Category Archives: Providence

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

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

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

Posted in Divine Knowledge, Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

“Mysterian compatibilism”: a third category

I have been in the practice of distinguishing two forms of compatibilism, hard and soft. Both are forms of soft-determinism, and they both assert that God’s meticulous control is compatible with creaturely moral culpability. They differ, however, in their account of how that compatibilism works. Thomism offers a version of hard compatibilism, which I call “hard” because it asserts that creatures are libertarianly free, but that this does not diminish God’s ability to meticulously control … Continue reading

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

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