Sunday, July 13, 2014

The tail wagging the God

Roger Olson Mod Brian Abasciano • 5 hours ago
Sure, a God "outside of time" might be able to reach into time to act, but such a God couldn't INTERACT--that is, be acted upon by creatures in time. And the biblical narrative clearly (IMHO) indicates that we do affect God with our prayers.

stefanstackhouse Roger Olson • 2 days ago
Well, I would say that the purpose of prayer is not to conform God's will to ours (which can't be done), but rather to conform our will to God's. God delights in our coming to Him in prayer,
even though He already knows what we going to talk about Him about, and even though He already knows what He is going to do.

Roger Olson Mod stefanstackhouse • a day ago
That is certainly not the understanding of prayer I find in the Bible. With that interpretation we might as well give up on petitionary prayer altogether.

To judge by his response to Stackhouse and Abasciano, Olson believes one or more of the following:

i) Successful prayer conforms God's will to our will.
ii) God doesn't know ahead of time what we will pray about.
iii) God doesn't know ahead of time what he will do in response to prayer.

Some Arminians might disagree with Olson. They might say he doesn't speak for all Arminians. 

However, the reason Olson takes fairly radical positions is because he labors to be a consistent freewill theist. That's his overriding priority. In freewill theism, God interacts and reacts to humans. In freewill theism, petitionary prayer is predicated on the presupposition that prayer must be able to affect God. Given that dynamic cause-effect relationship, it makes sense for Olson to deny that God has decided in advance, prior to prayer, how or whether he will grant our request. 

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