Providence and Mystery: from Open Theism to New Approaches


In the recent debate on Christian theism, the position called Open Theism (OT) tries to solve the dilemma of omniscience and human freedom. In OT, the key word of the human-divine relationship is "risk": in his relationship with us, God is a risk-taker in that he adapts his plan to human decisions and to the situations that arise from them. "Risk" is the fundamental characteristic of any true love relationship. According to OT, God has no exhaustive knowledge of how humans will use their will, and the divine plan for this world is not seen as fixed for eternity. OT distinguishes between meticulous providence and general providence and denies that the former can exist. After illustrating these positions and a particular view of OT called essential kenosis, I highlight some of their weaknesses and conclude by asking whether the concept of mystery (at least in some of its possible interpretations: I outline four "solutions") can enable a reconciliation between classical theism and OT. By applying an approach to the notion of mystery usually connected to the Trinity, I show that the dilemma of omniscience, human freedom and providence does not compromise the plausibility of theism.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i18285368aXXXVIn103p134

Keywords: Open Theism; essential kenosis; meticulous providence; mystery; omniscience

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