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Monday, December 24, 2007

Molinism, Dualism & the Nicene Creed

Possible world discussions involve modal claims regarding the way reality might have been. Yet not all possible worlds are feasible worlds. (Thomas Flint coined the terms possible / feasible world, though the ideas preceded him.) In layman terms, a possible world is one that is internally consistent though might include actions individuals would never freely perform. Accordingly, it would not be feasible for God to actualize possible worlds in which moral agents will not freely cooperate to bring about the realities those worlds contemplate. For the Calvinist, possible worlds are identical in number with feasible worlds because within Calvinism, actions of choice are not according to libertarian freedom; therefore, whatever is possible for Jones to do is feasible for God to bring to pass – should God so desire. The reason being, God causes men to cooperate.

Obviously possible worlds are not God, nor his will, yet they are eternal. They are, however, a reflection of his logic, which is why it is not dualistic for there to be such abstract entities. Possible worlds are necessary and find their origin in God’s attribute(s). We can rightly say, therefore, that God’s necessary (or "natural") knowledge requires knowledge of such worlds. This is a far cry from Molinism's use of middle-knowledge, whereby God somehow knows contingently true conditional propositions about creaturely free actions couched in the subjunctive mood; such as, if Jones were in state of affairs y, he would freely choose x. Such an alleged truth cannot come from God’s necessary knowledge since the truth is alleged to be contingently true, making its truth-maker itself, nothing or some mystical entity residing outside of God and his control. Yet God, somehow, eternally acquires the knowledge of how creatures would freely behave in various circumstances. Christian or pagan?

Consider Plantinga: "It seems to me much clearer that some counterfactuals of freedom are at least possibly true than that the truth of propositions must, in general, be grounded in this way."

Plantinga, as brilliant as he is, since he is not moved by the arbitrariness and inconsistencies of Molinism, would do well to put down the pagan philosophers for a time and pick up some orthodox creeds and confessions. If the unreasonableness of Molinism doesn't constrain men such as Plantinga, maybe a greater appreciation for the heretical implications of the system might. Molinists need to come to terms with the fact that any ungrounded truth implies dualism and, therefore, results in an outright denial of the historic Christian faith, which affirms that "the Father, the Almighty, [is the] maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen, [which would include any contingently true-counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (not that there are any)].

Molinism is riddled with many theological and philosophical problems (e.g. ungrounded truth; God being informed by entities outside himself; all the problems pertaining to LFW, etc.) because the system is an avoidance of truth. It was invented in order to get out from under the complete and total sovereignty of God; so we should expect it to reduce to absurdity in obvious ways. Molinists confess pagan ideas that oppose orthodox Christianity.

Ron

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3 comments:

Jay Dyer said...

Have you considered that there is a third option? denial of free will is totally manichaean.

And, how do you deal with the canon?

Consider these articles on the canon:

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2007/12/protestants-hav.html

I'm a former BTS student, bythe way.

Jay

www.nicenetruth.com

Anonymous said...

There is no third option. Molinism affirms *libertarian* free will and the position put forth on the Reformed Apologist site site denies *libertarian* free will. So what's the third view that falls between causality and pure contingency?

The canon has no more to do with the discussion than does the dualism of Manichaeism or your past enrollment at Bahnsen Theological Seminary for that matter. :)

If you would like to engage in *these* discussions, then please by all means, do so! :)

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Jay Dyer always has something snarky and irrelevant to say with these correlative fallacies, whereby he dubs everything Protestant a heresy.