Various quotes used in research on Molinism

by Matt Slick
6/16/2017
Return to Molinism Page

I've provided this list of quotes that have assembled in my research on Molinism. I've underlined various quotes for emphasis. The sources for these quotes are found here...

  1. Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered, The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014
  2. Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015
  3. Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty,  B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010
  4. MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015
  5. MacGregor, Kirk, notes devoloped from a discussion between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor that occured on on 4/6/2017.  Dr. MacGregor reviewed, modified, and approved the notes that I sent him for review.  Citations occur below as (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
  6. Moreland, James Porter; William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, p. 270. InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
  7. http://www.molinists.com/?page_id=8
  8. http://www.reasonablefaith.org

 

Please note that some of the quotes appear under different topics since they cover more than one issue.  Also, fee free to use these quotes.

  1. Actualization
    1. "Molinism argues that God actualizes a world in which everyone who would receive Christ actually has the opportunity to do so." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 62).
  2. Angels
    1. “So, God can choose to do good things because he is essentially good. Angels might have a different spectrum from which they could choose, which is why some fell and some did not. This is why we have some elect angels and some not. With someone who is totally depraved, their options are truncated. They can do nothing at all, or they can do absolute evil, or anything in between. They do have a spectrum from which they can choose. But for someone who is regenerated, I think the spectrum shifts. They can do wrong things as well as good things.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
  3. Compatibilism
    1. "Compatibilism views human freedom as compatible with causal determinism (hence, the term “compatibilism”), but only after redefining free will. Human freedom is understood merely to be the freedom of inclination (i.e., the freedom to do what you want). Therefore many Calvinists argue for casual determinism, through which God’s will is the cause of all things." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 9)
    2. "The view advocated in this chapter [God's Providence] is also sometimes called “compatibilism,” because it holds that absolute divine sovereignty is compatible with human significance and real human choices." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 354)
    3. "Another term for the Reformed view of providence. The term indicates that absolute divine sovereignty is compatible with human significance and real human choices." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 1238)
    4. "Advanced by Luther and Calvin, this doctrine held that unregenerate humans, while possessing the freedom to choose between opposites in the physical realm (in matters below), lack the ability to choose between spiritual good and evil (in matters above) due to original sin. Just as bad trees can bear bad fruit or no fruit at all, unregenerate humans can either perform spiritual wickedness by actively rebelling against God or do nothing spiritual at all by displaying passivity toward God; their nature precludes them from performing spiritual good. Molina opposed this version of compatibilist human freedom on the grounds that God gives all humans sufficient grace to overcome any causal restraints imposed on them by the fall.  This grace Molina styled both as prevenient grace (gratia praeveniens), in full conformity with the theology of Thomas Aquinas, and as grace making gracious (gratia gratum faciens); hence Molina took prevenient grace and grace making gracious as synonyms." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 50)
  4. Counterfactuals
    1. "Molina placed God’s counterfactual knowledge logically prior to the divine creative decree." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 88).
    2. "...for Molina all counterfactual truths — including what every possible libertarian free creature would choose to do in any set of circumstances in which they find themselves as well as how utterly random, chance events would turn out in any possible set of circumstances — are logically before and so independent of the divine creative decree." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 89).
    3. "Owing to the fact that counterfactual knowledge is, for Molina, independent of God’s will, it falls logically outside the scope of God’s omnipotence. In the same way as God’s knowledge of necessary truths lies beyond his omnipotence and is simply given (God did not make 1 + 1 = 2 and could not have made 1 + 1 = 3), so God’s knowledge of what would be the free choices or random actions of individual essences if instantiated in various circumstances lies beyond his omnipotence and is simply given. 28 This is not because there is anything defective in God’s omnipotence, but solely because omnipotence constitutes the ability to do anything logically possible and not the ability to do the logically impossible. And it is logically impossible to determine that a libertarian creature freely does something such that it cannot do otherwise or to determine that a stochastic (i.e., utterly random) process contingently turns out in a certain way such that it could not turn out otherwise." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 90).
