Molinism discussion

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Re: Molinism discussion

#106

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:06 am

I am going to post a series of articles that I hope will explian more on molinism. First is from a PDF article: A Molinist View of Election by Ken Keathley starting from around page 18 and it is attached here as well. Please download or link to this article as it is gives good background information. his is the first, I'll post the others a bit later of aanswering some of PL's concerns...
DRAFT: A Molinist View of Election

Or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian

Ken Keathley

From this PDF Aticle Link

Page 18

Armed with these three conceptual tools, Molinism argues that God accomplishes his sovereign will via his omniscience. First, God knows everything that could happen.This first moment is his natural knowledge, where God knows everything due to his omniscient nature.

Second, from the set of infinite possibilities God also knows which scenarios would result in persons freely responding in the way he desires. This crucial moment of knowledge is between the first and third moment, hence the term middleknowledge. From the repertoire of available options provided by his middle knowledge,God freely and sovereignly chooses which one he will bring to pass. This results inGod’s third moment of knowledge, which is his foreknowledge of what certainly will occur.44 The third moment is God’s free knowledge because it is determined by his free and sovereign choice.


By utilizing these three phases of knowledge, God predestines all events, yet notin such a way that violates genuine human freedom and choice. God meticulously “sets the table” so that humans freely choose what he had predetermined. An example of this could be Simon Peter’s denial of the Lord. The Lord predicted Peter would deny him and by use of middle knowledge ordained the scenario that infallibly guaranteed Peter would do so. However, God did not make or cause Peter to do as he did.

The Advantages of the Molinist Approach

The Molinist approach has a number of advantages over both Calvinism and Arminianism, which I want to list briefly. First, Molinism affirms the genuine desire on [44] The verbs could, would, and will highlight the distinctions in the moments of God’s knowledge. From knowledge of what could happen (1st moment), God knows which ones would bring about his desiredresult (2nd moment), and he chooses one possibility which means he knows it will come about (3rd moment).

Page 19

the part of God for all to be saved in a way that is problematic for Calvinism. God has auniversal salvific will even though not all, maybe not even most, will repent and believethe Gospel. Historically, Calvinists have struggled with this question; with most eitherdenying that God’s desires all to be saved, or else claiming God has a secret will whichtrumps his revealed will.

Molinism fits well with the biblical teaching that God universally loves the world(John 3:16) and yet Christ has a particular love for the Church (Eph. 5:25). William LaneCraig suggests that God “chose a world having an optimal balance between the number of the saved and the number of the damned.”[45] In other words, God has created a worldwith a maximal ratio of the number of saved to those lost. The Bible teaches that Godgenuinely desires all to be saved, and even though many perish, still his will is done.Molinism better addresses this apparent paradox.

An illustration may be helpful here. Before the Normandy invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower was told by many of his advisors that casualties might exceed 70%. The actual human toll was terrible but thankfully not that high. Eisenhower gave the order for the invasion to proceed, but he would have been quick to tell you he genuinely desired that none of his men should perish. Molinism understands God’s will for all to be saved to operate in a similar fashion, though we recognize all analogies breakdowneventually.

To try to explain the Calvinist view of God’s salvific will, John Piper and BruceWare also use illustrations of leaders—George Washington and Winston Churchill,

45 William Lane Craig, “‘No Other Name:’ A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity
of Salvation through Christ,” Faith and Philosophy 6:2 (April, 1989), 185.


Page 20

respectively—who are forced to make similarly difficult decisions.46 But their illustrations work against their position, because a key component of the Calvinist doctrine of election is that the reprobate is passed over because of “God’s good pleasure.” Molinism better fits the biblical description of the two wills of God (or the two aspects of God’s will)—his antecedent and consequent wills. The Molinist can affirm without qualification that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

Second, Molinism provides a better model for understanding how it is simultaneously true that God’s decree of election is unconditional while his rejection of the unbeliever is conditional. God’s omniscient foreknowledge is the Achilles heel for most Arminian presentations of election. If God has exhaustive knowledge of all future events, then conditional election does not really remove the unconditional nature of God’s decisions. If God knows that a certain man will freely accept the gospel while that man’s brother freely will not, and yet God decides to create both of them anyway, then this is a mysterious, sovereign, and unconditional determination on the part of God.Some Arminians recognize this dilemma and opt for open theism instead. In open theism, God does not know how an individual will respond to the Gospel. So he creates a person and hopes for the best. The open theist sees God as an actuary working the odds and understands God’s sovereignty as an exercise in risk management. Molinism provides a much better answer. Why does the reprobate exist?

