Molinism discussion

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Re: Molinism discussion

#121

Post by neo-x » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:57 am

My first post in this thread and is totally irrelevant but still,

@Byblos
Happy New Year everyone.
Happy new year to everyone. Chill, relax, :cheers: and thank the Lord for life, his love and his son. :D
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


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Re: Molinism discussion

#122

Post by narnia4 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:21 am

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.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#123

Post by jlay » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:56 am

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.
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?

I find it odd, that you see many ignoring or impuning the finished work of Christ, which is what you are saying here. That some are insinutation that a person doesn't need to be born again.
I still recall the day I believed and how certainly I was persuaded by the Gospel that I needed to be born again.
The reality is the issue of faith, how and when regeneration occurs. This isn't a debate on the sufficiency of Christ, no matter how much you see it as so.

Acts 17:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Molinism discussion

#124

Post by Byblos » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:58 am

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.
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.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#125

Post by narnia4 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:00 am

Also, maybe I'm just dense but the Molinist's definition of free will still and how it works still seems very vague to me. People apparently have a very good idea what they're attacking when they talk about free will and Calvinism, can't honestly say the same thing about the "soft libertarian free will". If libertarian free will as I understand it isn't what the Molinist believes, then what's a simple, precise, laid out definition? Sorry if I'm just being dense but sometimes I just am that dense and need to see things repeated.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#126

Post by B. W. » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:29 am

DannyM wrote:
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]”
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
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...

In such discussion, dealing with false accusations must be dealt with first or no headway will be made by anyside. Posing the experts comments on the subject produces headway. If we do not have such parameters, then this thread will degenerate into who can curse the loudest the other side. So please read and investigate.

So before we begin, I will post this article by William Lane Craig on Romans Chapter Nine as the subject will no doubt come up soon. Craig makes a good point in the closing two paragraphs...
Question 79

Subject: Molinism and Romans 9

Q and A

William Lane Craig on Romans 9

Question:

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,

Darrin

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.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#127

Post by DannyM » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:41 pm

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?
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?

2. Aside from the irrelevance of your following comment, can you explain to me how producing arguments and expecting to be interacted with on those arguments makes the person think they are “so special”?
domokunrox wrote:To learn, you first need to understand that you know nothing.
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.
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Re: Molinism discussion

#128

Post by B. W. » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:03 pm

-
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It is my hope in the Lord that those reading and following this subject here on the Forum have discovered that Molinism is not purely Armenianism, nor is it purely Calvinism either. It is not Pelagianism, nor is its concept of free will mean that God is a slave to human choice. Such accusations, I hope, have been dealt with through the articles provided so that we can actually begin to move forward and make some progress in understanding more about Molinism, and its use in helping the human mind comprehend a little bit more about God.

So how best to describe Molinism in plain ordinary English that everyday people can understand it? I can only give you my own definition which is a composite statement brief from all the posted articles so far. What is Molinism in a nutshell?

Molinism is a study on the absolute omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of Almighty God regarding Predestination and Free will and other matters as well.

It begins to look into these matters by first looking into the epistemology handed down by Aquinas’s called Natural and Free Knowledge, and then demonstrates that there is something missing between these two types of Knowledge as pertaining to God called God’s Middle Knowledge.

So what is God's Natural Knowledge , and God’s Free knowledge i.e. Future Knowledge in a nutshell?

God’s Natural Knowledge can be summed as God's own omnipotent ways.

God’s Free knowledge i.e. Future Knowledge can be summed up as God's own omnipresence ways in the day to day dealings in the reality of human beings.

The epistemology handed down by Aquinas’s and later by Calvin deals primarily with God's Natural and Free Knowledge by using a systematic equational form. What is lacking from this ordered equation is God’s omniscience. This is where Molinism comes in. It defines what is missing from the systematic equation and indentifies it as God’s Middle Knowledge so people will be attracted to explore God’s omniscience further. Despite objections stating otherwise - God's Middle knowledge is bible based and there are plenty of verses that verify it.

