God is not limited to the possibilities of each present determined by the past, but given the ontological priority of the future, the present opens towards the future which has its existence in God. The possibilities for God are then expanded beyond those that inhere in a given present, for God is the definitive future. For Pannenberg, the ontological priority of the future and God’s eternal pre-existence before creation lead him to develop an image of two planes of existence. God’s calling within an event is not in competition with creaturely factors, for God’s activity in both natural events and human history is “not on the same level; hence there can be no rivalry between us” (III, 502). It is then the acts of God’s creatures through which the Creator rules his creation.
The omnipotence of God that is demonstrated in his divine world government that moves from creation to consummation cannot be described by a series of direct interventions into what would otherwise be a God-less existence. For instance, he understands the punishment of sin to be a natural part of creation and so for God to reconcile the world God must embrace the natural consequences of sin within himself (I, 438-439). Over against the enlightenment understanding of autonomy, God is the bearer of history and not humanity. God does not bear history only as the transcendent Father, but instead God “finds completion only through the work of the Son and Spirit because only thus is it freed from the one-sided antithesis of the one who determines and that which is determined” (I, 445). As the world’s future the whole of history is covered by God’s providence and in the end the whole of history will have come under the lordship of God. This sentiment is again echoed in Pannenberg’s discussion of prayer where he states that “the kingdom does not come on this world like fate, everything unalterable from the first” (III, 209). It is in the future that God’s eternal plane will have come fully into time and taken it into itself, but the “path to this point is by no means determined in every detail. Openness to the future relative to each finite present is real, not illusionary” (III, 209-210). As the world’s future God comes to each present and it is God that assures the kingdom’s coming, yet believers are called to cooperate with God in both action and prayer.
Divine action, for Pannenberg, is organic to the make up of God’s creation and the omnipotence of the God of love assures the establishment of God’s lordship, not as a tyrant intruder, but as the reconciling Creator. This developed and nuanced understanding of divine action is the means by which Pannenberg can have eschatological confidence from God’s act of creation and the contingency and openness necessary for a relationship of integrity with his creatures.