Category Archives: Providence

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

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The contribution of hypothetical knowledge Calvinism to our understanding of evil in the world chosen by the almighty and perfectly good God

Thus far, I have responded to 4 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,” and that it “flirts with fatalism.” In this post, I address his concern that what I call “hypothetical knowledge Calvinism” does not effectively … Continue reading

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does hypothetical knowledge Calvinism flirt with fatalism?

Thus far, I have responded to 3 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,” and that it includes an “odd ontology of personhood.” In this post, I will consider his concern that what I call “hypothetical knowledge Calvinism” flirts with fatalism (pp. 17-23). Laing observes … Continue reading

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Soteriology, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Calvinist’s ruminations on an Arminian view of God’s providence

I did not identify any of the models that I presented in Providence and Prayer as an/the “Arminian model.” Arminianism developed within the Reformed tradition as a distinctive position derived from a synergistic understanding of salvation. As a theological framework, it is therefore fundamentally synergistic, affirming that God has limited his ability to ensure that the history of the world turns out according to the will of his eternal purpose, in all its particulars. Within … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Premonitions and the difficulty of discerning God’s will

In a group meeting recently, I commented on my interest in the story of the 5 people who had checked in for a Malaysian Airlines flight but then failed to board, which meant that their baggage had to be removed before the flight could depart. Eventually that plane disappeared. Why did those people not board? Did they have a premonition of danger and act to avoid it? Was their failure to board unintentional, an act … Continue reading

Posted in Divine revelation, Ethics, Providence | Tagged | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did God give the Canadian women’s hockey team their gold medal in answer to prayer?

As the women’s hockey game at Sochi neared its end yesterday, one of my uncles wrote this on Facebook Oh, this is nerve wracking, it is so close. You want our girls to win so bad, can we pray for a win???? I KNOW!! I haven’t asked him what he knew about the answer to his question about prayer but, as I lay in bed this morning I pondered that question. Having consumed that time, … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Should we appeal to God to “fill the gaps”?

Joe Carter is sorry that the phrase “God of the gaps” came up again in the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, because there is more than one thing that could be meant by the statement, and some of them are not a good description of a healthy theistic understanding of the world. Carter identifies some of the different ways in which this term is used in discussions of science and religion. So … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged | Leave a comment

Monergism/synergism, compatibilism/incompatibilism and the nature of human freedom.

Recently I have had some correspondence with a gentleman who has read a bit of what I have written and who has had questions. Among his recent inquiries was this one: Could you please explain to me the difference between compatibilism and monergism? Similarly, what’s the difference between synergism and libertarianism? I tried looking it up, but I can’t seem to really understand the differences in these concepts. His questions are common, and quite natural, given the complexity … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments