DOES OMNISCIENCE REQUIRE DETERMINISM?

The simple answer is, “No, of course not,” but some Christians have dogmatically insisted that it does based on finite philosophical speculations.

John Calvin, for instance, wrote:

“How foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission… It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them…Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear from the evidence of Scripture that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills just as He will, whether to good for His mercy’s sake, or to evil according to their merits.” (John Calvin, “The Eternal Predestination of God,” 10:11)

Many modern day Calvinists would not go so far as to candidly admit what John Calvin does in the quote above (Calvin’s quote supports the false doctrine of Equal Ultimacy). Yet, can the Calvinistic systematic avoid the necessity of this logical end? Their namesake does not think so.

Certain philosophical commitments led John Calvin (and many Calvinists like him) to adopt a view of God that is not biblically defensible. Our infinite God is not stuck on a linear timeline, looking into the past or the future. He is the timeless great “I AM,” which suggests that His knowledge is less like our set knowledge of past events (or future ones if we had a crystal ball) and more like our knowledge of present reality. We know what is happening right now because we exist in the now, not because we are necessarily determining what we are experiencing in the here and now, though our choices and actions could certainly affect our present reality. Likewise, our infinite God exists in the eternal now, which is beyond our comprehension. Should we (indeed can we) draw dogmatic conclusions about such infinite realities?

To us the past is unchangeable, water under the bridge. The future, however, is as uncertain as the forecast of rain and impossible for us to fully predict or know. The only point where the “changeable” meets “certainty” for us is in the present. But, is that also true of our infinite Creator? What if the past, present and future remains both certain and changeable to God? As some have put it, “God is the eternal now.”

C.S. Lewis so aptly wrote in his book Mere Christianity, “If you picture time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn.” He argues that all times are the present to God insomuch as His knowledge is concerned. Other philosophers contend that God must be either outside of time or in time, whereas Lewis argues, “why can’t it be both? There is no logical barrier to this. Just because there is no creature in our experience that is both inside and outside of time, does not mean God has to be like His creatures.”

Wherever we land philosophically, however, we must refrain from bringing unbiblical conclusions, based upon our finite perceptions, to our understanding of God’s nature. We must accept the revelation of scripture. He is Holy (Is. 6:3). He does not take pleasure in sin (Ps. 5:4). Some moral evil does not even enter His Holy mind (Jer. 7:31). And, He genuinely desires all men, every individual, to come to Him and be saved (Rom. 10:21; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; Ezk. 18:30-31).

One presumption that we should bring to scripture is that our God is good and He is in no way implicit in the bringing about of moral evil. He is a loving God who genuinely desires for all to come to repentance so as to be saved (Ezk 18; 1Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9; Rm 10:21).

No man will stand before the Father and be able to give the excuse, “I was born unloved by my Creator (Jn. 3:16). I was born un-chosen and without the hope of salvation (Titus 2:11). I was born unable to see, hear or understand God’s revelation of Himself (Acts 28:27-28).” No! They will stand wholly and completely “without excuse” (Rm. 1:20), because God loved them (Jn. 3:16), called them to salvation (2 Cor. 5:20), revealed Himself to them (Titus 2:11), and provided the means by which their sins would be atoned (1 Jn. 2:2). No man has any excuse for unbelief (Rm. 1:20).

————

(Portions taken from chapter 3 of Leighton’s book, “The Potter’s Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology” published by Trinity Academic Press)

*One would also benefit from reading The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: De consolatione philosophiæ), a work by the sixth century philosopher Boethius that has been described as having had the single most important influence on the Christianity of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance and as the last great work of the Classical Period. Introduction to The Consolation of Philosophy, Oxford World’s Classics, 2000.

*Deut. 29:29 states, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever…”

722 thoughts on “DOES OMNISCIENCE REQUIRE DETERMINISM?