Answer: because of God’s sovereign will. But why is he reprobated? Answer: because

46 John Piper, “Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God’s Desire for All to Be Saved,” in The Grace of God, the Bondage of the Will, Thomas R. Schreiner and Bruce A. Ware, eds.(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 122-24; and Bruce Ware, “Divine Election to Salvation,” Perspectives onElection, 33-34.

Page 21

of his own unbelief. When God made the sovereign choice to bring into existence this particular world, he rendered certain—but did not cause—the destruction of certain ones who would reject God’s overtures of grace. According to Molinism, our free choice determines how we would respond in any given setting, but God decides the setting in which we actually find ourselves. As Craig states, “It is up to God whether we find ourselves in a world in which we are predestined, but it is up to us whether we are predestined in the world in which we find ourselves.”[47]

In other words, the Molinist paradigm explains how it is possible for there to be a decree of election without a corresponding decree of reprobation, which is in fact the biblical witness. One of the strongest motivations for the infralapsarian position is the conviction that God did not ordain the reprobate to hell in the same way he ordained the elect to salvation. The Molinist model presents an asymmetric relationship between God and the two classes of people, the elect and the reprobate, in manner that infralapsarianism cannot. This is a great advantage to Molinism.

The third point is the converse to the previous one: in the Molinist system, unlike Arminianism, God is author of salvation who actively elects certain ones. In Arminianism, God employs only a passive foreknowledge (or, in open theism, God elects no individuals at all). Molinists contend that God uses his exhaustive foreknowledge in an active, sovereign way. God determines the world in which we live. Whether or not exist at all, or I have the opportunity to respond to the Gospel, or I am placed in a setting where I would be graciously enabled to believe—these are all sovereign decisions made by him. The Molinist affirms that the elect are saved by God’s good pleasure. The

47 See William Lane Craig, “‘No Other Name’: A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the
Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ,” Faith and Philosophy 6:2 (April, 1989) 172–88.


Page 22

distinctive difference between Calvinism and Molinism is that Calvinism sees God accomplishing his will through his omnipotent power while Molinism understands God utilizing his omniscient knowledge.

The fourth point expands the third point: Molinism has a more robust and scriptural understanding of the role God’s foreknowledge plays in election than does either Calvinism or Arminianism. The Bible repeatedly states that “those God foreknew he also predestined” (Rom. 8:29) and that the saints are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Peter 1:2). Calvinists generally claim that in these instances God’s foreknowledge should be understood as his “forelove.” This seems to be a classic case of special pleading. Arminians contend that what is foreknown by God is merely the believer’s faith. Molinism rejects both explanations.

In the Calvinist understanding of foreknowledge and predetermination, the future is the product of the will of God. The Calvinist view clearly presents God as sovereign, but he also appears to be the cause of sin. In the Arminian formulation, God looks forward into a future made by the decisions of free creatures, and then makes his plans accordingly. The Arminian model emphasizes that God is a loving Father, but unfortunately his will has nothing to do with much that happens.

By contrast, Molinism contends that God actively utilizes his foreknowledge.Among the many possibilities populated by the choices of free creatures, God freely and sovereignly decided which world to bring into existence. This view fits well with the biblical simultaneous affirmation of both foreknowledge and predetermination (Acts2:23). Some Calvinists such as J. I. Packer and D. A. Carson affirm both, but they calltheir view the antinomy or paradox position because they know it cannot be reconciled
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Re: Molinism discussion

#107

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:17 am

:| Below is same article but from Pages 14-15 along with its notes... on some of the issues PL noted about Free Will...
DRAFT: A Molinist View of Election

