Molinism discussion

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Re: Molinism discussion

#91

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:20 am

RickD wrote:...Is the only possible interpretation, "evil"? Does "ra", have any other meanings, besides evil?
Yes, it does. Ra - it has a broad range of meanings defined by context. For example, why did the NET, NASB, and NKJV translate this word as calamity instead of evil. The reason they did so is why I stated what I stated. There are a whole host of scholars who agree. More will be said a few paragraphs down…
DannyM wrote:
B. W. wrote:Craig, I think is using molinsim to look into what comes first, and from what I read, I think his view is that they act together - you can’t have one without the other: You can’t predestine without foreknowing nor can you foreknow without predestining… The use of the term Middle Knowledge helps explore how this is possible, which leaves the integrity of God intact and helps gain a glimpse of the mystery.
B.W., I think it is fair to say that Craig assumes the argument as a solution to a problem of his (and others’) own making. His premises and conclusion remain unproven. This is the whole problem. What is liberty? And how is it interacted with?
What the liberty of the will is has been defined by Craig as …”the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin,” as he defined below. Since he mentions it, we can be certain that is what he means by the use of libertarian free will as posted in WC sec III. That is what I gather he means. On the other hand, I see how people think Craig means by libertarian free will is that God is a slave to it as that sums up the classical definition of it. This does not appear to be the case in light of what He himself so stated quoted below: He sounds almost like you Danny!
Actually, I have no problem with certain classic statements of the Reformed view. For example, the Westminster Confession (Sect. III) declares that

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Now this is precisely what the Molinist believes! The Confession affirms God’s preordination of everything that comes to pass as well as the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/New ... le&id=8111
DannyM wrote: In decreeing, God necessarily decrees all that will ever come to pass. Logically, God’s foreknowledge of x presupposes the necessity of x. If x will occur, then it is not the case that x might or might not occur. If God’s foreknowledge of x is not necessary, then it is contingent. No event can be foreknown unless it has by some physical or mental act been predetermined. What determines the certainty of future events is either the foreordination of the Father or some obscure act of fate. God is not a God of fate. If God had not foreordained the course of events but waited until some undetermined condition was or was not met, His decrees would be neither eternal nor immutable. So foreknowledge must presuppose foreordination.

The proposed would-counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, which are said to be found within every conceivable world scenario, cannot be grounded in God’s free knowledge of His creative decree - God’s creative decree is logically subsequent to, not prior to, the would-counterfactuals being proposed here. Did God spend time in eternity deliberating on such matters? Did He move from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing?

If God foreknew that Bill would do x tomorrow, then Bill cannot do anything other than x. Therefore, Bill cannot do anything other than x tomorrow. This doesn’t restrict Bill in making his choice, but it does bring to bare the claim that Bill could freely choose to do otherwise. The ability to choose as we want is a sufficient condition for moral accountability. Why is liberty so utterly insufficient that Molinists must make unsubstantiated assertions saying we must be able to choose contrary to what we will in order to be morally responsible agents?

You see, none of these propositions make any sense, either logically or, more importantly, in light of what we know about the sovereign God of scripture….Ephesians 1:3-5 - 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Ephesians 3:7-11
Are you and Craig both looking at these matters from man’s perspective thinking its God’s as well? What I gather from Craig’s, philosopher speak, is that molinism helps one discover God’s perspective through the philosophic teacher to student and student to teacher method of inquiry. This loses lots of people. Craig appears one moment teacher learning from students in order to teach them a few moments later. He is basically stating that determinism ultimately makes God the author of all sin no matter how determinist tries to dress itself otherwise. He uses molinism's ‘three knowledge concept’ as a philosophic tool of logic to show that God is not the author of these things. His approach is different from mine and yours. Mine is far more direct and simple and avoids philosopher logic speak… Summed up as: God Knows fore He is all Wise in all His ways...

Also, Danny, thank you for the scriptures – these are prime examples of what people mean by the danger of stringing verses together without any balance to other bible verses that share comparable context.( Hmmm, I wonder if people do this in order to justify personal interpretations of whatever Calvin/WC means by using the word Decree imposed to fit a certain worldview? I do not know as - so far no Calvinist seems able to define what Calvin means by the word Decree itself. So we may have to be unfair to Mr. Calvin and the WC - looks like we'll have to use the modern definition that Decree has currently evolved into too in order to go any further with what word means even though that may not be what it meant when Calvin mentions Decree...oh well, what can you do? )Back on topic... It is not wise to string verses unwisely together so that they are out of balanced with other bible verses sharing comparable context.

I’ll show you how, in fact, that Eph 1:3-5, 2 Timothy 1:8-9, and Eph 3:3-7 you cited are not balanced with the following verses which explains, or better said, helps uncover the order how God does things.