  1. CALVINISM’S SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES—MILIEU CONTROL—A CLOSED SYSTEM OF LOGIC

    The society of Calvinists dramatically differs from mainstream protestant Christianity and Catholicism, in the emphasis it puts on adherence to doctrine. The doctrine becomes a cherished identity marker, and a trophy, which separates the Calvinist from all other Christian groups. The doctrine sets them apart as superior. The doctrine is therefore sacred. Calvinist pastors can be observed brooding over their congregation’s assimilation of the doctrine. It is quite common for Calvinist leaders to counsel congregations against exposing themselves to alternative forms of biblical scholarship, no matter how highly that scholarship is recognized internationally. The Calvinist authority structure seeks to exert a much higher degree of control over information. Thus Calvinism sociologically, has for many years, been a closed system, with its own unique values and its own unique language, applying what social psychologists call, milieu control. The control processes at work within the Calvinist authoritarian social structure, controls feedback from group members and refuses to be modified, which results in a closed system of logic.

    It is consistently observed that Calvinists manifest a pronounced degree of partisanship—an almost obsessive allegiance to the doctrine and to idolized persons, prompting the concern that the respecting of persons within the system is so pervasive, that it may represent a form of seductive entrenchment to which Christian youth are significantly vulnerable.

    Over time, the mental conditioning that results, goes far beyond simple belief in—or love for Christ, as Christ is not the central focus of the doctrine. As the individual interacts with others whose minds have become similarly re-formed, the mental conditioning dramatically reinforces itself, and becomes a unique reality which frames all comprehension of things pertaining to God and church.

    When the non-Calvinist speaks, about God or biblical things, the Calvinist may quite literally hear confusion, or heresies, because his mind is so locked into the milieu, and it frames his cognitive perceptions so pervasively; he eventually cannot comprehend any thinking that doesn’t affirm it.

    Free-thinking and personal beliefs are monitored and permitted as long as they do not contradict central dogma. God-Ungodliness oxymorons are so subliminally assimilated in his concepts of God, that when he speaks, he speaks English, and one thinks they know what he is saying, without recognizing when they don’t, or understanding how pervasively his frame of reference stems from a good-evil dualistic worldview which the system conditions him to obfuscate, and which eventually becomes his normalcy through the process of internalized acceptance. These socialization processes are the first step in our ability to understand Calvinistic thinking, behavior, and language.

  2. CALVINISM PARTISANSHIP IDENTITY—VICARIOUS BOASTINGS—AND THE SEDUCTIVENESS OF HERO WORSHIP

    Kenneth Burke (1897), an American literary theorist, in “Attitudes Toward History”, writes:
    -quote:
    “In America, it is natural for a man to identify himself with the business corporation he serves. This is his birthright, and insofar as he is denied it, he is impoverished and alienated. But insofar as business becomes a ‘corrupt sovereign’, his only salvation is to make himself an identity, in an alternative corporation. The struggle to establish this alternative corporation is called the struggle for the ‘one big union’. Hence, the drive for ‘industrial unionism’ for parties, farmers and workers, etc.” -end quote

    Burke is describing the sociological phenomenon of an individual’s re-mapping of personal identity. From an insignificant persona, to an identity of preeminence by association with a group. Burke clues us, that ‘vicarious boasting’ is one of the outward manifestations to look for:
    -quote:
    “One may note, however, the subtle ways in which identification serves as braggadocio. By it, the modest man can indulge in the most outrageous ‘corporate boasting’. He identifies himself with some corporate unit (church, guild, company, lodge, party, team, college, city, nation, etc.) –and by profuse praise of this unit, he praises himself. For he ‘owns shares’ in the corporate unit—and by ‘rigging the market’ the value of the stock as a whole, he runs up the value of his personal holdings. We see the process in its simplest form, when the music-lover clamorously admires a particular composer, and so ‘shares vicariously’ in the composer’s attainments.

    Such identification will be observable even among mistreated clerks of rival business concerns, as the sales girls of one department are somewhat contemptuous of the goods of the department store across the street (an attitude that the heads of the business are prompt to ‘cash in on’ by putting ‘company loyalty’ against interference from outside agitators and union organizers).

    The function of ‘vicarious boasting’ leads into the matter of ‘epic heroism’ and ‘euphemistic’ vocabularies of motives. When heroes have been shaped by legend, with the irrelevant or incongruous details of their lives obliterated, and only the most ‘divine’ attributes expressed, the individual’s ‘covert boasting’ (by identification with the hero) need not lead to megalomania (extreme delusion of grandeur)….the legendary hero, is by definition, a superman. He is the founder of a line. -end quote

  3. As I mentioned, I am glancing again at “Don’t Waste Your Life” by Piper.

    Great book! If you are not a Calvinist! I especially like the parts where he encourages us not to waste our lives. Because that is an option. I mean, we can wallow in self-indulgence and waste opportunities that God sends our way.