Ken KeathleyFrom this PDF Aticle Link

Page 14 and 15

Molinism: Simultaneously affirming both sovereignty and permission

The two affirmations of Molinism: meticulous sovereignty and libertarian free will Let’s go back to our two control beliefs. It may not make the Arminian happy but let’s affirm that God sovereignly controls all things. 35 And the Calvinist may be displeased, but let’s understand permission the way Webster’s Dictionary defines it: permission is the giving of an opportunity or a possibility to another. This is the way permission is normally understood. Permission entails that God has granted at least some type of libertarian choice to the moral causal agents he created.[36]

So Molinism simultaneously affirms meticulous divine sovereignty and genuine human freedom. But how does it do this? In short, Molinism argues that God is able to exercise his sovereignty primarily by his omniscience. In this way, God controls all things, but is not the determinative cause of all things. How is this possible? The distinctive feature to Molinism is its contention that God’s knowledge of all things can be understood in three logical layers, or moments. Molinism is particularly noted for its view that God can infallibly assure the choices of free creatures by utilizing what it calls God’s middle knowledge.

35 Flint, Providence: The Molinist Account, 12-21; Olson states that Molinism’s affirmation ofGod’s control of all things is the reason most Arminians reject it. Roger Olson, Arminian Theology, 194-99.

36 Most Molinists hold to what can be called “soft libertarianism.” Soft libertarianism holds to agent causation and argues that the ultimate responsibility for a person’s decisions rests on that individual, which indicates in a very profound way that he is in some way the origin of his choices. Two excellent defenses of libertarianism are Robert Kane, The Significance of Free Will (Oxford: Oxford Univ., 1998) and Timothy O’Connor, Persons and Causes: the Metaphysics of Free Will (Oxford: Oxford Univ., 2000). It may come as a surprise to some Calvinists that libertarians by and large do not view free will as “the absolute ability to choose the contrary” or as “the freedom of indifference.
From this, I hope it helps clarify a few things for people who hear the word Free Will mentioned and suddenly start to hyper ventilate and like ‘Linda Blair’ their entire head begins to rotate 360 degrees and spit green split pea soup at everyone.. :xxpuke:

y:O2 8-}2
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Re: Molinism discussion

#108

Post by narnia4 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:20 am

Mentioned something like this before but I'll mention it again. Not a specific argument, just an observation.

Molinism here is continuously being presented as some sort of "alternative" to Calvinism. So it seems to me that the only reason anyone discusses Molinism at all is because of dissatitfaction with Calvinism or other more traditional positions. To me, that doesn't say a lot about the case you can make for it based on Scripture. Its a philosophical/logical argument first. If you're satisfied with the basic tenets of Calvinism, I don't see any reason to adopt Molinism. Still not convinced that it can truly stand on its own either, especially in light of indirect Scriptural reference at best.

I'd like to get back to libertarian free will, which I still see as a major issue. Did someone post an exact definition of libertarian free will as interpreted by the Molinist? Guess I'll have to reread this thing...
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Re: Molinism discussion

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Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:25 am

narnia4 wrote:Mentioned something like this before but I'll mention it again. Not a specific argument, just an observation.

Molinism here is continuously being presented as some sort of "alternative" to Calvinism. So it seems to me that the only reason anyone discusses Molinism at all is because of dissatitfaction with Calvinism or other more traditional positions. To me, that doesn't say a lot about the case you can make for it based on Scripture. Its a philosophical/logical argument first. If you're satisfied with the basic tenets of Calvinism, I don't see any reason to adopt Molinism. Still not convinced that it can truly stand on its own either, especially in light of indirect Scriptural reference at best.

I'd like to get back to libertarian free will, which I still see as a major issue. Did someone post an exact definition of libertarian free will as interpreted by the Molinist? Guess I'll have to reread this thing...
Yes, it is a tool for exploring the issues see the quote above and read the entire artile as it addresses several points you mentioned.