Proverbs 3:19 - The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. NASB

Psalms 104:24 - O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. NASB

John 1:3 - All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. NASB


Now read this in Proverbs: Proverbs 8:12 - Proverbs 8:22-24 (Verse 22 most likely refers to the Godhead here possessing wisdom –first) - Proverbs 8:25-28 - Proverbs 8:29-31 - Proverbs 8:32-33 - Proverbs 8:34-36

It is through Wisdom – a wisdom that is described in Psalms 139:17-18 and Psalms 40:5, "Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count." NASB

This Kind of wisdom God possesses denotes careful thoughtful deliberation of all things. For example, in Genesis chapter one – did God just speak without any forethought of wisdom about what he was doing?

The way you make is sound to me is that God planned without the forethought of wisdom being involved and God just blindly decreed without any thought to what he was doing. Very much like how the Kings did during the time of Calvin who issue forth a decree that all must obey or face severe harshness for not blindly obeying the Kings decree..

A person cannot take verses out of the balance with others. Yes, some tenants of Calvinism indeed do this as you aptly indirectly pointed out without intending to do so. So I ask in non- threatening levity Danny - Did God make you do that, or was that you? if you, then would not that invalidate the Westminster Confession where it states God predestines all things?

Lastly, For PL and Rick Regarding Isaiah 45

As for Isaiah 45:7 I gave ‘Ra’ the same translated meaning as the NET and NASB, and NKJV of calamity just as the translators did , is why I did for the same reasons they did. Ra is a word with a wide array of meanings.

In fact Isaiah 45:8 explains the reason why God shapes calamity - to bring forth His Salvation (Isaiah 45:21-22). In fact, the entire context of this chapter shares in common God’s well thought out wisdom soaked plan. That follows these three themes found in the bible.

One- God set the Stage (Genesis 1:31)

Two – God exposes what makes corrupt and why: (Genesis chapters two thru Revelation 19 Revelation 20)

Three - gets rid of all corruption for good, justly done:. (Revelation 20 Revelation 21 Revelation 22)


Isaiah 45:7 deals with number two – our current now…

Why does Isaiah 45:21-25 state what it says? When will it come about in fulfillment?

That is why God shapes/molds the calamity of RA to finally get rid of it in a most wise manner of justice that does no injustice to God himself – his character/nature, or to those whom he created as morally reasoning beings. God foreknowing, with all his wisdom involved, issues forth a call to humanity (Gen 3:9c) in order to engage humanity with a choice when before there was none open to them to return to him. Since God knows all, he even knows the final result that his engagement has on every person and from that justly can do with whomever, whenever, however He so see’s best to reach his goal mentioned in Revelation 21 and 22. That’s the summery of the message from Isaiah chapter Forty Five.

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. Westminster Confession (Sect. III)

In my opinion, Craig should try to use the language of the common ordinary man/woman to express his views and terms when explaining things...

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Re: Molinism discussion

#92

Post by puritan lad » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:18 am

B.W.,

Your selective exegesis reminds me of evangelicals who insist that "wine" is a mocker, but that Jesus drank "grape juice". :lol: If a word is translated a certain way 95% of the time, why ignore the one translation (KJV) that actually uses it this way? Weren't you one of those who suggested that we throw away our "theological box", or something to that effect? Clearly you are translating "ra" in Isaiah 45:7 in a theological box (and you are obviously not alone). As I said before, we all have a theological box.

Even if I grant you that it can mean "calamity", how does that avoid the obvious implication that God created evil, with calamity being caused by a secondary cause "evil"? Is calamity good or evil?

Anyway, why is it so hard to believe that God created evil? The denial of this causes a multitude of problems. If God didn't create evil, then who did? Did it just appear out of nowhere? Did God just happen to "find" evil in Satan and get thrown off guard?

Does evil have a purpose? If so, who assigned it that purpose? Did God just wait until evil created itself before assigning it a purpose?

If God isn't absolutely sovereign over evil, then what confidence can we have that He will be able to defeat it?

It is the fact that God created evil and sovereignly works in the sinful acts of wicked men that is the basis for our belief that evil has a divine "good" purpose, and will eventually be overcome. Outside of that, we have an uncertain future (contingent events are not foreknowable).
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Re: Molinism discussion

#93

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:04 am

Well PL if you want to disagree with all the scholars who in many translations such as NASB, etc, and claim they all err by using the word 'calamity' – by using faulty exegeses – well go ahead – your free will in action – or is it?.

Do you realize PL your take on Isaiah 45 is in direct conflict with Westminster Confession (Sect. III) cited below:

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

My view does not contradict the above statement and neither do the scholars who translated the word ‘calamity’ in the text, and in fact neither does molinism for that matter.

