Creating God in the Image of Man: The New Open View of God: Neotheism's Dangerous Drift

By Norman L. Geisler


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Abstract: A sound refutation of a fashionable and dangerous heresy which holds that God has human limitations regarding His nature, knowledge, will.

Difficulty: 3 (academic)




Bibliographic Data


Norman L. Geisler. Creating God in the Image of Man: The New Open View of God: Neotheism's Dangerous Drift . Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1997. .
ISBN: 1556619359
Pages: 191.
Bibliographies, indexes.

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1 The Chief Competitors to Christian Theism
2 The Distinctives of Christian Theism
3 Remaking God in our Image
4 The Biblical Claims of Neotheism
5 The Theological Charges of Neotheism
6 The Philosophical coherency of Neotheism
7 The Practical Consequences of Neotheism
Appendix One: Infallible Predictions that falsify Neotheism
Appendix rwo: Twelve Objections to a Finite God
General Bibliography
Select Bibliography


Review by Bruno D. Gedressac


Copyright March 1998, Bruno D. Gedressac, The Hague, The Netherlands

Note: this review was also published in Perspective on Science and Christian Faith vol. 50, no. 3,  (Sept. 1998), p. 221.



David F. Siemens (*) wrote a letter (PSCF volume 49, number 1, p.70) where he notes the views of authors such as Peacocke and Polkinghorne who, in their writings about science, reject the ideas of divine omniscience and eternity. He quite interestingly qualifies their unorthodox attitude as "making a God in their own image." I am citing this as an introduction, because the book I am reviewing here is a refutation of these modern views and its title is very similar to what Siemens thought of these "unorthodox" thinkers.

The author, Geisler (*) is a philosopher who has written about fifty books, many of them on apologetics. Geisler is currently dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary at Charlotte, NC. Geisler has already written on the subjects of worldviews in his World's apart (Baker: 1989), and especially in his Christian Apologetics (Baker: 1976) where he exposes his famous tests of unaffirmability and undeniability which are beyond the reach of postmodern criticisms.

In his new book, Geisler exposes and refutes neotheism, the new, open view of God, which pictures a God with human limitations. This new view is a mixture of theism and panentheism (process theology). Its major proponents are Clark Pinnock, William Hasker, David and Randall Basinger. Many evangelical thinkers and scientists have expressed sympathy for it, or endorsed different neotheist ideas. Neotheist ideas are also spread by some popular Christian bestsellers such as Gregory Boyd's Letters From a Skeptic (Victor: 1994.)

Geisler briefly describes the majors worldviews. He then exposes the distinctives and foundations of classical theism. This chapter on theism deals with abstract notions, but clearly exposes the nature of God, His unchangeable knowledge, will and relationship with the world. After this, Geisler contrasts theism with panentheism, describing and refuting the later view. He then expose neotheism, a fresh mixture of theism and panentheism. Geisler exposes and refutes the biblical arguments offered by neotheists. Geisler also refutes the theological charges of neotheism (the alleged Greek origin of theism, its alleged incoherences, etc.). Geisler finally shows how neotheism is incoherent, and how its theist elements would logically reduce to theism, and vice-versa with its panentheist elements. Geisler ends the book with the practical consequences of neotheism. These are extremely relevant for Christianity: the fallibility of prophecy and the Bible, the rejection of the biblical doctrines about salvation, evil, prayer, etc. He points out that many prophecies contained in the Old Testament have been fulfilled and therefore falsify neotheism, which holds that God is temporal and cannot know the future.

The book is concise, but contains several bibliographies. I think that Geisler clearly succeeded in exposing and refuting neotheism. I appreciated Geisler's clarity and logic. Will his book succeed in halting the growth of neotheism? I wonder if it would not have more impact would it be published by a university press instead of an evangelical one. Although it is beyond the scope of the book, I would have been interested in a comparaison between neotheism and ancient heresies. I find interesting that there are some common features between the neotheist God and the two Gods of marcionism.

This book clarified my shallow ideas about the nature, knowledge and will of God, as well as His relationship with me. It removed some doubts, increased my awareness of His majesty and deepened my worship. I think that it may be quite profitable to the Christians who love God with their mind, and a precious acquisition for those who are interested in orthodox Christianity.



(*) ASA member


Copyright March 1998, Bruno D. Gedressac, The Hague, The Netherlands

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