Example...
DRAFT: A Molinist View of Election Or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian

Ken Keathley From this PDF Aticle Link

Page 22…

The fourth point expands the third point: Molinism has a more robust and scriptural understanding of the role God’s foreknowledge plays in election than does either Calvinism or Arminianism. The Bible repeatedly states that “those God foreknew he also predestined” (Rom. 8:29) and that the saints are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Peter 1:2). Calvinists generally claim that in these instances God’s foreknowledge should be understood as his “forelove.” This seems to be a classic case of special pleading. Arminians contend that what is foreknown by God is merely the believer’s faith. Molinism rejects both explanations.

In the Calvinist understanding of foreknowledge and predetermination, the future is the product of the will of God. The Calvinist view clearly presents God as sovereign, but he also appears to be the cause of sin. In the Arminian formulation, God looks forward into a future made by the decisions of free creatures, and then makes his plans accordingly. The Arminian model emphasizes that God is a loving Father, but unfortunately his will has nothing to do with much that happens.

By contrast, Molinism contends that God actively utilizes his foreknowledge.Among the many possibilities populated by the choices of free creatures, God freely and sovereignly decided which world to bring into existence. This view fits well with the biblical simultaneous affirmation of both foreknowledge and predetermination (Acts 2:23). Some Calvinists such as J. I. Packer and D. A. Carson affirm both, but they call their view the antinomy or paradox position because they know it cannot be reconciled
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Re: Molinism discussion

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Post by jlay » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:20 pm

By utilizing these three phases of knowledge, God predestines all events, yet notin such a way that violates genuine human freedom and choice.
This is never going to fly with a 5-ponter. Based on their interpretation of pre-destination. The Bible speaks in terms of predestinating people, not just circumstances. And I agree. But the 5-pointer is applying the determined view, which really sounds more like pre-programmed too me, and I think, anyone who is intellectually honest.
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Re: Molinism discussion

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Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:34 pm

jlay wrote:
By utilizing these three phases of knowledge, God predestines all events, yet notin such a way that violates genuine human freedom and choice.
This is never going to fly with a 5-ponter. Based on their interpretation of pre-destination. The Bible speaks in terms of predestinating people, not just circumstances. And I agree. But the 5-pointer is applying the determined view, which really sounds more like pre-programmed too me, and I think, anyone who is intellectually honest.
That is what it does. For too long only one person was allowed to define predestination, purpose, will, plan, on his terms as brought out from the posted article points out and documents.

The Article I posted pages 3 and 4 says of this matter:
DRAFT: A Molinist View of Election Or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian

Ken Keathley

From this PDF Aticle Link

Some Calvinists (following their namesake, John Calvin) cannot accept that there is any conditionality in God’s decrees, so they bite the bullet and dismiss permission altogether. They embrace a double predestination in which God chose some and rejected others and then subsequently decreed the Fall in order to bring it about. Those who hold this position are called supralapsarians because they understand the decree of election and reprobation as occurring logically prior (supra) to the decree to allow the Fall lapsis), hence the term supralapsarianism.

Most Calvinists blanch at this approach. Reformed theology generally teaches that God first decreed to permit the Fall, and then from fallen humanity chose certain ones to salvation for reasons known only to him. This approach is called nfralapsarianism (infra meaning “after”), because it views God’s electing choice as occurring logically after he decided to permit the Fall.

The crucial concept to the infralapsarian Calvinist model is the notion of permission. God did not cause the Fall; he allowed it. God does not predestine the reprobate to Hell; he permits the unbeliever to go his own way. But permission iproblematic for the Calvinist—particularly to those who hold to determinism—because

Page 4

permission entails conditionality, contingency, and viewing humans as in some sense the origin of their own respective choices. Calvinists such as John Feinberg define God’s sovereignty in terms of causal determinism, and this leaves little room for a logically consistent understanding of permission.1 I am arguing that what Calvinists want to achieve in infralapsarianism, Molinism actually accomplishes. Molinism combines a high view of sovereignty with a robust understanding of permission.