Therefore…

...I am going to restate what Molinism is by quoting some Links regarding it that may surprise people. Molinism is simply a tool for human logic and philosophy to examine the ways of God. It actually allows you to honestly reason with the Lord by comparing finds and measuring these finding against God’s own Character and nature to uncover truth. It is neither fully Calvinistic nor is it fully Armenian. It is just a tool of reason and should be thought of as such.
Theology for the Church

Link for Theology for the Church Article

Named after its first proponent, Luis Molina (1535–1600), a sixteenth-century Jesuit priest, Molinism holds to a strong notion of God’s control and an equally firm affirmation of human freedom. In other words Molinism simultaneously holds to a Calvinistic view of a comprehensive divine sovereignty and to a version of free will (called libertarianism) generally associated with Arminianism. As Doug Geivett argues, the fact that Molinism is the one proposal that tries to hold simultaneously to both is a point in its favor, since both “are prima facie true.”

Molinism teaches that God exercises his sovereignty primarily through his omniscience, and that he infallibly knows what free creatures would do in any given situation. In this way God sovereignly controls all things while humans are also genuinely free. God is able to accomplish his will through the use of what Molinists label his middle knowledge. We will look at the Molinist model of God’s knowledge and providence in the next chapter and in the chapter on sovereign election.

So Molinism formulates a radical “compatibilism,”—a “Calvinist” view of divine sovereignty and an “Arminian” view of human freedom—and for this reason is often attacked from both sides of the aisle. Calvinists such as Bruce Ware and Richard Muller consider Molinism to be a type of Arminianism, while Roger Olsen and Robert Picirilli (both card-carrying Arminians) reject Molinism for being too Calvinistic. However, Molinism is attractive to many leading Christian philosophers of our day, such as Alvin Plantinga, Thomas Flint, and William Lane Craig. One of the main reasons is that it demonstrates it is logically possible to affirm divine sovereignty and human freedom in a consistent manner. Even open theist William Hasker, who is no friend to Molinism, admits, “If you are committed to a ‘strong’ view of providence, according to which, down to the smallest detail, ‘things are as they are because God knowingly decided to create such a world,’ and yet you also wish to maintain a libertarian conception of free will—if this is what you want, then Molinism is the only game in town.”

As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I want because I believe Molinism is faithful to the biblical witness. The Molinist model is the only game in town for anyone who wishes to affirm a high view of God’s sovereignty while holding to a genuine definition of human choice, freedom and responsibility. William Lane Craig goes so far as to describe the Molinist notion of middle knowledge as “the single most fruitful theological concept I have ever encountered.” When we apply Molinism to the vexing questions of predestination and election, the reasons for his enthusiasm become evident.

From Salvation & Sovereignty pp. 5-6
Molinism

Basic Theology - Article Molinism

Molinism
God sees all possible worlds that he could create and all the interactions between His soveriegn choices and the free-will choices of man. Out the infinite worlds He could create He freely chooses one that conforms to His will and good pleasure.

History

Molinism derives its name from a 16th century philosopher, Luis de Molina (1535-1600), who first put forth the view. It has recently been resurected by modern philosophers such as William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantiga. Its goal is to reconcile God's Foreknowledge and man's free will. Historically, this has been done in two ways. First, many theologians have decided to downplay or overemphasize God's soveriegnty or man's free will. Open Theism (see Presentism) is completely free-will oreinted such that God cannot accomplish His will unless humans cooperate with Him. Extreme Calvanists deny that man has a free will altogether. A second option, one that many tend toward after spending any time on the subject, is to simply appeal to God's mysterious ways. While it is legitimate for the Christian to make this appeal in some circumstances, Molinists do not believe this necessary.

The View Briefly Defined

God's knowledge of the future has three stages (or logican steps) as He decides what world He will create. His Natural Knowledge includes in infinite number of universes that God could create. In each of these worlds, every man and woman has a free will. These universe may include God completely changing the construction of life from carbon to silicon or some other substance. He may chose to interact with these various world's in whatever way He choses which may cause humans to make different choices.

Out of these worlds in His Natural Knowledge, only some may make sense according to what He may want to have happen. The next "stage" of His knowledge then is Middle Knowledge - all the possible choices humans might make. He then choses to create or actualize one of these worlds, the world we live in today. The events that He saw would happen in this world then become His Free Knowledge.

The Results

Because God's Middle Knowledge allows Him to know what every possible person would do of their own free will in every circumstance, He knows under what circumstances each person might or might not recieve Christ (according to their own free will). This allows Him consider all feasible worlds where each person's free will choices line up with His desires (Eph. 1:5, 11). In a seeming paradox, both God's soverignty and man's responsibility and free will are maintained when He chooses to actualize a particular world. His Middle Knowledge of what would happen then becomes His Free Knowledge of what will happen - what we call Foreknowledge. His Foreknowledge though, does not determine what a person must do, only what they will do according to their own free choices - in a world that God soverignly actualized! Scripturally this may be based on (Rom. 8:29) where God's Foreknowledge of what would happen precedes His predestining those who freely choose Him.