    4. "...circumstances do nothing to produce, much less guarantee, effects; there are simply contingent facts known by God that in various circumstances, stochastic processes would randomly behave in various ways."(MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 91).
    5. "Having located God’s acquisition of counterfactual knowledge logically prior to the divine creative decree, Molina then fit counterfactual knowledge into the basic structure of omniscience inherited from Aquinas." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 91).
    6. "Molina needed to place counterfactual knowledge either logically before, simultaneous with, or after God’s knowledge of simple intelligence. Since what would happen in particular circumstances (counterfactual knowledge) is logically subsequent to what could happen in particular circumstances (knowledge of simple intelligence), Molina placed counterfactual knowledge after God’s knowledge of simple intelligence, thereby positioning it between God’s knowledge of simple intelligence and the divine creative decree." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 91).
    7. "Molinism does not merely argue that God knows all counterfactual truths of creaturely freedom; it contends that God uses all such counterfactual knowledge." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 39)
    8. "The counterfactuals of creaturely freedom which confront Him [God] are outside His control. He has to play with the hand He has been dealt." (William Lane Craig, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-and-the-soteriological-problem-of-evil-once-more)
  5. Election
    1. "Molinists agree with Calvinists that it is crucial to maintain that God did not elect on account of foreknown merit or foreseen faith." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 11)
  6. Foreknowledge
    1. "Foreknowledge should be understood as God knowing future contingents whereas middle knowledge is God’s knowledge of future contingents not causally determined by the present state of affairs (human free choices)." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 391-392).
    2. "Molinism understands God to carry out His sovereign plans through His exhaustive foreknowledge. It views man’s freedom as the freedom to refrain (i.e., the freedom to choose something or refrain from choosing that thing) and sees him as the causal agent of his decisions." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 9)
    3. "Molinism argues that God’s sovereign choice is informed by foreknowledge but not determined by it." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 11)
    4. "Molinism argues that God’s sovereign choice is informed by foreknowledge but not determined by it." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 11)
  7. Free Knowledge
    1. "Free knowledge is that part of God's knowledge which He knows by His knowledge of His own will, both His desires and what He will, in fact, do. The content of this knowledge is made up of truths which refer to what actually exists (or has existed, or will exist)." (http://www.iep.utm.edu/middlekn, italics original)
    2. "In free knowledge, the third logical moment of Molina’s structure, God fully knows the actual world, including his foreknowledge of everything that will happen therein. This includes not only the circumstances God will directly cause and the decisions he will make, but also the free decisions that humans will make, the random actions of stochastic processes, and the contingent circumstances that will result from those decisions and actions." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 95).
    3. "God’s free knowledge; God knows all true propositions of the actual world." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 39-40).
  8. Free Will
    1. Generic
      1. "However, Calvin explains that the term [free will] is so subject to misunderstanding that he himself tries to avoid using it. This is because “free will is not sufficient to enable man to do good works, unless he be helped by grace.” 17 Therefore, Calvin concludes: 'Man will then be spoken of as having this sort of free decision, not because he has free choice equally of good and evil, but because he acts wickedly by will, not by compulsion. Well put, indeed, but what purpose is served by labeling with a proud name such a slight thing?'" (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 330)
      2. "Thus, when we ask whether we have “free will,” it is important to be clear as to what is meant by the phrase. Scripture nowhere says that we are “free” in the sense of being outside of God’s control or of being able to make decisions that are not caused by anything." (This is the sense in which many people seem to assume we must be free; see discussion below.) Nor does it say we are “free” in the sense of being able to do right on our own apart from God’s power. But we are nonetheless free in the greatest sense that any creature of God could be free — we make willing choices, choices that have real effects. 20 We are aware of no restraints on our will from God when we make decisions.
      3. Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Making Sense of Series) (p. 331). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. "Thus, when we ask whether we have “free will,” it is important to be clear as to what is meant by the phrase. Scripture nowhere says that we are “free” in the sense of being outside of God’s control or of being able to make decisions that are not caused by anything." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 331)
    2. God
      1. "God’s free will includes all things that God decided to will but had no necessity to will according to his nature."  (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 213)
      2. "God’s free will includes all things that God decided to will but had no necessity to will according to his nature." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 213)
  9. God
    1. "Molinism argues that God’s sovereign choice is informed by foreknowledge but not determined by it." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 11)
    2. "Molinism argues that God is able to exercise His sovereignty primarily by His omniscience." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 149).
