Theology Proper

How Biblical is Molinism? (Part 1)

Jacobus Arminius

Reposted from Analogical Thoughts, with permission.

Molinism is a theory that purports to reconcile a robust doctrine of divine providence and foreknowledge with a libertarian view of free will by appealing to the notion of divine middle knowledge: God’s eternal knowledge of the so-called counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, that is, contingent truths about what possible creatures would freely choose if they were created by God and placed in particular circumstances.

Molinism is most often criticized on theological or philosophical grounds, mainly because it’s most often championed on the basis of its supposed theological and philosophical virtues. And there’s nothing wrong with that; I’ve objected to Molinism on theological and philosophical grounds myself. (So it must be okay, right?) Nevertheless, for the Christian who takes the Bible to be the Word of God and the final authority in theological matters, the preeminent question ought to be: How well is Molinism supported by the Bible? (I don’t propose to defend the underlying methodological principle at this time; I’m simply going to take it for granted.)

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K. Scott Oliphint: God “decides to be something else as well”

An Examination of David Bently Hart's "The Experience of God" (Part 2)

Image of The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
by David Bentley Hart
Yale University Press 2014
Paperback 376

God is not, in any of the great theistic traditions, merely some rational agent, external to the order of the physical universe, who imposes some kind of design upon an otherwise inert and mindless material order. He is not some discrete being somewhere out there, floating in the great beyond, who fashions nature in accordance with rational laws upon which he is dependent. (234-235)

Notice that Hart has in mind the general consensus among theistic religions about God, not just the Christian God. I’ll comment a little on that below. Howbeit, the god who temporarily steps in at points in history to fill the void in our understanding of the world (the god of the gaps) is great to throw in the barrel and shoot at, but, then again, such a deity was dead before he/it got into the barrel anyway. As long as non-theists direct their logic against this immanent god, they miss the mark badly. As both Thomist and Van Tillian schools would agree, God is the eternally existing Fount of the laws of physics, of thought, and of morality. To proceed with the quotation:  

Rather, he is himself the logical order of all reality, the ground both of the subjective rationality of mind and the objective rationality of being, the transcendent and indwelling Reason or Wisdom by which mind and matter are both informed and in which they participate. (234-235)

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An Examination of David Bently Hart's "The Experience of God" (Part 1)

Image of The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
by David Bentley Hart
Yale University Press 2014
Paperback 376

Among the most learned and entertaining—if not sometimes infuriating—writers on the theological scene today is David Bentley Hart. He is the author of such notable books as The Doors of the Sea, The Beauty of the Infinite, and Atheist Delusions. Alongside this is his impressive portfolio of articles (in particular for First Things). His “Christ or Nothing,” “Laughter of the Philosophers,” and “Daniel Dennett Hunts the Snark” are classics!

The present work investigates the very real transcendental features of Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. These three aspects of the human condition are fundamental to any true exploration and comprehension of reality. They also represent insurmountable obstacles to the naturalistic paradigm which holds sway in the minds of many within academe. In this post I shall restrict my comments to Being and Consciousness.

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