Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have decided to post some of the questions that I have been extensively researching for about a ten years now. The main thing I have learned is that these questions are more complicated than they may seem at first glance. The greatest benefit to this study has been finding that many of my initial assumptions were incoherent and contradictory. While I have refined my own thinking over the years, I do not yet feel comfortable that a definitive conclusion has been reached and for that I am glad. Part of me even fears reaching a conclusion because then this marvelous journey would end. There have been times when I felt like an inevitable conclusion was at hand, but then another door would open and cast doubt upon my current location. One of the ways I judge my progress is by seeing how long a lean in a certain direction lasts. I have been in one of those leans now for about three years, but just today I found something that has me rethinking and retracing my steps to make sure I did not make a wrong turn along the way. Maybe my skepticism is just a coping mechanism to make sure the journey does not end, or maybe I truly do fear the consequences of arrival.

It is amazing to learn how much pragmatism and an affinity toward certain thinkers can really influence the conclusions one reaches in study. Even when you think you are being objective and free of bias, it can rear its ugly head. I have learned that the search for truth does come with a price and one that is worth paying. The benefits you receive come from the search more so than the destination. The skill and knowledge you gain along the way make you a better person and more honest with yourself.

The first part of 2013 has been a fruitful time of study and much progress has been made in clarifying many of the issues. Now I sense I am entering a time where I will take a step back and let everything simmer for a while. Partly because I have a lack of new information to ingest and partly because I am tired. All my searches for new books and papers have come up empty. I am anticipating some new work that should be published early next year. 

For clarification, I am looking for a unified theory that avoids as many contradictions as possible. So here are my questions and feel free to chime in:

Does granting humans freedom limit God's control over human affairs?
To the extent that God grants freedom to creatures, must he relinquish control?
Does foreknowledge ultimately lead to determinism?
In Calvinism, does God giving you strong desires and you acting on them freedom? Can we really be morally accountable in Calvinism?
Is science really moving from a determined view to indeterminism?
Doesn't saying that God uses a “time telescope” to see the future contradict the traditional understanding of omniscience?
Does simple foreknowledge give God any creative benefit?
Does it make any sense to say “I must do A and do it freely”?
Is A or B theory of time true?
Is the universe a four dimensional block?
Is the future comprised of what “will” “would”, or “might” happen?
Does God know reality for what it is or as something different?
Is omniscience a matter of God knowing all that can be known or is it exhaustive?
Does God self-restrain or limit himself on our behalf?
Should we reject the perfect being philosophy of Plato, Anselm, and Aquinas? Has their thinking played too big a role and changed the way the Bible is read and interpreted?
Are the answers to deep questions only beyond reason or could they be against reason?
What is the difference between foreknowledge and foreordination?
Is God sovereign over all things or just some things?
Does God interact with every moment in time at once in a simultaneous eternal now?
Is there a true biblical consensus on foreknowledge and providence?
How can we have moral accountability if we are not free in a libertarian sense?
How does God get knowledge?
Can God gain knowledge?
By placing God outside time, did Boethius really solve any problems?
Does the incarnation present a problem for believing in an impassible and timeless God?
Is there a difference between God controlling contingent facts versus people?
Are there divisions or parts to God's existence? Is it an imperfection for God to change or gain knowledge? Is it an imperfection for God to have a past, present, and future?
Does the biblical narrative represent God as having a real temporal narrative?
Does the grounding objection present a real problem for Molinism?
Has the personhood and love of God been diminished by traditional theology and perfect being philosophy?
Does bivalent omniscience negate “would” counterfactuals?
Can one live consistently with a deterministic or Molinist worldview?
Can foreknowledge only be used in a providentially beneficial manner if there is a time at which what is foreknown can influence a divine decision that is not itself also foreknown?
If the potter has coercive control over the clay, why aren't we better than we are?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Still Perplexed

I am fully aware that it has been well over a year since my last post to this blog. The excuses I have are both trivial and substantial. Part of me is content just to have a web presence that gives others a resource for further investigation on Molinism and God's foreknowledge, and another part of me feels as if this is inadequate. I imagine that all of my followers on Twitter grow tired of vague and overbearing snippets, in 140 characters or less, of random thoughts on foreknowledge. Once one gains the vernacular needed to discuss the matter on an academic level, an unintended alienation soon follows.

So I am left with some options that need careful consideration before I make my next move. I could just give the honest thoughts of a man on a journey to grapple with the perplexing subject matter already put forth on this page. The thought of this leaves me with a fear that my words would be misunderstood and taken to mean something other than their intention. Then again, I could be more vigilant to update and compile the thoughts of great thinkers on foreknowledge. This would be a safer choice but it also seems sterile and not of interest to anyone. This option would also be of no benefit to me because I already have all the information already in printed form.

