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The Case for Freewill Theism: A Philosophical Assessment [Paperback]

By David Basinger (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   154
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2000
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830818766  
EAN  9780830818761  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Can God intervene in this world?If so, to what extent can he intervene?If God intervenes, can we initiate such intervention by prayer?And if God can intervene, why is evil so persistent?Taking up such practical and profound questions, David Basinger (a coauthor of the much-discussed book The Openness of God) offers a probing philosophical examination of freewill theism. This controversial view, put forward most prominently by Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker and Basinger, argues that the God of Christianity desires "responsive relationship" with his creatures. Freewill theism, or the "open view" of God, rejects process theology, but calls for a reassessment of such classical doctrines as God's immutability, impassibility and foreknowledge.In The Case for Freewill Theism Basinger continues the debate by focusing attention especially on divine omniscience, theodicy and petitionary prayer from the freewill perspective. His careful, precise and compelling argument contributes to a growing and important discussion among orthodox Christian philosophers and theologians.

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More About David Basinger

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David Basinger is Professor of Philosophy at Roberts Wesleyan College.

David Basinger has an academic affiliation as follows - Roberts Wesleyan College.

David Basinger has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Spectrum Multiview Book Series Spectrum Multiview Book Serie
  2. SUNY Series in Philosophy (Paperback)

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Free Will & Determinism   [160  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Theism   [225  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics   [1450  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy   [1924  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Theism   [38  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A book that makes you think  Jan 22, 2007
I purchased this book as a seminary requirement for a class on Theodicy taught by the author. I am not an advocate of Freewill Theism, but enjoy a book that forces me to think through my convictions. A Case for Freewill Theism is a short book but not the easiest read; it is written in "philosophicize." I found the book helped me examine my view of God's attributes. It also helped me recognize how others answer questions about God's response to evil in this world.
This attempt at making a cogent,coherent case for 'freewill' or open theism has some minor areas of logical and philosophical consistency, but they are submerged in a sea of illogic/unbiblical reasoning at the Big Picture level, which ultimately is what counts most in developing a Theological System
Although claiming to be a new and fresh approach, Solomon was right: there is nothing new under the sun.
All the author has succeeded in doing is showing how Freewill/Openness is the misbegotten/birth-defective younger sister of Socinianism a la Process Theism courtesy of Whitehead,
Hartshorne,Peirce,Kierkegaard,Wittgenstein/Heisenberg baptized with some biblical concepts heavily borrowed from Classical theism. The new kid on the block of Theology/Philosophy is in fact the old heresy of denying many of God's essential attributes
such as Omniscience (no longer Exhaustive Definite/Divine Foreknowledge of all free-agent decisions, but the 'new,improved
Extensive Temporal Forecasting', since to free-willers, the future can't be known that does not yet exist even for the Infinite/Eternal Creator!
The author depicts his bondage to rationalism contra clear Scripture passages that debunk any form of Free-Willie-ism:
Psalm 147:5 "His understanding is INFINITE." Unless the Hebrew and English words for INFINITE have changed recently while no one was looking, Free-Willism is internally imploded just with this one Word of God!
The more one looks into Freewill/Open theism, the more one sees the smile of the Cheshire Cast of Processism, cleaned up a bit for an evangelical audience (God is not inherently dependent on His creation, but by choice voluntarily restricts His intervention, much the same as Star Trek's 'prime directive' of non-interference in alien cultures - although ironically, every episode of Capt.Kirk and Mr.Spock has them doing quite a bit of influential,interfering non-interference via phaser,alien interaction,etc.)
Science fiction aside, this book is little more than religious fiction, where it's confusing whether the author is trying to make a case for their position to convince readers or themselves.
Freewill theism denies the foundations of Scripture and Christianity (Gen.1-3):we are stewards,custodians,tenants,lessees
renters of God's property with much but not unilateral latitude
and delegated authority/dominion; we are viceroys answerable to
Le Roi de Rois (King of Kings). We have maneuverability within

vulnerability subject to God's divine right of review,revocation,
intervention,veto,overrule. We are also under a Curse, initiated by God Himself as a result of human sin/rebellion/overstepping bounds of delegated authority and freewill.Thus an omnibenevolent
omnipotent,omniscient,omnipresent God and a sinful/fallen/evil
world coexist with us caught in the middle, fallen/sinful/evil beings ourselves.
Let one of the spokesmen for Openness conclude this review:
"Charles Hartshorne(process theist) has taught me that thinking of God as literally all-powerful divests the finite universe of a degree of power.His point that God,though unchanging in His character,is certainly able to change in response to a changing creation(in process, Di-Polar).In my theology,God has used Process thinkers to compel me to change certain ideas which I had and bring them up to my take on scriptural standards."
(Clark Pinnock)

