Great explanation of Molinism! Very clear and succinct with some good examples of the pros and cons of this position.. That said, I just don't think this theory of trying to reconcile God's absolute sovereignty with fallen human's moral responsibility does justice to the whole scope of Scripture. I believe Biblical, covenantal Calvinism reckons more accurately with the nature of God, the free grace of salvation revealed in the Bible, and the finiteness of human freedom (by which I mean non-coerced choice in accordance with our radically depraved nature). Apart from this, it doesn't help that a Roman Catholic developed the theory (considering how the Gospel was utterly obscured by the Medieval church) and that today William Lane Craig, with his essentially heretical views on the historical Adam and Gen. 1-11, is an advocate of this view.

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Thanks for the comment, Shaun. It should be noted that Molinism isn't itself a theory of salvation, though it's been fruitfully applied to that area. Its core tenets are that God has middle knowledge and humans have, at least sometimes, libertarian freedom. This is perfectly consistent with the doctrines you mentioned. This is why there are both Calvinist and Armininian Molinists. What's not consistent with it is universal divine causal determinism, which really would imply that all of our choices, good or bad, are forced upon us by God.

Regarding Molina's being Catholic, this is really irrelevant to whether or not Molinism is true (see "the genetic fallacy"). Molina himself arrived at his view by carefully examining Scripture and attempting to find the best explanation for the data. The same goes for Dr. Craig's view of Adam, which is likewise irrelevant to this topic.

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 26, 2022

You're welcome. Thank you for the reply and explanation. I have to disagree that the Almighty God revealed in Scripture has "middle knowledge." This just isn't an explanation which Scripture gives. It appears to me to be a human philosophical attempt to "save God" from being the Author of Evil in the sense of permitting and using it to fulfill His purposes. The omniscient God of Scripture declares the end from beginning because of the counsel of His will and divine purposes (Isa. 46:10 & Eph. 1), not because He has some middle knowledge. Anyhow, this generous article summarizes my thoughts well: https://www.christianpost.com/news/the-problem-of-moral-evil-calvinism-vs-molinism.html. Finally, I never committed the genetic fallacy, but only pointed this out as not helping IMHO. The source of something certainly helps us understand an idea more deeply and thoroughly, even if not predetermining its merits. Certainly Marxism as an idea can be tied to Marx the man, right? :-). Blessings.

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Shaun, this paper by Kenneth Keathley on how Molinism can make Infralapsarians *consistent* should be helpful: https://philarchive.org/archive/FREITL

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Hopefully we can agree that Scripture's not explicitly teaching Molinism doesn't constitute an argument against it. There are certainly many aspects of God which are not revealed explicitly in Scripture. But I also don't see anything in Scripture which precludes our arriving at true conclusions about the nature of God from philosophical reflection on the biblical data. That's precisely the approach used to arrive at the doctrine of the Trinity.

We all agree that God declares the end from the beginning. Without middle knowledge, this would actually be impossible if God is capable of creating free creatures, since without it he would not know prior to creation how they would choose in particular situations. So far, I've not heard any good arguments against God's ability to create free creatures.

Unfortunately, the author of the article you linked doesn't seem to understand Molinism very well. For example, he claims that on Molinism, "God created a world in which people carry out their actions freely, unhindered by their Creator." Does he really think Molinists deny God's special action in the world, or that Molinism somehow carries that implication? That's not a claim I've heard from any Molinist, nor an accusation that seems defensible, given the tenets I describe in the article. Molinists affirm that God can hinder people from carrying out their actions. That in fact seems the only coherent way to claim that God actually "restrains evil." If everything occurs deterministically, then God is not actually restraining anything but himself.

The author also mistakenly thinks that the ability to do only evil precludes the free will affirmed by Dr. Craig. But this is because he isn't familiar with Dr. Craig's definition of free will, which is the ability to choose such that antecedent conditions are insufficient to causally determine one's choice. This is perfectly compatible with one's freely choosing only evil.

He also mistakenly thinks that Molinism "makes it impossible for God to exercise providential control over His creation because humanity is free to resist His decree." This statement is logically equivalent to saying that God could have a false belief about what a person would or will do. That would be to deny God's omniscience, which no Molinist does, nor is it an implication of Molinism.

Finally, he quotes R. C. Sproul approvingly: "God can ordain evil and not be guilty of sin. He has a holy intent in all He ordains. Evil is evil, but the Lord never has an evil intent, and He never does evil Himself. He works through the evil intents of others to fulfill His good intent." Molinists heartily affirm every letter of this. They just don't conflate "ordains" with "causally determines." In fact, it seems disingenuous for a determinist to say that God "works though the evil intents of others," when God is the one causing (or, synonymously, "forcing") people to have such evil intents to begin with.

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