Modeling Molinism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    In an attempt to understand Molinism I've come up with the following. I am not trying to argue a point but rather trying to come to an understanding. So, please don't just disagree with it but instead correct the analogy, remold or reposition the model so I can observe it and understand it. Maybe both narratives I've made are models?

    ****
    Grandmaster Flash, out of love for music, wants to select the best record to play for his enjoyment. Grandmaster Flash has a huge set of vinyl records that he produced. These vinyl records, consist of a combination of sounds , rhythms, tones and lyrics that he himself made and some caused by accompanying musicians. He locates this 'best' record and dropping the needle he gets his groove on. Being confident of all he knows he will hear during the song, he can really focus on enjoying the experience of the moment.
    ****

    Using the above as a basis for a mind experiment, I'd like to represent my understanding of Molinism:


    ####
    God, out of love of relationship in the Trinity, wants to select the best world to share relationship with others. Knowing a potentially endless selection of worlds, using his intellect God would select the best world that would suite his intent. God knows all reality, and so there is nothing that 'is' that he does not know it to be. Therefore the outcomes of all events (determined , stochastic and free choices) in these worlds are known. All of these potential worlds were therefore complete static sets from creation to the end, similar to a vinyl record.

    Once a world is selected and actualized there is no purpose or possibility for any event to deviate from the set. Informed by his Middle Knowledge (MK) God makes a selection. His choice of this one world is conditioned upon the facts that as few people as possible would perish and that the maximal number of people, using their own LFW, would accept him. What God did not causally determine within this static set world, he meticulously chose. This choosing is not to be to his shame, however, but to his credit, since what he chose results in what is best.

    Conclusions:
    1) While in this world, it may be the case that I am not the best I could have been compared to the 'me' in some of the other worlds, it is the case that this world results in the best world out of all worlds that could be.

    2) While God knew, before selecting this world, exactly what he would do in each response to his free creatures I can still reasonably feel a personal reciprocal relationship whith him.
    ####

    Again, please don't just disagree with these models but instead correct the analogy, remold or reposition the model so I can observe it and understand it. Do the same with the two conclusions as well. Or, let me know if it seems close.
     
  2. HeirofSalvation

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    Seems pretty close HT.......I would, however imagine (personally) that even though the "YOU" might be "better" in some other world....I think it also likely, that there is no other world wherein those who are Damned in this one, might have been redeemed in another....

    I think any Molinist also objects to using the word:
    No Molinist likes to say it isn't "possible".....just that it won't. The "possibility" facet of the equation was provided for when the other accompanying musicians wrote their submissions prior to GMF's selection......they DID write numerous submissions....Grand Master Flash just selected the collection of sounds with the overall harmony he liked best.

    It seems to me that the whole crux of the hang-up for many people is that they think that alternative "possibilities" don't exist.....they do....just in that twisted Molinistic kind of way. Alternative possibilities existed prior to the creative decree...and they exist even post the decree. Those possibilities ARE those alternative records which flash didn't actually play.....but they remain in his collection. He just didn't play it.
     
  3. humblethinker

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    Great! Thanks HoS!

    GMF's act of playing the record is equated with God's act of actualizing this world we are experiencing. I think you agreed to that. Once GMF starts playing the record it is impossible for the tune to be any different that what the record requires. While possibility existed while the musicians were recording there is no possibility once the record is played. While listening to the record playing, he may appreciate how the musicians sound differently in the other records but in this record they can only sound as the record requires which also comports with how GMF knows and expects it to sound.

    The possibility of the records sounding different is grounded only in the past decisions of the recording artists. There is no possibility for this record or any other record actually sounding differently once a record is chosen and played.
     
  4. WITBOTL

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    HT, I don't mean to derail this thread or the purpose of it so I apologize if this is out of line…

    I see in much of this discussion a tendency towards an almost deistic concept of God and his relationship to his creation which we must be careful to guard against. Scripture clearly reveals a God who is involved and directly active with his creation. So much so that he even sent his only begotten son to live among us, interact with us and ultimately die for us. I tend towards an understanding that has God exhaustively and profoundly involved in his creation. I am not suggesting the discussion IS deistic, but just noticing a tendency to downplay the intimate and active aspect that God deals with his creation. The analogy of setting a record in motion and sitting back and enjoying the arrangements that he chose suggests that things that happen though understood by God are only really the consequence of what he has arranged and set in motion and not by virtue of his direct involvement. We might argue about the degree but I think we can agree that God is not passive in the unfolding in time of his plan for his creation.
     