    He has lots of statements like “make your life count for eternity!”

    “He [God] is closing in on some of you, smiling with tears in His eyes, ……As I write, I pray that you will not turn away.”

    “Oh how much is wasted when we do not risk for the cause of God.”

    “There is no doubt that if we lived more like this, the world would be more likely to consider whether Jesus is an all-satisfying Treasure.”

    “If we want to make people glad in God…..our lives must look…..”

    By page 111, he starts to use a lot of wartime analogies (which is the approach that Greg Boyd takes, not the “blueprint-determinist’ approach that Piper usually takes).

    “I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind.”

    He gives many examples of how small decisions by individuals made a difference in history. The book is full of “don’t watch TV” sort of statements.

    For a Calvinist, Piper is very man-centered. The entire book is man-centered. It is all about, you, you, you and how you can make a difference. You can help Christ. You can think about missions and the unreached. You can waste your life or not waste your life. You can have an impact on eternity.

    Why? Why this challenge to take your life and “make it count for eternity”?

    Because Piper knows that what we do makes a difference. Focus on yourself and your cars and your clothes…… and “you start to think less about people perishing…. missions drops out of your mind.”

    So what? What difference can it possibly make that “missions drops out of my mind” if God has already settled everything? In fact, hasn’t He even settled/ determined that “mission drop out of my mind”?

    It’s almost as if he is teaching that man is being called by God to participate in history (which Greg Boyd explains so well). But this cant be true since Piper has declared that Boyd and his teaching of participation in history are unbiblical.

    It’s almost as if Piper wants to be a determinist-Calvinist (saying on his web site that the extermination camps of Nazi Germany were God’s will) AND be a Boyd-like-participant, world-changer, history-maker at the same time.

    But wait!!

    He does!!!

    Which is why we are to be inspired and take him at his word when he says “dont waste your life” —-but when he says God has already determined/ willed/ planned/ desired/ ordained/ decreed the Nazi Holocaust, not so much.

      1. The whole essences of the book (Don’t Waste Your Life) is to encourage us to make free, good choices, so that we can impact others to make free, good choices.

        All of that is nonsense if everything was decreed and set in stone before time.

        If we are impacting others to make choices—- and especially if we are influencing people (by our actions or words) to come to Christ then we are participating. If we are participating then it is not 100% from God.

        It aint rocket science.

        Any person that goes, tells, preaches, witnesses to someone who comes to Christ—- participated and (according to Calvinism) has robbed God of His glory.

        Someone who says “Troy led me to Christ” has “robbed God of His glory” (albeit ever so small). Any person that has risked (that is a big word in Piper’s book) anything and sacrificed to tell others (or impacted them to come to know Christ—as Piper says) has in a small way “robbed God of His glory.”

        His book is literally full of man-centered ways that we can do better, try harder, sacrifice more so that the Gospel can be better preached and “the world would be more likely to consider whether Jesus is an all-satisfying Treasure.”

        Anyone who says that what we do would make the world “be more likely to consider” is not taking his Calvinism seriously.

        Neither should we.

      2. FOH writes, “The whole essences of the book (Don’t Waste Your Life) is to encourage us to make free, good choices, so that we can impact others to make free, good choices.
        All of that is nonsense if everything was decreed and set in stone before time.”

        I think Piper is just applying Romans 12 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” and Philippians 4, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

        Piper knows that the person God saves is still joined to his old sin nature. He is encouraging people to depend on God and to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.”

        Even though God has determined all things, we still find that we struggle and we are not to struggle without God’s help and God’s help is necessary, certain and determined – “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

      3. Yes that is correct!
        Calvinism’s seduces people into being unwittingly two-faced – without the slightest discernment of the condition.

        If a non-Calvinist had made those same statements the Calvinist would accuse him of XYZ.

        This was evident when Dr. Flowers used a quote from a Calvinist without providing the citation – and other Calvinists attacked that quote thinking it was from him. And when he provided the citation – the attacking Calvinist responded: “I’m sure Calvinist X knew what he meant by that statement”.