The view of election here is God's soveriegn choice of whom He will allow to freely choose Him based on the circumstance He choses to place before them. It may appear similiar to the Arminian view that predestination is God looking ahead through time to those that would choose Him and then electing those to be saved. It may also appear fundamentally the same as the Calvinist view that God chooses those that will come to salvation and chooses those that will be condemned. Ultimately, it may appear similiar to both views because it affirms the scriptural truths in each without compromising in other areas or appealing to mystery. This does not make it correct, because it is not itself an explicitly biblical teaching, but it does present a coherent, working theory of the combatibility of foreknowledge and free will.

Final Considerations

In the Molonist view, God could have chosen a different world where different people came to know Him. This brings up many questions and Molonism provides some interesting answers. Because God desires that all come to Him (1 Tim 2:3-4), it could be argued that there was no possible world wherein all men with free choices would accept Christ, no matter how much revelation they were given (John 6:44; Rom 1:19-20; I John 4:19). The answer to the question of the pagan that hasn't heard the gospel may be answered by asserting that in even all feasible worlds, that person would never have recieved Christ. On the other hand, John 6:27 seems to say that man cannot resist if God wills his salvation. Molonism is also flexible enough to allow God to create a world where some events are completely determined by Him, but man retains free will in all other situations.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#94

Post by DannyM » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:39 am

B. W. wrote:What the liberty of the will is has been defined by Craig as …”the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin,”
This is simply inadequate. Has Craig demonstrated God’s sovereignty over all events is a restriction on man’s liberty? Has he then gone on to demonstrate that such a notion makes God the “author of sin”? Apart from his asserting, has he defined his terms? It seems to me that we have statements being made without any justification whatsoever. Does Craig have some knowledge that he has free will? How did he come to know this? Is it inherent or did he come to learn this?
God’s preordination of everything that comes to pass as well as the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin.
He keeps saying this. Craig is yet to demonstrate any of his assumptions. Just read the above - it is mere talk without any substance to it.
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Westminster Confession CHAPTER III
Of God's Eternal Decree I
How is this in line with the central claims of Molinism? Craig’s making an awful stretch here.
B. W. wrote:He is basically stating that determinism ultimately makes God the author of all sin no matter how determinist tries to dress itself otherwise. He uses molinism's ‘three knowledge concept’ as a philosophic tool of logic to show that God is not the author of these things.
He has no need to go into abstract and speculative areas when he can simply use his common sense. What he also needs to do is show how, minus his scheme, God is the “author of sin"...

On Craig’s scheme, you have God creating people who will go to hell no matter what He does to try to save them. They cannot not go to hell since His knowledge of their destiny is infallible. Yet He proceeds to create these people anyway. Why not create only those whom He knew would choose heaven? In effect, by creating them, God has damned them. So on Craig’s and your own terms, B.W., God freely chooses to create people He knows are destined for sin, evil and hell. How is Craig’s ‘solution’ any kind of remedy to his own dilemma? Is Craig’s God any less responsible, or is his God any less of “an author“? How do you wriggle free from the very charge you want to lay at the door of Calvinism?
B. W. wrote:( Hmmm, I wonder if people do this in order to justify personal interpretations of whatever Calvin/WC means by using the word Decree imposed to fit a certain worldview? I do not know as - so far no Calvinist seems able to define what Calvin means by the word Decree itself. So we may have to be unfair to Mr. Calvin and the WC - looks like we'll have to use the modern definition that Decree has currently evolved into too in order to go any further with what word means even though that may not be what it meant when Calvin mentions Decree...oh well, what can you do? )
1. B.W., I’m not sure what difficulties you are having here with the term ‘decree’.
As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Westminster Confession CHAPTER III
Of God's Eternal Decree VI.
Acts 2:23, Acts 13:48, John 6:37-39, John 17:2, John 17:9, Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 2:10 and so on and so on.

No event can come about without God decreeing it first. No event can be foreknown unless it has by some physical or mental act been predetermined. What determines the certainty of future events is either the foreordination of the Father, fate or human beings. If it is not God who foreordained the course of events in history, then who is it, human beings or fate?

Foreknowledge, by necessity, presupposes foreordination. Unless you want to posit a determination of the human will which God would see in a connection of all things and perhaps work things out from there. But this is no remedy at all for the proponent of absolute free will.

If God foreknows all that will come to pass, then it is either determined by God or it’s determined by you. Now since you were not yet born, we cannot look to your free will as being the determinant.