  5. HeirofSalvation

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    Your concern is noted and quite legitimate WITBOTL.......but, there is no reason to fear the "deism" you are detecting here. One of the critical notions involved in a Molinistic explanations is the assumption that God is equally as active and involved in his creation as he is in any other schema. A Molinistic explanation assumes as much interraction with the created world as either (I assume you) or any other normative Bible-Believer might assume there were.......

    In a Molinist schema.....God's interractions with his creations are as much a part of the equation as they are anywhere else... Molinism doesn't re-define any of God's attributes in any way. What a Molinist thinks is that God factors in (as it were) his assumed interraction with the world logically prior to his "actuallizing" it...

    Your concern is well-noted....and you aren't wrong for bringing it up, but you have no reason for concern. There is no fear of deism here, although I can completely understand how you might think there were. Molinists should explain themselves such that that particular concern is resolved.

    I think many people tend to assume that Molinists define many of God's attributes somewhat differently than others might....they REALLY DON'T. They assume as much about God's fundamental attributes as I am guessing you do....But, I do understand how (without that knowledge) you might see red-flags. There is no need for those flags though. Molinists should be able to "give an answer" to any basic concern such as that one that you might have.
     
    #5 HeirofSalvation, Dec 1, 2012
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  6. humblethinker

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    WITBOTL, Thank you for your interest. I want to encourage your participation but at the same time say that this is detracting from the OP... is that okay? :) The main purpose for the OP is so that I can understand Molinism. I'd like to have a coherent model of what Molinism is and since all analogies break down at some point, I'm wanting to identify what those points are where the model fails.

    If you are an adherant to Molinism or believe you have an understanding of it such that you are confident that you could confirm or suggest modifications to my model above then I would more than welcome your input! Definitely comment to that end. I am sensitive to your concerns but hope that they can be addressed once I hear from people informed on Molinism. I hope that works for you.
     
  7. humblethinker

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    Thanks HoS for that post to WITBOTL. I agree.

    The following is my understanding of molinism as well:
    I agree with the following. This is what all theists should be willing to do:
     
  8. HeirofSalvation

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    Yes...I can dig God's status as "Grand Master Flash"......it's a pretty good analogy....Of course, EVERY analogy will ultimately break-down...but, for these purposes, it works just fine. God can be "Grand Master Flash" for now.
    I hear you.........and I also just don't like it. Molinists simply aren't going to like your use of the terms "possible" or "impossible", we just won't.........I don't mean to say that a Molinist would think that it WILL be actualized...but, I think the hang-up you have is that you truly INSIST on defining things as "possible".........
    Molinists INSIST on only the "Will occur"....all others are assumed to be "possible"...
    Your objection, is the same objection levelled by Calvinists to the Molinistic explanation. Sometimes, Arminians object on this level too....but, not always.
    Your objection is the so-called: "Grounding Objection"....and no Molinist can explain you through it.....either you buy it, or you don't.
    It is the essential pre-supposition of a Molinist explanation.
    Molinists simply don't "GROUND" Middle Knowledge.......
    The single greatest objection to Molinism is the "Grounding Objection"
    I cite it, and a rejoinder by Craig:
    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/grounding.html

    from a different article.....I will post and bold some statments....The article is found here:http://reasontostand.org/archives/2009/11/13/answering-the-grounding-objection-against-molinism
    I don’t think it is that Craig or Plantinga fail to take seriously the grounding objection so much as they simply find the objection to be incoherent given the presupposition that counterfactuals are true regardless of their instantiation. That is, they are true regardless of whether they obtain or not AND whether the actors in question exist or not. In short, the question of where God’s knowledge of future free decisions is incoherent at the outset because it presupposes that true statements require grounding in the first place. My question when such an objection is raised is when would we suppose that a tensed factual statement such as “I will be in the office tomorrow morning” becomes true?

