51
  • Matthew 25:1-49
  • Luke 1:46-55, 67-79
  • Luke 6:36
  • Luke 21:28
  • Luke 24:39
  • John 1:1-4
  • John 3:16-17, 33
  • John 4:24
  • John 5:26
  • John 6:44
  • John 14:6
  • John 17:5, 15, 24-25
  • Acts 1:24
  • Acts 2:23
  • Acts 4:27-28
  • Acts 13:38, 48
  • Acts 15:18
  • Acts 17:24, 31
  • Acts 26:18
  • Romans 1:20
  • Romans 3:4
  • Romans 4:7, 16-22
  • Romans 8:18-39
  • Romans 9:14-18
  • Romans 10:6-8
  • Romans 11:33-36
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
  • 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • Galatians 5:16-26
  • Ephesians 1:4-7, 11-12, 19
  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Ephesians 3:20-21
  • Ephesians 4:30
  • Ephesians 6:10-18
  • Colossians 1:14-17
  • Colossians 2:13-14
  • Colossians 3:12
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:9
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3
  • 1 Timothy 1:16
  • 1 Timothy 3:15
  • 1 Timothy 6:15-16
  • 2 Timothy 1:8-10
  • 2 Timothy 4:8, 18
  • Titus 1:1-3
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Titus 3:15
  • Hebrews 1:3, 12
  • Hebrews 4:12-16
  • Hebrews 6:10, 17-18
  • Hebrews 12:28
  • Hebrews 13:6
  • James 1:16-18
  • James 2:13, 19
  • James 4:6
  • James 5:11
  • 1 Peter 1:3-5, 17-21
  • 1 Peter 3:20
  • 1 Peter 4:10, 17
  • 1 Peter 5:12
  • 2 Peter 3:9, 15
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 1 John 3:20
  • 1 John 4:4-11, 16
  • 1 John 5:5-7, 18-20
  • Revelation 1:8
  • Revelation 3:7
  • Revelation 4:8-11
  • Revelation 6:10
  • Revelation 11:16-18
  • Revelation 15:3-4
  • Revelation 16:5
  • Revelation 19:6-8, 11-16
  • Revelation 21:22-23

There is much more we can learn from Scripture about God’s Nature and Nurture. This is a brief list. What verses would you add?

Next Time

We will wrap up our special series in Part Seven of Open Theism: God In A Box with insights from scholars who have put a lot of time and thought into the problems of Open Theism. We pray you will join us for that. We’ll also have a link to a special eBook about Open Theism that you can share with family and friends.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Faith and Self Defense © 2022