2. What has John Calvin got to do with anything here? Aren’t we talking about Molinism and its validity or otherwise when tested against Scripture and logic?
B. W. wrote:It is not wise to string verses unwisely together so that they are out of balanced with other bible verses sharing comparable context.
Ephesians 1:3-5, Ephesians 3:3-7 and 2 Timothy 1:8-9 are not at all in conflict with Proverbs 8:12, Proverbs 8:22-24, Proverbs 8:25-28, Proverbs 8:29-31, Proverbs 8:32-33 or Proverbs 8:34-36. If there is an imbalance, as you put it, then you’ll need to show it.
This Kind of wisdom God possesses denotes careful thoughtful deliberation of all things. For example, in Genesis chapter one – did God just speak without any forethought of wisdom about what he was doing?
No objection here. God does not deliberate based on a lack of knowledge. Nothing here implies that the Father, full of wisdom and knowledge that He is, moves from a state of not knowing to knowing.
The way you make is sound to me is that God planned without the forethought of wisdom being involved and God just blindly decreed without any thought to what he was doing. Very much like how the Kings did during the time of Calvin who issue forth a decree that all must obey or face severe harshness for not blindly obeying the Kings decree..
Not at all. God’s wisdom and knowledge are not in question here, and certainly not in conflict with my passages quoted, which go to the heart of God’s counsel.
A person cannot take verses out of the balance with others. Yes, some tenants of Calvinism indeed do this as you aptly indirectly pointed out without intending to do so. So I ask in non- threatening levity Danny - Did God make you do that, or was that you? if you, then would not that invalidate the Westminster Confession where it states God predestines all things?
Since I have not taken any verses out of context, nor shown any imbalance in the Scriptures (one wonders how it is possible to do such a thing), then the above is a complete non sequitur.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#95

Post by puritan lad » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:16 pm

Here is my response to the articles that B.W. posted:
Named after its first proponent, Luis Molina (1535–1600), a sixteenth-century Jesuit priest, Molinism holds to a strong notion of God’s control and an equally firm affirmation of human freedom. In other words Molinism simultaneously holds to a Calvinistic view of a comprehensive divine sovereignty and to a version of free will (called libertarianism) generally associated with Arminianism. As Doug Geivett argues, the fact that Molinism is the one proposal that tries to hold simultaneously to both is a point in its favor, since both “are prima facie true.”
Here is where Molinists are begging the question. They have not justified the existence of libertarian free will. Such a thing does not exist, therefore, Molinism is a proposed solution to a non-existence problem.

I would mention that not even God has libertarian free will. There are some things that God cannot do. He cannot learn, lie, grow more powerful, etc.
Molinism teaches that God exercises his sovereignty primarily through his omniscience, and that he infallibly knows what free creatures would do in any given situation. In this way God sovereignly controls all things while humans are also genuinely free.
God doesn't merely know what His creatures will do, He ordains what they will do. He controls the heart, and work His will among the armies of Heaven and the inhabitants of earth. Humans are not “genuinely free” until the Son makes them free. Until then, they are slaves to sin.
So Molinism formulates a radical “compatibilism,”—a “Calvinist” view of divine sovereignty and an “Arminian” view of human freedom—and for this reason is often attacked from both sides of the aisle. Calvinists such as Bruce Ware and Richard Muller consider Molinism to be a type of Arminianism, while Roger Olsen and Robert Picirilli (both card-carrying Arminians) reject Molinism for being too Calvinistic. However, Molinism is attractive to many leading Christian philosophers of our day, such as Alvin Plantinga, Thomas Flint, and William Lane Craig. One of the main reasons is that it demonstrates it is logically possible to affirm divine sovereignty and human freedom in a consistent manner. Even open theist William Hasker, who is no friend to Molinism, admits, “If you are committed to a ‘strong’ view of providence, according to which, down to the smallest detail, ‘things are as they are because God knowingly decided to create such a world,’ and yet you also wish to maintain a libertarian conception of free will—if this is what you want, then Molinism is the only game in town.”
Molinism is Arminianism, pure and simple. Molinism's “middle knowledge” is nothing less than Arminian “foreknowledge”. There is no need “to maintain a libertarian conception of free will”, since such a thing does not exist.
As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I want because I believe Molinism is faithful to the biblical witness. The Molinist model is the only game in town for anyone who wishes to affirm a high view of God’s sovereignty while holding to a genuine definition of human choice, freedom and responsibility. William Lane Craig goes so far as to describe the Molinist notion of middle knowledge as “the single most fruitful theological concept I have ever encountered.” When we apply Molinism to the vexing questions of predestination and election, the reasons for his enthusiasm become evident.
Not only is this begging the question, Molinism flat out denies predestination and election. It simply tries to redefine them as Arminians do.
Because God's Middle Knowledge allows Him to know what every possible person would do of their own free will in every circumstance, He knows under what circumstances each person might or might not recieve Christ (according to their own free will). This allows Him consider all feasible worlds where each person's free will choices line up with His desires (Eph. 1:5, 11).
Herein lies the dilemma with Molinism's “middle knowledge”. If God foreknows “what every possible person would do of their own free will in every circumstance”, then man's actions are, of necessity, determined by those circumstances. In that case, not only is man's will not free, but his choices are morally irrelevant. If, however, man's will is free regardless of the circumstances, then his eternal destiny is contingent upon the use of his will and thus his actions are not foreknowable.
In a seeming paradox, both God's soverignty and man's responsibility and free will are maintained when He chooses to actualize a particular world.
There is no paradox between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility , as I have already shown. And “free will” as defined by Arminians and Molinists does not exist.
His Middle Knowledge of what would happen then becomes His Free Knowledge of what will happen - what we call Foreknowledge. His Foreknowledge though, does not determine what a person must do, only what they will do according to their own free choices - in a world that God soverignly actualized! Scripturally this may be based on (Rom. 8:29) where God's Foreknowledge of what would happen precedes His predestining those who freely choose Him.
A gross redefining of “foreknowledge”. Using this definition, we would have to assume that the unbeliever is also “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”, since God foreknows their choices as well. The Scripture reads “For those whom he foreknew...”, not “what he foreknew”. Foreknowledge in Scripture refers to Divine favor upon individual people, not a “stamp of approval” upon their actions.
This does not make it correct, because it is not itself an explicitly biblical teaching...
No kidding.

