Does 1 Peter 1:3 Refute Libertarian Freedom?

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 rebut Libertarian Free Will (LFW) given that the Libertarian maintains that God does not causally determine believers to be born again.  But does this text truly constitute a rebutting defeater to the Libertarian position?

Not if one is a Molinist. The Molinist, being confronted with this text, can simply offer a way in which God causes some state of affairs to obtain without causally determining it. For example, the Molinist can simply distinguish between strong and weak actualization.

On the Molinist schema God causes a state of affairs to be strongly actualized if He does so through a direct exercise of His causal power. God creating the universe would be one such example of this. In contrast, God would cause a state of affairs to be weakly actualized if He were to place a creature in circumstances such that He knew how they would freely respond. God knowing, for example, that I would write this article given the freedom permitting conditions He has placed me in would be an instance of this.

Concerning 1 Peter 1:3, the Molinist could understand this verse as teaching that God has caused us to be born again in the sense that He has weakly actualized our new birth. So this verse poses no problem for the Molinist. Further, for the determinist to merely assume that this verse teaches causal determinism, in light of the previous distinctions, would simply beg the question against Molinism since it assumes without argument that the verse cannot be understood in terms of weak actualization. Of course, the Molinist would also beg the question were he to merely assume without argument that the verse is referring to weak actualization. However, the point here is that the verse is compatible with both interpretations and so does not compel itself either way. 1 Peter 1:3 therefore does not constitute a rebutting defeater to LFW.

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Jonathan

Thompson

(The Holistic Apologist)

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