Happy new year to everyone. Chill, relax, and thank the Lord for life, his love and his son.Happy New Year everyone.
Happy new year to everyone. Chill, relax, and thank the Lord for life, his love and his son.Happy New Year everyone.
I can't say that answers the question. Not to run down another trail, but it might be a good idea to discuss faith. What is faith?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.
Something else to keep in mind that things that are seemingly contradictory could very well turn out to be 2 sides of the same coin. That is how I approach the subject. Although I do subscribe to classical philosophy (and therefore am not a Molinist), I must always admit there are others on both sides of the fence who are infinitely smarter than I am and, as such, I leave room for both camps to be close to the truth. This is not a contradiction, it is an acknowledgment of the mystery at play.narnia4 wrote:Ah, that's a good point, Byblos. Divine simplicity (and aseity) isn't something that's been discussed a lot. I was surprised when I first saw that Craig doesn't hold to it. Jlay recently posted a link to some work by Jac that devotes well over 100 pages in defense of divine simplicity.
So if divine simplicity can be defended, that poses problems for Molinism (I'd imagine that's why Craig doesn't hold to it). If libertarian free will doesn't exist, then that kills Molinism. If the Calvinists' approach to sovereignty can be proved, then there shouldn't be any need to posit Molinism. These points have been argued in detailed but... yeah, not sure what else to say at this point. Too tired to argue now, maybe I'll try to dig up some links later.
But another point that has consistently been brought up is that Molinism, Calvinism, Arminianism, that they're all just "tools" to approach the same issue and maybe combined they could get the job done or something. I just don't see that, personally. They're systems, theological boxes that are incompatible with each other. There are some variation within each position, but there are points that Molinists and Calvinists are completely at odds with each other and those points can't be logically reconciled. With that said, of course we can and should respect and love each other as brothers in Christ and understand that we have the same faith here. Its not a light issue that's being discussed, but its not one that should cause discord between Christians either.
Danny, the best way is to posit what the experts say on this subject before going any further. This way, both sides have a quick reference point to focus on. That is all that I have been doing so far (collecting Data and posting it). My last post stated that I will attempt to give a definition of Molinism Middle Knowledge in a easy manner people can grasp. After that, the flood gates are open. The articles from experts - have answered some of your points...DannyM wrote:Hi B.W.,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]”
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.
Subject: Molinism and Romans 9
Q and A
William Lane Craig on Romans 9
Dear Dr. Craig,
I am an atheist currently reading Reasonable Faith, and I must begin by saying how engaging and challenging your book has so far been! I am looking forward to reading more of your ideas in your other books, as well, and as a member of the "loyal opposition" I applaud you for a job well done in your search for the truth.
I have two very different questions. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in addressing them, and I look forward to your response.
First, in one of your early chapters in Reasonable Faith, you claim to lay the foundation for the resurrection of Christ from the dead by God by cumulatively building a case for the existence of a personal, moral, powerful divine Creator who is temporal with our universe, and then on the basis of your case you make the claim that God raised Jesus from the dead.
The thought occurred to me, then, whether it would be valid for an atheist in a debate with you to likewise present a cumulative case for the nonexistence of God as you defined Him, and similar to your method, conclude that at the very most Jesus raised from the dead by means of something different from God as given in your cumulative case - thereby concluding that Christianity is false even if a historical resurrection is certain.
Of course I know you very likely hold that counterarguments against your case are invalid, but I am wondering if you think that such a method on the part of the atheist is in and of itself logically conclusive against Christianity if you assume for sake of argument that all of the atheist's premises here are true.
2. In Romans 9, Paul describes Jacob and Esau as being judged as loved and hated (or "loved less") before they did any good or evil. Paul then goes on to liken all of us as clay molded by a potter, and states that it is not the will of he who runs but of He who shows mercy which saves us. Paul relates God telling Pharaoh: "for this purpose I have raised you up ..." and then discusses an idea that the vessels God made for "common use" are there only for the purpose of showing His patience to his more special pots.
Many Reformed think this passage shows double-predestination and unconditional election, and I am forced to agree with them - as is Christ Himself in John 6:65! The Reformed God is something I view as tyrannical and unworthy of worship, and indeed it is tough for someone outside the faith to respond to the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 with anything but hatred: as the prominent Reformed scholar James White describes this very chapter, "I understand that the only way one can believe this is by an act of grace."
In my view, this defeats your position of molinism, since one cannot freely choose God on his own in any potential setting without God's prior help. Furthermore, the context of the related story in John 6 has disciples abandoning Christ, prompting what He says in 6:65 and proving that Christ is not offered as a free gift to all! What is left for the freedom of man to choose Christ given these passages?
