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      The Problem of "God's Middle Knowledge"

      Saturday, October 24, 2009

      Last night, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. James White expound on the issue of "God's middle knowledge". In short, God's middle knowledge is a concept that was formed by the Jesuits after the Reformation to counter the Reformation and is being promoted today by such apologists as William Lane Craig. Dr. White gave two sessions last night. The first was a brief look at the Biblical doctrine of God's providence. The second was an actual explanation and refutation of the doctrine of "God's middle knowledge." Both lectures are below for your edification.

      A Brief Look at the Doctrine of God's Providence


      An Explanation and Refutation of "God's Middle Knowledge"


      Finally, as with much anything these days, Susan could not be with us since she's still doing that basketball thing at UF. So, Dr. White and I sent a picture to cheer her up. :)

      1 comment:

      Anonymous said...

      Sorry, it's hard to tell if the comment went through or not -- second try:

      At around 0:15:00 or so, the speaker states the fact that God chose to actuate a world determined by decisions of free creatures. Then he goes on to say "that" is a severe limitation of the extent and the nature of God's will and his decision (I assume that by "that," he means "God's decision to actuate such a world").

      However, he offers no evidence that God's decision to do so supposedly limits either the extent or the nature of His will and decision -- the speaker simply makes the blunt statement without offering any logical or scriptural reasons for anyone to accept it.

      There are good logical reasons not to accept it, however:

      All Theists should understand that the extent and the nature of God's will are unlimited. This means that God could freely choose to do anything that He wanted to do in any circumstance.

      This does not imply, however, that God must choose to do everything that He could possibly do in every circumstance -- actually, God is never under any obligation. For example, He could choose to induce all the people in the world to increase their sins and to reject His love, if He wanted to. However, that is not what He wants to do, so He does just the opposite. He's under no obligation to go in either direction -- He freely chooses to go in the good direction.

      God's free choice to induce the world to stop sinning and to accept His love instead, while neglecting to induce us to sin and reject Him, does not imply that He could not have chosen the sinful scenario instead -- He could easily have chosen it.

      We are talking about His free choice, and the mere act of freely choosing A over B does not logically imply that there was no freedom to choose B -- neither when man chooses A, nor when God chooses A. God's choosing good over evil does not limit His free will in any way -- that act of choosing is simply a function of His free will.

      It is abundantly clear that Molinism does not state, neither implicitly nor explicitly, that God's free choices somehow limit the nature or extent of His will.

      Just like the speaker in this video understands that the extent and the nature of God's will is unlimited, so do all the proponents of classical Molinism, and I'm sure, so does Dr. Craig (I have heard him speak many times -- his statements about God's knowledge have been very clear).

      Molinism does not put any limits on God at all -- not on His knowledge, not on His free will, not on anything in God's regard. Actually, Molinism posits a more complete and unlimited picture of God's knowledge than opposing beliefs do.

      In fact, those who oppose Molinism (or oppose the idea of God's middle knowledge) are attempting to put a limit on God's knowledge, which is a "no-no" to all true Theists: By stating the belief that Molinism is somehow incorrect, one is implying that God somehow lacks a certain kind of knowledge, that God somehow lacks the knowledge that goes by the name "middle knowledge."

      Of course, it is necessary to all true Theists to understand God's knowledge to be absolutely complete and absolutely unlimited, and this means that He certainly knows all that we can conceive of as well as knowing all that we cannot conceive of. Any honest and intelligent appreciation of God's absolutely complete and absolutely unlimited knowledge must necessarily accept the fact that God possesses middle knowledge -- to reject that fact is equal to stating that there is some lack somewhere in God's knowledge, and that lack (the lack of God's middle knowledge) is a limit imagined by the imperfect human mind and falsely attributed to God.

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