    3. "Molinism is particularly noted for its view that God can infallibly assure the choices of free creatures by using His middle knowledge." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, pp. 149-150).
    4. "Molinism, on the other hand, posits that there is only one decree (a point that has scriptural support and that many Reformed scholars recognize) but attempts to discern the logical order of God’s knowledge. Rather than attempting to explore the “layers” of God’s decree, Molinism explores the “layers” of God’s omniscience." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 150)
    5. "Molinists agree with Calvinists that it is crucial to maintain that God did not elect on account of foreknown merit or foreseen faith." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 11)
    6. "Molinism posits that an infinite number of feasible worlds were available for God to create, but it provides no explanation for why He chose this one." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 13)
    7. "Third, how exactly God knows what free creatures will decide and choose remains unknown. 12 Some are bothered by this mystery, but I am not. God knows all things and omniscience is an attribute of God. God innately knows our free choices by His very nature— by the very fact that He is God. Thus asking how God knows what genuinely free creatures will choose is the same as asking how it is that God is God." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 13)
    8. "Molinism argues that God actualizes a world in which everyone who would receive Christ actually has the opportunity to do so." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 62).
    9. "How Molinism understands God to work His will through free creatures is summed up in three concepts: contingency, conditionality, and counterfactuals." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 28).
      1.  "Contingency, simply put, is the notion that something could have been otherwise. A contingent truth is something that happens to be true but obviously could have been false. I am writing these words while in a cabin in the Missouri Ozarks, but I could have worked elsewhere this week, such as in my office in North Carolina. If a statement is contingently true, then that means the alternative was genuinely possible."  (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 28)
        1. "God knows the contingent choices of free creatures necessarily, due to His omniscience. But God necessarily foreknowing an event does not entail or require that the event necessarily happens." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 32)
        2. "Molinism makes the additional claim that, if three were the exact number of times the Lord decided Peter would deny him, then Jesus knew what possible worlds to actualize that would bring about this result." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 41).
      2. "Often conditional statements are choices expressed in an “if– then” structure." (p. 34)
        1. "Conditional statements stress that the choices are truly ours, and so is the responsibility for them." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 34).
      3. "A counterfactual is a conditional statement that has two distinctive features: (1) involves a condition that is contrary to fact (for example, “if Kennedy had not been killed in 1963, then he would have won reelection in 1964”); and (2) it expresses a truth that belongs to this actual world. In other words, a counterfactual is a statement that is contrary to fact yet possesses truth content." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, pp. 35-36).
        1. "A possible world 'is the way the world might be.'” (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 36).
    10. God's free will
      1. "God’s free will includes all things that God decided to will but had no necessity to will according to his nature."  (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 213)
      2. "God’s free will includes all things that God decided to will but had no necessity to will according to his nature." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Making Sense of Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition. 2015, p. 213)
  10. Libertarian Free Will
    1. "Libertarianism claims that the freedom necessary for responsible action is not compatible with determinism." (Moreland, James Porter; William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, p. 270. InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.)
    2. "For our purposes, when we use the term “free will” we mean what is called libertarian  freedom: Given choices A and B, one can literally choose to do either one, no circumstances exist that are sufficient to determine one’s choice; a person’s choice is up to him, and if he does one of them, he could have done otherwise, or at least he could have refrained from acting at all. One acts as an agent who is the ultimate originator of one’s own actions and, in this sense, is in control of one’s action." (Moreland, James Porter; William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, p. 240. InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.)
    3. "There are two primary control doctrines that must be true in order for God to possess such knowledge, these being human libertarian freedom and divine foreknowledge (an aspect of perfect being theology)." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered, The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 42-43).
    4. "If human libertarian freedom fails, then there will be no free agent to compose creaturely counterfactuals." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered, The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 45-46).
