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Thread: Molinism questions from a "Determinist."

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    Default Molinism questions from a "Determinist."

    I've been strongly persuaded that determinism is the ideology that best fits the facts of life and theology. With God's attributes and with our understanding of how logic and the world works, I don't see how anyone can believe in the libertarian notion of the will. That being said, I find myself agreeing with Craig's representation of Molinism very much - until he throws in the term "libertarian will." It seems to me like his proposal is the exact same thing I'd propose. God created this particular world, knowing exactly what was going to happen, and humanity could have chosen otherwise, but never would have due to their upbringing, genes, etc in that particular world. So is Molinism just determinism that throws in a meaningless term "free will," or is my position of determinism really Molinism?

    I would go into far greater detail, but I have far too much to say on the issue. I have created a site where I explain why I think it's unreasonable to hold onto libertarian free will, so I'll direct you there. Below, I will select a few of my biggest problems with the libertarian aspect of Molinism so you can help me to figure out where I stand.

    Specific Problems With Molinism:

    1. If an actualized world can be guaranteed to give you result X, how is this anything but determinism? If you'd replay the world infinitely, the same thing would happen every time.

    2. If the problem with determinism is that people wouldn't have done otherwise due to their nature, what's the difference with Molinism?

    3. Hell seems just as shallow on this view, as in another world, an unbeliever in this world may have chosen God - or at least heaped less judgement on himself. So the actions that do/do not occur are still a result of God's choice.
    4. We believe that God created from his nature. He can't sin. What he created stems from who he is. However, with Molinism's attempt to preserve the libertarian will, they're doing so to preserve man as higher than God. It's saying that man doesn't have a nature that grounds him unto action.

    5. Following from #4, it seems that clinging on to libertarian freedom goes against everything we know. We know that causes exist and we think that randomness exists (i.e. quantum particles and radioactive decay), but what else is there? If things aren't done because of something (i.e. a nature, inherent good or evil, etc), then things are done randomly. Random doesn't seem like a better alternative than reason and purpose.
    I'd really appreciate your help in thinking through this issue. While I am currently on the side of determinism, this is because the facts I understand at the moment point clearly towards that. Please don't attack me with the common or emotional objections I often get. I've thought through this and addressed most of the typical arguments, and probably much more than most libertarians even know exist. That doesn't make them right, it just means I need some good thinkers on the other side who can show me why I'm wrong about their view. Thanks for a good discussion in advance.

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    Though William Lane Craig is a non-OSASer, unsaved and going to Hell, you do misrepresent him since he doesn't believe "humanity could have chosen otherwise, but never would have due to their upbringing, genes, etc in that particular world."

    It is a contradiction to say "could have" and "never would". Rather, God created the world ensemble that saves the most and damns the least and in that somehow through middle knowledge creates true free will making us in His image as sovereign free willed human beings. There is free will in all world ensembles. God is simply saving the most and damning the least in the world that He chooses.

    Determinism is simply cause and effect supported by Molinism, and your free choice is one of those causes given to us by God made in His image because He has free choice also though He never sins. He is always permanently righteous, holy and true.

    There is no libertarianism with Molinism since all our choices are within God's divine providence and provision. So for Craig to say libertarian free will is true, assuming he is using the term correctly, is obviously false since nothing is not in accordance with God's provision.

    Quote Originally Posted by bjrscj
    1. If an actualized world can be guaranteed to give you result X, how is this anything but determinism? If you'd replay the world infinitely, the same thing would happen every time.
    In that world ensemble means running it through one time. You can't run through it again. It is a one time affair. No hypotheticals are allowed except in the movies. God chooses the world ensemble that saves the most and damns the least. So unless this is the correct one-the best one-He won't choose it. Within this world are free choices afforded to people. Real free choice so the determinant is the person as God has designed His creation this way.

    2. If the problem with determinism is that people wouldn't have done otherwise due to their nature, what's the difference with Molinism?
    In any particular world ensemble people could have done otherwise, but didn't. That's why it is a world ensemble of many God can choose from. It is determinism because God can see the choice you will make and why you make that choice even though they could have chosen otherwise, for in any given scenario a person has a number of options.

    3. Hell seems just as shallow on this view, as in another world, an unbeliever in this world may have chosen God - or at least heaped less judgement on himself. So the actions that do/do not occur are still a result of God's choice.
    To solve this concern for yourself, God does not prevent the creation of a person who would be saved on account of a person who rejects Christ. Many go to Hell of their own free will when they could have freely chosen otherwise. This is what it is to have faith to believe this in the God who can do this, making us in His image with free will to receive His Son whosoever is willing. And this faith is proven since God pleads with you and implores in you to receive Him, thus giving you the free choice as it would be cruel not to.

    4. We believe that God created from his nature. He can't sin. What he created stems from who he is. However, with Molinism's attempt to preserve the libertarian will, they're doing so to preserve man as higher than God. It's saying that man doesn't have a nature that grounds him unto action.
    God can sin but never does. Molinism doesn't attempt to preserve libertarian free will. Molinism says simply that God chooses the world ensemble fully within God's providence and provision that saves the most and damns the least. That is all. It does not itself reconcile free will with God's infinite foreknowledge, but comes as close to the edge as possible to shed some light on it.

