Tag Archives: hypothetical knowledge

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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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

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Is God timeless or temporal apart from creation?

One of the factors that makes up a person’s model of providence is their understanding of God’s relationship to time. Accordingly, when I constructed a comparative chart of the eleven models of divine providence which I had unpacked in Providence and Prayer, I included a line for “God’s experience of time” (363-64). When I  wrote that book I was convinced that, when God created, he enters into time, though he experiences it differently than we … 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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Boyd’s open theist model of providence

            We come now to the fourth model in Four Views on Divine Providence, as Gregory Boyd puts forward his understanding as an open theist.  Gregory A. Boyd’s model of providence Christocentric criteria proposed for assessing models of divine providence Boyd posits that Jesus is the key to understanding the nature of God’s governance in the world and so he identifies four christocentric criteria by which models of providence should … Continue reading

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A Molinist model of God’s providence

              In Chapter 2 of  Four Views on Divine Providence, William Lane Craig presents a Molinist perspective. A restatement of William Lane Craig’s model of divine providence William Lane Craig begins his presentation by noting that Christian theology has traditionally affirmed God’s knowledge of conditional future contingents, what philosophers often call “counterfactuals.” Craig defines these as “conditional statements in the subjunctive mood, such as “If I were rich, I … Continue reading

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