A few weeks ago my wife and I rented Men in Black 3 (MIB3 – 2012), starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin. I didn’t dislike the first two films, but it’s not really my style. I like sci-fi films, but sci-fi comedy… not so much. However, we heard it was good so we decided to give it a go.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well the plot held my attention. I like Will Smith, and of course Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin are great actors. But as entertaining as it was to watch them, I found that the most fascinating character in the movie was an alien named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg). He appeared to be human, but he was unlike anyone you’ve ever met.
Griffin has the ability to see all possible futures. While Griffin is merely a human (or alien), he possesses a “supernatural” ability to see what only an infinite-minded being could foreknow.
I think Griffin works well as a comedic caricature of God, as presented in the open view. In fact, I believe that Griffin offers a teachable moment for those who remain unclear or even skeptical of open theism.
In a nutshell, open theology comes down to this:
God created a free universe where creatures are always given an appropriate degree of freedom to operate within creation and shape the future. Therefore, God is immanent and operates within his creation according to its laws and nature. Since God’s foreknowledge is perfect in his infinite ability to know all possible futures, as if they were all certainties, he is forever ahead of his creatures and fully prepared to interact and respond to us.
In the following scene, Agent J (Smith) and a young Agent K (Brolin) are introduced to Griffin. They quickly discover his unique abilities. They are at first bewildered by Griffin’s great power of foreknowledge, but in time they see his ability as reason to place great confidence in him.
Do you think it is logically and biblically consistent to believe that God sees all of the future as predetermined, while at the same time claiming that human beings have free will? Let’s instead consider how an infinitely intelligent God can grant a great level of freedom to human beings, leaving the future open to a degree, and also reign supreme over creation in the unfolding of God’s good purposes for the cosmos.
D.D. Flowers, 2013.