The Apologetic Significance of Molinism (ETS Edit)

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

March 11, 2019

Presented at ETS in New Orleans (March 8, 2019)

Abstract: Mere Molinism (the view that God possesses middle knowledge and humans occasionally possess libertarian freedom) bears wide-reaching benefits to many arguments in the apologist’s repertoire. Soteriological Molinism (applying Mere Molinism to issues pertaining to salvation) offers even more. This essay surveys several key features of multiple apologetics-based arguments demonstrating how each assume or are strengthened by the theology of Luis de Molina. This includes a well-known argument against God’s existence dubbed as the Problem of Evil (both moral and natural versions) and applies Molinism to several arguments in the Cumulative Case. The arguments within the scope of Molinism’s reach include the Freethinking Argument, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Moral Argument, and the Fine-Tuning Argument. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates that the Molinist has logically consistent access to far more apologetics-based arguments than those holding to a competing view of divine sovereignty.


Introduction

A pastor recently asked me if all of my research and writing regarding Molinism is nothing but a “colossal waste of time.” After all, why should an apologist—whose mission is to argue for the truth of Christianity—spend so much time promoting a specific Christian theology, especially when it is over such a seemingly peripheral and non-essential issue? This pastor believed that my time, as a Christian apologist, would be better spent arguing against atheism alone. I responded by explaining how Molinism is the greatest threat to the atheist worldview today.

In my experience, not only do I find myself defending Molinism from the likes of Calvinists and Open Theists, but I am also amazed to see the vigor in which atheists also oppose Molina’s doctrine of middle knowledge![1] After all, why should the atheist care what view some Christian holds of divine sovereignty and human responsibility? It comes down to the fact that Molinism destroys (as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5) their favorite argument raised against the knowledge of God—the so-called, “problem of evil.”

Mere Molinism, entails two essential ingredients:

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 (the ability to choose between a range of options each compatible with one’s nature).

One can move beyond “Mere Molinism” and apply these two essentials to soteriological issues (which is not necessary), and become a “soteriological Molinist” by affirming a third ingredient:

3- God is a maximally great being who loves and desires the best for all people.

A soteriological view of Molinism entails each of these three key ingredients. Competing views, however, will deny at least one of these vital points. For example, Open Theists deny that God possesses middle knowledge of possible worlds within His power to create.[2] Calvinists and other divine determinists regularly reject the notion of human libertarian freedom and often dismiss the omnibenevolence of God.[3]

As we will see, at least one of the three key aspects of Molinism is connected with each of the following apologetics-based arguments. With this in mind, it seems that Molinism has logically consistent access to more arguments for the existence of God (not to mention offering powerful defenses to objections raised against the existence of God), than any other view of God’s sovereignty. While this does not deductively prove Molinism is true, it does seem to make Molinism a preferable view.

First, consider the greatest objection against the Greatest Being:

Molinism vs the Problem of Moral Evil

Many atheists assume that the idea of a perfectly loving God is logically incompatible with moral evil. For example, if God causally determines all things (as many Calvinists contend), then God causally determined all of Hitler’s thoughts and actions. Atheists rationally infer that Hitler is not really to blame for the Holocaust, but God is the one who is guilty of evil. Therefore, atheists conclude, God is either not worthy of worship or simply does not exist.

Molinism, however, solves the problem while shifting from a free will defense and offering a traditional theodicy. Consider the fact that on a Molinistic framework, it is logical to conclude that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly loving God exists. Since God is all-loving, He desires an authentic and eternal loving relationship with each and every human being He has ever created (Which I have argued elsewhere is another point not compatible with divine determinism).[4]

Since God desires an authentic love relationship with each individual human being, He had to give humanity the genuine freedom to choose to reject Him—or not (this point is not compatible with TULIP or any deterministic view of divine sovereignty, sans a specific and unique view of Universalism[5]). With rejection comes sin and these transgressions have infected this world with evil, pain, and terrible suffering. God also allows suffering caused by moral choices because suffering shapes us as well as brings us closer to Him, which is the greatest good a human being could ever experience.