        These behavior patterns make it clear, Calvinists are taught to speak a “coded” language that it designed to be two-faced.
        When they hear a Calvinist speak it they -quote “know what he means”.
        In other words, they know that while he is communicating [A], he really means [NOT A].

        Bottom line, that is not the language mode of the Jesus Christ, or the God of scripture, or the authors of scripture.
        It is a language mode unique to false advertisements, dishonest politicians and Calvinists.

  4. Brian,
    What are we to think when we read through the Bible and see this passage:

    Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down.
    ————————

    1. The people complained—to Moses/ leadership.
    2. God gets angry when they do (not in eternity past).
    3. He rains down fire.
    4. Moses gets the honor to be the one who prayed and asked God to stop.
    5. God stops when Moses asks

    Numbers 14: 20 [the Lord is gonna strike them all but Moses intervenes] The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised…. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly….
    ————————

    1. The Lord forgives them as Moses asked (did not do what He said he would do).
    2. But the ones who disobeyed me even though they saw my glory will not go in.
    3. Except Caleb (who God gave faith to??? No!) who follows.

    Numbers 16:20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
    22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?
    —————————–

    1. God says He is gonna destroy them all.
    2. Moses cries out.
    3. God relents to focus instead only on a few offenders.

    Deut 9: 13 And the Lord said to me, “I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! 14 Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they.”
    ——————————-

    1. Moses intervenes.
    2. God relents

    Over and over. Passages like this are not rare.

    Get this…

    Psalm 106 David memorializes and sings about these stand-in-the-gap, praying-acting-people:

    23 So he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
    stood in the breach before him
    to keep his wrath from destroying them……

    29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
    30 But Phineas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was checked.
    ————————————————–

    In dozens of passages like this we see that human prayer actually changed the course of God’s intended plan.

    The prayer didn’t “change man’s attitudes.”

    No doubt someone will shoot across the bow….some nonsense about me being a universalist, or doubting God’s sovereignty, or His divine ability. But I’m just reading the Bible and seeing God spend a LOT of time saying these kinds of things.

    Why?

    What is His point?

    Is His point, “dont worry about how all these passages look….just know that I am a static, immutable, impassible, impersonal, God who decreed everything to happen as it did”?

    Or is He trying to tell us about Himself and how He created?

    1. Excellent examples FOH. It is the attack of determinism on the clarity of Scripture, on the motivation of love for evangelism, and on the confidence of a better future when we pray to God that makes determinism so harmful spiritually.

  5. Brian:

    Been thinking about the “Bride of Christ.”

    That is a very personal concept. Especially in light of all that the Word tells us about brides and grooms.

    Of course no one knows of any bride who is programmed unalterably. And who even wants a bride like that?!

    The Scripture is talking about something more personal.

    The Scripture says that the bride reigns with Christ (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 5:10, 20:6). Why does the word even give the idea of co-reigning with Christ if we have no say-so on anything at all?

    When it comes down to it, we need to ask ourselves if God really desires a personal relationship with us. If He does, then we need to ask ourselves and our Calvinist friends how “personal” that is if every decision we have ever made or will make has already been decreed/ known/ desired/ willed/ planned/ ordained by the groom.

    That does not resemble the bride we see in the Scripture.

    1. FOH… very true. That reminds me of the curious relationship God has with heavenly creatures now. The “decree of the Watchers” in the Daniel 4 story of Nebuchadnezzar is one I’m going to ask more about when I get a chance. 😂

  6. Brian

    If I were to ask you to give examples of free-will choice, where would you start? I suppose you would (choose to start—ha! “choose,” get it?) start with the Bible…. read the way a simple person would read it.

    You could start in Genesis, with a few verses that look to any person —with no philosophical bent— as choices being made by free creatures in the world that God created.

    2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat [your choice!] from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die [bad choice].”

    2:19 He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature,that was its name. [Amazing! God wanted to see what man would freely name the animals!]

    3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. [Amazing! This was a sinless person in a sinless world… and she freely chose to sin.] She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

    3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree ….. [This is the Creator God telling the whole world why He is judging Adam. Not because “I made you do it” or “I decided this from eternity past.” No…. simple…. “because you ate.”]

    3:22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
    [God Himself tells the reading/ watching world that Adam can now tell good from evil — can make good choices and bad.]

