A Molinist Perspective on 1 Peter 1:3

Jonathan

Thompson

(The Holistic Apologist)

|

March 25, 2017

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. . .” 1 Pet. 1:3 (ESV)

For the Divine Causal Determinist, verses like these would seem to pose a problem for the Libertarian and thus the Molinism. This is presumably because the Libertarian would want to maintain that God does not causally determine an individual to be born again.  But does this text truly constitute a rebutting defeater to Libertarianism position and thus Molinism? In this article I answer this question negatively.

The Molinist, being confronted with 1 Peter 1:3, can simply offer a way in which God can cause an individual to be born again without causally determining it. For example, the Molinist can distinguish between strong and weak actualization. On the Molinist schema God causes a state of affairs to be strongly actualized when He causes that state of affairs to obtain through a direct exercise of His causal power. God creating the universe ex nihilo would be an example of this. In contrast, God weakly actualizes a state of affairs when he causes it to obtain by placing an individual in circumstances such that He knew how that individual would freely respond. An example of this would be God knowing that I would write this article given the freedom permitting conditions He has placed me in.

That said, concerning 1 Peter 1:3, the Molinist could simply point out that this verse is consistent with affirming that God has weakly actualized that certain individuals be born again. Further, for the determinist to merely assume that this verse teaches causal determinism, in light of the previous distinction, would beg the question against the Molinist since the determinist would be assumiing without argument that the verse cannot be understood in terms of weak actualization. Of note, the Molinist would also beg the question were she to merely assume without argument that the verse is referring to weak actualization. However, the point here is that the verse is consistent with both interpretations and so does not compel itself either way. 1 Peter 1:3 therefore does not constitute a rebutting defeater to LFW or the Molinist position.

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Jonathan

Thompson

(The Holistic Apologist)

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