Not Too Impressive  Dec 3, 2000
Maybe I was expecting too much out of this text, but I simply did find anything here that was either apologetic or even semi-compelling. This book is an assessment, as in an exposition, of certain facets/tenets of freewill theism (open theism). However, Basinger left too much to my imagination. In other words, Basinger covered only a few things that an open theist would have to account for in their overall theology (i.e. the problem of evil, divine omniscience, and petitionary prayer). What was left out was a thorough assessment of the attributes God according to the freewill theists. For instance, is God in time or eternal (immutable or mutable)? If God is temporal how does that affect freewill theism's view of divine omniscience? The notion of God being temporal certainly has significant ramifications on His knowing future contingents. While I already know the answers to these question via reading other freewill theists, had this been the first freewill theist book I had read, these things would not have been answered for me. Why? This is a crucial question, especially since this book totes to be a philosophical assessment of the issues. Furthermore, to what extent does freewill theism limit God? While Basinger briefly covered omniscience, this section left me wanting (it was too empty in content). However, I did think Basinger's criticisms of MK (middle knowledge) were interesting (pp. 43-48). I must point out though that MK was misrepresented on page 89. Basinger claims that "If God possess MK, Hasker informs us, then he intentionally brings about each event that actually occurs." This is not MK as it was espoused by it's originator, namely Luis de Molina (see Freddoso's translation titled "On Divine Foreknowledge.") This book was not so much a case for freewill theism as it was an exposition of certain theological tenets. I wish Basinger would have been a little more direct and detailed for his reader and given a clearer assessment of the whole freewill thought. It almost seemed as if he was afraid to just come out and declared the limitations and changes that freewill theists have place on the God of the Bible.
Not an apologetic  Jan 6, 2000
I would not recommned this book for anyone who is looking for philosophical reasoning for free-will theism. Futhermore, I would not recommend this book for anyone who is looking for Biblical reasoning for free-will theism. I believe the book is incorrectly titled as it does not present the case for free-will theism, giving no apologetic reasoning for free-will. Rather, this book highlights different philosophical and theological positions concerning free-will theism. Basinger identifies various free-will positions, describing their logical possibilities, and their various interpretations of theological ideas (i.e. God's foreknowledge). I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in understanding the thinking behind a free-will theist. Basinger finds a way to slither out of orthodoxy by describing logically alternative ways to interpret scripture. Basinger left me with a notion that truth is somewhat arbitrary and can be selected based on your particular bent. I found Basinger to give no direction for truth, only justification that each view is plausible. My interpretation of Basinger is that we choose our position based on its logical appeal, then interpret the Bible under the context of that appeal, each view equal to the next. I would highly recommend Martin Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" for anyone interested in the debate. Luther's style and content is diametrically opposite of Basinger's and should be a good counter to whatever Basinger has to say.
David Basinger Cogently Defends a Viable Variety of Theism  Jan 5, 2000
David Basinger offers his readers an incisive and well-argued defense of basic freewill theism, generally, and open theism more specifically. He cogently argues that if human beings possess libertarian freedom, then God's providential activity in the world must be risky. He goes on to show that advocates of simple foreknowledge, middle knowledge, and present knowledge all share a common commitment to an understanding of God's relationship to the world that is more dynamic and responsive than what one finds with theological determinism while avoiding the excesses of process theism. But not all varities of freewill theism are equally promising. Basinger shows that advocates of simple foreknowledge must admit that such a view of omniscience is providentially useless. Basinger suggests that a rejection of foreknowledge in favor of present knowledge is more promising for those who want to make adequate room for God's providential activity in the world. No less controversial is his argument to the effect that those who hold to middle knowledge (Molinists) must accept that God does take risks. Against both William Hasker (who is also an open theist) and William Craig (a Molinist) Basinger argues that if God has middle knowledge, then when using it God cannot ensure that a given outcome will occur in a given possible world that God chooses. This follows because of the nature of libertarian freedom. Basinger also has stimulating chapters on the problem of evil, divine benevolence, and petitionary prayer. This is probably the best work on this topic that is accessible to those new to the debate over divine and human action. But it will also be of great interest to intermediate and advanced readers. (For a more detailed review of Basinger's work, see my review of it published in *Philosophia Christi*, vol. 20:2 (Winter 1997)).

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