After reflecting upon God’s perfect love, the only way God could eradicate the possibility of moral evil is to eradicate libertarian freedom. That would then eradicate the possibility of each one of us freely entering into a “true love” relationship with our creator. That eternal love relationship with our creator is the greatest good a person could ever experience; therefore, eradicating evil would be evil! Thus, when we keep eternity in mind, we see that it is good and loving that evil, pain, and suffering were made possible and allowed by God.

A deductive argument summarizing this can be found in your handout, titled, The Free Will Argument Against the Problem of Moral Evil:

1- If a Maximally Great Being (God) exists, He is perfectly good and all loving (this is the property of omnibenevolence).

2- If God is all-loving, He desires a true love relationship with all mankind (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

3- If true love is to be attained with all mankind, all mankind must possess libertarian freedom.

4- If mankind possesses libertarian freedom, then mankind can freely choose to do evil.

5- If a Maximally Great Being (God) exists He is all-powerful (this is the property of omnipotence).

6- Therefore, God could prevent the possibility of evil actions by eradicating human libertarian freedom (He would have the power).

7- If God eradicates libertarian freedom, then He eradicates the possibility of true love with humanity.

8- Eternal love with God is the ultimate good humans can experience & humans freely choosing to love God brings Him ultimate glory.

9- Therefore, preventing love would be evil.

10- Therefore, it would be evil to eradicate libertarian freedom.

11- Therefore, it would be evil for God to eradicate the possibility of evil.

12- Therefore, since God is perfectly good and all loving, He allows the possibility of evil.

It is vital to understand that Molinism provides the foundation upon which this argument against the “problem of moral evil” is built, as libertarian freedom is one of its essential components. Since this problem of evil has been said to be the greatest “reason” for atheism, it follows that Molinism—if true—takes this so-called “reason” off the table for atheists. If an atheist has no good reason for his or her atheism (and continues to hold to atheistic beliefs anyway), then they clutch to their atheistic beliefs with a blind faith apart from reason. Again, this is why the committed atheist will vigorously fight against Molinism and desperately try to find something wrong with this argument.

Christians, on the other hand, who deny human libertarian freedom or God’s perfect love (omnibenevolence) do not have access to this argument and are left with a significant problem of carrying an extremely heavy burden of evil. That is to say, the problem of evil cannot be adequately explained by one who affirms that God causally determines all things.

Molinism vs. the Problem of Natural Evil

Molinism also offers a powerful solution to another version of the “problem of evil” (a.k.a., the “problem of natural evil”). Neil deGrasse Tyson, for example, is a world-renowned astrophysicist and science popularizer. However, he also spends much of his time popularizing an argument against the Christian view of God. Tyson often makes claims such as the following:

Every description of God that I have heard, holds God to be all-powerful and all-good. And then I look around and I see a tsunami that killed a quarter million people in Indonesia — an earthquake that killed a quarter million people in Haiti. And I see earthquakes, tornadoes, and disease, childhood leukemia. And I see all of this and I say I do not see evidence of both of those being true simultaneously . . . If there is a God, the God is either not all-powerful, or not all good. It can’t be both![6]

I contend that if Tyson were aware of Molinism, then he would not make such claims and perhaps even consider Christianity. Consider the words of Paul Draper (a well-known atheist philosopher): “Logical arguments from evil are a dying (dead?) breed. . . . even an omnipotent and omniscient being might be forced to allow E[vil] for the sake of obtaining some important good.”[7]

Molinism explains exactly what this “important good” is. At least one of these “important goods” is that this temporary suffering-filled world allows humans the ability to freely love for eternity and teaches us not to take a perfect state of affairs for granted as Adam, Eve, Satan, and a third of all the angels seemed to do. With this in mind, it is easy to answer the following question:

Why did God call this world, “very good” (Genesis 1:31)?

Because God knew it would (which implies God’s middle knowledge if possessed logically prior to the Creative Decree) –lead to an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). God has eternity in mind; we ought to as well.

A deductive argument summarizing this is found in your handout entitled, Molinism vs the Problem of Natural Evil.

1- God desires a genuine and true love relationship with all people for eternity. (Assumes essential ingredient #3.)

