Category Archives: Divine Knowledge

Free Will, Foreknowledge, and Necessity: Assessing an Incompatibilist Understanding

I have been interacting with Robert Picirilli’s book, Free Will Revisited, which he wrote as a “respectful response to Luther, Calvin, and Edwards.” Those three representatives of a compatibilist perspective were selected because each of them wrote a book to argue for their position, against a prominent incompatibilist of their time. Martin Luther’s book, On the Bondage of the Will (1525), was his response to Desiderius Erasmus’s Diatribe on Free Will (1524). John Calvin wrote … Continue reading

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Introducing Calvinism and Middle Knowledge: A Conversation

I am happy to report that a new book is hot off the press, Calvinism and Middle Knowledge: A Conversation, to which I contributed two chapters and half of a third one, which was co-authored with Paul Helm. I’ll give a brief introduction to the book, and then I will trace the history of my own theological journey in relationship to middle knowledge, and finally I’ll briefly sum up my current beliefs about God’s knowledge … Continue reading

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Revisiting free will, in conversation with Robert Picirilli (1)

A four-way conversation Among the theological decisions we must make if we are to have a theology and practice which both have an inner coherence, one of the most far reaching is our choice of model regarding God’s work in the world. How we understand the nature of the freedom God has given to his moral creatures is a key factor in that decision. This is a matter I have studied and ruminated about for … Continue reading

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Why is God’s knowledge of counterfactuals valuable to a compatibilist doctrine of providence?

Yesterday, I was asked: “how important is it to your theology to add the hypothetical knowledge into the mix, since, in omniscience, isn’t knowledge of all possible things presupposed? That is an excellent question, so I want to post my response here as well. For me, God’s knowledge of counterfactuals, that is, of what free creatures would  have done in hypothetical situations (and hence, in possible worlds) is extremely important to compatibilism (i.e., the compatibility … Continue reading

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How would Molinism work without the affirmation of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities?

Source incompatibilism A few years ago, I became aware that William Lane Craig no longer affirmed the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), although he continued to work within the framework of Molinism. That prompted me to write a blog post asking: “W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?” A few people contributed helpful comments on that post and it is obvious that some others share my interest in this area of theology. Since … Continue reading

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Can we pray for something in the past?

Picture yourself standing at the airport waiting to meet someone you love who is expected to arrive soon on an incoming plane. The arrivals monitor had been reporting that the plane was on time. But then suddenly that statement disappears and you hear an announcement that people waiting for that flight should report to the airline’s desk. There an agent was directing all inquirers to go to a room nearby. Once a group had gathered … 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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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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