    In sum, the grounding objection begins with a flawed premise that presupposes that knowledge of future-free events must be contingent on the will of either God. The answer, however, is to expand our options to include the possibility that the knowledge of future-free events is what some philosophers call a “brute fact” that God knows in accordance with His omniscience so that the question of where God’s knowledge of future events is grounded is answered by His omniscient nature, not his eternal decree (or man’s finite and contingent decree).
     
  9. Benjamin

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    Exactly, the way I see it in effect is one (grounding objectors) is attempting to ground a true statement (that God can foreknow all things, yet allow for LFW as clearly seen in the scriptures as CCFs) to a premise with a conclusion that God cannot do both.

    Molinism argues how both can be true based on Divine Middle Knowledge because it is true that both Divine and creaturely attributes exist and argue to maintain those attributes with a "type" of knowledge that allows for it. That it may seem incoherent that God can do this through a Middle Knowledge, being that us finite creatures do not possess these abilities or the intellect to fully understand it does not ground it as not being true, similarly to the doctrine of Trinity which is true, yet we cannot fully understand it from within our finite understanding other than that we accept the concept must be true.

    Molinism "simply" argues to try to explain and define this “concept” to have validity according to CCFs while holding to LFW and Divine foreknowledge are necessarily both true.
     
    #9 Benjamin, Dec 1, 2012
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  10. humblethinker

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    Back to the model...

    Are there any objections to the model or any re-molding that needs to take place before we start making observations off of it? Remember, the model doesn't have to be perfect and we can re-adjust it as we go if we need to. This model presented is the understanding I've had in all our discussions about Molinism.
     
  11. humblethinker

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    Dropping the needle...

    Alrighty... So, dropping the needle is analogous to the "Big Bang", the "first effect", the transition of God's being originally in an atemporal existence to a temporal existence.

    Does this sound correct?
     
  12. Benjamin

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    To begin with the problem with the analogy is the model is really outdated. Grandmaster Flash doesn’t use vinyl records he uses a digital sound system on the miraculous super mega computer called the “X=Infinity”, on top of that he knows every note and sound there could ever be and within the time his music is playing, in an instant (that’s why they call him “Flash”) he could inject a note or new sound wherever and whenever he wishes and be sure all those that hear their custom individually made song, having designed his music for everyone that willing to listen an opportunity to enjoy it, (he pain-stakingly and lovingly offers his perfectly and righteously made music in a song to them as a free gift to them) as they express their tastes in what they like and then leaves it up them whether they want to dance to his music – GMF is THAT COOL!

    ♪♪♪:cool:♪♪♪
     
    #12 Benjamin, Dec 2, 2012
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  13. humblethinker

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    GMF IS that cool - dang strate! :thumbs:
    How could he interject anything into the record other than what was in it after he drops the needle? All of his interaction is already factored into the record. Prior to creation, if he wanted to respond differently then he would have selected the other world in which he responds differently. "Mights" and "might nots" are only theoretical, such a state is simply an observation of contrast with the other worlds and as such "Might and might not" is not an ontological possibility in this world.
     
  14. HeirofSalvation

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    Here's the weird thing..........in some sort of way....it IS "Ontologically Possible" in the Molinist Schema. There is actually no reason that it ISN'T Ontologically Possible. Molinism ONLY speaks of what WILL BE.....There are NO barriers to what is "possible" though, if true LFW exists.

    LFW entails the power of contrary choice as a fundamental premise, and thus, they are assummed to be "ontologically possible". Molinism's trick is to simply use his Omniscience ONLY, in order to explain meticulous providence and LFW.

    You, I think, believe that God's (temporal) foreknowledge logically precludes the possibility of a CCF ....Molinists just simply don't. Only Molinist actually BELIEVE in the "truth value" of a CCF to begin with, I think. It's simply an Etymological discussion really, and what you think is sufficient for grounding a "truth".
    Molinists generally hold a different philosophy of "truth-making theory" than their detractors do. I think that's the whole discussion.......regardless of how it is expressed or sliced.