    5. "...some persons may freely choose to do something and God cannot freely make them do something, which would be a contradiction. God must therefore choose another possible/ feasible world to create from." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 146-147).
    6. "By definition, the ability or power to choose or to refrain from choosing is what is called libertarian freedom. So a proper understanding of God’s sovereignty requires the corresponding concept of contingency, and this necessitates understanding God’s freedom in libertarian terms." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty,  (p. 26). B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, 2010, Kindle Edition. p. 26)
    7. “Molina’s doctrine of libertarian free will states that a sentient being has the ability to do anything in the full range of alternatives that is consistent with his nature.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    8. "Libertarianism is the view that the morally responsible agent is in some sense the origin of his choices, and that prior conditions such as circumstances are not the final determiner for that agent." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 69)
      1. Soft Libertarianism
        1. "Soft libertarianism contends that interaction between character and free choice is a two-way street, providing for a better model of human responsibility. It affirms the two great scriptural truths concerning free will: choice is a power (1 Cor 10: 13) and one’s choices are a manifestation of who he is (Matt 7: 17– 18)." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 64)
        2. "Soft libertarianism argues that God has a libertarian freedom that is restricted by the parameters of His nature. The notion of a limited ability to choose to the contrary seems reasonable, since soft libertarianism does not require that the ability to choose the contrary is absolute." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 72)
        3. "The teaching of Scripture seems to assert that post-Genesis 3 humans possess libertarian free will, including freedom to choose between opposites on matters pertaining to salvation or any other spiritual good." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1) (Kindle Locations 239-240). . Kindle Edition.)
          1. "I believe God has libertarian free will and is not determined by any one or anything else nor is he determined to act via himself. God." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1) (Kindle Locations 143-144). . Kindle Edition.)
        4. When God created the heavens and the earth, He did so freely, without any necessity or compulsion upon Him. Nothing internal or external compelled Him to create this or any other world. God had the freedom to choose not to create. By definition, the ability or power to choose or to refrain from choosing is what is called libertarian freedom." (p. 26)
        5. "Libertarianism is the view that the morally responsible agent is in some sense the origin of his choices, and that prior conditions such as circumstances are not the final determiner for that agent." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 69).
    9. Hard Libertarianism
      1. "A hard libertarian argues that, in order for a person to be genuinely free, he must always have the ability to choose the contrary, or must be free from external influences." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 69).
    10.  Soft Libertarianism
      1. "...soft libertarianism holds ideas comparable to its counterpart soft determinism. Both believe that a person’s character governs his choices. But a soft libertarian does not believe this tells the whole story. Soft libertarianism has two distinctive features that distinguish it from soft determinism. First, character determines the range of choices, rather than a specific choice itself. This means that within the parameters of a person’s makeup, a wide range of choices is available." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 70).
      2. "Soft libertarianism argues that God has a libertarian freedom that is restricted by the parameters of His nature." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 72).
      3. "Soft libertarianism, or concurrence, holds that a moral agent has the power to choose in a libertarian sense, but the limits of this ability are decided by his character." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty (p. 73). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)
    11. Radical Depravity Model
      1. "We inherit Adam’s corrupt state, so our choices are inevitably twisted toward sin. The radical depravity model, by arguing that character provides the range of limited libertarian choices, presents humanity’s plight as analogous to imprisonment. We are free to choose within the strictures of our fallen natures. We are like inmates free to roam about a prison but never to leave." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 86).
      2. "The soft libertarian model of human choice is spelled out in the previous chapter on radical depravity. In this view, fallen humanity does not have the ability to turn to God on its own. A lost person has the ability to choose within the parameters of his character, but those parameters do not include the ability to please, trust, or obey God. Grace must first invade the sin-darkened blindness of every lost person. God must take the initiative." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 136).
  11. Middle Knowledge
    1. "Middle knowledge is God’s knowledge of all things that would happen in every possible set of circumstances, both things that are determined to occur by those circumstances and things that are not determined to occur by those circumstances...Significantly, middle knowledge includes God’s awareness of what every possible individual would freely do in any set of circumstances in which he or she finds himself or herself as well as how utterly random, chance events would turn out in every possible set of circumstances. Armed with this knowledge, God can create a world providentially planned to the last detail where his purposes are achieved through free creaturely decisions and random events." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 11).
    2. "God’s middle knowledge is a subset of His natural knowledge. It contains the contingent truths of what every possible creature would do (not just could do) in any possible set of circumstances. This moment contains the counterfactual truths concerning the contingent choices of genuinely free creatures, so it is logically prior to His creative decree and His subsequent free knowledge of what will happen. Thus middle knowledge, like natural knowledge, is logically prior to the divine decision to create a world." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty (pp. 39-40). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition)
    3. "Middle Knowledge: God’s knowledge of what every possible free creature would do under any possible set of circumstances and, hence, knowledge of those possible worlds which God can make actual. The content of this knowledge is not essential to God." (Craig, William L., The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Kindle Locations 2039-2041). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.)
    4. "In middle knowledge, the second logical moment of Molina’s structure, God knows all counterfactual truths, including that which every possible individual would freely do in any set of circumstances in which that individual found himself or herself and that which every possible stochastic process would randomly do in any set of circumstances where it existed." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 92).
    5. "Molina held that God’s middle knowledge, like his natural knowledge, is essential to God’s nature. In order for God to be God, the omniscient being, he must know all counterfactual truths logically prior to his creative decree. But unlike natural knowledge, the content of middle knowledge is not essential to God. Since libertarian creatures could choose differently and stochastic processes could behave differently, God’s middle knowledge would be different if they were to do so." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 93).
    6. "...much of God’s middle knowledge is contingent on what various libertarian individual essences and stochastic individual essences, if instantiated, would do in various circumstances..." ( MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 93).
    7. "this does not mean that God could not prevent Peter from denying Jesus, for he could easily do this by putting Peter in different circumstances or not making Peter at all." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 94).
    8. "God’s middle knowledge serves to reduce the range of worlds logically possible in and of themselves to those logically possible for him to create given libertarian freedom and genuine randomness." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 94).
    9. "Molinism is particularly noted for its view that God can infallibly assure the choices of free creatures by using His middle knowledge." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, pp. 149-150).
    10. "For by knowing what instantiated individual essences would do under any circumstances, God can choose a feasible world where his ultimate purposes are achieved through free creaturely decisions and random processes." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 94).
    11. "Middle knowledge lies logically in between these, which affirms that God knows all true counterfactual propositions, or possess hypothetical knowledge of future contingents." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 95).
    12. "And according to middle knowledge, God knows which of these propositions are true and which are false before deciding to make this world or any world. It is important to notice, per the three examples, that many counterfactuals involve agents with libertarian free will or events that take place utterly at random and by chance." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 79).
    13. "On the other hand, if by middle knowledge one also means, as Molina did, that God possessed this knowledge logically prior to making any decisions about the world, including whether he would create our world, then Arminius’s system is inconsistent with middle knowledge."(MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 20)
    14. "The twin foundations for middle knowledge are the beliefs that the bible teaches libertarian free will and the bible teaches God’s providence over all things. Middle knowledge reconciles the two by stating that God knows what we would choose under any circumstance and He uses this knowledge to accomplish His goals without removing man’s freedom. In middle knowledge, God primarily uses His knowledge rather than His power to achieve His ends. Middle knowledge gets the name middle, because God’s knowledge of what would happen is logically after God’s knowledge of what can happen and logically before His decision and knowledge of what will happen. So for example, God knows if you are in an ice cream shop today you could choose chocolate or vanilla, and you would choose chocolate and He decides to let you choose chocolate so He permits you to be in the ice cream shop today knowing you will choose chocolate. Man’s freedom is preserved in that God does not decide what we would freely do under any circumstance – God cannot make you freely do something. God’s providence is preserved in that God decides what circumstances we find ourselves in and therefore what will happen." (http://www.molinists.com/?page_id=8)
    15. "God does not receive his knowledge from the actual world. Human decisions do not fashion or determine God’s middle knowledge; his middle knowledge is derived from His natural knowledge." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1) (Kindle Locations 947-948). Kindle Edition.)
