Category Archives: Theology Proper

Book notice: Ron Highfield on creation, providence, and evil

  I’m happy to announce that IVP will be publishing a new book by Ron Highfield in October, The Faithful Creator: Affirming Creation and Providence in an Age of Anxiety.   The book is described by IVP as follows: As the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans (8:22), creation groans for redemption – but can we trust God to make all things new? The doctrines of creation and providence address the question … Continue reading

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My compatibilist model: a response to some questions

John Johnson wrote a lengthy comment on my post responding to Jerry Walls and my compatibilist proposal. He raises some substantive questions and I think it better to deal with them in another post rather than to reply in a lengthy comment or a number of smaller comments. Because John’s questions are of a sort often raised to positions like mine, I think they deserve careful consideration. 1.  If God is meticulously in control, why … Continue reading

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God’s love in the context of his relationship with the world: notice of a valuable book that is forthcoming.

Three and half years ago, I was asked to look at a manuscript proposal which IVP was considering and to make some evaluative comments. I suggested that the book was worth publishing but heard no more about it until recently. Then I was happy to learn that the editors had concurred with me, because I was asked if I’d be willing to write an endorsement for the book, which is scheduled to come off the … Continue reading

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Grace and the destruction of the wicked

The wrath of God as the way sinners naturally experience the love of the Holy God It was from the writing of Martin Luther that I first gained the insight that there is no conflict between God’s wrath and his love, because wrath is the way the wicked experience the love of the holy God. But this idea is frequently found in the thought of Christian scholars in our own time. One of my favorite … Continue reading

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Calvinist perspectives on Molinism

The Logos Reformed Blog, moderated by Jesse Myers, ran a series of 5 posts by Nathanael P. Taylor regarding Molinism. I was invited to write a response to that series and I did so, in two posts. I chose not to respond to each of Taylor’s posts separately, and I did not critique Taylor’s understanding of Molinism (the philosophical theology originated by Luis de Molina), since I am not an expert in it myself. Rather, … Continue reading

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My previous case for “middle knowledge Calvinism” (WTJ, 2007)

A draft of “Why Calvinists Should Believe in Divine Middle Knowledge, Although They Reject Molinism” (eventually published in WTJ 69 [2007]: 349-66) can now be read online at my web site. Since I now believe that God knows counterfactuals naturally or necessarily (cf. my later conversation with Paul Helm), it might seem counterproductive for me to be publishing this earlier material now. But I still affirm a great deal that I said in this article, … Continue reading

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My part of the conversation with Paul Helm regarding the validity of a Calvinist version of middle knowledge

In the Westminster Theological Journal, in the Fall of 2009 (437-54), Paul Helm and I published a conversation which was prompted by my previous article in WTJ (Fall 2007:345-66) in which I had argued that Calvinists should affirm middle knowledge even though they reject Molinism. My conversation with Paul Helm is not available to the public on line, and it would not be right for me to publish Paul Helm’s work, but I want to … Continue reading

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“Mysterian compatibilism”: a third category

I have been in the practice of distinguishing two forms of compatibilism, hard and soft. Both are forms of soft-determinism, and they both assert that God’s meticulous control is compatible with creaturely moral culpability. They differ, however, in their account of how that compatibilism works. Thomism offers a version of hard compatibilism, which I call “hard” because it asserts that creatures are libertarianly free, but that this does not diminish God’s ability to meticulously control … Continue reading

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God “weakly actualizes” evil

I have been reading a fine paper that Greg Welty presented at the annual ETS meeting in 2013, entitled “Molinist Gun Control: A Flawed Proposal?” In that paper, Welty expands on his earlier (ETS 2010) contention that the Molinist model of divine causation “inherits all of the alleged liabilities” attributed to Calvinism, “with respect to divine authorship of sin, responsibility and blame.” (Interestingly, Welty’s argument may be seen as supporting Roger Olson’s proposal that Molinism … Continue reading

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Hypothetical knowledge Calvinism and libertarian freedom

Thus far, I have responded to 5 criticisms leveled against hypothetical knowledge Calvinism in John Laing’s ETS paper in 2013: that it is vulnerable to the grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” that it includes an “odd ontology of personhood” that it “flirts with fatalism,” and that its theodicy is less effective than that of Molinism or Arminianism In this final post of … Continue reading

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