To summarize the objections to Molinism:

1.) It begs to question as to the existence of libertarian free will (just stating that it is “prima facie true” doesn't make it so.)
2.) As a result, it seeks to provide a resolution to a non-existent problem.
3.) Like Arminianism, it seeks to redefine biblical terms such as predestination, election, and foreknowledge.
4.) Cannot explain the existence of evil.
5.) Creates a “middle knowledge” where man's actions are necessarily governed by his circumstances rather than his own heart.
6.) Denies that God controls the human heart, not just the circumstances.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#96

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:42 pm

DannyM wrote:
B. W. wrote:What the liberty of the will is has been defined by Craig as …”the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin,”
This is simply inadequate. Has Craig demonstrated God’s sovereignty over all events is a restriction on man’s liberty? Has he then gone on to demonstrate that such a notion makes God the “author of sin”? Apart from his asserting, has he defined his terms? It seems to me that we have statements being made without any justification whatsoever. Does Craig have some knowledge that he has free will? How did he come to know this? Is it inherent or did he come to learn this?
God’s preordination of everything that comes to pass as well as the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin.
He keeps saying this. Craig is yet to demonstrate any of his assumptions. Just read the above - it is mere talk without any substance to it.
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Westminster Confession CHAPTER III
Of God's Eternal Decree I
How is this in line with the central claims of Molinism? Craig’s making an awful stretch here.,,.
Ask Him, sign up on his website, Danny, pose your questions and submit - have him answer you.

I cannot answer for Craig, only state that he sounds more Calvinist in sincerity toward The Westminster Confession Sec III he cited than most Calvinist..

Craig uses the intellect and logic of a Philosopher and he goes about investigating the matter in that format.

Most I can do is post articles or book quotes of Craig’s and let people read form themselves his views and reach their own conclusions and is far better than most permit.

Craig can answer for himself – so please email him… then post his responses to you on this thread...
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Re: Molinism discussion

#97

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:01 pm

puritan lad wrote:Here is my response to the articles that B.W. posted:
Named after its first proponent, Luis Molina (1535–1600), a sixteenth-century Jesuit priest, Molinism holds to a strong notion of God’s control and an equally firm affirmation of human freedom. In other words Molinism simultaneously holds to a Calvinistic view of a comprehensive divine sovereignty and to a version of free will (called libertarianism) generally associated with Arminianism. As Doug Geivett argues, the fact that Molinism is the one proposal that tries to hold simultaneously to both is a point in its favor, since both “are prima facie true.”
Here is where Molinists are begging the question. They have not justified the existence of libertarian free will. Such a thing does not exist, therefore, Molinism is a proposed solution to a non-existence problem.