Thank you graciously for your time,
Dr. Craig responds:
Let me say straightaway, Darrin, how much I appreciate the tone of your letter. Though you disagree with my views, your letter is a model of civility, which all the rest of us would do well to emulate. It's a pleasure to address your questions.
First, as to the feasibility of framing an atheistic perspective on the historicity of Jesus' resurrection parallel to the case I build for it, it seems to me that this is, in fact, the atheist's best hope of success. First present arguments against theism such as the problem of evil or the impossibility of non-embodied persons, so that when you turn to the evidence for the resurrection there just is no such supernatural person to appeal to by way of explanation.
Note, however, one potentially significant difference between the two cases: in the case of theism, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is itself confirmatory of theism (see the fine article by Timothy and Lydia McGrew in the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, ed. Wm. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland), so that the addition of the evidence for Jesus' resurrection serves to increase the probability of theism even more. By contrast, for the atheist, the evidence for the resurrection tends to be disconfirmatory of atheism, so that it weakens his original anti-theistic case and renders atheism less probable. If one esteems the evidence for Jesus' resurrection to be quite powerful, it might just outbalance the probability of the arguments you gave for atheism, so that in the end theism might look like a pretty good alternative after all. In any event, the case for atheism will look weaker after taking account of the evidence for Jesus' resurrection than before.
Second, let's talk about Paul's doctrine of election in Romans 9. I want to share with you a perspective on Paul's teaching that I think you'll find very illuminating and encouraging. Typically, as a result of Reformed theology, we have a tendency to read Paul as narrowing down the scope of God's election to the very select few, and those not so chosen can't complain if God in His sovereignty overlooks them. I think this is a fundamental misreading of the chapter which makes very little sense in the context of Paul's letter.
Earlier in his letter Paul addresses the question of what advantage there is to Jewish identity if one fails to live up to the demands of the law (Rom 2:17 ,Rom 3:21). He says that although being Jewish has great advantages in being the recipients of God's revelatory oracles, nevertheless being Jewish gives you no automatic claim to God's salvation. Instead, Paul asserts the radical and shocking claim that "He is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is of the heart, spiritual and not literal" (Rom 2:28-29).
Paul held that "no human being will be justified in God's sight by works of the law" (Rom 3.20); rather "we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law" (Rom 3:29). That includes Gentiles as well as Jews. "Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one" (Rom 3:29-30).
Do you realize what that meant to Paul's Jewish contemporaries? Gentile "dogs" who have faith in Christ may actually be more Jewish than ethnic Jews and go into the Kingdom while God's chosen people are shut out! Unthinkable! Scandalous!
Paul goes on to support his view by appeal to the example of none less than Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. Abraham, Paul explains, was pronounced righteous by God before he received circumcision. "The purpose," says Paul, "was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised [i.e., the Gentiles] and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised [note the qualification!] but also follow the example of faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised" (Rom 4:11-12).
This is explosive teaching. Paul begins chapter 9 by expressing his profound sorrow that ethnic Jews have missed God's salvation by rejecting their Messiah [= Christ]. But he says it's not as though God's word had failed. Rather, as we have already seen, "not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants" (Rom 9:6-7). Being ethnically Jewish is not enough; rather one must be a child of the promise—and that, as we've seen, may include Gentiles and exclude Jews.
The problematic, then, with which Paul is wrestling is how God's chosen people the Jews could fail to obtain the promise of salvation while Gentiles, who were regarded by Jews as unclean and execrable, could find salvation instead. Paul's answer is that God is sovereign: He can save whomever He wants, and no one can gainsay God. He has the freedom to have mercy upon whomever He wills, even upon execrable Gentiles, and no one can complain of injustice on God's part.
So—and this is the crucial point—who is it that God has chosen to save? The answer is: those who have faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul writes in Galatians (which is a sort of abbreviated Romans), "So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). Jew or Gentile, it doesn't matter: God has sovereignly chosen to save all those who trust in Christ Jesus for salvation.
That's why Paul can go on in Romans 10 to say, "There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For 'everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved'" (Rom 10:12-13). Reformed theology can make no sense at all of this wonderful, universal call to salvation. Whosoever will may come.
Paul's burden, then, in Romans 9 is not to narrow the scope of God's election but to broaden it. He wants to take in all who have faith in Christ Jesus regardless of their ethnicity. Election, then, is first and foremost a corporate notion: God has chosen for Himself a people, a corporate entity, and it is up to us by our response of faith whether or not we choose to be members of that corporate group destined to salvation.
Of course, given God's total providence over the affairs of men, this is not the whole story. But Molinism makes good sense of the rest. John 6:65 means that apart from God's grace no one can come to God on his own. But there's no suggestion there that those who refused to believe in Christ did not do so of their own free will. God knows in exactly what circumstances people will freely respond to His grace and places people in circumstances in which each one receives sufficient grace for salvation if only that person will avail himself of it. But God knows who will respond and who won't. So again the fault does not lie with God that some persons freely resist God's grace and every effort to save them; rather they like Israel fail to attain salvation because they refuse to have faith.
