Molinist Evolutionary Theory

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Feb 6, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
  2. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a coupe of noteworthy comments:

    "But in Molinist worlds, we know that God is manipulating chance events for divine purposes, to realize divien goals, so we are simply not in an epistemic position to specify the probabilistic laws."

    And this...

    "In short, it strikes me that we could accomodate a Molinist God acting in a world of propensities much as we could accomodate any God acting sometimes in any world of natural laws. What is the difference between God setting up simple natural laws, binding on his creatures, and then violating them himself occasionally, and a God who sets up complex natural laws, and always acts through them?"

    This too...

    "But yes it could be all wrong and yes there might be tritium demons that love deceving us wrt the decay rates of these atoms. But I'm just going to resist walking down that road."
     
  3. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    The world and fact of quantum probability has indeed given us a keenly intellectually interesting universe.

    Thanks for sharing the blog. Will have to digest a bit more later.
     
  4. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,515
    Likes Received:
    49
    Folks, it appears to be nonsense. Does God arrange circumstance to bring about specific plans and purpose? Yes. Does scripture teach God arranges all circumstances such that His specifically foreordained outcome occurs? Nothing in scripture teaches this science fiction.

    If "chance events" are manipulated by God, they cease to be chance events, but only have the appearance of chance events. No matter how much lip-stick you put on "god of the gaps" theology, it still will not wash.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Messages:
    8,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't accept that there is such a thing as "Molinist evolutionary theory" given that de Molina, for whom Molinism is named, was a 16th century monk, and the last thing he would have questioned was creation. De Molina sought to explain and reconcile the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. That has absolutely nothing to do with evolutionism vs. creationism. So-called "middle knowledge" has been used to analyze the error of papal infallibility and Christology, both of which attempted to take that badly misunderstood (i.e., beyond human comprehension) hidden, personal knowledge of God out of His realm and introduce it into human reasoning. That's ridiculous.

    What Pruss is talking about here is a concept developed by Del Ratzsch, a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, who himself opposes theistic evolution. The whole thing is a straw man, which makes it easy for Pruss to knock down. It also appears to be an attempt to tie anything outside of Calvinist thought to heresy, which I find disingenuous.
     
  6. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just got word that he is NOT a Molinist but is a Simple Foreknowledge adherent.
     
  7. Archie the Preacher

    Archie the Preacher
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    How does Molinist thought - God arranging coincidences to fulfill his purpose differ from that of the concept of the Sovereignty of God?
     
  8. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not sure what you mean by "Sovereignty" but as I understand it the Molinist feels that in this way God can be meticulously sovereign while man still has libertarian free will.
     
  9. Archie the Preacher

    Archie the Preacher
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    Please don't take this wrong

    The doctrine of God's Sovereignty is fairly familiar in Calvinist theology and non-partisan Bible teaching. God is the supreme authority in the Universe and as such, controls all of history.

    There is discussion about how God's Sovereignty fits into free will - which is also taught in the Bible - but it isn't anything strange or novel.

    Perhaps I'll go back later and see if I can figure out the 'Molinist' thing.
     
  10. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0

    Interesting info about Molina, thx. I think what Pruss was saying that Molinism has a problem given evolution, since evolution entails randomness and chance. The problem it creates, in his opinion it seems, is that we cannot reliably know what the genuine probabilities of a type of event (example: half life decay of certain unstable elements) are if God has meticulously chosen all events that would otherwise randomly or probabilistically obtain had he chosen to actualize a world in which randomness and possibility genuinely existed.
     
  11. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0

    Good luck... Molinism gets very deep philosophically. This in itself is not bad since one would expect a philosophical rigor in valid theological claims. Well, you'll see...

    Is any systematic theology/Bible teaching non-partisan?
     
  12. JamesL

    JamesL
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,243
    Likes Received:
    75
    I could be wrong, but as I understand Molinism, there would have been a giant web, linking every single possible act of free will, and every possible alternative, in human history, and that God divinely ordained the very best possible combinations in order to render the very best overall result.

    So that everything is done purely out of free will, but that God is sovereign in allowing, or determining the outcome in every act of our will

    I am definitely open to correction if I've misconstrued it
     
  13. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0

    James, I think you have the gist of it. Instead of a web, at least the way I understand it, a single possibility necessitates it's own world-with-a-complete-history. All that separates one world and its nearest worlds is a single possibility. (In Molinism all worlds have a complete history.) The number of possible worlds really does seem infinite or at least unfathomable. So, it's not the case that God, in patch-piece fashion, compiled this world from the possibilities in all of the potential worlds but rather that this world already existed with its complete history was selected as the one to be actualized. Isn't that liable to fry someone's brain?