The systematic approach talks much on the omnipotence of God and God omnipresent work in human reality as primary and comes in a specfic order but appears to neglect, or pay lip service, in cases even downplays God’s omniscience in its absoluteness, and its coequal influence upon the omnipotence and omnipresence workings of God achieving his will, purposes, etc…

Therefore, God’s Middle knowledge simply stated, is the investigation into the absolute omniscience of God Almighty. God knows all things; God knows and understand all our thoughts from afar off and is intimately acquainted with all our ways as Psalms 139:2-3 states and God’s Middle Knowledge looks intently upon how God does that. It investigates God’s Omniscience in its total absoluteness working alongside together and at the same time with God’s omnipotence and omnipresence that answers the hard questions about predestination that a systematic approach cannot adequately achieve.

That is the simplest definition I can give for Molinism Middle Knowledge (the investigation into the absolute omniscience of God Almighty). Next, Lord willing, I will try to give more clarity into the workings of God’s Middle Knowledge as it related to predestination. Please use the articles posted as points of reference.

God Bless and Happy New Year! 2012 !!!
-
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Re: Molinism discussion

#129

Post by B. W. » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:29 pm

+
+
After reviewing the post and going over the data concerning Molinism, it appears that John Calvin changed the nature and definition on God’s omniscience to fit more or less his doctrine on Predestination, Election, etc. In doing so, the hypotheses concerning this is that Mr. Calvin weakened and limited God’s omniscience to fit his definition of decree pertaining to his doctorial themes. In other words, John Calvin placed God’s omniscience inside of God’s Natural knowledge (God’s Natural Knowledge pertains to God's own omnipotent ways). Therefore, from God’s Natural Omnipotence, God works in the daily realities in the affairs of men/women in the form of God’s Free Knowledge (His own omnipresent ways).

God’s omniscient ways were redefined by Calvin to fit into an identical mold of God’s Omnipotent workings. From God’s Omnipotence workings (Natural Knowledge) systematically flows into how God’s Free Knowledge (his omnipresent ways) works in the real affairs of humanity and the universe. This presents a dilemma that makes God the author of sin. How - because before the foundation of the world God just choose, because man can’t chose, God had too d-mn many to perdition thru sin, because they can’t chose, so that in order to save a few God chose because man cannot choose, all for his good pleasure. To make this scheme work, Calvin made God’s omniscience identical to God’s omnipotent ways.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, page. 2436 brings out this very point that Calvin did indeed make Foreknowledge (God’s Omniscience) and Foreordaining (predestining) identical.

"…Calvin's definition. Reprobation was, for Calvin, involved in election, and Divine foreknowledge and foreordination were taken to be identical. Calvin's mode of defining predestination was as the eternal degree of God, by which He has decided with Himself what is to become of each and every individual. For all, he maintains, are not created in like condition; but eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal condemnation for others. Calvin confesses that this is a 'horrible decree'" The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

From Mr. Calvin himself we have this…

No one who wishes to be thought religious dares outright to deny predestination by which God chooses some for the hope of life, and condemns others to eternal death. But men entangle it with captious quibbles; and especially those who make foreknowledge the ground of it. We indeed attribute to God both predestination and foreknowledge; but we call it absurd to subordinate one to the other. When we attribute foreknowledge to God we mean that all things have ever been, and eternally remain, before his eyes; to that to his knowledge nothing is future or past, but all things are present; and present not in the sense that they are reproduced in imagination (as we are aware of past events which are retained in our memory), but present in the sense that he really sees and observes them placed, as it were, before his eyes. And this foreknowledge extends over the whole universe and over every creature. By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he has decided in his own mind what he wishes to happen in the case of each individual. For all men are not created on an equal footing, but for some eternal life is pre ordained, for others eternal damnation.” John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Book III. Chap. xxi.

Calvin does just that – mixes God’s omniscience with God’s omnipotence together in order to move the affairs of our current reality in which we live. You have God’s Natural Knowledge (Sovereign omnipotence and God’s Free Knowledge (God’s Omnipresence) at work. To do this, Calvin had to redefine God’s Foreknowledge (God’s omniscience) to fit his model of doctrine. Just as The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, page. 2436 quoted above stated.