    We have not even left the first 3 chapters of the Bible and we see God giving man choices and telling us that he can make good and bad choices!!

    But just for good measure, chapter 4 says…

    6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

    Here God makes it clear in a simple reading of the text that Cain could have and should have ruled over sin… and done “what is right.”

    Only with the “help” of Mary-worshiping, saint-worshiping, Augustine and “heretic”-burning Calvin do we understand that these verses dont mean what they say. Nope. No choice ever intended. No choice was really involved. God was behind the curtain making everyone do as they did.

    Likely you would explain choice in a gentler way than I —- since you are nicer (and make wiser “choices”)!

    1. FOH… I already posted here on Soteriology 101 a word study on Freewill in the Bible. Roger has seen it, but unfortunately has not freely allowed the clear evidence to convince him 😉 that God has arranged for each unregenerate man to be able to exercise free choices that are positive, that God freely responds to, consistent with His character, to give them even more grace in seeking Him and His mercy. If you go to the home page you will find it a few months back in the list of posts by Leighton. Perhaps you have seen it already.

      But your verses are also clear evidence that God is not saying one thing in His Word about His will and our choices, but deceptively hiding the “real” truth of determinism!

      1. Oh that’s right! You did do a long, excellent expose on the Scriptural basis for freewill.

        It’s just that I thought my eye caught a glimpse of someone asking for what biblical evidence of that might look like. But it must have been my mistake, cuz no one would ask for explanation of something that has been explained many times on this site (and is in fact the whole reason for this site)…. and something that is so clearly seen in the foundation chapters of the Bible.

    2. FOH writes, “You could start in Genesis, with a few verses that look to any person —with no philosophical bent— as choices being made by free creatures in the world that God created.”

      The issue is not whether people make choices – the issue is whether these choices are genuinely free and what genuinely free means. Under Calvinism, choices are free but subordinate to God’s will – meaning that God can nix any choice He doesn’t like.

      1. FOH – The idea that God “can” thwart any choice by man that He doesn’t “like”… is just a smoke screen, using present tense language that really doesn’t matter.

        God according to Calvinism already eternally immutably “liked” all the choices that He wanted to make and already eternally immutably “liked” all that He would cause man to make by His eternal decree, before man’s will was even formed. So no freedom of contra-causal choice exists, for determinists, except in their “smoke-screen” theological rhetoric. He not only “can” thwart any choice by man that He doesn’t “like”, God has already nixed all contra-causal choices from being possible, according to Calvinism.

    3. Thank you for the help. It really is just a Troll thing going here, keeping people going round and round in circles, providing the logic and clear evidence again and again, while the Troll pretends he has never seen such evidence before. I try to only respond to some of his glaring contradictions, but not to rise to his distraction-strategy challenges, so I thank you for providing – once again – a mere sampling of the thousands of examples of free choices we see in the bible, not to mention those we know and make each and every day of our lives. Those who do not have a determination (pardon the pun) to defend Divine Determination have no question in their mind that they, and those around them make choices, and that those choices have real and oftentimes significant consequences. You can choose the flavor of your latte, and you can choose whom you will marry. You can choose to honor and take care of your elderly parents, and you can choose to wax the car. These choices, some insignificant, some more important, shape our lives and our destinies. It is unwise to ignore and reject the responsibility God has given us to make the most of all that he has gifted us with.

      1. TS00

        I knew you didnt need my help.

        You said well that we all know we make choices…. and we have just been (re) informed that whatever choices God doesnt like “He can nix.”

        That leaves us with the nonbiblical, atrocious idea that all of our bad choices…. God “doesnt nix” therefore approving of course. Once again we are back to sinning with gusto! Boldly!

        But as we all know that is just the rocking-horse (“allowing-not-nixing”) side of Calvinism. The other rocking-side is that God does not allow (or “not nix”) anything according to determinism!! He planned it all!! I’m sure we all find that especially comforting, as Piper says on his site that the holocaust was God doing. Good bedtime Bible lessons.

        A God who chose to create creatures that could fellowship with Him, “necessarily” created in a way where He does not allow Himself to “nix” our every bad choice.

        The church is the Bride of Christ, not the robot of Christ.

