Molinism Differentiated from Calvinism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    What separates molinism from calvinism/determinism? I mean, besides the idea that LFW exists? Is it the case that according to molinism God did almost everything he could but be the cause of everything so that he could ensure exactly what he wanted? What more could God have done before creation to better ensure that he'd get what he wanted while still preserving LFW?

    Is there a theology that is between Calvinism and Molinism? Is molinism closer to Calvinism than Arminianism?
     
  2. 12strings

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    I'm bumping this to the top because I went and read the Wikipedia article on molinism, and would like someone who know more than I to elaborate.

    It seems to me that in many ways a Molinist and a Compatibalist Calvinist are saying very similar things...since in a very real sense in both systems, God arranged situations in such a way that the decisions of free creatures that he wanted to be made, would be made.

    Andy experts want to disagree?
     
  3. Van

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    Both views are "moving the goal posts" arguments. Rather than God causing us to choose this or that, i.e. exhaustive determinism, we make choices according to our "programing" which moves the goal post but not the reality. If God arranges circumstances that will produce the desired outcome because of our programing, that is like blaming the bullet or the gun, rather than the person aiming and firing. It is a canard.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    Not a lot of time to post here, but I will say this:

    Molinism is closer to Reformed Theology than Arminian theology. It provides the corrective tool, via Libertarian Free Will, over and against the Deterministic view of Reformed theology.

    I think Molinism, particularly in recent developments (ala WL Craig, Al Plantinga, etc) is a helpful system overall. Not just from a theological viewpoint but also an apologetic standpoint.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    We want to be able to explain what is clearly spoken in scripture and there is no doubt that we will do it in terminology that we can understand. Far to many doctrines and systems of theology are created by reading into scripture what is not clearly delineated. We end up with Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism. and God forbid Open Theism just as a few examples.

    Why is it not ok with man that we understand that God opens up the heart and some men receive Him, by whatever means, and some do not. Why is it not ok with man that we just do not understand some things of God in detail? When its not we end up with false explanations of a break down of regeneration before salvation which scripture never indicates. We end up with God not knowing somethings either by choice or inability.

    Sometimes I get the idea that man has more confidence and need for his own intellectualism than he does in just accepting scripture at face value. These so called intellectualists have been railing against anti-intellectualism for years. But I believe that both sides of that coin have gone way to far.

    Personally I hold to a middle ground on all of this. God is always sovereign, He has given men the free will to receive the gospel, and some men do and some do not.

    Outside of that I just do not know the details of how all that works because scripture does not tell us. And I am ok with that.
     
  6. 12strings

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    This sounds like a description of Calvinism to me!!!
     
  7. 12strings

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    This sounds like a description of Arminianism to me!!!
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Of course. If it makes you more comfortable to define it that way then help yourself.
     
    #8 Revmitchell, Nov 17, 2012
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  9. HeirofSalvation

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    #9 HeirofSalvation, Nov 17, 2012
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  10. Benjamin

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    I am not what I would consider an “expert” in explaining Molinism, but I would caution that while exploring Molinism it is common to come across many poor conclusions about what it argues. So, if I may offer some clarification concerning the issue of God maintaining both Divine sovereignty and creaturely free will, one might think of it as that God makes judgments along the way through time according to our volitional actions and actualizes possible worlds in real (our) time, but these infinite number of possible worlds are not “pre-determined” upon us before our free choices.

    Molinism gets real complicated but it does not, as Van seems to be mistakenly suggesting, rest on theories that ultimately or inevitably amount to a form determinism; it is clear that Molinism argues for true creaturely volition whether Van can understand the process or not. Therefore, to say Molinism is just “moving the goal post further” and is still relying on determinism clearly either amounts to misunderstanding of what Molinism argues for or is presenting a strawman.

    Molinism does not argue that “God arranges circumstances that will produce the desired outcome because of our programing” it argues in effect that God arranges possible worlds according to our volitional actions and to help understand this I think it should be examined in conjunction with God making “judgments” according to our volitional actions within time which in fact maintains free will, it is not another theory of determinism. IOWs, God does not force His desired outcome on us and we are not pre-programmed according to the arguments of Molinism.

    There is a huge difference between Calvinist -> Determinism and Molinism which maintains and argues for Creaturely volition, but where you could make a comparison is that Calvinist Compatibilist also argues to maintain at least some form of free will.

    I’ve previously offered some explanations for understanding Molinism here:

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1858933&postcount=48


    http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=79130
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

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    I recognize your in-ability to differentiate between a determinists' "programming" and God's capacity to simply "know" (via his omniscience) an un-programmed volitional creature's response to any given environment or stimuli...but YOUR incapacity to know the difference doesn't demostrate God's inability to know it.
    Would you provide for us the argument which demonstrates that God is equally limited? Would you please inform us how that works? I am fully aware that YOU...don't know what it is..but, what is your argument that GOD doesn't???? Please tell us...

    Provide, Please, the logic, and Scriptural proof that God is EXACTLY as STUPID and ignorant as YOU and I are...
    This, sir, is sheer ignorance on your part.

    All your argument boils down to is...If "Van" doesn't or "can't" know something...Than obviously God can't...Prove THAT premise!

    It's o.k. if you don't know how God can understand something...(I don't either). But "Open Theists" seem to think that if they aren't equally as intellectually capable as God is, than God is obviously a moron...Maybe God is simply smarter than you think??? Guess what, He's God, you aren't, He's smart, we aren't, and NOT only does he "know" things you don't...but he also might be CAPABLE OF KNOWING things, that you cannot possibly know. It isn't difficult. You miss the whole forest for the trees.
     