God’s absolute Omniscience therefore is missing from Calvinism.

Molinism’s Middle Knowledge reintroduces the role of how God’s absolute Omniscience works in the areas of election, predestination, God’s sovereignty, human responsibility, sin, etc. Molinism covers an area Calvin neglected to further investigate because in my opinion, it did not fit the systematic theme of Calvin’s doctrines.

Also Molinism looks into the matter of God’s timelessness as well to help explore God’s omniscient ways to help gain a better understanding and love for a truly all powerfully omnipotent majestic God. It helps explore the mystery of God so we might gain a simple glimpse of his ways and wonders, knowing he is not the author of and evil, just as William Lane Craig and Ken Keathley stated:
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

Ken Keathley

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
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Re: Molinism discussion

#130

Post by neo-x » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:20 am

Interesting post B.W, thanx for posting.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Molinism discussion

#131

Post by B. W. » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:42 am

neo-x wrote:Interesting post B.W, thanx for posting.
Here is some more Neo !!

Proverbs 11:14, "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety." NKJV

I hope that for those reading about Molinism can see how it allows exploration and is open to wise counsel. It examines all sides, pro and against or neutral in its exploration into the absolute nature of God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. It also measures its finding to the nature and character of God found in the bible and seeks impute.

This method is similar to how the Eastern Orthodox sought the local Church community and larger church Community to explore critical Church Doctrine. It was not left up to one expert, alone to decide critical doctrine – it went through the sounding board of the Church Community so in this manner the biblical injunctions found in Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 15:22 were adhered too.

Please note, that this was not the case with John Calvin. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. He did mix into God’s omnipotence God’s - God’s omniscience so that the two are identical. Doing so, does indeed do a great disservice to God’s sovereignty and character.

John Calvin was trained in the art of being a Lawyer. As such, his “Institutes of Christian Religion” was written in that style. The style of preparing for a debate in which you prep yourself and arm yourself with what your opponent may say and prepare responses. In such lawyer speak; you want to discredit your opponents witnesses and your opponent and by doing so validate your own so you can win a case. Calvin does this very well, speaking to all potential witness and those that oppose in a derogatory tone – talks down the nose at the reader to win by shame or intimidation. Works well in the court room but not for theology.

Molinism, on the other hand, does not do this. It is not trying to win a case, only to reconcile and help people see that they were called to know God more and increase in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10). Mr. Calvin seems to be stating that you are not to increase in such knowledge and that one shouldn’t when pertaining to his doctrine. One must accept without question his view and interpretation God’s good pleasure of His will is or cannot be and should never ever be looked into.

The same goes for his definition of Sin as the quote below points out:
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
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…”

The measure of truth he used was his own privet interpretation of truth, same as a skilled lawyer would. In this case the bible. He added something to the doctrine of sin that is not found in the original word meanings in both Hebrew (2398-Strongs) and Greek (266-Strongs) which is hereditary corruption. Basically sin means – missing the mark, to twist away from to justify moral and physical nefariousness to get away with doing something. Calvin mixed Gal 5:19 into the definition of sin without regard to context the verse was used in to prove a heredity corruption in the same Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter One, Paragraph 8 cited above.

Just the changing a definition, without seeking the counsel on this matter, then admitting to it, should call into question his theology. Lots of things hinge on his definition of original sin and sin regarding reprobation, election, predestination, etc. he later goes into. Making God’s omniscience and omnipotence identical should also raise your eyebrows to suspect something is not quite right. Add to that the denial of seeking counsel on such critical matters of theology, he violate the very principles of this biblical injunction…

Proverbs 15:22, "Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established." NKJV

Molinism, does not do this, nor make assertions as Calvin does. Molinism opens its self up to the Church and its system of learning/inquiry listens and repents when needed and helps one grow in the knowledge of God, not forbid it as it is was written: Eph 1:17, Hab 2:14, John 17:3 - 2 Cor 2:14 - 2 Cor 4:6 – 2 Peter 1:2.

