God’s Perfect Love, the Reality of Hell, & the Problem of Divine Determinism



(The FreeThinking Theist)


August 13, 2018

In the latest volume of Perichoresis (an academic theology journal) Jacobus Erasmus and I offered an argument abductively concluding that Molinism is the best explanation of all the data. Our argument is a slightly revised version of the Omni Argument Against Irresistible Grace that I have been advancing over the past few years. Instead of specifically targeting the “I” of the TULIP acronym, this time we chose to expand the scope of our efforts to deductively dismantle the idea of exhaustive divine determinism (the idea that God causally determines all things all the time). This, we argue, supports a Molinistic framework.

The earlier versions of the Omni Argument focused on what I refer to as “The Big 3” of God’s essential attributes: Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnibenevolence. While these are all subtly implied in this revamped argument, it is now primarily focused on what logically follows from God’s perfect love and the reality of an eternal hell. The article is found in the peer-reviewed theological journal, Perichoresis Volume 16:2. Accordingly, the argument runs as follows:

(1) If divine determinism is true, then, if God wants all people to go to heaven, then all people go to heaven.

(2) Not all people go to heaven.

(3) Therefore, if God wants all people to go to heaven, then divine determinism is false.

(4) If God is all-loving, then God wants all people to go to heaven.

(5) God is all-loving.

(6) Therefore, God wants all people to go to heaven.

(7) Therefore, divine determinism is false.

(8) God is completely sovereign and predestines all things.

(9) Therefore, divine predestination and divine determinism are not to be conflated.

(10) The best explanation of the data is Molinism.

The purpose of this writing is simply to offer the argument. We imagine that premise (4) will be the most contested. For a defense of the argument, however, you will have to acquire Perichoresis 16:2 and read it for yourself.

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton


About the Author



(The FreeThinking Theist)

Timothy A. Stratton (PhD, North-West University) is a professor at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. As a former youth pastor, he is now devoted to answering deep theological and philosophical questions he first encountered from inquisitive teens in his church youth group. Stratton is founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries, a web-based apologetics ministry. Stratton speaks on church and college campuses around the country and offers regular videos on FreeThinking Ministries’ YouTube channel.

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