2- Genuine and true love between two persons requires libertarian freedom (LFW) to be possessed by both persons. (Assumes essential ingredient #2.)

3- Therefore, God creates humanity with LFW.

4- Beings who are created in perfect states of affairs who also possess LFW take “perfect states of affairs” for granted and freely choose to leave or ruin perfect states of affairs (for instance, Adam, Eve, Satan, and a third of all the angels).

5- With (4) in mind, God creates a world where He knew that libertarian free humans would experience evil in limited amounts so that they would not take the perfect state of heavenly affairs for granted and freely leave or ruin it for eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17). (Assumes essential ingredient #1.)

6- Therefore, God creating a world where He knew that free creatures would learn from our evil mistakes and natural suffering is good and loving! (This is a gift from God!)

You will find that the argument in your handout makes use of all three of the essential ingredients of the soteriological view of Molinism. In fact, no competing views of God’s sovereignty have logical access to this specific argument.

With God’s eternal intent in mind, it is easy to see that God is not a “morally guilty mind.” That is to say, the concept of Mens rea does not apply to God if Molinism is true.[8] This is a knockdown argument against Tyson’s assertion that if God is all-powerful, then He cannot be all-good or all loving. In fact, when we keep eternity in mind, we see that this world suffused with suffering is the most loving kind of world God could have created.

Molinism takes the teeth out of the bite of Tyson’s objection raised against the knowledge of God. Tyson seems to be completely unaware of the work that theologians and philosophers have done in this field which leads to his ignorant claims. Peter van Inwagen made it clear:

“It used to be widely held that evil was incompatible with the existence of God: that no possible world contained both God and evil. So far as I am able to tell, this thesis is no longer defended.”[9]

This thesis may no longer be defended in the ivory towers of academia; however, the majority of culture today is unaware of these scholarly achievements. This is why it is vital for the Church at large—from pastors to the layman—to be aware of the apologetic power of Molinism when engaged in evangelism or influencing culture for God’s glory in any form or fashion. The so-called “problem of evil” has been referred to as the primary reason for atheistic affirmations. However, when viewed via a Molinistic lens, this so-called “problem” melts away.

Molinism & the Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism

Not only is the “problem of evil” no problem at all if Molinism is true, Molina’s view also provides a foundation for powerful arguments against naturalism—the most popular view of atheism. Simply put, naturalism is the belief that physical reality is all that exists. It follows that if nature is all that exists, then all that exists could ultimately be discovered via the study of nature (physics, chemistry, and biology, for example). Thus, if only scientifically testable and discoverable things exist, then, things like God or anything like God (such as human souls) do not exist. One argument that defeats this naturalistic view is the Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism:

1- If naturalism is true, human nature does not include an immaterial soul.

2- If human nature does not include an immaterial soul, then humans [probably] do not possess libertarian freedom.

3- If humans do not possess libertarian freedom, then humans do not possess the ability to gain inferential knowledge via the process of rationality.

4- Humans do possess the ability to gain inferential knowledge via the process of rationality.

5- Therefore, humans possess libertarian freedom.

6- Therefore, human nature [probably] includes an immaterial soul.

7- Therefore, naturalism is [probably] false.

8- The best explanation for the existence of the immaterial soul is God.

I have defended the Freethinking Argument at length elsewhere[10], but my point is that this argument against naturalistic atheism makes perfect sense on Molinism—but it is at odds with divine determinism as it deductively concludes…

“Therefore, humans possess libertarian freedom.”

In fact, this argument from rationality is often attacked from both atheists who assume naturalism is true and Christians who assume exhaustive divine determinism to be true. Needless to say, Christian determinists cannot appeal to this apologetic argument for the existence of the human soul created in God’s image because it simultaneously destroys their divine determinism.

Because of problems like these, a minority of Calvinists (such as Crisp, Timpe, Plantinga, Muller, and Koukl) freely choose to reject exhaustive divine determinism. Consider the words of Greg Koukl:

The problem with [determinism] is that without freedom, rationality would have no room to operate. Arguments would not matter, since no one would be able to base beliefs on adequate reasons. One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one. One would only hold beliefs because he had been predetermined to do so. . . . Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true—there is no internal contradiction, as far as I can tell—no one could ever know it if it were. Every one of our thoughts, dispositions, and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control. Therefore, in practice, arguments for determinism are self-defeating.[11]

Molinism is the best, most defensible framework by which we understand libertarian freedom and libertarian freedom is necessary for the Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism to hold. This is another example of how Molinism is apologetics!