Now compare the bible verses cited above with what Mr. Calvin wrote…
"...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)
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 appears that John Calvin came up with a progression to predestination using those two knowledge models. For example, God Predestines first through His secret counsel of His will then moves in the world of humanity: much like a divine puppeteer. All things were predetermined but how predetermined was not clearly defined by Calvin and all inquiry derailed by the phrase secret counsel of His will. It appears that Calvin was the only purveyor of this secret knowledge and therefore no one should dare look into this matter further or dare ask, seek, knock that the ways of God be open (Luke 11:9-10) on such matters.

Yes God’s wisdom is far greater than our own and past finding out, yet, God calls us to increase and spread abroad the knowledge of him nevertheless – let us not stagnate in a1500’s argumentative mindset. God desires a personal growing living relationship with every believer. With such, one’s knowledge of God grows. Molinism is a mere tool to help a Christian seeker to explore the mystery of free will and God’s sovereignty in a format which then permits further and deeper look into the Character of Almighty God for the answers, which are, in fact, substantiated in scripture about himself.

Molinism presents a missing element that may would have helped Calvin immensely if he not of rejected God’s omniscience by making it identical to God’s omnipotence. Molinism helps ties things together that rest solidly on the character and nature of God revealed within the bible. You can test it and in the process grow and mature. As I stated, Molinism is a philosophic tool of logic used to help the seeking human mind to gain a glimpse of the Majesty of the Lord. It is flexible enough to explore various avenues of how people define Predestination and test them, measure them against God’s own Character and Nature explained within the pages of the bible. So in that light learn to grow in the knowledge of the Lord.

Bible tells us too 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Test all things; hold fast what is good…NKJV

The same applies to Calvin’s doctrines as well as Molinism approach of inquiry all measured against the very standard lain out in the bible that describes God's Character and Nature.,, what does not line up with that test – be willing to let it go...

God Bless you all…

B. W. Melvin

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Re: Molinism discussion

#132

Post by B. W. » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:23 pm

Please note - I deleted post three posters as they were directing us in a route we do not want to go as the comments were not on this topic but took on a personal nature. No offense guys. You are free to post but please tone down - no hard feelings..
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Re: Molinism discussion

#133

Post by B. W. » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:38 pm

=
Let me add to my last post concerning the comments I made regarding John Calvin and Hereditary sin. Again, I am not here to bash Calvinism by what I am sharing here. Calvin derived Original Sin from Augustine’s concept of sin. I am not sure that many people realize that before Augustine and Calvin – there was another branch of Christianity from the time of the Apostles, all through the early church Fathers, till Augustine that held a far different view than Augustine..

In the quote from, Institutes of Christian Religion, Calvin’s coined a phrased borrowed from that Church tradition – Hereditary sin. Calvin changed the meaning of Hereditary Sin to one that that fits an Augustinian view of sin. He admits to this in his writing I quoted from. The hereditary sin doctrine was changed to fit into another mold for which was never intended. Both Augustine and Pelagian tainted the doctrine of sin that was held much earlier and hereditary sin meaning was lost in the scuffle so to speak.

The earliest concept of sin is still held by the Eastern Orthodox traditions and known in the writings of Calvin’s era. It is this difference I was pointing out that was altered by Augustine and Calvin and from them carried into the modern western Church. There is a difference between the Eastern Orthodox concerning Sin and depravity that goes back to the first century till Augustine’s time. It was this that I was referring to Calvin ignoring a whole host of counselors on the subject of sin, in order to justify his own interpretation of Augustine (whom he quotes often in his writings).