    Molinists (I think) take an absolute and strict dividing line between temporal and logical priority......In a way, Molinism doesn't give a rat's about temporal priority. Molinism regulates itself to logical priority ONLY.

    If so:
    Than all CCF are Ontologically Possible.

    You are insisting on speaking of "possibility" as an issue......not so in Molinism.
    In a Molinist schema.......ALL CCF are "possible" (and by possible we mean ontologically possible).....they just WON'T happen.
     
    #14 HeirofSalvation, Dec 5, 2012
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  15. Grasshopper

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    #15 Grasshopper, Dec 5, 2012
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  16. Benjamin

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    Yes! Believe! :smilewinkgrin:

    Ah, but, and this is a BIG “but” that you need to get a grip on to understand the Molinist view that: (A) Divine foreknowledge and LFW is NOT ONLY a possibility, but IS necessarily true according to (B) –neglected key point- “the Molinists’ supported view and thereby its argument” - which sets forth to “demonstrate” that this possibility NEED necessarily be true and THAT can in fact (C) be OBSERVED as being necessarily true!

    You serious need to recognize that you have “interjected” something into the model that has been “rejected”, and that is going to take recognizing what it is you have “interjected” and why you have done so might help you to understand why it is being “rejected’ which is definitely IS not only an ontologically viable possibility but absolutely necessary and why that is. Then you might actually understand the Molinist view and maybe then you can wisely get on with dumping OT and jumping over the fence to join a more reasonable and responsible view.

    Alright man I’m not going to edit all this below based on what I “think” you will/should understand what I’m getting at or not; if there is something you don’t understand about how I got to the bottom line let me know.

    I started with you not being willing to correct the model (i.e. properly represent the Molinist view) by referring to the model:

    X=Infinity digital system is not limited in knowledge or power to accomplish what GMF says He can do. He shows he interacts with the little people while he knows all things. I suppose if you insist to think of it as a record then somehow GMF is spinning it and custom carving it out simultaneously as we hear it. He has the type of knowledge and skill to such a thing. That’s what makes him so cool. You’re still stuck on your ability to only think of it as if he knows the result he must have already mean he completely finished designing the song before you ever got there, not so, you just have difficulty understanding how he does it, because you could never figure out how to do it. But GMF is that cool! Everything he says he can do, he can do. That should be proof enough, because you think he is honest. So that leaves Molinism which says…nah, this is difficult enough to explain without time consuming redesigning an analogy to do it which can also confuse the subject and add in variables which don’t exist. Let’s go back to reality for a minute:

    It seems you also must have ignored my previous post which addresses the same type of objections you are raising again here:

    1) “All of his interaction is already factored into the record.” (You cannot disregard His interactions factored in are loaded with infinite on-going possibilities.)

    2) “Prior to creation, if he wanted to respond differently then he would have selected the other world in which he responds differently.” (This is what I’m talking about concerning your objection which has already addressed. You are once again putting a pre-selected deterministic factor into this based on your disbelief that God (cannot be cool enough) to know all things and allow for on-going interaction within the X=Infinity correction I’ve already made to your model. You can’t just keep ignoring the Molinist argument (A/B/C) of what must be able (possible) to happen which is based on that God’s Word and existence has clearly demonstrated that these things can happen because by continuing to make that statement you are misrepresenting the view. (Once again, the Molinist model does not believe as you present in your model that these things have been pre-determined, which I corrected in my model (spelled out and referred to that God was that cool!) concerning your model’s analogy. For you to try to design a model which says this same thing over again while trying to maintain a pre-selected deterministic factor still misrepresents the Molinist view’s intensions which are to maintain both foreknowledge and LFW necessarily must be true. (A) right down to it’s conclusion.)

    Man, I’m starting to feel like a “broken record” having to try to get this across! Again, your attempt to ground the conclusion of the “matter” (both foreknowledge and LFW = T or F) is according to your faulty premise, not Molinism’s.