Molinism & the Kalam Cosmological Argument

Molinism provides additional firepower in the battle of apologetics. Consider one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God—the Kalam Cosmological Argument. The Kalam is one of the most popular arguments for God’s existence. However, the rational inferences derived from the deductive conclusion can cause problems for Christians who believe libertarian freedom is impossible.

Consider the rational inferences that logically follow from the deductive conclusion of the Kalam:

The cause of all space, time, and nature must be space-less, timeless, and other than nature (supernatural). Moreover, the cause of the universe must be enormously powerful to create an entire universe from nothing (I cannot think of anything that would require more power).

Additionally, not only did the cause of the universe have to have been apart from time and space, it also must have had the ability—the power—to spontaneously bring the world into existence without anything causing it to do so—because then, whatever the cause of the cause was would be the cause. But since this cause exists outside of anything physical, temporal, or material, none of these things could logically cause or force this ultimate cause to do anything. Therefore, this ultimate cause seems to have its own volition or libertarian freedom. Apart from anything abstract (which would be causally impotent anyway[12]), only an unembodied mind (or soul) could logically transcend space-time and all nature.

Think about this: persons are the only type of things that could possibly possess immaterial minds with free will (which is supported by the Freethinking Argument previously offered); therefore, we can decipher that the cause of the universe was a personal being. If the cause of the universe is personal, then it is at least possible that “It” can have a personal relationship with other personal beings. You and I are personal beings. Therefore, it is possible that you and I can have a personal relationship with the cause of the universe. (No special revelation or biblical data required!)

Here is the point: Some deterministic Calvinists have argued that the idea of libertarian freedom is absurd and that even God cannot possess this kind of volition.[13] If that is the case, then these Calvinists cannot appeal to all of the rational inferences provided by the Kalam and humanity—in a sense—becomes just as “necessary” as God Himself. Consider the words of Jay Wesley Richards:

[I]f choice and alternatives must be positively barred from our understanding of God’s creation of the world, one should conclude that God is not even as free as we are in many situations . . . . The better course seems to be to retain the claim that God is free, at least with respect to some things, in the libertarian sense. God could have created a world different from the one he actually did create, or he could have created none at all.[14]

If God does possess libertarian freedom, however, then it stands to reason that if humans are indeed created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), then humans could possess the limited, but genuine ability to choose between a range of options each consistent with our nature as well.

This is the epitome of libertarian freedom!

The Kalam also helps us understand even more about Molinism. Consider the fact that the rational inferences provided by the Kalam show that God exists in a “static state of aseity” in which the universe (time and space) did not exist. That is to say, logically prior to the beginning of the existence of the universe God exists—“and then” (to use temporal language), God creates the universe. Considering this “static state of aseity” the question is raised: is God maximally great in this state?

Take the Cosmological Quiz:

Question 1: Is it true that God exists in a state of aseity logically prior to creating the universe (and thus without the universe)?

Question 2: In this state of aseity, is God omnipotent? If so, does he possess the power to create creatures with libertarian freedom (even if He never does create them)?

Question 3: In this state of aseity, is God omniscient? If so, does he possess the knowledge of what these libertarian free creatures—within His power to create (even if He never does create them)—would freely do?

If one answers “no” to any of these questions then you might be a heretic! If one answers “yes” to all of the above, then congratulations, you are a Molinist!

This is because if one affirms that God is both omnipotent and omniscient in the state of affairs logically prior to the creation of the universe, then some flavor of Molinism must be true. God would possess the power to create libertarian free creatures (even if He never creates them) and God would “middle know” exactly how these free creatures would freely think, act, believe, and behave logically prior to His creative decree.

It is amazing to see how apologetic arguments for the existence of God can also clarify exactly how we should think about his sovereignty too!

If humans possess the libertarian ability to choose between a range of alternative options each compatible with human nature, then we have access to another powerful argument for the existence of God.

Molinism & the Moral Argument

The Moral Argument might be the most attention getting of all the arguments in the arsenal of the apologist. This is because virtually every single human makes moral judgments every single day.

There are several reasons as to why the Moral Argument is problematic for the naturalist. One glaring issue is because naturalists typically reject libertarian freedom. Consider the well-known atheist and neuroscientist, Sam Harris.

As a naturalist, Harris holds to “scientific determinism,” which means he believes that ALL of our thoughts and actions are causally determined by natural forces like physics, chemistry, and the initial conditions of the big bang. All of these things are outside human control. With naturalism in mind, Harris makes his view clear in his book entitled, Free Will:

Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have. Free will is actually more than an illusion (or less), in that it cannot be made conceptually coherent. Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.[15]

If Harris is correct, then it logically follows that humans could never freely choose any action, including actions with so-called moral properties. If Molinism is true, however, then humans can freely think and freely act (at least occasionally). If Molinism is true, then humans can be held morally responsible for our thoughts and actions because they are not causally determined by anything external to the human and the human genuinely could have chosen otherwise. But this raises a major problem for the deterministic Calvinist.

Many Calvinists do affirm that God exhaustively causally determines all things. This is not some straw man I am attacking. The French Calvinistic philosopher Guillaume Bignon makes his views on the matter clear:

Do the five points of Calvinism or the Westminster Confession necessitate the thesis of theological determinism? I assert that they do…. it will be so as a matter of definition: theological determinism will be referred to as ‘the Calvinist view,” or simply ‘Calvinism.[16]

 In his recent essay, notable Calvinist, Matthew J. Hart affirms this exact position: “Calvinists, I shall assume, are theological determinists. They hold that God causes every contingent event, either directly or indirectly.”[17]

In the footnotes Hart points out that some might wish to break ranks and affirm a flavor of Calvinism while denying this exhaustive divine deterministic view that is typically associated with Calvinism (as per Alvin Plantinga and Greg Koukl).[18] Hart notes that Paul Helm is the leading Calvinistic philosopher today and that Helm is a theological determinist. With deterministic Calvinism in mind, consider the following argument:

No Free Will, No Free Thinking Argument (The Oughts & Thoughts Argument)

1- If naturalistic or divine determinism is true, then libertarian free will (LFW) does not exist.

2- If LFW does not exist, then libertarian free thinking (LFT) does not exist (the ability to think otherwise).

3- If LFT does not exist, then moral oughts about our thoughts (and following actions) are illusory (as it would be impossible to ever think otherwise about anything).

4- Moral oughts about our thoughts (and following actions) are not illusory.

5- Therefore, LFT exists.

6- Therefore, LFW exists.

8- Therefore, both naturalistic and divine determinism are false.

Here is the point: if a Christian rejects human libertarian freedom to choose or not to choose, then how can they be held morally or rationally responsible for behaving the only way they were created to think, act, or believe? Deterministic Calvinism cannot logically answer this question. Molinism, however, provides a logical foundation for the Moral Argument to deductively prove the existence of God. Since libertarian free will is necessary for the moral argument to work, the dedicated apologist ought to be a Molinist.

Molinism & the Fine-Tuning Argument  

I have argued that if one appeals to the Fine-Tuning Argument for the existence of God, then they should also be a Molinist! That is to say, the fine-tuning argument implies (or strongly hints at) Molinism! First, consider the Fine-Tuning syllogism:

1- The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

2- The fine-tuning is not due to physical necessity or chance.

3- Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to intelligent design.

What is startling is the fact that we are discussing the fine-tuned early stages of the universe—the initial conditions of the big bang. If the constants and quantities were not specifically dialed in “just right” then a life-permitting universe would not exist. From galaxies, stars, and planets, to atoms and subatomic particles, the foundation and structure of our universe is determined by many “special” numbers.

Consider the following sample:[19]

* Speed of Light: c=299,792,458 m s-1
* Gravitational Constant: G=6.673 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
* Planck’s Constant: 1.05457148 x 10-34 m2 kg s-2
* Planck Mass-Energy: 1.2209 x 1022 MeV
* Mass of Electron, Proton, Neutron: 0.511; 938.3; 939.6 MeV
* Mass of Up, Down, Strange Quark: 2.4; 4.8; 104 MeV (Approx.)
* Ratio of Electron to Proton Mass: (1836.15)-1
* Gravitational Coupling Constant: 5.9 x 10-39
* Cosmological Constant: (2.3 x 10-3 eV)
* Hubble Constant: 71 km/s/Mpc (today)
* Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value: 246.2 GeV

William Lane Craig notes the significance of these special numbers and what would entail if these numbers were not so “special” and slightly altered:

These are the fundamental constants and quantities of the universe. Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value – a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range. If any one of these numbers were altered by even a hair’s breadth, no physical, interactive life of any kind could exist anywhere. There’d be no stars, no life, no planets, no chemistry.[20]

Well, what does this have to do with Molinism?

The relevance can be found in this: God possesses certain knowledge of what would occur in possible worlds if He were to fine-tune the initial conditions of the early universe with all the “special numbers” referenced (and more) and actualize this certain possible world.

This also entails that God would possess perfect counterfactual knowledge—not grounded in anything that actually exists—about what kind of non-life permitting universes would have come into existence if any of those numbers were slightly altered (a different possible world would have been the actual world).

God chose these special numbers and thus intelligently designed a universe in which humanity could and would exist and come to know Him. If these numbers were different, the universe would have been otherwise and humanity would not exist.

The advocate of the fine-tuning argument affirms that God designed the initial conditions of the big bang to guarantee an environment where intelligent life could and would exist.

If God possessed knowledge of what would follow from a certain fine-tuned point of singularity logically prior to His creative decree to actualize this universe—and God could have adjusted these initial conditions otherwise to bring a different kind of universe (or none at all) into existence—then God possesses knowledge of what He could accomplish. Moreover, given this knowledge, God also knows what would happen if the initial conditions of the big bang were not so finely-tuned or tuned otherwise.

God knows all that could, would and will . . .

If God possesses the power to create worlds other than the world that actually exists (or none at all), and if God knows all that would happen in all these other worlds if the initial conditions of these other worlds (universes) would have been different and actualized instead, then this seems to strongly suggest that God possesses the middle knowledge advocated by Luis de Molina.

Kirk MacGregor defines middle knowledge in the following manner:

Middle knowledge is God’s knowledge of all things that would happen in every possible set of circumstances, both things that are determined to occur by those circumstances and things that are not determined to occur by those circumstances.[21]

Since God has natural knowledge, he knows what initial conditions of the big bang could produce. Since God has middle knowledge, he knows what specific initial conditions would produce (this is especially evident once one considers quantum indeterminacy).[22]

Because of this, I contend that if one is an advocate of the Fine-tuning Argument for the existence of God, then he or she should also be a Molinist. At the very least, the Molinist has no problem incorporating this argument from design into their apologetics repertoire.

Due to time restraints, I must cut my presentation short leaving at least nine apologetics-based arguments remaining unconsidered on the table. I will discuss these in my PhD dissertation currently in progress (stay tuned).

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have seen numerous examples of how Molinism strengthens the faith of Christians while simultaneously challenging the faith of atheists. With the apologetic significance of Molinism in mind, it should be clear to see that spending vast amounts of time explaining and defending Molinism is not a “colossal waste of time.” In fact, it is adequate to say that the focus of my work as a Christian apologist is devoted to destroying the greatest objection against the greatest Being (God)! Molinism lays the groundwork to fulfill what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Molinism and divine middle knowledge seem to be keys unlocking many theological mysteries. Since Molinism explains so much of the data, answers many of the big questions, and defangs so many objections raised against Christian theism, the greatest apologist of our day, William Lane Craig, declares:

Once one grasps the concept of [Molinism and] middle knowledge, one will find it astonishing in its subtlety and power. Indeed, I would venture to say that [Molinism and] middle knowledge is the single most fruitful theological concept I have ever encountered.[23]

I agree with Dr. Craig! Since a plethora of apologetics-based arguments are either compatible with Molinism or supported by Molinism, it only makes sense for Christian apologists to argue for the truth of Molinism. After all, since Molinism is supported by the whole of Scripture[24] (See my article Molinism Is Biblical) and it makes sense of and is supported by countless apologetics-based arguments, it seems that Molinism is probably true!

