...the open view of the future holds that God chose to create a cosmos that is populated with free agents – at least humans and angels (though some hold that there is a degree of freedom, however small, in all sentient beings). To have free will means that one has the ability to transition several possible courses of action into one actual course of action. This is precisely why Open Theists hold that the future is partly comprised of possibilities. While God can decide to pre-settle whatever aspects of the future he wishes, to the degree that he has given agents freedom, God has chosen to leave the future open, as a domain of possibilities, for agents to resolve with their free choices. This view obviously conflicts with the understanding of the future that has been espoused by classical theologians, for the traditional view is that God foreknows from all eternity the future exclusively as a domain of exhaustively definite facts.Here I'll delve into a couple of reasons why this view is epistemologically impossible.
On Open Theism, as opposed to a more mainstream Arminian view, God does not actually know the future because the future does not exist yet, and He cannot know for sure what "truly free agents" will do.
No matter how powerful God is, if He doesn't know the future, God can't say anything is true for sure. God is subject to the problem of induction, and given that fact, the god of Open Theism is open to the same crippling foundational problems as the atheist. Here's why.
The world is now ~8000 years old. During that time, God has discovered trillions and trillions of new facts that He did not previously know. Every moment that passes, God gains in knowledge that He did not possess before. Obviously this storehouse of knowledge that God has gained up to this point is far beyond any possible human comprehension, but we might choose to represent the number of facts that the god of Open Theism knows as, say, one sextillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). Just because it's easier to pick a number than not to.
That's 125,000,000,000,000,000,000 facts He has learned per year.
The exact number is not important. What is important is that He is learning, and though what He will learn at any given second, let alone year, is vast, it is also finite.
God does not know that the future will be like the past in terms of who runs the universe, physical laws, and human agents having truly free will. The Open Theist may hypothesise that God thinks it will be and intends to do what He can to keep it that way, but since God doesn't know the future, He could be mistaken. And if He could be mistaken, He doesn't know it. To assert that the future will be like the past because "it has always been like that" is to beg the question.
Perhaps the universe will exist another 5 billion years beyond the year 2014 AD.
Perhaps a whole bunch of fundamental things about the universe will change in the next five seconds.
Perhaps they'll stay that way the further 5 billion years.
If that were the case, whatever God thinks He knows at this moment could plausibly be contradicted by the 5 billion years' worth of contrary evidence that He has yet to learn. He might learn many octillions of more data that lead inexorably to a different conclusion than the mere sextillion of data He learned between Creation and 2014 AD.
So God can't actually know anything at all. He can't know that these changes won't take place. He can't know whether He'll be in a position to resist any possible changes in the future. He may intend not to allow those changes to occur, but He can't know that He will be able to overturn them.
Appealing to an eschaton that comes sooner rather than later does the Open Theist no good here, for it only pushes the problem back one step. Further, the god of Open Theism cannot guarantee that the eschaton will arrive when He is planning. Perhaps something will happen that takes the issue out of His hands. God can't know whether He will lose His power. He can't know that someone else won't beat Him. He can't know that He can keep His promises. He couldn't know that He'd be able to pull off the resurrection of Jesus. He can't know whether the laws of physics will be the same in 10 seconds from now. He can't know whether He'll indeed be able to preserve His people from falling away. Can't know whether He will win in the end. Those prophecies in the Bible are just educated guesses.
Yea, that violates the idea of sovereignty pretty bad.
Of course, this statement from Boyd:
While God can decide to pre-settle whatever aspects of the future he wishes...serves to shoot his position in the cranium anyhow, since if God can decide to pre-settle whatever He wishes, there is no problem in contending that He decided to pre-settle everything. Since pre-settling stuff is fine with God, what's the problem?
Of course, that brings the the argument back to the Scripture, to find whether God did set up the universe that way. Ad fontes, indeed. On those grounds the Open Theism position loses as well. So it loses everywhere.