  12. Moments
    1. 1st. God's Natural Knowledge - "could", Everything that could happen.  God knows all possibilities.
      1. "His natural knowledge: He knows all possibilities, everything that could happen. He knows what reality would be like if He had created a world without you or me in it, or never created anything or anyone at all. These fully formed possible scenarios are generally called possible worlds. There is an infinite upon infinite number of possible permutations of how things could have been." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, pp. 17-18).
    2. 2nd. God's Middle Knowledge.  "would", Everything that would happen.  God knows which possibilities are feasible.
      1. "God’s middle knowledge contains all of the choices and decisions that free creatures would do if they were created in a particular world. When God chooses to actualize one of these feasible worlds, He knows certainly what will happen." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 18). 
    3. 3rd. Free Knowledge.  "Will", Everything that will happen. God exhaustively knows all things.
      1. "God’s free knowledge. This is His perfect knowledge of the world— this world— that He chose to “actualize” (i.e., create). Molina referred to this third moment as “free” because it is the result of God’s free, sovereign decision to bring this particular world into existence. Of the infinite possibilities available to God, He was under no compulsion to choose this one. Yet He chose a world that contains free moral agents— angels and humans— who make genuinely free decisions."  (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 18)
    4. SUMMARY
      1. "So to sum up: from the infinite set of possible worlds that could happen (God’s natural knowledge), there is an infinite subset of feasible worlds which would accomplish His will (God’s middle knowledge). God freely chooses one of the feasible worlds, and He perfectly knows what will happen in this actual world (God’s free knowledge)." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 18).
  13. Moral Neutrality
    1. “In Molinism, the creature’s doing nothing in relation to God’s work of drawing them to himself is morally neutral.  The choices in front of the sinner would be to resist or not resist the process that God is bringing the person through as God leads him to the time and place of salvation.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
  14. Natural Knowledge
    1. "In natural knowledge, the first logical moment of Molina’s structure, God knows all possibilities, including all necessary truths (e.g., the laws of logic), all the possible individuals and worlds he might create, as well as everything that every possible individual could freely do in any set of circumstances in which that individual found itself and everything that every possible stochastic process could randomly do in any set of circumstances where it existed...God knows his natural knowledge, as Molina’s nomenclature suggests, as indispensable to his very nature, such that God could not lack this knowledge and still be God." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 92).
    2. "With natural knowledge God knows everything that could logically happen." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 38-39).
    3. "Nothing we say or do surprises God at the current spacetime moment because he foreknew all our free actions logically prior to his divine creative decree. Therefore, while God truly did not expect Israel to be faithless much less persevere in iniquity upon ascertaining his natural knowledge, leading the counterfactual discernment of such wickedness to initially come as a surprise, he was certainly not caught unaware when the sins actually took place. Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1) (Kindle Locations 887-890). . Kindle Edition.
  15. Omniscience of God
    1. "Molinism, on the other hand, posits that there is only one decree (a point that has scriptural support and that many Reformed scholars recognize) but attempts to discern the logical order of God’s knowledge. Rather than attempting to explore the “layers” of God’s decree, Molinism explores the “layers” of God’s omniscience." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 150)
    2. "Molinists argue that God perfectly accomplishes His will in the lives of genuinely free creatures through the use of His omniscience. The model they propose presents God’s infinite knowledge as a series of three logical moments: God’s natural knowledge, middle knowledge, and free knowledge.It is important to keep in mind that these three moments are a logical sequence, not a chronological sequence. Since God is omniscient, He innately knows all things— this means He does not go through the mental processes that finite beings do of “figuring things out.” God never “learns” or has things “occur” to Him. He already knows all truths. The fact that God is omniscient does not merely mean that God is infinitely more knowledgeable than us, but that His knowledge is of a different type and quality. So the three moments of God’s knowledge proposed by Molinism refer to logical order, not a sequence in time." (Keathley, Kenneth. Salvation and Sovereignty, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, Kindle Edition, 2010, p. 16)
    3. Summary
      1. "We may now illustrate Molina’s structure of omniscience with the following enumeration of its logical moments:
          1. Natural knowledge: God’s knowledge of all possible truths and therefore of all possible worlds (i.e., logically consistent sets of possible circumstances).