    Continued:
     
  17. Benjamin

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    Back to my previous post to point out the same “problem” (misrepresenting the Molinist view) you have continually repeated to show it has been being addressed (regardless of your failure to recognize this):

    “…the way I see it in effect is one (grounding objectors) is attempting to ground a true statement (that God can foreknow all things, yet allow for LFW as clearly seen in the scriptures as CCFs) to a premise with a conclusion that God cannot do both.” (thus, this is based on “your” maintaining a pre-selected deterministic factor, which Molinism does in fact hold as FALSE)


    I’m discussing Molinism’s actual premise against what could be considered a complex strawman on your part. (which again, you may not be able to see how, but is a concept (special Middle knowledge) the Molinist position holds as TRUE on the premise that it MUST be true according to scripture pertaining to the Nature of God and ability of man, again, God is that cool! – able.).

    From my previous post again:

    “Molinism argues how both can be true based on Divine Middle Knowledge because it is true that both Divine and creaturely attributes exist and argue to maintain those attributes with a "type" of knowledge that allows for it. (further explanation:)That it may seem incoherent that God can do this through a Middle Knowledge, being that us finite creatures do not possess these abilities or the intellect to fully understand it does not ground it (by your conclusions) as not being true, similarly to the doctrine of Trinity which is true, yet we cannot fully understand it from within our finite understanding other than that we accept the concept must be true.”

    Your conclusion of the Molinist view cannot ignore your opponent’s true premise!

    :BangHead:
     
  18. Benjamin

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    Now into the new future with a new approach after looking into the past to go over the same thing in more detail (explain and define):

    A) Divine foreknowledge and LFW is NOT ONLY a possibility, but IS necessarily true according to (B) –neglected key point- “the Molinists’ supported view and thereby its argument” - which sets forth to “demonstrate” that this possibility NEED necessarily be true and THAT can in fact (C) be OBSERVED as being necessarily true!

    Relating to (A) “Molinism "simply" argues to try to explain and define this “concept” to have validity according to CCFs while holding to THAT (maintaining) LFW and Divine foreknowledge are both necessarily true.”

    How is the premise (A) first 1/2, “LFW” true, you ask? Well:

    1) Counterfactual of Creaturely Freedoms exist in the Bible
    2) The Bible is True
    3) Therefore, Counterfactual of Creaturely Freedoms are true.

    “Craig gives three reasons for holding that counterfactuals statements are true. “First, we ourselves often appear to know such true counterfactuals. Second, it is plausible that the Law of Conditional Excluded Middle (LCEM) holds for counterfactuals of a certain special form, usually called "counterfactuals of creaturely freedom." Third, the Scriptures are replete with counterfactual statements, so that the Christian theist, at least, should be committed to the truth of certain counterfactuals about free, creaturely actions.”

    2/2 of (A) “foreknowledge of all things” is true:

    1) God’s knowledge is infinite
    2) God’s knowledge is not limited
    3) Therefore, God knows all things (His knowledge is unlimited and includes Foreknowledge)

    “Molinists hold that in addition to knowing everything that does or will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance.” (This goes to demonstrate what I have previously said to you concerning Molinism’s view which works toward an explanation of how LFW necessarily must include “within time judgments and placements into and through an infinitely possible number of worlds”) in which goal of Molinism it is not necessary for the Molinist view to hold to it premises and conclusion THAT IT MUST be true by proving exactly how but only WHY.

    Now for the second premise (B) concerning that God’s knowledge MUST also allow for (A) the first (TRUE) premise as described previously, so first I offer another “explanation” of how, which again is not dependent on being a perfect explanation of what MUST be true:

    Molinists say the logical ordering of events for creation would be as follows:

    1. God's knowledge of necessary truths.

    2. God's middle knowledge, (including counterfactuals).

    ---Creation of the World---

    3. God's free knowledge (the actual ontology of the world).

    Molinism “simply” argues for a type of knowledge which contains all things.

    SO, before you can continue with your model you would have to change it to be without beginning with your premise which includes a view that (1. a pre-selected deterministic factor based on that both foreknowledge and LFW cannot be true) and replace it with the Molinist view that (B. Necessarily both foreknowledge and LFW based on CCFS MUST be true.)