Pgae 6

Calvin’s Supralapsarianism: The Concept of Permission Rejected

Calvin approached the issue of predestination with the premise that “the will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things,”6 an assumption that left little or no room for permission. Some try to argue that it was Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, who transformed Calvin’s teaching on election into supralapsarianism. But Calvin’s work on the subject, a book entitled Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God reveals that Calvin held to double predestination just as firmly as his protégée.7

In supralapsarianism, God’s decision to elect and to reprobate is primary. Key to understanding supralapsarianism is to note the distinction it makes between reprobation and damnation.8 Reprobation is God’s rejection of an individual; damnation is God’s judgment upon that person for his sins. In this paradigm God does not reject the reprobate because he is a sinner; it is the other way around. The reprobate becomes a sinner because God rejected him. God reprobated certain ones and then decreed the Fall in order to actualize his disfavor towards them. Calvin makes this clear when he declares...

Page 7

...that “the highest cause” of reprobation is not sin, but “the bare and simple pleasure of God.”9 If God’s decree of double predestination is primary, then its components of election and reprobation have equal ultimacy, a point affirmed repeatedly by modern supralapsarians such as Cornelius Van Til, Herman Hoeksema, and more recently Robert Reymond.10 God’s relationship to both classes of individuals is symmetric.

He rejected the reprobate in the same way he chose the elect.11 As Bruce Ware, an infralapsarian Calvinist, points out, grace plays no part in the supralapsarian understanding of the initial double decree.12 This is because when God decided whom he would choose and whom he would reject, humans were not yet viewed in his mind as sinners in need of grace or deserving of judgment. Grace did not logically enter the picture until after God determined to rescue his chosen from the Fall. This is why some supralapsarians such as David Engelsma do not hestitate to speak of God’s attitude towards the non-elect as one of eternal hatred.13 In supralapsarianism, sovereign grace gives way to mere sovereignty.

Page 8

As we said, Calvin had no room for permission. Calvin lampoons the very notion when he states, t is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils…I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.14

Notes:

6 John Calvin Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, J.K.S. Reid, trans. (Louisville:
Westminster John Knox, [1552]1961), 177.
7 In addition, J. V. Fesko sets the teachings of Calvin and Beza on reprobation side by side and
demonstrates the two men were in agreement on this point. See J.V. Fesko, Diversity within the Reformed
Tradition: Supra- and Infralapsarianism in Calvin, Dort, and Westminster (Greenville, SC: Reformed
Academic, 2001), 138-50.
8 John Calvin Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, 121. See also Conelius Van Til,
414, 415.9 John Calvin, Commentary on Romans, Romans 9 (citation not complete); also Concerning the
Eternal Predestination of God, 120-21.
10 Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955),
413; Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Reformed Free Publishing, 1966), 161; and
Robert Reymond, “A Consistent Supralapsarian Perspective on Election,” in Perspectives on Election: Five
Views, Chad Brand, ed. (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2006), 153.
11 “For first there is certainly a mutual relation between the elect and the reprobate, so that the
election spoken of here cannot stand, unless we confess that God separated out from others certain men as
seemed good to Him.” John Calvin, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, 68-72.
12 Bruce Ware, “Divine Election to Salvation,” in Perspectives on Election: Five Views, Chad
Brand, ed. (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2006), 56.
13 “[R]eprobation is the exact, explicit denial that God loves all men, desires to save all men, and
conditionally offers them salvation. Reprobation asserts that God eternally hates some men; has immutably
decreed their damnation; and has determined to withhold from them Christ, grace, faith, and salvation.”
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Re: Molinism discussion

#112

Post by CeT-To » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:42 pm

puritan lad wrote:
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.
Why does it make the new birth unnecessary?

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Re: Molinism discussion

#113

Post by puritan lad » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:41 pm

CeT-To wrote:
puritan lad wrote:
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.
Why does it make the new birth unnecessary?

God bless
If all we need is a "nudge" in order to make the right choice, then we don't need to be born again. We need more than a nudge. We need new life. We need more than a helper. We need a Savior.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#114

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:25 pm

Here is more information regarding what molinism means by libertarian free will. It does not sound like high Armenianism concept of libertarian free will as some people have suggested on this thread and begin attacking molinism outright as though it is. Molinism shares much in common with Calvinism. Molinism applies the concept of God’s middle knowledge to bridge the gap left out by Calvin.

