Lately, in my discussions with Christians on various aspects of biblical theology, I have come across Molinism. More believers are appealing to its philosophical underpinnings in order to try to deal with some difficult biblical topics. For example, Molinists tackle such things as the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's free will. Molinists want to explain how God can be sovereign and man can still be free and yet man is still responsible for his moral actions. When I speak with Molinists about this, I am told of counterfactuals, middle knowledge, and libertarian free will as well as other topics. They seem wholeheartedly dedicated to the molinistic philosophy. What I find interesting is that in all my discussions with them, I have yet to see a single Molinist appeal to Scripture as the primary source for solutions to such issues. Instead, each one appeals to philosophy first and Scripture second. This is what concerns me the most. And that is my motivation for studying and writing about Molinism.
However, Molinists have responded to this. For example...
"Molinism isn’t a philosophical grid being laid over Scripture; rather, it’s a derivation of a commitment to certain principles already obtained from Scripture."1
I appreciate that Max Andrews is trying to assert that Molinism is derived from Scripture. However, with the philosophical foundation of counterfactuals, libertarian free will, the natural, middle, and free knowledge of God all used in an attempt to harmonize God's Sovereignty and Man's presupposed Libertarian Free will, I still believe Molinism is a philosophy imposed upon Scripture that elevates man. I believe that Molinists find in scripture what their philosophy tells them to look for.
Please understand that I am not against philosophy. On the contrary, I use it in my debates. What I am against is vain philosophy (Colossians 2:8) and subjecting Scripture to it. As Christians, Scripture should always be appealed to first. The Bible is primary, never philosophy. We compare man's philosophy to God's word. The Scriptures are the standard, not man's reasoning. After all, philosophy is, by definition, man's attempt to apply reason in order to gain knowledge.
It is true that sometimes we need to use our minds, and even philisophical examination, in order to understand some of the deeper aspects of God's word such as different types of infinity, intra-Trinitarian communion, the order of God's decrees, etc. But, I routinely insist that the revelation of God supersedes all philosophical assumptions. Scripture is God's revelation and I will trust it over man's philosophy.
Is my position a philosophical one? No, it's not. It's biblical. Now, I know that people will say that this is my philosophical position to put Scripture over philosophy. I see that is nothing more than a philosophical word game. The fact is Scripture is inspired and human philosophy is not.
In my many years of studying false religious systems, teaching Christian theology, listening to various arguments, etc., I have learned a very simple truth that I must reiterate at the risk of extreme redundancy: Scripture is the final authority, not man's reasoning. Again, this is why I began to study Molinism. I wanted to know what it is and why it appeals to so many people philosophically.
So, within these articles I hope that I will, to some extent, satisfy Molinists when I seek to represent their positions. However, there are different shades of Molinism and answering all the various nuances is beyond the scope of these articles. Instead I will quote Molinist authors and do my best to compare what they say to Scripture.
- 1. Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1) (Kindle Locations 50-51).