I would mention that not even God has libertarian free will. There are some things that God cannot do. He cannot learn, lie, grow more powerful, etc.
Molinism teaches that God exercises his sovereignty primarily through his omniscience, and that he infallibly knows what free creatures would do in any given situation. In this way God sovereignly controls all things while humans are also genuinely free.
God doesn't merely know what His creatures will do, He ordains what they will do. He controls the heart, and work His will among the armies of Heaven and the inhabitants of earth. Humans are not “genuinely free” until the Son makes them free. Until then, they are slaves to sin.
So Molinism formulates a radical “compatibilism,”—a “Calvinist” view of divine sovereignty and an “Arminian” view of human freedom—and for this reason is often attacked from both sides of the aisle. Calvinists such as Bruce Ware and Richard Muller consider Molinism to be a type of Arminianism, while Roger Olsen and Robert Picirilli (both card-carrying Arminians) reject Molinism for being too Calvinistic. However, Molinism is attractive to many leading Christian philosophers of our day, such as Alvin Plantinga, Thomas Flint, and William Lane Craig. One of the main reasons is that it demonstrates it is logically possible to affirm divine sovereignty and human freedom in a consistent manner. Even open theist William Hasker, who is no friend to Molinism, admits, “If you are committed to a ‘strong’ view of providence, according to which, down to the smallest detail, ‘things are as they are because God knowingly decided to create such a world,’ and yet you also wish to maintain a libertarian conception of free will—if this is what you want, then Molinism is the only game in town.”
Molinism is Arminianism, pure and simple. Molinism's “middle knowledge” is nothing less than Arminian “foreknowledge”. There is no need “to maintain a libertarian conception of free will”, since such a thing does not exist.
As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I want because I believe Molinism is faithful to the biblical witness. The Molinist model is the only game in town for anyone who wishes to affirm a high view of God’s sovereignty while holding to a genuine definition of human choice, freedom and responsibility. William Lane Craig goes so far as to describe the Molinist notion of middle knowledge as “the single most fruitful theological concept I have ever encountered.” When we apply Molinism to the vexing questions of predestination and election, the reasons for his enthusiasm become evident.
Not only is this begging the question, Molinism flat out denies predestination and election. It simply tries to redefine them as Arminians do.
Because God's Middle Knowledge allows Him to know what every possible person would do of their own free will in every circumstance, He knows under what circumstances each person might or might not recieve Christ (according to their own free will). This allows Him consider all feasible worlds where each person's free will choices line up with His desires (Eph. 1:5, 11).
Herein lies the dilemma with Molinism's “middle knowledge”. If God foreknows “what every possible person would do of their own free will in every circumstance”, then man's actions are, of necessity, determined by those circumstances. In that case, not only is man's will not free, but his choices are morally irrelevant. If, however, man's will is free regardless of the circumstances, then his eternal destiny is contingent upon the use of his will and thus his actions are not foreknowable.
In a seeming paradox, both God's soverignty and man's responsibility and free will are maintained when He chooses to actualize a particular world.
There is no paradox between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility , as I have already shown. And “free will” as defined by Arminians and Molinists does not exist.
His Middle Knowledge of what would happen then becomes His Free Knowledge of what will happen - what we call Foreknowledge. His Foreknowledge though, does not determine what a person must do, only what they will do according to their own free choices - in a world that God soverignly actualized! Scripturally this may be based on (Rom. 8:29) where God's Foreknowledge of what would happen precedes His predestining those who freely choose Him.
A gross redefining of “foreknowledge”. Using this definition, we would have to assume that the unbeliever is also “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”, since God foreknows their choices as well. The Scripture reads “For those whom he foreknew...”, not “what he foreknew”. Foreknowledge in Scripture refers to Divine favor upon individual people, not a “stamp of approval” upon their actions.
This does not make it correct, because it is not itself an explicitly biblical teaching...
No kidding.

To summarize the objections to Molinism:

1.) It begs to question as to the existence of libertarian free will (just stating that it is “prima facie true” doesn't make it so.)
2.) As a result, it seeks to provide a resolution to a non-existent problem.
3.) Like Arminianism, it seeks to redefine biblical terms such as predestination, election, and foreknowledge.
4.) Cannot explain the existence of evil.
5.) Creates a “middle knowledge” where man's actions are necessarily governed by his circumstances rather than his own heart.
6.) Denies that God controls the human heart, not just the circumstances.
Thank you PL, I appreciate your post, very well thought out and presented.

So have you found how Craig defines foreknowledge?

If you have can you please post a quote?

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Re: Molinism discussion

#98

Post by puritan lad » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:19 pm

Thanks B.W.

I would guess that this is his definition of foreknowledge (assuming that he wrote both articles).
His Middle Knowledge of what would happen then becomes His Free Knowledge of what will happen - what we call Foreknowledge. His Foreknowledge though, does not determine what a person must do, only what they will do according to their own free choices
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Re: Molinism discussion

#99

Post by BoniPastoris » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:13 pm

I think that people should be free to do what they feel is just. So anything that helps fellow man is good, anything that destroys other human beings is bad. Thats why the amount of money spent on US military alone is a utterly staggering figure to my imagination, its just crazy that they must spend that much. Should be scaled back because social projects are literally that much more important. People hate tax for some strange reason but, shouldn't people "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"?

As long as the money is going where it is needed, then what is the big problem? We don't need more tanks and nuclear missiles and bombs and soldiers, the world would be a better place if the food got to where it was needed, everyone should be clothed and watered. I know people should try and help themselves, but they need help to get help. People who already have everything need to put in the extra effort, because it is a team effort and everyone can contribute something useful, we all have our talents.

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Re: Molinism discussion

#100

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:37 pm

BoniPastoris wrote:I think that people should be free to do what they feel is just. So anything that helps fellow man is good, anything that destroys other human beings is bad. Thats why the amount of money spent on US military alone is a utterly staggering figure to my imagination, its just crazy that they must spend that much. Should be scaled back because social projects are literally that much more important. People hate tax for some strange reason but, shouldn't people "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"?

As long as the money is going where it is needed, then what is the big problem? We don't need more tanks and nuclear missiles and bombs and soldiers, the world would be a better place if the food got to where it was needed, everyone should be clothed and watered. I know people should try and help themselves, but they need help to get help. People who already have everything need to put in the extra effort, because it is a team effort and everyone can contribute something useful, we all have our talents.