          2. Middle knowledge: God’s knowledge of all counterfactual truths and therefore of all feasible worlds (i.e., logically consistent sets of circumstances compatible with the decisions springing from libertarian freedom and the actions springing from natural randomness). → Divine creative decree
          3. Free knowledge: God’s knowledge of all actual truths (past, present, and future) in the world he has chosen to create." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 95-96).
  16. Original Sin
    1. "While Molina would disagree with these conclusions of Luther and Calvin, he did concur with one aspect of Calvin’s reasoning. Molina agreed that the impact of original sin upon humanity was so great that it incapacitated their mental faculty to choose freely to do spiritual good, including positively responding to Christ’s offer of salvation. As a result, Molina deduced, along with Calvin, that humans left to their own devices could not freely choose salvation. But contra Calvin, Molina believed that God’s sufficient grace for salvation given to all humans by the Holy Spirit — namely, God’s prevenient grace — supernaturally restored their mental faculty to choose spiritual good." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 72, referencing Molina, Commentaria, 14.13.6, 38)
  17. Predestination and Reprobation
    1. "Molina concluded, “Therefore a double election is to be found in God. . . . Predestination is that whereby certain persons obtain eternal life and are destined from eternity by God to the same, which is well known from Sacred Scripture. . . . Reprobation is the contrary decision, to exclude and not in any way . . . to make someone worthy to be admitted.” (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 73)
  18. Prevenient Grace
    1. “In Molina’s soteriology, dealing with prevenient grace and libertarian free will, God, so to speak, works through a person who does nothing to resist God’s gracious movement, while God is arranging favorable circumstances for that person, and once the person is brought through God’s gracious arrangement-of-things and does not resist, then God regenerates him.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    2. "But contra Calvin, Molina believed that God’s sufficient grace for salvation given to all humans by the Holy Spirit — namely, God’s prevenient grace supernaturally restored their mental faculty to choose spiritual good." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 72).
    3. "To sum up Molina’s Catholic but non-Thomistic doctrines of grace and justification, which he developed during his doctoral studies, we observe that fallen humans, apart from God’s universally given prevenient grace, would have possessed the theological version of compatibilist free will; but in fact, God does universally give prevenient grace, thereby establishing libertarian free will. In other words, apart from God’s unmerited supernatural assistance, fallen creatures would only have the ability to choose between good and evil in matters below, or in physical matters that we humans typically regard as good (e.g., saving someone’s life) and evil (e.g., committing murder). But they would not have the ability to choose anything spiritually good, namely, to perform any act with the pure, altruistic motives requisite to making the act worthwhile in God’s sight." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 72).
    4. "grace, prevenient (Lat. gratia praeveniens) The grace that comes before any human response to God in justification or conversion. In Reformed theology, this grace is seen as irresistible. In Arminianism and Wesleyanism the view is that God’s grace is extended and persons may choose whether to believe in Jesus Christ. The human decisions of the faithful are responsive to and enabled by God’s grace. Also called 'preparatory grace.'" (McKim, Donald K.. The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded (Kindle Locations 6232-6235). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.)
    5. "the facet of the divine image and likeness that bestows dominion upon humans and makes them capable of justice is their libertarian free will, possessed at creation, lost in the fall, and restored by God’s universally given prevenient grace. As Molina wrote concerning humans, “For if they are not endowed with freedom so that they are not capable of wrongdoing, they are neither capable of justice nor indeed of dominion." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, pp. 192-193).
    6. "Molina opposed this version of compatibilist human freedom on the grounds that God gives all humans sufficient grace to overcome any causal restraints imposed on them by the fall." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 50).