      2. FOH writes, “You said well that we all know we make choices…. and we have just been (re) informed that whatever choices God doesnt like “He can nix.””

        Everybody agrees to that. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill Joseph initially but God nixed that sot they sold him. Saul was persecuting the church, and God stopped him on the road to Damascus. Peter was thrown into jail with the anticipation that he would be put to death and God freed him. There is nothing that God cannot stop in its tracks even if we don’t allow Him to know anything until a decision is made. We all make choices – and God can nix any one of them. Do you really mean to deny that??

        Then, ” Once again we are back to sinning with gusto! Boldly! ”

        Not the Christ believer – Right!!!

        Then, “The other rocking-side is that God does not allow (or “not nix”) anything according to determinism!!”

        Of course He does – He just does it in eternity past.

        Then, “He planned it all!!”

        Even if you side with the Open Theists types, everything that happens will be according to God’s plan – God kowos all the possibilities and He can easily plan for anything and everything.

        Then, “A God who chose to create creatures that could fellowship with Him, “necessarily” created in a way where He does not allow Himself to “nix” our every bad choice. ”

        Even you don’t deny that – correct??

  7. br.d writes, “Molinism rejects Theological Determinism in order to assert Libertarian Freedom of the will.”

    rhutchin
    The problem is that no one has shown how Molinism is able to do this. People make stuff up and br.d, knowing no better, believes it. It is nice that br.d has to make stuff up to challenge the things I say.

    INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY – MOLINISM:
    -quote
    Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge first attributed to God by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (pictured to the left). It is best characterized as God’s prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. T

    his knowledge is seen by its proponents as the key to understanding the compatibility of divine providence and creaturely (LIBERTARIAN) freedom. -end quote

    When a Calvinist says “people make stuff up” he’s simply attributing the mental processes he’s familiar with to others.
    This is a common human trait known as Psychological projection. 😀

    1. br.d writes, “This is a common human trait known as Psychological projection.”

      Maybe, you could include that part of the encyclopedia entry that addresses the rejection of determinism by Molinism – you inadvertently left it out. of course, it did have “…compatibility of divine providence (or divine determinism) and creaturely (LIBERTARIAN) freedom,” but this is not a rejection of Theological Determinism.

      1. rhutchin
        Maybe, you could include that part of the encyclopedia entry that addresses the rejection of determinism by Molinism – you inadvertently left it out. of course, it did have “…compatibility of divine providence (or divine determinism) and creaturely (LIBERTARIAN) freedom,” but this is not a rejection of Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        Here we have an even better example of the Calvinist thinking process manifesting Psychological projection.
        Here the Calvinist auto-magically projects – and therefore adds (or divine determinism) into the quote on Molinism – which (outside the Calvinist’s mind) is not there.
        This would assume Molinism makes Theological Determinism (with its consistent compatibilism) compatible with LIBERTARIAN freedom of the will.

        I think its obvious, a byproduct of Calvinist thought “re-form” – is the mind loosing discernment of logical contradictions 😀

  8. br.d writes, “Molinism rejects Theological Determinism in order to assert Libertarian Freedom of the will.”

    rhutchin
    The problem is that no one has shown how Molinism is able to do this. People make stuff up and br.d, knowing no better, believes it. It is nice that br.d has to make stuff up to challenge the things I say.

    INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY – MOLINISM:
    -quote
    Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge first attributed to God by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (pictured to the left). It is best characterized as God’s prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. T

    his knowledge is seen by its proponents as the key to understanding the compatibility of divine providence and creaturely (LIBERTARIAN) freedom. -end quote

    When a Calvinist says “people make stuff up” he’s simply attributing the mental nternal processes he’s familiar with to others.
    This is a common human trait known as Psychological projection. 😀

  9. MOLINIAM’S REJECTION OF THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISM/COMPATIBILIST FREEDOM

    Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge – Kirk R. MacGregor

    -quote:
    For Luther the only human freedom permitted by the divine-human relationship is COMPATIBILIST in nature……Calvin adhered to precisely the same train of thought as Luther……In his definition of providence, Calvin declared that nothing can happen unless God has by his will decreed it and by his power brought it to pass……..Clearly for Calvin, sovereignty is equated with complete control, such that God cannot be sovereign save for his DETERMINATION of every event in the physical and spiritual realms.