    I'm not a Molinist and though I only intend to represent it here in a way with which a Molinist would agree, a Molinist may prefer to describe it differently.
     
  14. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,515
    Likes Received:
    49
    This of course is pure fiction.

    Calvinist definition of "sovereignty" (code for exhaustive determinism) is God causes directly or indirectly whatsoever comes to pass.

    Non-Calvinist definition of "sovereignty" (code for the dictionary definition of sovereignty) because of God's supremacy of authority, God causes or allows whatsoever comes to pass.

    To demonstrate the hogwash factor of Molinism, picture God arranging the circumstance of us being in a room with one door, then claiming we "freely" chose to exist through that one door. ROFLOL
     
  15. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    I get it Van, you think Molinism is hogwash. You could at least go at it through some identified criticism, say like the "grounding objection".
     
  16. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0

    The grounding objection is a good place to start. Given Molinism, I am trying to make sense out of what it then means to be a person in development and without a settled character. How different from the "me" that I now am can I be before I am no longer the same "me"? Which "me" is to be judged at the judgement day? What is the grounding truth for the basis of my judgement? Is the grounding truths found in the other potential worlds-with-complete-histories (for which the selection of I could have hardly had any influence on given the billions of people that have existed)? Surely, since much of how a person develops is due to their experiences, all of the plausible worlds-with-complete-histories would have to be the worlds that included my existence and that have me being very close to the me in this world at this present time. (And such is true as the present marches forward as long as I'm alive.)

    Any thoughts fellow Molinists?
     
  17. Benjamin

    Benjamin
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    109
    I really don’t have a lot of time to get into this but:

    Some seem not to be able to get past that free will/human volition can and does exist and God still have foreknowledge of all things because they believe His Sovereignty to unavoidably be deterministic if true divine foreknowledge exists.

    AS explained previously, Ad nauseam, to Open Theists who fail to maintain the attribute of divine foreknowledge by limiting it and as well as to Classical Theists, who attempt to maintain divine foreknowledge through views of “Divine Deterministic Sovereign Control” which limit human volition leading to fatalist theology, that Molinism believes and maintains that God is in “Divine Providential Sovereign Control” of all things (or possible worlds) while truly and logically holding to the attributes of divine foreknowledge and human libertarian free will.

    In short, something to consider is the complexity of Divine knowledge and the infinite number of possible worlds available for God to actualize which allows for infinite possibilities of possible worlds in which a human can exist whereby they “freely” choose, in real time, whether or not to respond the influences of God in the worlds He providentially places one in according to His ongoing judgments of the creatures He miraculously designed to have the attributes of sense, reason and intellect.

    William Lane Craig explains, "It is up to God whether we find ourselves in a world in which we are predestined, but it is up to us whether we are predestined in the world in which we find ourselves."

    Keathley explains a scenario that fits in with the above using the ambulance analogy. “Imagine you wake up and discover that you are in an ambulance being transported to the emergency room. You clearly require serious medical help. If you do nothing, you will be delivered to the hospital. However, if for whatever reason you demand to be let out, the driver will comply. He may express his concern, warn you of the consequences, but he will abide by your wishes. You receive no credit for being taken to the hospital, you receive all the blame for getting out. This is a picture of the Molinist view of salvation.”

    A common mistake OT's make is to believe humans must be so free as to pick/design/create their own "possible worlds" or they are not truly free. Such is to conclude a standard of human freedom that man must be as God to create and/or control his own worlds and this amounts to a complaint of being a created creature, unlike God (Romans 9:17-23) but Molinism does not even attempt to maintain such a type of human freedom nor define LFW to that necessary extent of freedom.

    IOW's Molinists absolutely claim that God is Sovereign - Providentially so...
     
    #17 Benjamin, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  18. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    You are gifted at distilling, are you from Kentucky or Tennessee? :)

    Love the WLC quote, never have come across that one, Blessing Benjamin.
     
  19. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, would Molinists reject the claim that the world which God chose to actualize already had a complete history?
     
  20. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,515
    Likes Received:
    49
    Hi QF, you imply I provided no "grounding objection." That implication of course is utterly false. OTOH, I ask you to address each of the objections I have specifically addressed.
    Don't worry, I know you will either fall silent or decline. There is a lot of finding fault but no discussion of theology.

    Speculation is the mother of mistaken doctrine. If something is not taught in scripture, it should not be asserted as doctrine. For example, does God manipulate all circumstance so that we naturally choose the outcome God desires? God doing so some of the time is certainly found in scripture, but all of the time? Jesus says things happen by chance, not by the appearance of chance.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...