Tag Archives: compatibilism

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

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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

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Does hypothetical knowledge Calvinism have an odd ontology of personhood?

In an ETS paper in 2013, John Laing critiqued Bruce Ware’s model of providence which is very much like my own “hypothetical knowledge Calvinist” model. In a long post on March 10, I explained why John Laing is wrong to think that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism is vulnerable to the grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism. Next, I responded to his second criticism, that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” (pp. … Continue reading

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Does hypothetical knowledge Calvinism have an odd notion of necessity or possibility?

In a long post on March 10, I explained why John Laing is wrong to think that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism is vulnerable to the same grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism. The second criticism Laing made of hypothetical knowledge Calvinism (in his Nov/13 ETS paper) was that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” (pp. 8-11). Laing agrees with me that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism’s idea of constraints upon God in his … Continue reading

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Is “hypothetical knowledge Calvinism” vulnerable to the same grounding objection which makes Molinism problematic?

At the ETS meeting in Baltimore in November/13, John Laing read a paper entitled “Middle knowledge and the Assumption of Libertarian Freedom: A Response to Ware.” Though Bruce Ware and I have never collaborated, we reached similar conclusions about the usefulness of God’s knowledge of counterfactuals in his deciding what world he would create, and I appreciate the work he has done. In Providence and Prayer, I had called my model of providence “middle knowledge … Continue reading

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Choose your theological mystery or conundrum

If we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has given moral creatures significant control of how things turn out, why would we thank and glorify God when good things occur? But if we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has maintained meticulous control, why would we feel responsible when evil occurs rather than holding God accountable? The synergist conundrum “I would … Continue reading

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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

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“Monergism” and “Determinism:” Are they useful terms?

I had brief correspondence recently with an evangelical theologian whom I am going to call “Peter,” so that I can cite some of our private conversation without putting him on public record. For my purposes here, what he said is the important thing, not who he is. Our brief interchange prompted me to ruminate about the terminology we use to describe a Calvinist understanding of God’s role and ours, in salvation and in history more … Continue reading

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W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?

 In December, I wrapped up my review of Four Views on Divine Providence, dealing with responses to Greg Boyd’s Open Theist proposal. In that post, I expressed my surprise concerning William Lane Craig’s redefinition of libertarian freedom, in which he denied that it entails the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), often described as the “power of contrary choice.” Craig proposed instead that a libertarian account of freedom requires only “the absence of causal constraints outside … Continue reading

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Responses to Boyd’s open theist model of providence

 The questions that expose the incoherence of the neo-Molinist account of divine providence . . . establish that the God of open theism is an ambivalent and arbitrary warrior who cannot be trusted to rule in every situation in a way that minimizes evil and maximizes good for his creatures. (Helseth, 222) Molinism [handles the problem of evil better than open theism] for God permits horrible evils only in view of morally sufficient reasons, whereas … Continue reading

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