A Goldilocks God: Open Theism as a Feuerbachian Alternative?

J. Aaron Simmons, John Sanders


In contemporary philosophy of religion (and philosophical theology), abstract, indeterminate, and largely continental, discourse about God’s absence is sometimes placed in stark opposition to concrete, overly determinate, and largely analytic, discourse about God’s presence. In this paper we argue that this recent trend, which appears to force a decision between extremes, misses the importance of living in the space between—where one’s God-talk would be characterized by epistemic humility and also theological determinacy. Somewhere between the temptations toward apophatic indeterminacy and kataphatic arrogance is where existence happens as we try to live before God and with others in our historical context. Drawing on Ludwig Feuerbach’s rejection of positive theology as anthropocentric arrogance and negative theology as cowardice, we suggest that Open Theism productively maintains the tension between absence and presence that is required of us as existing individuals.

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