Tag Archives: hypothetical knowledge

Why pray, if God’s will is going to be done whether we pray or not?: comparing Molinism and hypothetical knowledge Calvinism

Perhaps the most pressing question regarding prayer is whether it makes a difference. That is a question which synergists are particularly likely to put to monergists because, when God’s will is done in meticulous detail (not just as a general permission of libertarian freedom), it can look as though genuine petition is meaningless. In my book on models of divine providence I lay out the models in order of the degree to which moral creatures determine … Continue reading

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Is God timeless or temporal apart from creation?

One of the factors that makes up a person’s model of providence is their understanding of God’s relationship to time. Accordingly, when I constructed a comparative chart of the eleven models of divine providence which I had unpacked in Providence and Prayer, I included a line for “God’s experience of time” (363-64). When I  wrote that book I was convinced that, when God created, he enters into time, though he experiences it differently than we … Continue reading

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“Monergism” and “Determinism:” Are they useful terms?

I had brief correspondence recently with an evangelical theologian whom I am going to call “Peter,” so that I can cite some of our private conversation without putting him on public record. For my purposes here, what he said is the important thing, not who he is. Our brief interchange prompted me to ruminate about the terminology we use to describe a Calvinist understanding of God’s role and ours, in salvation and in history more … Continue reading

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W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?

 In December, I wrapped up my review of Four Views on Divine Providence, dealing with responses to Greg Boyd’s Open Theist proposal. In that post, I expressed my surprise concerning William Lane Craig’s redefinition of libertarian freedom, in which he denied that it entails the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), often described as the “power of contrary choice.” Craig proposed instead that a libertarian account of freedom requires only “the absence of causal constraints outside … Continue reading

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Responses to Boyd’s open theist model of providence

 The questions that expose the incoherence of the neo-Molinist account of divine providence . . . establish that the God of open theism is an ambivalent and arbitrary warrior who cannot be trusted to rule in every situation in a way that minimizes evil and maximizes good for his creatures. (Helseth, 222) Molinism [handles the problem of evil better than open theism] for God permits horrible evils only in view of morally sufficient reasons, whereas … Continue reading

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Boyd’s open theist model of providence

            We come now to the fourth model in Four Views on Divine Providence, as Gregory Boyd puts forward his understanding as an open theist.  Gregory A. Boyd’s model of providence Christocentric criteria proposed for assessing models of divine providence Boyd posits that Jesus is the key to understanding the nature of God’s governance in the world and so he identifies four christocentric criteria by which models of providence should … Continue reading

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A Molinist model of God’s providence

              In Chapter 2 of  Four Views on Divine Providence, William Lane Craig presents a Molinist perspective. A restatement of William Lane Craig’s model of divine providence William Lane Craig begins his presentation by noting that Christian theology has traditionally affirmed God’s knowledge of conditional future contingents, what philosophers often call “counterfactuals.” Craig defines these as “conditional statements in the subjunctive mood, such as “If I were rich, I … Continue reading

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A Molinist response to a determinist model of providence

The other three contributors to Four Views on Divine Providence each respond to Paul Helseth’s omnicausal (determinist) model, and the first one up is William Lane Craig. Since I have learned much from Molinism, in constructing my own Calvinistic understanding of providence, I will deal separately with this first response to Helseth. William Lane Craig’s response Response to Helseth’s problems with the Molinist account of providence Craig observes that “divine omnicausality” is an inadequate description … Continue reading

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Nuancing my view of providence

Last December, when I already had plans to get a blog launched, I came upon a review of my book, Providence and Prayer, in the blog of James Miller. It was an encouraging review that described my book quite accurately. If you are not familiar with that work, you may want to look at Miller’s review. I always find it helpful to learn how others hear my ideas in their representation of them, and I … Continue reading

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Carson on God’s hypothetical knowledge

Since I started this blog, we haven’t talked about the subject of God’s knowledge of counterfactuals and the way in which I believe it figures into God’s prior decision about which possible world he would actualize. I know that some readers of Providence and Prayer are unaware that I no longer affirm that God’s knowledge of counterfactuals is middle. This has affected my doctrine of providence very little, but I concede to the classical tradition … Continue reading

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