    7. "prevenient grace is “the unmerited, monergistic process in which God lifts a totally depraved person out of the pit of damnation, bringing him to the point of regeneration.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    8. “prevenient grace is the act of God where he lifts an individual out of the pit of damnation, culminating in regeneration unless the individual resists along the way.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    9. “On Molina’s understanding, prevenient grace does not enable anything in a person, and it doesn’t change a person’s nature. Instead, it is God’s work where He arranges a set of circumstances (i.e., likely including the gospel presentation) and monergistically produces responses to those circumstances in the person. So long as the person does not resist God’s movement, God will regenerate the person. What God is looking for is that the person not resist his work. If the person resists, then God will let him have his way and the person does not get saved.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    10. “Molina would say that for a person who has rejected God in the work of transporting him to the place where he can become regenerated, that even if God revealed his glory to that person, it wouldn’t produce spiritual change in such a person.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)
    11. "Prevenient grace seems to be a legitimate postulation, that is, the grace that precedes salvation that enables one to repent and turn from sin." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered.  The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Locations 345-347, Kindle Edition).
  19. Providence
    1. "Molina defined providence as God’s ordering of things to their intended good purposes either directly by his own action or indirectly by secondary causes. As Molina explained, “Divine providence is therefore nothing other than the reason or conception existing in the divine mind to order things to their ends by himself or even to be committed to the execution of the intervention of secondary causes to bring about his purposes, or . . . is itself the very divine reason that disposes all things to their highest aims.” (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 107).
    2. "The doctrine of divine providence involves the same conclusion. That doctrine teaches that God governs all his creatures and all their actions. That is, that He so conducts the administration of his government as to accomplish all his purposes." (Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology, Complete; Vol. 1: Introduction, Vol. 2: Part 1, Theology Proper; Part 2, Anthropology; Part 3, Soteriology; Vol. 3: Part 4, Eschatology (With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 20186-20187). . Kindle Edition.)
  20. Scriptures
    1. Romans 9
      1. "Molina believed that this face-value reading of Romans 9 was entirely consistent with human free will. Because Molina viewed no possible individual as bad enough so that she or he would freely spurn God’s grace in every conceivable set of circumstances and no possible individual as good enough so that she or he would freely embrace God’s grace in every conceivable set of circumstances, God’s possession of middle knowledge logically prior to his making any decisions about this world, including who would be saved or lost, provides the key to God’s sovereign individual predestination. Thus, for any possible individual, God has the power to elect (save) that individual by creating her or him in certain freedom-preserving circumstances where God already knows she or he would voluntarily embrace his grace." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge (p. 27). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)
      2. "While Molina disagreed with Calvin that God’s foreknowledge played no role at all in his making a choice of who is saved and who is damned, Molina came to concur with the central point in Calvin’s exegesis of Romans 9. For Molina as for Calvin, Romans 9 revealed God’s sovereign predestination of each individual that he creates to salvation or damnation." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 73).
  21. Total Depravity
    1. "While Molina would disagree with these conclusions of Luther and Calvin, he did concur with one aspect of Calvin’s reasoning. Molina agreed that the impact of original sin upon humanity was so great that it incapacitated their mental faculty to choose freely to do spiritual good, including positively responding to Christ’s offer of salvation." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 72)
    2. "Molina viewed no possible individual as bad enough so that she or he would freely spurn God’s grace in every conceivable set of circumstances and no possible individual as good enough so that she or he would freely embrace God’s grace in every conceivable set of circumstances, God’s possession of middle knowledge logically prior to his making any decisions about this world, including who would be saved or lost, provides the key to God’s sovereign individual predestination." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge (p. 27). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)
    3. “So, God can choose to do good things because he is essentially good. Angels might have a different spectrum from which they could choose, which is why some fell and some did not. This is why we have some elect angels and some not. With someone who is totally depraved, their options are truncated. They can do nothing at all, or they can do absolute evil, or anything in between. They do have a spectrum from which they can choose. But for someone who is regenerated, I think the spectrum shifts. They can do wrong things as well as good things.” (Notes approved by Kirk MacGregor from Dialogue between Matt Slick and Kirk MacGregor, 4/6/2017)

 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.