    In contrast to Luther and Calvin, Molina……made room for LIBERTARIAN human freedom and all other instances of genuine contingency.
    Just as logically necessary truths like 1 + 1 = 2 are logically before and so independent of the divine creative decree, so for Molina all counterfactual truths—including what every possible LIBERTARIAN free creature would choose to do in any set of circumstances in which they find themselves…..in any possible set of circumstances—are logically before and so independent of the divine creative decree.

    To sum up, Molina concurred with Luther and Calvin that placing God’s counterfactual knowledge after his creative decree would obliterate LIBERTARIAN freedom, a consequence that Luther and Calvin accepted. But because Molina judged that this consequence ran contrary to the infallibility of Scripture, Molina placed God’s counterfactual knowledge before the divine creative decree. – page 89

    1. br.d writes, “To sum up, Molina concurred with Luther and Calvin that placing God’s counterfactual knowledge after his creative decree would obliterate LIBERTARIAN freedom, a consequence that Luther and Calvin accepted. But because Molina judged that this consequence ran contrary to the infallibility of Scripture, Molina placed God’s counterfactual knowledge before the divine creative decree. ”

      Exactly right. Molina changed the playing field. Rather than reject T Determinism outright and challenge Luther/Calvin on their home turf, Molina had to reject the conditions under which determinism occurs – the real world God created. Molina moved everything back before creation and imagined free will to occur in the mind of God – clever, but because everything occurs in the mind of God, Molina did not do away with T. determinism – he just ignored it. Molina did not like T. Determinism and “…for Molina all counterfactual truths—including what every possible LIBERTARIAN free creature would choose to do in any set of circumstances in which they find themselves…..in any possible set of circumstances—are logically before and so independent of the divine creative decree.” However, Molina presumed an independence from the divine “CREATIVE” decree – he never really showed how independence came about in the mind of God before the creative decree where God exercises complete control over His thoughts and the scenarios He could construct in which hypothetical humans could make choices.

      So, we see that Molinism is a pre-creation theology while Calvinism is a post creation theology – because of this, there is no conflict between them.

      1. rhutchin
        So, we see that Molinism is a pre-creation theology while Calvinism is a post creation theology – because of this, there is no conflict between them.

        br.d
        Here the Calvinist asserts there is no conflict between a theological system which based upon determinism/compatibilism and libertarian freedom of the will. Leave it to a Calvinist to imagine there is no conflict between them two completely opposing positions. 😀

      2. br.d writes, “Here the Calvinist asserts there is no conflict between a theological system which based upon determinism/compatibilism and libertarian freedom of the will.”

        The difference is between pre- and post. If you could explain a conflict, you do so. You did not.

      3. I would suggest Rhutchin scroll through the comments, here and on other articles posted on this site. He will find all the thoughtful arguments he is seeking.

      4. ts00 writes, “I would suggest Rhutchin scroll through the comments, here and on other articles posted on this site. He will find all the thoughtful arguments he is seeking.”

        Did not find any. How can two events that are mutually exclusive ever be in conflict??

      5. rhutchin
        The difference (between Calvinism and Molinism) is pre and post – etc.

        br.d
        The difference is much more than that. Molina rejected determinism/compatiblism.
        That is the plain and simple fact of the matter – and confirmed by every expert on the subject of Molinism (quotes already posted)
        You apparently want to ignore that fact – I assume for some personal strategic reason.

        1) Molina rejects determinism/compatiblism
        -quote from Kirk R. MacGregor
        “Molina judged that this consequence ran contrary to the infallibility of Scripture”

        2) Molina’s concept of Middle knowledge affirms ***LIBERTARIAN*** freedom of the will which is a direct rejection of determinism/compatiblism

        -quote from Kirk R. MacGregor
        “In contrast to Luther and Calvin, Molina……made room for ****LIBERTARIAN**** human freedom and all other instances of genuine contingency.”

        -quote from encyclopedia article already posted
        “Middle knowledge is seen by its proponents as the key to understanding the compatibility of divine providence and creaturely ***LIBERTARIAN*** freedom.”

        Clearly a major difference is Determinism/Compatiblism (aka Calvnism) in conflict with ****LIBERTARIAN*** freedom of the will (aka Molinism). Contrary to whatever private interpretation of Molinism you want to imagine.