Without the middle knowledge concept, predestination is decreed in such manner as to limit God’s ability of being all powerfully powerful in an absolute sense. God’s sovereignty, in essence is reduced to man’s 15-16 century concept of what sovereignty should look like as to following a strict order of progression. Molinism, on the other hand, is not a cure all, it is only a theological tool in which a person can better understand who God is and how all powerfully powerful he operates.

According to molinism, God’s Natural Knowledge, Middle Knowledge, and Future Knowledge work simultaneously together as opposed to a systematic progression. It would do well for the reader to know what the original Greek and Hebrew words for predestination, foreknowledge, God’s will, counsel, plan, purposes, wisdom, understanding, knowledge actually meant. We have resources that scholars in the 15-16 century did not have. Don’t be afraid to use them.

So let’s begin with this article showing what Molinism and Calvinism share in common and the next article - the differences.
Molinists and Calvinists: Locked in a Wordy Embrace with the Same Gargoyle
Dec 23rd, 2009 by Ken Keathley

Molinists and Calvinists

I have put my hand to the tar baby. Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach (Broadman & Holman) came out this month, a book in which I tackle the divine sovereignty–human responsibility conundrum, specifically as it relates to the area of salvation. As the title indicates, the book approaches the issue from a Molinist perspective, which means I advocate a high view of sovereign control but a libertarian understanding of free will (though in a stripped-down version I call “soft-libertarianism”).

After grinding my brain cells on the subject for the past ten years, I am struck by how much compabilists (read Calvinists) and Molinists have in common. We agree much more than we disagree. And we are wrestling with same puzzle: how God is entirely the Author of our salvation while we are entirely the origin of our sin. As Allen Guelzo describes the efforts of theologians and philosophers over the past two centuries, “we have been locked in a wordy embrace with the same gargoyle” (Guelzo: 1999, 108). To pile on another metaphor, Calvinists approach the tension from one side while Molinists come at it from the other, but in the end we are both slamming our heads against the same brick wall.

Without minimizing our differences, let me list some areas of agreement between Molinists and Calvinists:

1. Divine Sovereignty and human free will are both profoundly true. We hold to both because the Bible simultaneously teaches both. We reject two opposite but equally dangerous tendencies: the denial of free will (fatalism) and the deification of free will (open theism comes to mind). Philosopher Robert Kane proposes a version of “soft-libertarianism” that goes a long way in addressing the objections many Calvinists have had towards libertarianism, and in the book I incorporate his insights in my discussion on human choices.

2. God, whenever He chooses, accomplishes His will with precision and success (Isa 14:24; Prov 16:33; Matt 10:29-30)). Some might call this a version of meticulous providence. Molinists and Calvinists equally affirm God’s comprehensive control of both the means and the ends.

3. Despite the fact that God can and does accomplish His will through the wicked decisions and actions of sinful men (Gen 50:10; Acts 2:23), God is not responsible for evil nor is He the origin of sin. This is certainly not a distinctly Molinist doctrine. The Canons of Dort declare that the very notion of God as the author of sin is ”a blasphemous thought” (Art 15).

4. Apart from a gracious work of the Holy Spirit, no one can repent and believe the Gospel. Fallen humanity has lost free will in the one place it really matters–in the ability to respond to God. Not only do Molinists and Calvinists agree on this point, but so do all orthodox Christians. To deny this fact is to embrace Pelagianism. The disagreement between Molinists and Calvinists lies in our respective understanding of the nature and extent of God’s enablement (i.e., whether it is always effectual). This dispute must not be papered over, but it shouldn’t be caricatured either.

5. The Gospel is genuinely proffered to every hearer. If Calvinists generally find unsatisfactory the Molinist approach to point four, then Molinists usually look with skepticism at the typical Calvinist explanation on this point. But let’s remember that all good Calvinists and Molinists affirm “the well-meant offer” of the Gospel. As Wayne Grudem points out in his discussion of the Savior’s invitation of Matt 11:28-30, “Every non-Christian hearing these words should be encouraged to think of them as words that Jesus Christ is even now, at this very moment, speaking to him or to her individually…This is a genuine personal invitation that seeks a personal response from each one who hears it” (Grudem: 1994, 694. Emphasis original).

