Saturday, November 7, 2009

Does Molinism teach that God's sovereignty is trumped by Free Will?

Turretinfan says yes.

Wes Widner states: "Middle Knowledge (and William Lane Craig in particular) does not teach that God's sovereignty is trumped or determined by man's free will or by God's Middle Knowledge of man's free will."

Yes, it does. Consider Craig's claim:

What I am simply saying is that God's aims in this life, in this world, are for a maximum number of people to come to know God and His salvation as fully as possible. And it is possible that that would not be achieved in a world that did not involve as much suffering and evil as this world does. Far from being counter-intuitive, I find that very plausible.(source)

That's at least a conditional trumping claim. There's no claim that God is required to create, but if he does, and if he creates free will beings, and if he wishes to save the maximum number of people (as Craig insists), he is restricted to actualizing worlds in which their is suffering and evil on account of the free will of the creatures. (link)

Turretinfan is either using his own specialized definition of sovereignty; which includes causal determinism and begs the question against Molinism, or his argument falls short of substantiating his claims.

Sovereignty is about authority. Normally, being sovereign over another person does not mean you causally predetermine their actions, rather it means you are their ruler and have the right to command them to do something and punish them if they don't do it. In Molinism, God is absolutely sovereign.

Turretinfan continues:

Wes Widner also states: "It is disingenuous to claim that Molinism is a philosophy whereas causal determinism isn't."

That's a mischaracterization of the situation. Molinism is merely philosophical. Causal determinism oozes from Scripture. It is provable from Scripture - making it a Biblical, and not merely a philosophical, position. Of course, causal determinism is a metaphysical claim.

Most of the classical text on the providence of God (passages like Acts 4:28) entail either Molinism or Determinism. Why does Turretinfan favor determinism over Molinism in explaining such passages?

Turretinfan, if your game, pick three text you think teach (implicitly or explicitly) causal determinism and preclude Molinism and I will take a shot at explaining them.

11 comments:

Robert said...

Hello Dan,

So this “Turretinfan” wrote:

“That's a mischaracterization of the situation. Molinism is merely philosophical. Causal determinism oozes from Scripture. It is provable from Scripture - making it a Biblical, and not merely a philosophical, position. Of course, causal determinism is a metaphysical claim.” ?????

He reminds me of the atheists who want to argue that evolution is scientific while creation is religious (when in fact whatever your position on origins is, is a faith position that cannot be scientifically proven: similarly, if Molinism is “merely philosophical” then so is “Causal determinism”).

And this assertion that “Causal determinism oozes from Scripture. It is provable from Scripture- making it a Biblical and not merely a philosophical, position” is completely out to lunch.

Causal determinism is an a priori held by the necessatarian because they hold to the Calvinistic system which they then READ INTO the bible. “Turretinfan” works at a law firm he ought to know some things about matters of proof including the legal maxim that he who asserts must prove. No necessatarian has ever come close to “proving” causal determinism from scripture which is one reason why it is roundly rejected by the vast majority of Christians throughout church history. And previous to Augustine (who brought causal determinism ideas into church tradition), for hundreds of years previous to Augustine nobody was espousing causal determinism in the early church. This idea of causal determinism is completely absent from the early CENTURIES of church history. If it were “oozing” from scripture then why didn’t anybody notice it until Augustine came along? And again if it is just “oozing” from scripture why do the VAST MAJORITY OF CHRISTIANS across all Christian theological traditions reject causal determinism and calvinism?

Robert

Godismyjudge said...

Yes, at some point you just have to ask why two smart people who are serious about the bible don't come up with the same answers. Or you can just pound your fist.

God be with you,
Dan

Odeliya said...

And it's still no way I can possibly understand how can one who holds to causal determinism view like our dear Tirretinfan, can escape the logical consiquence of it - God is the one to blame for sin in this world. If we dont have the free will to choose...

Odeliya

#John1453 said...

Calvinists accept that God is responsible for sin, but they argue that God's decree that sin occur does not make him evil nor morally culpable for it.

Among other things, they argue that sin was necessary in order for God to display His attributes such as holiness, glory, justice and mercy and anger/wrath.

regards,
#John

Robert said...

Hello Dan,

You wrote:

“Yes, at some point you just have to ask why two smart people who are serious about the bible don't come up with the same answers. Or you can just pound your fist.”

I am guessing that most people don’t want me to “pound my fist” (black belt level, 6 ft. 4 about 230 lbs but not fat, having trained with weights for years and played sports for years, if I “pound my fist” on some people they may not survive). :-)

So I will give the short answer to your question here: smart people arrive at different conclusions on things because they operate from different presuppositions or assumptions. Those who hold to some sort of theological system, such as calvin-ism, have their thinking and conclusions driven by the presuppositions of their system.

Robert

Godismyjudge said...

Hi John,

I agree. Which in turn leads them to redefine God's goodness and love to include ultimate responsibilty for all things including sin and reprobation.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Robert,

Right, but that leads the questions to a deeper level; a level WCL operates on all the time and JW does not.

God be with you,
Dan

Andrew said...

Frankly, I'm not quite sure why limitations on God's sovereignty poses the philosophical threat that it does.

God established a covenant with Israel. That's inherently a restriction on God's sovereignty because God won't break his own word.

God doesn't have to establish a covenant with anyone, but freely chooses to do so. God's sovereign word (or his Holy name) thus limits His own sovereignty.

If this argument is true, that God wills that the maximum number of people be saved, his very act of creation limits his sovereignty, but again - that's a function of God not man.

Perhaps we should stop shying away from the idea limitations on God's sovereignty are to be feared.

I personally am kind of pleased, God chose to limit his own sovereignty after the flood.

Wes Widner said...

In response to all the apparent interest in Molinism (whether it be honest inquiry or a reactive lashing out) I've collected the best sources I can find on Middle Knowledge/Molinism. Enjoy!

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Andrew,

I agree. God wanted and decided to give man freedom. So long as it's his decission, I don't see the issue at all.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Thanks for the link Wes and the courage to call into the Dividing Line. You may want to add Molinia as translated by Freddoso.

God be with you,
Dan