The Wikipedia Link I am quoting below addresses this and explains how the EO use Hereditary Sin:
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 "[8] 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".[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[15][16] Christian Apologists insisted that God's future judgment of humanity implied humanity must have the ability to live righteously.[17][18]

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[19] 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.[2] 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.[20] Augustine insisted that concupiscence was not a being but a bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

Opposition to Augustine's ideas about original sin arose rapidly,[24] voiced particularly by the Pelagians.[23] 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.
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

The early Church Fathers were involved in combating Gnosticism and note how the Gnostic thought about human depravity and inherent sinful nature in the flesh. So this begs the question, did a sanctified form of Gnostic thought creep into the church thru the works of Augustine whom Calvin quoted and relied upon to build his doctrines of Original Sin? I do not know for certain, but it is interesting how concepts of inability are laced into Augustine, Calvin, etc, that almost mirror Gnostic thought lines. That is why I pointed out this in a quote in context by Calvin – maybe worth looking into and testing to rule in or out:
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
It is important, why? Molinism method is a tool that helps regain what was lost:

Eastern Orthodox and the early Church view was this: viewed that sin is an illness, a disease that leads to first, Spiritual death, and then decays into, Physical death. That it breaks relationship with God i.e. eternal separation from God. Jesus came to heal and reconcile people back into fellowship with God and His (John 17) love we lost. Original sin was viewed as humanity rejecting God’s love, then death entered the world in a hereditary sense as well as in hereditary spiritual illness sense that keeps people continuing rejecting God’s love. Best I can put it, would be that God’s act of redemption is a dance of love, drawing one, wooing one, to return to Him freely.

Hence, John 3:16 has more meaning – "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. NASB

In this giving, God’s love woos and desire to reason with human beings to be reconciled (Isaiah 1:18 NASB) because he made the way possible back to God, paved by the blood of love He shed. Even though, God foreknows all who will be wooed and all those who will not – he woos to all for that is his nature of love and being a God of justice. The sin is viewed as a person’s own individual responsibility – not Adams – their own. If they reject – the reason for this rejection is what Jesus explained in John 3:17-21. They love corruption more than they love God love proven – hence they choose. Therefore, God’s wrath remains on them justly (John 3:36) and in His wrath they die to face the music so to speak for their actions (Job 34:10, 11, 12) justly.

This rules out Gnostic doctrines of human depravity and the inherently sinful nature of the flesh and rules in that sin as a disease infects the flesh so that corruption unto death (physical, relational, spiritual death’s decay) comes from it as Paul so taught (please note Rom 7:5, Rom 8:5-7, Rom 8:12-13, and 1 Cor 3:1 and how the word death is used – apply EO idea about sin/death and these verses come alive).

Please read the quote form John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter One, Paragraph 8 I mention above – do you see???
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Re: Molinism discussion

#134

Post by B. W. » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:02 am

+
The Molinism thread is reopened. I hope the reader learns the purpose of the neo-Molinist is not to attack Calvinism rather its purpose as stated by William Lane Craig Middle Knowledge is to reduce the chasm that…separates:
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
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.
...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
.

And Terrence Tiessen states:
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.
This is a good start, in reducing the chasm that separates Christians based on the theology concerning free will, determinism, predestination, et al etc…

However, there still resides a great divide with the Supralapsarianist, Hyper / High Calvinist. They disagree with Ware and Tiessen. Why? Not easy to summarizer why other to look at what the pot boils down too. The main contention boils down to the view point that Choice – Human Choice is a Human Salvific Work and next having abject fear of being forced to concede become an Arminian as Richard Muller unknowingly points out:
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
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:
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
So it appears at the moment that the divide that separates is more fear based – each sides fear of conceding to the other.

So before we proceed further, we need to look into three issues:

One – what is Choice?

Two – Is choice really a human salvific earning work?

Three – What defines a human salvific earning work?

Next:

Choice and human salvific earning works: are they compatible or not?

How does the bible define human salvific earning works anyways?

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Re: Molinism discussion

#135

Post by B. W. » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:05 pm

Was wondering if anyone wants to continue this thread? Please feel free to post how determinist, arminian, traditional Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox all define Choice… Know you all are out there reading this… how does your respective position define choice?

Also please note that if there are no responses, I’ll let this thread fade into the archives as that would indicate it is finished. Most I can hope for in this thread is that people learn that Molinism’s methods are not a threat to either side – it seeks to bridge the gap and lessen the divide between brother and sisters in Christ. Let the words of Christ be our rule:

Mark 9:38-39, "Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us."

But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.
" NKJV
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Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)

Old Polish Proverb:
Not my Circus....not my monkeys

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