Tag Archives: hypothetical knowledge

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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A self-determinist reading of key New Testament passages

In my previous post on Robert Picirilli’s book, Free Will Revisited, I examined his study of key Old Testament passages in which he found indications that God has given humans libertarian freedom. I responded to his reading in some detail, taking the opportunity to examine John Calvin’s exegesis of those Old Testament texts, and then offering some of my own comments regarding the mystery of authentic human freedom of choice, within a world whose history … Continue reading

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Who wrote/writes the script for the drama, ”The History of the World”?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the nature of the freedom God gave to moral creatures, both angelic and human, and how this correlates with the degree of control which God has reserved to himself, within the history of the world. I thought it might be helpful to think of that history as a script, and to describe some of the key models of God’s providence in terms of different … 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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When you make a decision, what do you actually change?

A former student’s question Recently, a former student of mine raised a question. Here it is: You asked a question in Sys Theo once that was something like “when you make a decision what do you actually change?” I have pondered this question for years now. Was your point that the decision of the will is insufficient to actually bring what you will into reality? I have argued many times that will and the ability … 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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How can models of salvation be compared on a scale of graciousness?: a response to Jerry Walls

    Daniel Sinclair has shared what he learned at the 2015 Rethinking Hell Conference. Since I was not there myself, I read his comments with interest, but I was surprised when my name showed up in his second point. I think that the ideas cited from Walls definitely merit some consideration, and I offer this as a contribution to the discussion of this very important matter.     Jerry Walls’s perspective on my model … Continue reading

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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

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