So we affirm that salvation is a sovereign, monergistic work of God, such that the redeemed are saved entirely by grace. At the same time, we genuinely repent and believe, we truly receive the Gospel, such that the Christ-rejecter is damned by his own choice. The Bible clearly teaches both concurrent truths. And we must simultaneously affirm both. To coin a phrase from Peter Thuesen, on this issue the biblical witness requires that we must be theologically ambidextrous.
The next quoted section is from an article I posted earlier. The above article did not mention difference Calvinist and Molinist approaches to biblical understanding. William Lane Craig sums up these differences as five challenges against Calvinism (what Calvin missed).

After posting these two articles for reference. I will hope to be able to give the readers my own definitions of molinism’s middle knowledge in easy English, foregoing the philospher speak that can confuse people. Molinism shows that the Calvinist approach concerns itself with only God’s Natural Knowedge (molinist term) and Free Knowledge (molinist term) and leaves out middle knowledge in how God predestinates, etc...

I hope that those reading can see from all our post see that Molinism is not Armenianism, as some have so far suggest. My hope is that maybe we can move on from here and actually discuss this subject in the next postings where I’ll give my take on molinism middle knowledge concept and we all can finally go from there. I apologize for the delay but we must deal first with misnomers.

William Lane Craig discusses Calvinism and the problem of evil

Article Reference Link

Craig levels 5 challenges against Calvinism:

1â—¦Universal, divine, causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture.

2â—¦Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed.

3â—¦Universal, divine, determinism makes God the author of sin and precludes human responsibility.

4â—¦Universal, divine, determinism nullifies human agency.

5â—¦Universal, divine determinism makes reality into a farce.

All of my readers should try to make themselves familiar with Molinism (i.e. – middle knowledge). I have friends who are Calvinists and I think it helps to be able to explain to non-Christians how God can be sovereign over all of the universe from the beginning of time, and yet man can still be responsible for freely choosing to rebel against God.

I think every Christian feels that God was tugging them toward him to some degree or other, and that they had no free choice to resist him. And on Molinism, there was no other way it could be. God chose a universe in which he knew that you would freely respond to his drawing you toward him. He was not surprised – he knew. There was no rolling of the dice – he chose to save you before the universe was created. But not in violation of your free will to respond to his salvific initiative. He chose you, and he gave you what you needed to respond to his drawing you to him.

Seriously folks – the middle knowledge view solves the problem of divine sovereignty and human freedom a lot better than Calvinism does. You can keep your Calvinism if you like it, but it sure helps to know the Molinist view if you are talking to atheists who want an answer. Just phrase it as a possible answer to the problem, if you don’t believe it. At least survey the possible views for non-Christians so they see it as a possibility.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#115

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:01 am

It probably would be a good idea at some point in the future too to have a discussion about Arminianism and lay it out as it is held historically and not how some Calvinists portray it characterizing with an almost mantra-like tying to Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism. If some here are frustrated with what they believe to be the misrepresentation of their views it should follow that they would be sympathetic to others who feel the same and grant them the same courtesy they request for themsleves. If that's an overstatement in terms of our regular participants, it's generally true that many who characterize Arminianism have either never read an Arminian source and stepped back to at least try to understand what is being said there and how it relates as a system despite several premises that are at odds with their own beliefs.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#116

Post by DannyM » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:37 am

B. W. wrote:Below is same article but from Pages 14-15 along with its notes... on some of the issues PL noted about Free Will...