    #11 HeirofSalvation, Nov 17, 2012
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  12. HeirofSalvation

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    It is different in that it ASSUMES true "libertarian free-will" in the same sense as any Arminian or "Open Theist" or anyone else you want to conjure up sees true "free-will"..
    There is ZERO difference in a Molinist's understanding of "Free-Will" as there is anyone else's...
    Molinists use God's "Omniscience"....not his "Sovereignty" per se to explain how God can fore-ordain all which comes to pass without appealling to "force".
    Molinists AREN'T concerned with preserving man's "free-will" they are concerned with preserving "Sovereignty"....
    It's rather simple really:
    They assume Two things:

    1.) God is ULTIMATELY Sovereign over ALL of creation in even it's most minor details (and this includes the "election" of those who are, or will not be, saved).
    2.) TRUE and real "Libertarian free-will" is something God has given to all of his creatures, and that God would not have chosen, or wanted to choose otherwise.
    3.) BOTH statements above are true: (Explain)?????

    Molinists appeal to God's Omniscience, and not his Omnipotence...<----Truth be told...that is all any Calvinist appeals to.
    Calvinists may USE a word like: "Sovereignty"...all they want. But all they really mean is "Omnipotence"...The Basic definitive facet of God that he has supreme power and force.

    That is all they appeal to there...and that is all they appeal to later. God uses "force".
    Calvinists have taught us that God's use of mere "force" is called his "Sovereignty"....and that there is no distinction...and that to accuse God of using mere brute "force" is not accurate, or correct, or representative of a loving Deity...He uses his "Sovereignty"....not "force."

    Molinists accept BOTH notions...God's Sovereignty, and true Libertarian Free Will....They simply use God's "Omniscience" and not his "Omnipotence" as the key attribute.

    Want a synopsis??

    God Knew prior to his creation of the Universe, (and world) as it is, what any possible combination of "free creaturely-responses" would be....and he chose to "create" or "actualize" the particular world he did in accordance with the sum total of all possible creaturely responses that he deemed best...and that was (most probably)......which-ever one resulted in the maximal number of creaturely responses to the gospel...Thus, God has truly "fore-ordained" all things what-soever shall come to pass..but he allows all of his creatures to make their decisions...God: "Stacked-the-Deck"....I repeat: God "Stacked-the-Deck"...He didn't create circumstances which were (as a Compatabilist assumes) necessary for a particular response. He just simply KNEW which response would be forth-coming...In any possible set of circumstances, and then created that world accordingly..God created the world given said knowledge...That's all.

    It's simple.
    It's ingenious.
    It may describe reality
    Or it very well might not....

    But, it's the NOBLEST effort I have ever seen...to make sense of a Creator we cannot possibly comprehend, with the revelation as He has revealed it to us...
    Take it, or leave it.
     
    #12 HeirofSalvation, Nov 17, 2012
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  13. 12strings

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    1. Could you explain the difference further between compatibalism and the molinist idea that God created the world that he knew would have the desired outcome?

    2. Also... is the above synopsis compatible with this:

    (because it sounds like you just said God DID do something to ensure a certain outcome...he created this world, and not another possible world.

    and also this...

    I understand that molinism would reject the programing aspect, but it still sounds very much like God "stacking the deck" has the same effect as what a compatibalist would say.
     
  14. 12strings

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    Reading this paragraph again, I think I may see the difference between Comp. & Mol. (though you can certainly respond if you like)

    I do have one big question, which basically boils down to a "which is it" question:

    1. Would a molinist say that once God chose to create creatures with free will, he was limited in choosing between worlds where varying numbers of these creatures freely chose his way of salvation?

    OR...

    2. Would a molinist say that infinite possibilites before him, God COULD have chosen a world in which all chose to be saved, but decided not to for some reason?


    if 1, does that raise questions of God's omnipotence?

    if 2, does that raise questions of God's goodness, not really giving any more answer than a calvinist could give?
     
  15. Van

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    Pitchback

    Note my view was not addressed. Rather a strawman argument, i.e. Van thinks God's mind is no greater than the mind of man, is put forward. Sheer fiction calculated to disparage me rather than address my view.

    And folks, it does not matter how God knows our response to a given circumstance, if God then arranges a circumstance so that we "freely choose" to do as God desired, its simply a "moving the goal post" argument, a canard. Do not be taken in by the clever stories of men.

    And to bring us back to scripture, the issue is whether God causes our selections and is therefore the author of sin, or whether we make autonomous choices within the limits God allows, i.e we make plans but God directs our feet.
     
  16. quantumfaith

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    12strings, I "think" that most "molinist experts" (Craig, Plantinga etc) would say so with a caveat, that being that God initiated creation in such as way as to optimize (maximize) the numbers of those who would freely choose Him. FTR, I am no "expert" (of anything) including my life's work in mathematics.
     
  17. HeirofSalvation

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    Great sets of questions!!! I wish I were a better example...but, I'll try to ansxer what I can/
     
  18. HeirofSalvation

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    #18 HeirofSalvation, Nov 18, 2012
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  19. humblethinker

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    Benjamin, I know of no documentation that communicates such about molinism. Can you direct me to any such teaching by an expert on molinism? As HoS said in a previous post in this thread that there is very little that separates calvinism/determinism from molinism. I have not read ANY molinism advocates describing it as you have done above. Hopefully I'm wrong, I would be pleasantly surprised.
     
  20. HeirofSalvation

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    #20 HeirofSalvation, Nov 19, 2012
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