I do my best, I hope.
The United States Constitution defines the government as a very limited group. The military is one of the few explicit powers granted by the Constitution. Feeding the hungry, as noble an effort as it is, is not within the scope of the intent of the Constitutional Republic of the United States.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#101

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:32 pm

puritan lad wrote:Thanks B.W.

I would guess that this is his definition of foreknowledge (assuming that he wrote both articles).
His Middle Knowledge of what would happen then becomes His Free Knowledge of what will happen - what we call Foreknowledge. His Foreknowledge though, does not determine what a person must do, only what they will do according to their own free choices
Thanks PL, we will use this one then unless another quote someone can find thatis more specific...

I'll get back to this a bit later on Friday...
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Re: Molinism discussion

#102

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:50 pm

BoniPastoris wrote:I think that people should be free to do what they feel is just. So anything that helps fellow man is good, anything that destroys other human beings is bad. Thats why the amount of money spent on US military alone is a utterly staggering figure to my imagination, its just crazy that they must spend that much. Should be scaled back because social projects are literally that much more important. People hate tax for some strange reason but, shouldn't people "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"?

As long as the money is going where it is needed, then what is the big problem? We don't need more tanks and nuclear missiles and bombs and soldiers, the world would be a better place if the food got to where it was needed, everyone should be clothed and watered. I know people should try and help themselves, but they need help to get help. People who already have everything need to put in the extra effort, because it is a team effort and everyone can contribute something useful, we all have our talents.

I do my best, I hope.
Thank you for your post but there are evil people out there who want to enslave us and well basically wipe us off the face of the planet... Bible does teach there is a time for war and a time for peace

And oh yes, Caesar is never satisfied. Jesus never taught that it is the role of the Government is to give to the poor and redistribute wealth. It was the role of the people to give to the Churches so that the church leadership gives to the poor, helps the downtrodden, widow and orphans, etc.

Come January 1, 2012 Creaser is going to make this more difficult for the churches to continue to do this new tax tracking method for non-profits goes into effect in the Good ol'USA. Creaser never has enough, overspends, goes in extreme debt, and uses the poor to pull the heart strings of the voters to keep voting them into power but the poor remain as they are. Jesus once addressed a person who held similar views as yours – he told the young ruler to – go sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow Him (Jesus).

And please respect this thread - if you would like to talk politics please post a new thread in correct area - this is a discussion on Molinism...

Thank you...

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Re: Molinism discussion

#103

Post by DannyM » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:12 am

B. W. wrote:
DannyM wrote:
B. W. wrote:What the liberty of the will is has been defined by Craig as …”the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin,”
This is simply inadequate. Has Craig demonstrated God’s sovereignty over all events is a restriction on man’s liberty? Has he then gone on to demonstrate that such a notion makes God the “author of sin”? Apart from his asserting, has he defined his terms? It seems to me that we have statements being made without any justification whatsoever. Does Craig have some knowledge that he has free will? How did he come to know this? Is it inherent or did he come to learn this?
God’s preordination of everything that comes to pass as well as the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin.
He keeps saying this. Craig is yet to demonstrate any of his assumptions. Just read the above - it is mere talk without any substance to it.
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Westminster Confession CHAPTER III
Of God's Eternal Decree I
How is this in line with the central claims of Molinism? Craig’s making an awful stretch here.,,.
Ask Him, sign up on his website, Danny, pose your questions and submit - have him answer you.

I cannot answer for Craig, only state that he sounds more Calvinist in sincerity toward The Westminster Confession Sec III he cited than most Calvinist..

Craig uses the intellect and logic of a Philosopher and he goes about investigating the matter in that format.

Most I can do is post articles or book quotes of Craig’s and let people read form themselves his views and reach their own conclusions and is far better than most permit.

Craig can answer for himself – so please email him… then post his responses to you on this thread...
Bryan, I've already seen Craig's "answers" to these questions; that Q&A you posted, for example, from "Steve" to WLC I saw weeks ago - I receive the regular RF newsletter too :) You forget, I'm a fan of the boy!
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Re: Molinism discussion

#104

Post by CeT-To » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:51 am

The whole No Free will statement because we are a slave to sin is a stretch. Sure we are a slave to sinful desires either in us and/or the world but that does not mean we do not have enough free will to choose God since ..look... here we are as God's children yet we were sinful from the day we were born and even when we chose God. ( I am not saying our choice was simply from our own ability with no nudges but clearly God influenced us and worked in us but the choice was ours in the end.)
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Re: Molinism discussion

#105

Post by puritan lad » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:47 am

CeT-To wrote:The whole No Free will statement because we are a slave to sin is a stretch. Sure we are a slave to sinful desires either in us and/or the world but that does not mean we do not have enough free will to choose God since ..look... here we are as God's children yet we were sinful from the day we were born and even when we chose God. ( I am not saying our choice was simply from our own ability with no nudges but clearly God influenced us and worked in us but the choice was ours in the end.)
If that is true, then the new birth is unnecessary. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. The choice is God's in the end.
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