I felt I should clarify my view, and my mind, on the whole God/time issue with one more post. I have unchanged my mind, resorting to a view that God is both 'in time' and 'outside of time.' Many people disagree with me, and I respect other viewpoints also. Let me explain...
I believe God knows all true knowable facts, rather than all true knowable facts AND all 'deterministic possibilities'. A 'deterministic possibility' is the actual future that would have happened given a different choice. As I see it, the actual course of history is a fact, but deterministic possibilities are not fact, and thus uncertain (though predictable with some accuracy using reason).
Now even though God knows the actual future, I believe He still has to decide based on the past and present, just as we do. To understand this, we need to think in a logical frame of reference. Temporal reference frames just lead to time paradoxes. So, let's assume God performs X. Y happens as a logical consequence. Possiblility Z did not happen as a logical consequence, but would have happened if He had not done X - Y and Z are mutually exclusive. God cannot 'undo' action X, and see what would have happened - God cannot uncreate or undo any of His actions because He is God. Further, He cannot logically use only the fact that Y actually happened as basis for performing X, because BOTH Y and Z logically - not temporally - dependent on action X. i.e. Because His actions determine the future, he cannot use that future to determine his actions. Although God knows the future, His actions must still be based on wise reason given information about the past and the present.
Some oppenents to the Open View say that such ideas of God making decisions based on this 'limited' knowledge mean God can make 'mistakes' - but I believe the only reason one of His actions could ever have a negative outcome is due to our subsequent choices, for His decisions are surely perfect. Also, His knowledge of the actual future allows Him to accurately predict it. Thus, God effectively makes choices and relates to us 'in time', but exists also outside of time because He knows the future.
Now some would say that God knows both Y and Z as FACTS, rather than history (Y) and possibility (Z), and therefore knows the exact outcomes that would result from his actions. But such knowledge logically concludes that God actually determines which course history runs, but choosing either to do X, or to not do X - because He knows the exact consequence of either. If He knows the exact consequences of His choices, those consequences are chosen by Him. Y and Z could be anything. Thus if God had absolute knowledge of what would happen, by logical conclusion we reach pure Calvinism and God chooses who is saved and who is not, if you get hit by a car on a certain day, if and when you brush your teeth... It's absurd! I do not believe this conclusion, and see my view as a good alternative which avoids this conclusion.
No view diminishes God, for He cannot be diminished. This view does, I think, diminish the classical ideal of God created by man and largely influenced by pagan Greek philosophy. It helps explain in my mind why God acts the way He does and why the world is how it is. It means we actually have real free-will, rather than the contradiction between free-will and a God who knows exactly what would have happened.
My own view is, I suppose, a fusion of Arminianism and Open View, although I was not influenced by proponents of the Open View - I thought this by myself several months ago. Furthermore, my view supports that God can genuinely regret His actions, and be surprised, and yet also know the exact future and predict things exactly. Sure, there are still some tricky verses, but there are either way, and this one seems to fit with a good deal of the ones on both sides of the argument. So, let me summarise...
- God does not control us, but treats us as people, not puppets.
- God acts based on limitless knowledge of the past and present, but that knowledge does not include the future outcomes that would have resulted had He acted differently. This means we have a true choice, and means God truely can regret or be surprised, change His mind and have a true relationship with us in time.
- God also acts in the knowledge of the actual future, and can therefore declare it accurately. In this sense, God is 'outside of time' - but I prefer to think of it simply as God seeing what's ahead of the present, rather than existing ahead.