That is to say, the inference to the best explanation of all the data is Molinism.


Notes

[1] Graham Oppy is a prominent atheist philosopher who has raised objections to Molinism (See, Arguing Successfully about God: A Review Essay of Graham Oppy’s Arguing about Gods). https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/the-existence-of-god/arguing-successfully-about-god-a-review-essay-of-graham-oppys-arguing-about/ (accessed March 1, 2019). He is not alone. FreeThinking Ministries has assembled a team of Molinists who are in the process of responding to the many atheistic objections to Molinism.

[2] James K. Beilby, Paul R. Eddy (editors), Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views, IVP Academic, 2001

[3] Jerry Walls makes a case against Calvinism and quotes the Calvinist, Arthur Pink. Walls states that Pink “bites the bullet” and admits the Calvinistic view of God entails that God does not love all people. Walls encourages all Calvinists to come clean and be as honest as Pink: https://youtu.be/Daomzm3nyIg (46:20)

[4] Stratton and Erasmus, Divine Determinism and the Problem of Hell, Perichoresis 16:2, 2018

[5] I discuss this “unique view of Universalism” in True Love, Free Will, & the Logic of Hell, https://freethinkingministries.com/true-love-free-will-the-logic-of-hell/, (accessed March 1, 2019)

[6] Tyson was interviewed by Chelsea on Netflix, Does Neil deGrasse Tyson believe in God?, https://youtu.be/jXAokvnv7Mc, (accessed March 1, 2019)

[7] Paul Draper, The Skeptical Theist, in The Evidential Argument from Evil, 1996, 176-77).

[8] Mens rea refers to the legal philosophy of the “guilty mind” and criminal intent.

[9] Peter van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence, Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 5: Philosophy of Religion ,ed. James E. Tomberlin: 1991, 135)

[10] Tim Stratton and Jacobus Erasmus, Mere Molinism: A Defense of Two Essential Pillars, Perichoresis 16:2 (2018), p. 21

[11] Greg Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, Zondervan (2009) p. 128-29

[12] William Lane Craig, God and Abstract Objects, “It is virtually universally agreed that abstract objects, if they exist, are causally impotent.” https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/divine-aseity/god-and-abstract-objects/, (accessed March 1, 2019)

[13] John W. Hendryx, Eleven (11) Reasons to Reject Libertarian Free Will:
A critique of “Why I am not a Calvinist” by Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell
https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/libertarian.html (accessed 2-28-2019)

[14] Jay W. Richards, The Untamed God, IVP Academic (2003) p. 239

[15] Sam Harris, Free Will, Free Press; 1st edition (2012) p. 5

[16] Guillame Bignon, Excusing Sinners and Blaming God, Pickwick Publications (2017) p. 7

[17] David E. Alexander and Daniel M. Johnson (editors), Calvinism and the Problem of Evil, Matthew J. Hart is the author of the eleventh chapter, Calvinism and the Problem of Hell, Wipf and Stock Publishers (2016) p. 248

[18] Greg Koukl, Do Humans Really Have Free Will?, https://www.str.org/videos/do-humans-really-have-free-will#.XHhErs9KiqB, (accessed 2-28-2019)

[19] William Lane Craig, Transcript of the Fine-Tuning Argument, http://www.finetuneduniverse.com/finetuned.html, (accessed March 1, 2019)

[20] Ibid.

[21] Kirk MacGregor, Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan (2015), p. 11

[22] What is QUANTUM INDETERMINACY? What does QUANTUM INDETERMINACY mean? QUANTUM INDETERMINACY meaning, https://youtu.be/TSEHo9Lmehk, (accessed March 1, 2019)

[23] Beilby, Eddy, Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views, IVP Academic (2001) p. 125

[24] Stratton, Molinism Is Biblical, https://freethinkingministries.com/molinism-is-biblical/, June 8, 2017 (Accessed March 1, 2019)

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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 is currently enrolled at North-West University pursuing his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics, history, and biblical data.

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