MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

BOOK REVIEW

No Other God


By John M. Frame
Phillipsburg, NJ : Presbyterian and Reformed (2001). 219 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Larry Pettegrew
13.1 (Spring 2002) : 125-126

 No Other Godis a concise study of the doctrine of God from a Calvinistic viewpoint in light of the rise of open theism. The book begins with chapters on “What Is Open Theism?,” “Where Does Open Theism Come From?,” and “How Do Open Theists Read the Bible?” And it ends with an analysis of the relationship of open theism’s doctrine of God to other key doctrines. In Bibliology, for example, Frame points out that, given open theism’s doctrine of libertarian free will, God cannot guarantee that what the human authors w rote is truth “without overriding the free will of those human writers” (206).

But the strength of the book is found in the chapters explaining God’s love, sovereignty, decretive and perceptive wills, relation to time, immutability, and omniscience. In these chapters, Frame gives biblical and precise answers to the hard questions about God. It is the kind of a book that pastors need in their libraries to help them give biblical answers to serious Christians who are asking hard questions about God.

One of the most intriguing explanations in the book concerns God’s relationship to time. Many classic theologians have argued that God is timeless. He is the cause and creator of time, but He lives beyond time, and His existence does not involve chronological progression. Philosophers and theologians from Plato and Augustine to Schleiermacher and Charles Hodge have held this view. The other view, held by open theists and some classic theologians, is that God is everlasting. God has always existed and He always will. But God exists with humanity in time and personally lives in a form of chronological sequence.

Frame believes that there is a sense in which both view s are partially correct. He concludes, “So G od is temporal after all, but not merely temporal. He really exists in time, but he also transcends time in such a way as to exist outside it. He is both inside and outside of the temporal box—a box that can neither confine him nor keep him out. That is the model that does the most justice to the biblical data” (159).

This model then becomes the frame of reference for dealing with other matters. In regard to immutability, God is “unchangeable in his atemporal or supratemporal existence. But when he is present in our world of time, he looks at his creation from within and shares the perspectives of his creatures” (176). Moreover, in God’s atemporal and transcendent existence, “God ordains grievous events,” but “in his temporal and spatial omnipresence, he grieves with his creatures . . .” (188). Such a view seems to emphasize equally God’s transcendence and His immanence.

In his preface, Frame recounts that he had second thoughts about the necessity of publishing this book after he read the excellent critique of open theism by Bruce Ware, God’s Lesser Glory. But we can be thankful that Frame followed his third thoughts and proceeded with the publication. This is a very helpful addition to the growing literature responding to the inadequacies of open theism and expositing a biblical doctrine of God.