Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brennon's Thoughts: See, I Can Change My Mind; or Accepting Molinism

My brother-in-Christ, Brennon, recently posted an article on his blog about why he is now accepting Molinism. I still have a great deal of problems with this attempt at reconciling Human Free Will with God's Sovereign Will and decrees. Brennon wrote:

So, with this in mind, it is easy to see how God could very easily providentially guide creation to His ends and still deal with free creatures. Take, for instance, the crucifixion. Peter says in Acts that Jesus was "delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death" (Acts 2:23). Well we know that God Himself didn't cause the pharisees to be godless. Rather, God knew what kind of godless men the pharisees would be, and He knew that if they were put in the position they were in, they would act to murder Jesus. Thereby, God was able to decree that Christ would be crucified to accomplish His justice, and was able to use the freely chosen sinful actions of evil men to accomplish this.

My problem with example is the full credit is given to God for Jesus' sacrifice - including the suffering not just the glorious ending.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. - Isaiah 53:10
Another important verse is regarding Judas. Jesus knew Judas was a goner when Jesus selected him.

12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. - John 17:12
Given these facts and others. I am unable to understand how we can infer that God decrees outcomes without also having a hand in ordaining means. Let me be clear, I'm not saying that God forces or tempts anyone to do evil. God does allow people to do evil things and uses the outcome to get good out of it. Jesus' crucifixion is indeed of an example that God does take the evil that men desire to do and turns it to ultimate good. However there are times when God does stop people from sinning. This is where Middle Knowledge (Molinism) falls apart. God tells us that at times what man means for evil, God means for good.

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:15-21
Joseph recognized that his brothers were not looking out for his best interest but intended for Joseph to suffer but God intended Joseph's suffering to ultimately save lives and to fulfill the promises made to His great-grandfather Abraham. Does this get Joseph's brothers off the hook for their sin. No. But Jesus does.

These are a few reasons why I think Molinism fails to explain Human will and God's sovereignty. I realize that Dr. William Lane Craig believes that Molinisim is a great tool understand the Bible and Philosophy but I don't think he is right in this although I admire the man for many other reasons. I've been writing several posts on this subject based on the work of William Lane Craig, James White,  and TurretinFan. The posts are regarding  Middle Knowlege (Molinism), Free Will, and God's Sovereignty.  Feel free to check out the past articles. And check out the additional link from James White: Craig vs. Hitchens at Biola Reviewed on the Dividing Line (Update!) This is a link to one of Dr. White's webcasts in which he discusses William Lane Craig's debate against Christopher Hitchen and Dr. Craig describes Calvinism as a "false Christian denomination." And I'm including it here because it points to why Dr. Craig may feel Molinism is a better explanation.

Brennon's Thoughts: See, I Can Change My Mind; or Accepting Molinism
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