If this is the first you’ve heard of Molinism …

If God knows the future, are we really free to make choices?  Open theists answer “No” – but obviously we do make free choices so God must not know the future.  Calvinists would also answer “No” – but they conclude that God determines every element of history.  Molinists have a different tact, they say that God indeed knows exactly what’s going to happen but it’s not because he determined it, it’s because he foreknows what each person would choose.  In fact, he knew every feasible course history could have taken.

Sounds simple?  Just wait.  This will become one of the most fascinating topics you’ve ever explored.

When I first encountered this I was stunned at the theological power of this idea.  If you take this notion of middle knowledge and you apply it to various difficult theological conundrums you will find it to be a key to unlock the mystery to many of these difficult theological problems that folks have wrestled with for centuries.  I daresay that this theory of middle knowledge is the most powerful theological concept that I have ever encountered in my life.

William Lane Craig

Introduction to Molinism & Middle Knowledge

Video: Craig Explains Molinism

William Lane Craig | 11:09 | Basic

In this video Craig gives a basic overview of Molinism, giving examples of how it explains certain Bible verses, the problem of those who have never heard, and if there is a feasible world where everyone is saved.  This is actually an extract from the radio talk show, “Unbelievable” which is a debate between Craig and Paul Helm. (Scroll down to listen to the full debate.)

Video: Craig Interview

William Lane Craig | 11:52 | Medium

Craig is interviewed by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Kuhn is not a Christian but looks to understand just what it means for God to be omniscient. Craig ends up explaining Molinism.

Video: Molinism, Prayer and Incarnation

Dr. William Lane Craig is answering a number of questions in this podcast.

Leading Contemporary Pro-Molonist Thinkers

William Lane Craig

Alvin Plantinga

Alfred Freddoso

Thomas Flint

Jonathan Kvanvig

Books On Molinism

Divine Providence

Catholic theologian Thomas Flint defends Molinism.  Although a leading thinker, he writes in an accessible way. He has received high praise from William Hasker (a fierce anti-molonist) for this work.

On Divine Foreknowledge

This is the controversial text that gave rise to the debate over God’s middle knowledge.  It was written by Luis de Molina in 1588 (revised in 1592) as part of his larger work entitled, De liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis, divina praescientia, praedestinatione et reprobation concordia (The Compatibility of Free Choice with the Gifts of Grace, Divine Foreknowledge, Providence, Predestination and Reprobation), translated by Alfred J. Freddoso, an expert in Molinism from the University of Notre Dame.

Providence & Prayer: How the World Works

A clear and practical book searching to understand how the world works and how providence fits into the picture. He surveys 11 views asking penetrating questions like, “If this is the way the world works, how should we pray?

The Only Wise God

Written back in 1999 Craig tackles the problem:”If God foreknows how are we free?” We’ve written a 4 page summary of the book.

Molonism: The Contemporary Debate

A book of essays examining arguments for and against Molonism (the editor is anti-molinist).  The articles are very technical.   A survey of the table of contents identifies key thinkers in the area.  A concise review by Paul Helm (who is anti-molonist) is available.

Molinism and Calvinism

Q&A: Molinism vs Calvinism

William Lane Craig | Q & A | Technical

Craig explains where he feels Calvinists get it right (affirming sovereignty and freedom) but then identifies 5 problems with the way the Reformed view tries to explain itself (affirming universal determinism and compatibility).

Audio Debate: Calvinism vs Molinism

Paul Helm vs William Lane Craig | 1:20:00 | Basic

William Lane Craig and Paul Helm engage in a friendly but pointed debate over the disagreements between the Calvinist and Molinist views of divine sovereignty and human freedom.

Molinism and Open Theism

Gregory Boyd’s Neo-Molonism

William Lane Craig | Q & A | Acessible

Craig examine’s Boyd’s views on open theism and contrasts them to Molonism.

Neo-Molonism and the Infinite Intelligence of God

Greg Boyd | Article | Basic

Boyd provides an introduction to his own views of providence which fall under the broad category of open theism.

Academic Papers

Scholarly Article: On Ockham’s Way Out

35 pages. By Dr. Alvin Plantinga

Plantinga examines the apparent problems that arise when we introduce divine foreknowledge.  Does it really preclude free will?  He addresses Newcombe’s paradox (with clear implications on prayer).

Varieties of Accidental Necessity

Thomas Flint | 8 Part Youtube | Academic

This paper was delivered by Thomas Flint at Alvin Plantinga’s retirement celebration.  In it he explores the concepts of accidental necessity apparent in Fredosso’s works and in Alvin Plantinga’s essay ‘On Ockham’s Way Out.’  It is broken out into 9 parts on youtube.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9.

Yet Another Anti-Molinist Argument

Dean Zimmerman | Article | Academic

He is the leading anti-molinist philosopher (though he admits that molinism is the most popular view among philosophers).

Middle Knowledge: A Reformed Critique

Travis Campbell | 31 pages | Article | Academic

Lorum Ipsum.

God Freedom and Evil

Alvin Plantinga | 180 pages | Book | Academic

Alvin Plantinga inadvertently exhumed Molonism.  It was not until Anthony Kenny pointed out the connection that Plantinga had even heard of Molonism.  This article made the belief relevant for this new generation.

Middle Knowledge Perspective on Divine Inspiration

William Lane Craig | Web Page | Article | Basic

Can we use middle knowledge as a way to understand inspiration as opposed to verbal, plenary inspiration?

Is middle knowledge incompatible with free-will?  Craig answers this is an Q & A article.

How would God act if his choices were bound by damning either person A or person B arbitrarily?  Craig answers this question in a Q & A.

 

Related Concepts

  • Accidental Necessity (Is it closed under entailment? How many types?)
  • Grounding Objection
  • Contrasting Views: Open Theism, Calvanism, Armenianism