The One Minute Apologist & Mere Molinism

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

November 8, 2018

Bobby Conway is a pastor, a PhD philosopher, and the founder/host of an online ministry known as The One-Minute Apologist. His short, clear, and concise YouTube videos have been a great resource over the past several years as they always provide quick and credible answers to many of the “big questions” that have kept me awake at night.

At the OneMinuteApologist.com, Conway posts videos that often include interviews with leading scholars in fields pertaining to apologetics. He has discussed many of the “big sleep-stealing questions” with the likes of William Lane Craig, Josh McDowell, Hank Hanegraaf, JP Moreland, Mike Licona, Frank Turek, and many more. Recently, I received the honor of having my name added to this list.

I first met Bobby Conway at a philosophy conference a few years ago. Since then we have crossed paths at several other conferences and we have had the opportunity to have some good discussions. Several months ago we were both at Frank Turek’s Cross Examined conference (which Bobby hosted at his church in North Carolina).

I was eating a burrito over the lunch break when Bobby tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come record an O.M.A. with me.” I responded with, “A what?” He said, “A One Minute Apologist episode!”

I was completely caught off guard and totally unprepared. My heart rate increased and I started sweating, but I also felt so encouraged as adrenaline started coursing through my veins. After getting the remnants of the burrito out of my teeth I walked into the room where they were recording videos. Bobby invited me to sit in the chair next to him and I will never forget staring at his famous microphone. It was quite surreal sitting on the other side of it.

I nervously asked him what he wanted me to discuss. He said something to the effect of, “I don’t know… how about ‘Mere Molinism,’ I like how you have been explaining it.” I agreed and the next thing I knew — just seconds later — the cameras were rolling. This was completely unrehearsed and shot in one take with less than ten seconds to get my thoughts together.

Although I wish I would have incorporated the words “middle knowledge,” and used some different terms (like “logically prior to God’s creative decree,” as opposed to “before God created the universe”), I think it turned out nicely and the main points were made for those first dipping their toes into the waters of Molinism.

What Is Mere Molinism?

If I had more than one minute, I would clarify some of what I failed to mention. Perhaps the “Two or Three Minute Apologist” would suffice! To clarify my position I would add that “Mere Molinism” simply affirms two essential propositions, which might be called the “Two Pillars of Molinism.” They are the following: (i) Humans sometimes have limited libertarian freedom. (ii) God has middle knowledge.

Kirk MacGregor has nicely “tightened up” these propositions:

1- Logically prior to God’s decision to create the world, God knew everything that would happen in any possible scenario He could create (entails God’s middle knowledge).

2- As beings created in the image of God, humans, like God, possess libertarian freedom.

I deductively argue for both of these propositions in an argument I refer to as The Mere Molinism Argument:

The MMA

1- If God possesses the ability to choose between alternatives consistent with His nature, then God possesses libertarian freedom.

2- God possessed the ability to create or not create the universe, and chose to create the universe.

3- Therefore, God possesses libertarian freedom.

4- God possesses the ability to create humans in His image/likeness.

5- Therefore, God possesses the ability to create humans who possess limited libertarian freedom – even if He never does.

6- If God possesses perfect knowledge of how humans with libertarian freedom would choose if He creates them (and even if He never does create them), then God possesses middle knowledge.

7- Since God is omniscient, He knows how humans who possess libertarian freedom would choose — even if He never creates them.

8- Therefore, God possesses middle knowledge.

9- If libertarian freedom is not possessed by humans, then humans cannot rationally affirm knowledge claims.

10- Some humans can rationally affirm knowledge claims.

11- Therefore, some humans possess libertarian freedom.

12- Therefore, God, given his middle knowledge, knows how these humans who possess libertarian freedom would freely choose.

13- If God possesses middle knowledge and some humans possess libertarian freedom, then Mere Molinism is true.

14- Therefore, given (8) and (11), Mere Molinism is true!

To find a defense of each of the premises in the MMA, click here.

Conclusion

I want to thank Bobby Conway for the opportunity to be on his show. More importantly, I want to thank Bobby for his awesome ministry. Not only has The One Minute Apologist helped to strengthen my faith, he has also helped me get more sleep!

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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