    Back to (A) Maintaining both 1+2 exist as true, then 3 = exists as true:

    1) God’s knowledge of all things (foreknowledge) exists in the world = true
    2) CCF’s demonstrating LFW exists in the world = true (BTW, thereby “any” view of determinism is false)
    3) Therefore, both exist in the world, (1+2) = true, therefore 3 =T

    (A) God’s knowledge of all things (foreknowledge) and LFW necessarily exists in the world. OKAY? On to (B).

    (B) Maintaining God is able to have both in the world:
    1) God’s knowledge is able to have foreknowledge = T
    2) God’s knowledge is able to allow for LFW, seen in CCFs = T
    3) Therefore, God knowledge is able to contain both through his knowledge = T

    (B) Therefore Molinism arguing for God’s knowledge is able to maintain both it argument for this truth as necessarily being true.

    (C) Therefore, Molinism can be “observed” as arguing that both: God is able that His Foreknowledge and LFW exists in the world in truth through His knowledge.

    (A) = T
    (B) =T
    (A) + (B) Then (C) = T

    Get it?

    That brings us back to your objection that it cannot be observed to be true has been proven to be false because of A, B and C being that all are proven to be true and therefore that it can in fact be observed. Get it? LOL
     
  19. Cypress

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    That seems pretty accurate to me. What is the reason that the ccf's won't happen. Because God determined that they won't? If such is the case, then how can they truly be counterfactuals available to a creature? Aren't they only available to the creator. The creature can only select the outcome God desires. This seems to eliminate true lfw.
     
  20. Benjamin

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    Now in case you missed it, LOL: Once again, here is my reply being contrary to your objection which has been demonstrated to be true:

    “Ah, but (A) Divine foreknowledge and LFW is NOT ONLY a possibility, but IS necessarily true according to (B) –neglected key point- “the Molinists’ supported view and thereby its argument” - which sets forth to “demonstrate” that this possibility NEED necessarily be true and THAT can in fact (C) be OBSERVED as being necessarily true!”

    "Might and might nots" are not only theoretically possible concening God's knowledge, but also ontologically necessary in the world for any conclusion that God also exists in that world in the truth of His Nature as well as to support the judgment of man who has been Divinely designed with LFW. To conclude otherwise, apart from maintaining God throughout all His abilities of knowledge and His creation of creatures to exist with LFW in the world and be truly judged, WILL lead you straight into determinism and thereby theological fatalism ( -with the Calvinists who are also stuck on Determinism due to foreknowledge :tongue3:).

    One more thing:

    Bottom line:

    Molinism Ontologically argued? God can do anything that can logically be done. It has been demonstrated that nothing less than with the logical conclusion that some type of special Divine Knowledge exists if one is to maintain all the truths of God, His Nature and His creation; God exists, therefore His Nature and His creation exists in truth through a special type knowledge and Molinism argues to maintain that this knowledge exists, thereby Molinism argues for the existence of God in all His Truths.

    “Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world—e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists.”

    How does He do it, both? I know you are VERY concerned with this! :saint: Well, first you need to remember to ask at this stage in the game, "Is it more important to show precisely HOW it is true or more important to show that it MUST be true?" - for the Molinist to maintain his view is OBSERVED to be true? Simple as A/B/C...

    I don’t see why you are so bent on trying to prove that Molinism cannot be possible when I show that both: God’s foreknowledge and LFW MUST be possible. Yet, it seems you ignore that I can easily show that if Open Theism is possible that both: God’s foreknowledge and LFW must not be possible. (Foreknowledge is forfeited.)

    1) Molinism can be observed to demonstrate it arguing that both: God’s foreknowledge and LFW are true. All Molinist claim both are true.

    2) Open Theism cannot be observed to demonstrate it arguing that both: God’s foreknowledge and LFW are true. All Open Theist claim Divine foreknowledge is not true.

    3) On those grounds which doctrine would you rather be observed be trying to support as truth based on what the Bible reveals about these Divine and creaturely attributes? Or on what grounds would you argue that OT is true and Molinism is not?

    My question to you that I hope you won't ignore:

    Will you put your ability to reason "HOW" over your ability to reason to maintain it "MUST?
     
    #20 Benjamin, Dec 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2012

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