Molinists hold to what can be called “soft libertarianism.” Soft libertarianism holds to agent causation and argues that the ultimate responsibility for a person’s decisions rests on that individual, which indicates in a very profound way that he is in some way the origin of his choices. Two excellent defenses of libertarianism are Robert Kane, The Significance of Free Will (Oxford: Oxford Univ., 1998) and Timothy O’Connor, Persons and Causes: the Metaphysics of Free Will (Oxford: Oxford Univ., 2000). It may come as a surprise to some Calvinists that libertarians by and large do not view free will as “the absolute ability to choose the contrary” or as “the freedom of indifference.[/i]”

From this, I hope it helps clarify a few things for people who hear the word Free Will mentioned and suddenly start to hyper ventilate and like ‘Linda Blair’ their entire head begins to rotate 360 degrees and spit green split pea soup at everyone.
Hi B.W.,

So, is that it? Is this what a “Molinism Discussion” looks like? Why aren’t you interacting with any of the points I and others have made? Why have you chosen to take offence at views which oppose Molinism when you are claiming to be merely exploring the idea? For someone so ‘neutral’ you sure don’t seem to like disagreement. It’s fine, I get it. You don’t want a full-on discussion at all; you want to promote Molinism without any dissent from the galleries. Now I have seen what this “discussion” is all about, bro, I won’t trouble you any longer. Nor waste my time and effort.

God bless
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Re: Molinism discussion

#117

Post by domokunrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:20 am

You know what, Danny?

I wish you'd take a step back and really look at your writing and just realize the poor attitude you bring. I've thumbed through some of the readings that have been offered here by BW and by canuckster in the other thread, and all you've done is whine and complain about your dissatisfaction to their efforts to just get all the information out there.

The articles and information is not their work. I find it improbable that ANYONE reads the information here and immediately "gets it". I believe the best approach here is to read the information, think about it, come back to read it again, ask God to help us understand, think about it, do it several more times, THEN come back and give your thoughts.

I have absolutely no confidence that a discussion would be fruitful if we just bang away with argumentitives to start off.

If you want to take you ball and go home, fine.

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Re: Molinism discussion

#118

Post by DannyM » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:50 am

domokunrox wrote:You know what, Danny?

I wish you'd take a step back and really look at your writing and just realize the poor attitude you bring.


Thanks for the lesson.
domokunrox wrote:I've thumbed through some of the readings that have been offered here by BW and by canuckster in the other thread, and all you've done is whine and complain about your dissatisfaction to their efforts to just get all the information out there.
You’re another one who only sees what they want to see. I’ve read the entire thread back, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence could see that this is not a discussion.
domokunrox wrote:The articles and information is not their work. I find it improbable that ANYONE reads the information here and immediately "gets it". I believe the best approach here is to read the information, think about it, come back to read it again, ask God to help us understand, think about it, do it several more times, THEN come back and give your thoughts.
I know what Molinism says; I’ve argued specifically against Molinism and “middle knowledge,” only for it to be ignored/dismissed and then further links put up. Are we supposed to interact with links, all the while having our own arguments ignored? That is not a discussion. Perhaps it is you who needs to step back, and actually see things for yourself.
domokunrox wrote:I have absolutely no confidence that a discussion would be fruitful if we just bang away with argumentitives to start off.

If you want to take you ball and go home, fine.
You can put it like that if you want; I’d call it bowing out of a discussion where contrary arguments are simply ignored.

And coming from a hit-and-run merchant such as yourself, your post is pretty rich to say the least.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#119

Post by domokunrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:03 am

I would hardly say anyone even grasps Molinism in 7 days.
WLC didn't understand Molinism in 7 days, what makes you so special? Is there some kind of special industrial strength Red Bull you drink? What's the secret?

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Re: Molinism discussion

#120

Post by Byblos » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:32 am

domokunrox wrote:To learn, you first need to understand that you know nothing.
Excellent advice Dom, excellent advice.

This is what I have to say about Molinism, if you subscribe to classical philosophy in general, and God's simplicity and aseity in particular (as I do) then you cannot be a Molinist by definition. WLC does not subscribe to God's simplicity, that is why he can be a Molinist. IMO, however, denying God's simplicity and aseity opens up a host of other problems. This is an age old conflict between the 2 camps, people. On the one hand we have a camp that attempts to preserve God's absolute sovereignty but seems to deny choice. And on the other, a camp that attempts to preserve choice but seems to deny God's sovereignty and fall prey to palegianism. At this time it would be wise to admit to one's self that an element of mystery is at play here, one that we may never be able to resolve until we're in the presence of the beatific vision.

Happy New Year everyone.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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