1. What? I’ve been looking into Molinism for the best part of 3 years now on and off. Where are you getting seven days from?domokunrox wrote: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?
This is shocking, coming from the know-it-all, self-proclaimed professional philosopher who strolled onto this board like he knew the lot. Honestly, the mind boggles.domokunrox wrote:To learn, you first need to understand that you know nothing.
From Reasonable Faith - Article William Lane Craig wrote: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. It is a tragedy that in rejecting middle knowledge Reformed divines have cut themselves off from the most perspicuous explanation of the coherence of this wonderful confession.
DRAFT: A Molinist View of Election Or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian
From this PDF Aticle Link Page 22
....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
Here is some more Neo !!neo-x wrote:Interesting post B.W, thanx for posting.
Calvin did say that he had… “NO intention to discuss all the definitions which different writers have adopted but only to adduce the one which seems to me most accordant with truth. Original sin, then, may be defined a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature…”But lest the thing itself of which we speak be unknown or doubtful, it will be proper to define original sin. (Calvin, in Conc. Trident. 1, Dec. Sess. 5). I have no intention, however, to discuss all the definitions which different writers have adopted, but only to adduce the one which seems to me most accordant with truth. Original sin, then, may be defined a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the flesh. This corruption is repeatedly designated by Paul by the term sin… John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter One, Paragraph 8
Predestination has been a one sided affair in the Western Churches, brought on by the works of John Calvin. Molinism, on the other hand, attempts to explore an area which John Calvin failed to address which helps illuminates how God is not the author of sin, etc and etc. It helps clarify issues that Calvin leaves to doubt. The concepts of God’s Natural and God’s Free knowledge came from epistemology handed down by Aquinas’s."...it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God's will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are."..."For God's will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God's will, which cannot be found." (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)
This is an interesting statment in the Wikipedia quote: They thus did not teach that human beings are deprived of free will and involved in total depravity, which is one understanding of original sin. During this period the doctrines of human depravity and the inherently sinful nature human flesh were taught by Gnostics…wikipedia Link
Orthodoxy prefers using the term "ancestral sin", which indicates that "original sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin " In this quotation, "original sin" is used not of the personal sin of Adam, which is his alone and is not transmitted, but in reference to the "distortion of the nature of man", which is inherited.
An important exposition of the belief of Eastern Christians identifies original sin as physical (death) and spiritual death, the spiritual death being the loss of "the grace of God, which quickened (the soul) with the higher and spiritual life". Others see original sin also as the cause of actual sins: "a bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matthew 7:17, NIV), although, in this view, original and actual sin may be difficult to distinguish.
The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists mostly dealt with topics other than original sin. The doctrine of original sin was first developed in 2nd-century Bishop of Lyon Irenaeus's struggle against Gnosticism. Irenaeus contrasted their doctrine with the view that the Fall was a step in the wrong direction by Adam, with whom, Irenaeus believed, his descendants had some solidarity or identity. Irenaeus believed that Adam's sin had grave consequences for humanity, that it is the source of human sinfulness, mortality and enslavement to sin, and that all human beings participate in his sin and share his guilt.
The Greek Fathers emphasized the cosmic dimension of the Fall, namely that since Adam human beings are born into a fallen world, but held fast to belief that man, though fallen, is free. They thus did not teach that human beings are deprived of free will and involved in total depravity, which is one understanding of original sin. During this period the doctrines of human depravity and the inherently sinful nature human flesh were taught by Gnostics, and orthodox Christian writers took great pains to counter them. Christian Apologists insisted that God's future judgment of humanity implied humanity must have the ability to live righteously.
It was in the West that precise definition of the doctrine arose. Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Ambrosiaster considered that mankind shares in Adam's sin, transmitted by human generation. Augustine of Hippo taught that Adam's sin is transmitted by concupiscence, resulting in mankind becoming a massa damnata (mass of perdition, condemned crowd), with much enfeebled, though not destroyed, freedom of will. When Adam sinned, human nature was thenceforth transformed. Adam and Eve, via sexual reproduction, recreated human nature. Their descendants now live in sin, in the form of concupiscence, a term Augustine used in a metaphysical, not a psychological sense. Augustine insisted that concupiscence was not a being but a bad quality, the privation of good or a wound. He admitted that sexual concupiscence (libido) might have been present in the perfect human nature in paradise, and that only later it became disobedient to human will as a result of the first couple's disobedience to God's will in the original sin. In Augustine's view (termed "Realism"), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.