    5. Following from #4, it seems that clinging on to libertarian freedom goes against everything we know. We know that causes exist and we think that randomness exists (i.e. quantum particles and radioactive decay), but what else is there? If things aren't done because of something (i.e. a nature, inherent good or evil, etc), then things are done randomly. Random doesn't seem like a better alternative than reason and purpose.
    Since Molinism doesn't teach libertarian free will but sovereign free will according to God's will, the point is mute. By the way quantum particles and radioactive decay are not random. There is purpose behind it all.

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    In that world ensemble means running it through one time. You can't run through it again. It is a one time affair. No hypotheticals are allowed except in the movies. God chooses the world ensemble that saves the most and damns the least. So unless this is the correct one-the best one-He won't choose it. Within this world are free choices afforded to people. Real free choice so the determinant is the person as God has designed His creation this way.
    I just listened to Craig answer an objection about Hilbert's Hotel yesterday on his Reasonable Faith podcast. The question stated that there is only a dilemma in the scenario if one actually moves guests in and out of rooms. Craig responded by saying that hypotheticals are generally very legitimate, since they are logical followings of the issue and premises at hand. So I would think Craig would disagree with your defense of him.

    I by no means see how showing something consistently within the logic of a system can be written off. If you jumped off a 500 foot cliff, you would get hurt. It may never happen, but due to the laws of physics, we all know it would. I think my example of the libertarian conundrum remains legitimate.


    In any particular world ensemble people could have done otherwise, but didn't. That's why it is a world ensemble of many God can choose from. It is determinism because God can see the choice you will make and why you make that choice even though they could have chosen otherwise, for in any given scenario a person has a number of options.
    You acknowledge that people do things for a reason here. So the world we're in could have happened differently, and would have done so had people had different reasons for choosing otherwise. But why would they have had different reasons? It seems arbitrary to me when you go down that path.



    To solve this concern for yourself, God does not prevent the creation of a person who would be saved on account of a person who rejects Christ. Many go to Hell of their own free will when they could have freely chosen otherwise. This is what it is to have faith to believe this in the God who can do this, making us in His image with free will to receive His Son whosoever is willing. And this faith is proven since God pleads with you and implores in you to receive Him, thus giving you the free choice as it would be cruel not to.

    People seem to go to Hell because they were unlucky enough to have gone down this path in this world. In fact, if this world would have been played and randomly produced different reasons in your head, you would have chosen God. You didn't choose God because it just so happened that in the first play through your reasoning was flawed.

    God can sin but never does. Molinism doesn't attempt to preserve libertarian free will. Molinism says simply that God chooses the world ensemble fully within God's providence and provision that saves the most and damns the least. That is all. It does not itself reconcile free will with God's infinite foreknowledge, but comes as close to the edge as possible to shed some light on it.

    In your second paragraph, you make this quote, "It is a contradiction to say 'could have' and 'never would'." So God, under these ideas, certainly has no free will. Yet we believe God is responsible, loving, etc. It seems that Molinism definitely tries to preserve free will, as it's determinism with the word "libertarian free will" thrown in. If Craig is an accurate face of a Molinist, his big issues with determinism is the notion of responsibility and love and choice. It seems like a Molinist must then hold man up to be more free than God, or admit that the term "libertarian free will" is vacuous.


    Since Molinism doesn't teach libertarian free will but sovereign free will according to God's will, the point is mute. By the way quantum particles and radioactive decay are not random. There is purpose behind it all.
    Now that I can agree with. Maybe I just have a skewed view of Molinism. Maybe Craig misrepresents the mainstream Molinist or maybe I've been too dense to see the nuances. I just can't grasp any grounding for LFW, and I fail to see how Molinism is any different than Determinism with bad semantics.

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    Your hypothetical doesn't follow because in God's design it is always a one-time run through otherwise it would be a bizarre form of Hinduism. If it is not a one time run through then you take that same soul and run them through it again which violates the law of man made in God's image. Your hypothetical violates said premise.

    Craig has some strange notions that do not follow logically which stem from his works based salvation as one would expect.

    And libertarian free will is not true free will since all of our choices are within God's divine providence.

    The original Molinism was by a non-OSASer like Craig, both unsaved going to Hell. What I do is apply the principle of middle knowledge to OSAS Arminian, however I am aware of the limitations of Molinism so don't expect much from it. It always leaves you wanting anyhow so it is not the ultimate answer of how God reconciles His infinite foreknowledge with free will.

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    I still disagree with you about the hypothetical. It doesn't have to get run through or ever be intended to run through again for the logic to matter. That's the whole point of hypotheticals. They show inconsistencies in logic. The point was that two identical worlds wouldn't necessarily function in the exact same way. All things being the same, they wouldn't end up the same. In fact, they could end up at two very different ends of the spectrum. That seems to show very clearly that this notion of libertarian free will is baselessness. The actions of an individual aren't really tied to an individual at all. It's random (or determined).

    You would most likely disagree with me, but I have a hard time understanding your position. You say you don't like Craig's free will and you talk about God's providence and all, yet you are an Arminian. I would honestly love to believe in libertarian free will, since I think it makes Christianity much more of an open and shut case. I also feel the same way about young earth creationism, but that's just another area where my desires don't line up rationally. So I would love to be proven wrong, I just haven't found any substantive arguments for a sort of libertarian free will that coincides with the God of the Bible, or even an explanation that can stand on it's own to feet at all. If you can enlighten me, I would absolutely love that.

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    Libertarian free will is false since obviously all our free choices are within God's caring hand. Your hypotheticals show themselves to be flawed. Craig is wrong. This one run through is all that is needed. It is the best. He saves the most and damns the least.

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