Good post. I would like to start with what I think is your weakest argument, then some middle-of-the-road arguments, then close with your best argument, which if your interpretation of a certain verse is correct (spoiler Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ) it would pose serious problems, if not outright falsify, the Open View.
First, what I view as a weak argument:
Even clearer, in John 8:58 Jesus said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He what? He was? No. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am.Ã¢â‚¬Â He is always in the past, present and future. There is no time restriction here. Transcendent of time. Outside of time.
We all have our pre-conceived bias, in this case you begin with metaphysical Einstien-Misler-4th dimension version of time, then somehow read in the text that Ã¢â‚¬Å“I AmÃ¢â‚¬Â is a definitive, or as you state, a Ã¢â‚¬Å“clearÃ¢â‚¬Â indication of God outside-of-time. Yet even with your version of time, this is not Ã¢â‚¬Å“clearÃ¢â‚¬Â at all from the text, most who read it will interpret it as God saying He has always existed. If we consider my position of time as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the progression of one moment to the nextÃ¢â‚¬Â, your argument above scores absolutely no points in the convincing department, because it would be as clear as mud. Your argument of Genesis 1:1 is a little stronger, because at least in that case you can push that time (your version) is physical, then follow it up with God Ã¢â‚¬Å“created all thingsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
BTW, if God is always in the past, will He have to watch His son die on the cross for all eternity? Are there any examples in the Bible where God visits the past?
Next, the middle-of-the road verses are all the John prophecies.
There is a lot of controversy about Revelation among those who take different views of the timing of the events Ã¢â‚¬â€œ post-millennialists, a-millennialists, and pre-millennialists. I take the pre-millennial view as the correct one.
I believe that God gives us the view in Revelation that the first chapter is Ã¢â‚¬Å“what was,Ã¢â‚¬Â the second through third chapters are Ã¢â‚¬Å“what is,Ã¢â‚¬Â and fourth chapter through the end of the book are what must Ã¢â‚¬Å“shortly come to pass.Ã¢â‚¬Â And that the book of Revelation is a recounting of the future 7 years of tribulation before Christ comes to reign on the Throne of David for 1,000 years.
We agree on the pre-millennial view. But obviously I will argue that Ã¢â‚¬Å“shortly come to passÃ¢â‚¬Â means just what it says, it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened yet, it is not in the realm of reality until it occurs.
Rev 1:4 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;Ã¢â‚¬Â
IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t this God saying he is outside of time?
Not necessarily, its neutral territory since it could also mean that God is showing John things that will come to pass. If you answer the following in the affirmative, which I assume you will, it proves my point that neither of us can know for certain if our position is supported by the above verse. Is God powerful enough to show John a vision of the future even if it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened yet?
Clearly, God wants John to record Ã¢â‚¬Å“all things that he sawÃ¢â‚¬Â of future events yet to take place. But, how can that be? How can God, much less a mortal man, watch future history unfold before it even happens? That can only happen if God is outside of time.
Again, is God powerful enough to show John a vision of the future even if it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened yet? Is God powerful enough to show us next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Super Bowl game, right down to the finest of details, if He wanted to? Yes. He would have to mess with free-will, but He certainly has the power to manipulate circumstances so that games play out the way he wants them, and players do whatever He wants them to do. Or, he could allow a certain amount of free-will and give a less detailed picture, and still accomplish the same result if the purpose is to show who wins the game.
And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s instructive that John was not merely seeing these events as in a dream. He was a partaker of many of the events as they took place, even interacting with some of the participants.
Rev 5:4 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦And I wept much, Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â
Rev 7:13-14 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Rev 10:9-10 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
John was not only privileged to view the future as it was happening, he was actually participating in it!
I like this as an argument, since this would be a good falsification. The problem is, your interpretation is just an opinion, there is no definitive evidence from the text that John is actually in the future with the angel. I looked at the first three commentaries to pop up on a Google search, and also checked Matthew Henry, and none of them supported your interpretation. Aside from those, I carefully read those passages and see no indication that John is "in the future" (aka H.G. Wells time machine), as opposed to "in the TV room".
I believe it is clearly Ã¢â‚¬Å“set in stoneÃ¢â‚¬Â that not only can God watch the future as if it was being played out on a TV screen in front of him, but he even has the power to allow a human, mortal man to do the same thing with him.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why all of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“hundreds of versesÃ¢â‚¬Â that Fred can call up to Ã¢â‚¬Å“proveÃ¢â‚¬Â that God is limited in his omniscience must be read and interpreted with the understanding from the Book of Revelation that God can indeed see the future, and can in fact, reside in it and participate in it. Any other interpretation is agenda-driven in order to support an unorthodox view of Scripture.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not trying to Ã¢â‚¬Å“proveÃ¢â‚¬Â God is limited in his omniscience, He is completely omniscient in all that is real. Ironically, if you are suggesting the future is Ã¢â‚¬Å“set in stoneÃ¢â‚¬Â arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you unwittingly limiting GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power to change the future? You already started earlier in the post that the only way God could show someone the future was if he was outside of time. This is clearly not true - even if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m wrong about OT, God could still certainly show us something on a TV screen that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened yet, because He is All Powerful and can make it happen, he can Ã¢â‚¬Å“bring it to passÃ¢â‚¬Â.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect you to address all my replies above, but I do have two questions I would really want you to answer:
1) If the future is Ã¢â‚¬Å“set in stoneÃ¢â‚¬Â, how do you explain HezekiahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prayer In Isaiah 38?
2) If God is outside-of-time, how do you explain Isaiah 5:1-4, where God plainly states he expected something to happen, but instead something else happened?
Finally, I would like to reiterate something to the reader. When considering competing scriptural viewpoints, which one better fits the plain language, and which one better accommodates the scripture presented by opposition? I submit that the Open View not only matches the plain language, but easily accommodates the scripture offered in opposition. I conversely submit that DaveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s version doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always match the plain text, especially when dealing with the scripture I've offered in opposition. I again ask Dave to answer my two questions above to see how well his version of God-outside-of-time handles them. Thanks,