Opposition to Augustine's ideas about original sin arose rapidly, voiced particularly by the Pelagians. After a long and bitter struggle the general principles of Augustine's teaching were confirmed within Western Christianity by many councils, especially the Second Council of Orange in 529. Some of the followers of Augustine identified original sin with concupiscence in the psychological sense, but this identification was challenged by the 11th-century Saint Anselm of Canterbury, who defined original sin as "privation of the righteousness that every man ought to possess", thus separating it from concupiscence. In the 12th century the identification of original sin with concupiscence was supported by Peter Lombard and others, but was rejected by the leading theologians in the next century, chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas. He distinguished the supernatural gifts of Adam before the Fall from what was merely natural, and said that it was the former that were lost, privileges that enabled man to keep his inferior powers in submission to reason and directed to his supernatural end. Even after the fall, man thus kept his natural abilities of reason, will and passions. Rigorous Augustine-inspired views persisted among the Franciscans, though the most prominent Franciscan theologians, such as Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, eliminated the element of concupiscence.
Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin equated original sin with concupiscence, affirming that it persisted even after baptism and completely destroyed freedom.
It is important, why? Molinism method is a tool that helps regain what was lost:But lest the thing itself of which we speak be unknown or doubtful, it will be proper to define original sin. (Calvin, in Conc. Trident. 1, Dec. Sess. 5). I have no intention, however, to discuss all the definitions which different writers have adopted, but only to adduce the one which seems to me most accordant with truth. Original sin, then, may be defined a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the flesh. This corruption is repeatedly designated by Paul by the term sin… John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter One, Paragraph 8
In fact Reformed Theologians such as Bruce A. Ware and Terrance Tiessen use the Molinist methods of exploration of human choice as viable by Ware’s example and Tiesson’s statement.In Congruism, I think we can clearly see how closely Arminianism and Calvinism can be brought by a doctrine of middle knowledge. For Lutheranism/Calvinism is (with respect to the issue at hand) simply a more consistent Thomism, and Congruism gives the Thomist everything he could desire in terms of God’s gratuitous and sovereign election and yet, unlike Thomism, consistently maintains human freedom. With Luther, one could affirm God’s infallible foreknowledge of future contingents and, with Calvin, God’s sovereign providence over the universe and yet not thereby sacrifice genuine human freedom.
Middle knowledge does not entail Congruism, of course, and Arminians are not apt to go so far in affirming the gratuity of election and the efficacy of God’s gracious initiatives; but the point remains that by laying a common foundation of a doctrine of middle knowledge, Calvinists and Arminians could reduce the chasm that now separates them to the small divide that serves to distinguish Molina from Suarez, and this would be a monumental and laudable achievement.
Craig, “Middle Knowledge,” page 161
....if we really do make our choices for prevailing reasons, if the conditions (both internal and external) surrounding a particular choice present to us the individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for making just the choices we do, if choices and actions are actually effects of sufficient causal factors—if this is so, then it follows that God can know what choices would be made by knowing just exactly the set of conditions (i.e., all factors which together form the set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions) that gives rise to particular choices and actions.
So, he can envision an agent in one situation, and knowing all the factors true in that situation can know from these factors what choice the agent would make here, and he can envision a slightly different situation, and again, in knowing all the factors true to that situation he can know what the agent would do, instead, there.
Bruce A. Ware, God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 27-28
This is a good start, in reducing the chasm that separates Christians based on the theology concerning free will, determinism, predestination, et al etc…Without middle knowledge I cannot conceptualize God’s decision as either wise or cognizant of the freedom of his creatures. If God simply decided the future in one logical moment without regard to the possible responses of creatures to his own initiatives and wisest responses that he could make to those creaturely decisions, then any appearance of significance in those human decisions is thoroughly illusory.
Terrance Tiessen, Providence and Prayer: How Does God Work in the World? (Downers Grove, Ill.:Inter Varsity Press, 2000), 319. Cf. John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Foundations of Evangelical Theology; Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2001), 747-752.
However, the neo-Molinist method is equally not liked by the High Arminian position for they fear it will force them to concede to become Calvinist as the following article posted earlier stated:For scientia media to become the basis for such a rapprochement . . . the Reformed [Calvinist] would need to concede virtually all of the issues in debate and adopt the Arminian perspective, because, in terms of the metaphysical foundations of the historical debate between Reformed and Arminian, the idea of a divine scientia media or middle knowledge is the heart and soul of the original Arminian position. Middle knowledge is not a middle ground. It was the Arminian, just as it was the Jesuit view, in the controversies over grace and predestination that took place in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
Richard A. Muller, “Grace, Election and Contingent Choice: Arminius’s Gambit and the Reformed Response
So it appears at the moment that the divide that separates is more fear based – each sides fear of conceding to the other.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…
Link for Theology for the Church Article