The Prodigal Son and Open Theism

The parable of the prodigal son is one of the most moving of the parables of Jesus that have come down to us in the New Testament Gospels. Unfortunately, the depth of meaning in the parable, especially as it relates to the character of God, is blocked from many Christians and other theists saddled with false ideas about God. Many Christians and other theists, for example, believe God is omni-determining, which is to say, God has determined and thus necessitated from eternity every single thing that occurs in his creation. Whether it be Hitler’s holocaust or Mother Teresa’s aid to the people of India, all of it is determined by God from eternity. Such a view of God completely eclipses how Jesus presents God in the parable of the prodigal son. For what sense does it make to depict God as overjoyed, filled with compassion, when his prodigal child returns if God has determined both the prodigal child’s departure (sin) and return? All has simply unfolded exactly as God determined it would unfold. Both the sin and the repentance God has necessitated, decreed, from eternity-”according to his good pleasure.” Continue reading