      6. br.d writes, “Molina rejected determinism/compatiblism.”

        And then Molina designs a theology that embraces determinism. Go figure!

      7. br.d writes, “Molina rejected determinism/compatiblism.”

        rhutchin writes
        And then Molina designs a theology that embraces determinism. Go figure!

        br.d
        It ain’t what the Calvinist knows that gets him in trouble – its what he knows for sure – that just ain’t so! 😛

  10. Daily reading in Zechariah 14

    16 In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. 17 Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will have no rain. 18 If the people of Egypt refuse to attend the festival, the Lord will punish them with the same plague that he sends on the other nations who refuse to go. 19 Egypt and the other nations will all be punished if they don’t go to celebrate the Festival of Shelters.
    ————————
    Any nation that refuses—-if the people refuse to attend —– punished if they dont go.

    Sure people can disobey God. They can do things He doesn’t want. He, of course can punish them. They can still go against His will. He makes it pretty clear in every book of the Bible that He does not always get what He wants.

    Calvin’s brought-to-the-text definition of sovereignty requires that He wanted / decreed/ them to disobey…. and then comes up with the idea of 2 or 3 types of will of God. Leaving us, of course, confused at any one time which of God’s wills we should do. Or worse…..when we sin we have the inner satisfaction that “at least we are doing God’s sovereign will.”

    1. FOH writes, “[God] makes it pretty clear in every book of the Bible that He does not always get what He wants.”

      That’s because God decrees that humans have the freedom to disobey Him if they desire.

  11. Hello Dr. Flowers,

    Before I ask my question, I would first like to say that I appreciate the way that you present your interpretation of scripture while still respecting those with whom you disagree. While I may not agree with all of your theological stances, I do believe that you uphold the proper spirit of apologetics as presented to us in 1 Peter 3:15.

    In your article, you stated the following:
    “No man will stand before the Father and be able to give the excuse, “I was born unloved by my Creator (Jn. 3:16). I was born un-chosen and without the hope of salvation (Titus 2:11). I was born unable to see, hear or understand God’s revelation of Himself (Acts 28:27-28).” No! They will stand wholly and completely “without excuse” (Rm. 1:20), because God loved them (Jn. 3:16), called them to salvation (2 Cor. 5:20), revealed Himself to them (Titus 2:11), and provided the means by which their sins would be atoned (1 Jn. 2:2). No man has any excuse for unbelief (Rm. 1:20).”

    Your statement seems to say that a condemned man stands before God “without excuse” “because”:
    1. God loved them (presumably when they were already sinners)
    2. God revealed Himself to them (in a context clearly speaking of the incarnation)
    3. God called them to salvation
    4. God provided the means for the atonement of their sins.

    While I believe that you sincerely try to remain true to scripture, I am having trouble understanding your reasoning in this section. Given your language, the natural reading would lead one to believe that the basis of a person’s condemnation is only their rejection of salvation. More than that, you assert that they are “without excuse” because of the reasons listed above.

    When I read Romans 1 I see that the basis of man’s just condemnation is because he is “without excuse”. He has no reasonable answer for not acknowledging God for who He is and being thankful, and is therefore condemned. Every reason that you gave for the man’s lack of excuse are expressions of God’s grace, and therefore, they are not necessary to justify the condemnation of man. According to Romans 1, man would be justly condemned even without any of the above 4 things taking place. Without any of those things, man would stand before God “without excuse”. How then can these things be the cause of the man being “without excuse”, as you seem to believe?

    Romans 1: 18-21 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Man is clearly under just condemnation prior to any provision of grace. It seems to me that, if the incarnation and God’s grace as provided through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was necessary in order to justify the condemnation of man, then the sacrifice was made of necessity in order for God to be just, instead of being a free expression of His grace.

    Am I misunderstanding your interpretation of the reason man is justly condemned?

  12. Daily reading (read-through-Bible) which includes this Proverb:

    Proverbs 13:4

    Lazy people want much but get little,
    but those who work hard will prosper.

    Biblical teaching to all people? Dont be lazy!

    Work hard and prosper—be lazy and get little. It is not all determined ahead of time. Fatalism…. nope.

    Determinism is not a way of life.

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