Throughout the history of this blog, I have frequently become restless or dissatisfied with its content and done a complete reboot. I feel compelled to do this once again. My only hesitation is the amount of work that went into the post, "The Best of Molinism." I still believe it is a good resource (needs updating). At one time in my life, Molinism was a fresh and exciting new theory. I could not get enough information to feed my appetite. Now I feel like the child who ate too much candy on Halloween. It also seems to me that Molinism does face some significant challenges to become a well accepted theory of God's foreknowledge. Then again, maybe it will survive much like Calvinism and Arminianism have. Their adherents have no problems with the inherent problems facing their theories. Still I am left with a lack of confidence and enthusiasm in the consistency and plausibility of a theory that became an identifying part of the identity of Neal Pumphrey.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Molinism: The Contemporary Debate

After months of anticipation, Perszyk's book has reached the States. I must admit that a feeling reminiscent of boyhood excitement on Christmas morning came over me when it arrived. The exchange between Craig and Zimmerman has been my first destination and the discourse has exceded expectations. As any vigorous debate should, they are raising the bar and clarifying the issues under consideration.
Also included in the book is a bibliography of recent works on Molinism which I will try to incorporate here in "The Best of Molinism." 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contents of Ken Perszyk's Molinism: The Contemporary Debate

Estimated date of release; December 2011/January 2012, Oxford University Press
Table of Contents

Introduction , Ken Perszyk
1. The (Non-)Existence of Molinist Counterfactuals , William Hasker
2. Whence and Whither the Molinist Debate: A Reply to Hasker , Thomas P. Flint
3. Truth and Molinism , Trenton Merricks
4. Trenton Merricks on Some Anti-Molinist Arguments , William Hasker
5. Pro Haskeris Contradictio , Dean Zimmerman
6. Replies to Hasker and Zimmerman , Trenton Merricks
7. Molinist Conditionals , Edwin Mares and Ken Perszyk
8. Tilting at Molinism , Edward Wierenga
9. A Precis of 'Yet Another Anti-Molinist Argument' , Dean Zimmerman
10. Yet Another Failed Anti-Molinist Argument , William Lane Craig
11. An Anti-Molinist Replies , Dean Zimmerman
12. Molinism and Incarnation , Thomas P. Flint
13. Putting Molinism In Its Place , John Martin Fischer
14. Molinism and the Thin Red Line , Greg Restall
15. The Free Will Defense , Hugh J. McCann
16. Theological Determinism and Divine Providence , Derk Pereboom
17. An Open Theist Theodicy of Natural Evil , William Hasker
Bibliography: Recent Work on Molinism , Ken Perszyk

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Best of Molinism (Updated 6/23/11) added all paper locations

I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of all the best books and papers available on Molinism/Middle Knowledge. Maybe the list should be narrowed to include only books or papers that are solely on Molinism, but there is no other way to start this other than to offer a list and enlist your help in its compilation.

Books (arranged by publication year)

God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga (1977 Eerdmans Publishing Company)

On Divine Foreknowledge (Part IV of the Concordia) by Luis de Molina, translated, with an introduction and notes, by Alfred J. Freddoso (1988 Cornell University Press)

The Nature of God: An Inquiry into Divine Attributes by Edward R. Wierenga (1989 Cornell University Press)

God, Time and Knowledge by William Hasker (1989 Cornell University Press)

Divine Omniscience and Human Freedom by William Lane Craig (1990 E. J. Brill)

Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications edited by William Hasker, David Basinger, and Eef Dekker (2000 Peter Lang)

Middle Knowledge by Eef Dekker (2000 Peeters Leuven)

The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom by William Lane Craig (2000 Wipf and Stock Publishers)

Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views edited by James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy (2001 InterVarsity Press)

Divine Providence: The Molinist Account by Thomas P. Flint (2006 Cornell University Press)

A Molinist-Anabaptist Systematic Theology by Kirk R. MacGregor (2007 University Press of America)

Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach by Kenneth Keathley (2010 B&H Publishing Group)

Four Views on Divine Providence edited by Stanley N. Gundry and Dennis W. Jowers (2011 Zondervan)

Molinism: The Contemporary Debate by Ken Perszyk (2012 Oxford University Press) forthcoming: January 15, 2012

Papers (alpha by author)

Adams, Robert M., 'An Anti-Molinist Argument', in James E. Tomberlin (ed.), Philosophical Perspectives 5 (1991), 343-353.

-- 'Middle Knowledge', The Journal of Philosophy 70 (1973), 552-554.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and the Problem of Evil', American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (1977), 109-117.

-- 'The Concrete Logical Problem of Evil', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 218-221.

Anderson, Mark B., 'Molinism, Open Theism, and Soteriological Luck', Religious Studies, Available on CJO 2010 dai:10.1017/S0034412510000375

Basinger, David, 'Divine Omniscience and Human Freedom: A Middle Knowledge Perspective', Faith and Philosophy 1 (1984) 291-302.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and Classical Christian Thought', Religious Studies 22 (1986), 407-422.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and Divine Control: Some Clarifications', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 30 (1991), 129-139.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and Human Freedom: Some Clarifications', Faith and Philosophy 4 (1987), 330-336.

Boyd, Gregory A., 'Neo-Molinism and the Infinite Intelligence of God', Philosophia Christi 5 (2003), 187-204.

Byerly, T. Ryan, 'Ockhamism vs. Molinism, Round 2: A Reply to Warfield', Religious Studies, Forthcoming: Fall 2011.

Campbell, Travis James, 'Middle Knowledge: A Reformed Critique', http//

Corrigan, Richard H., 'Could God Know What I Would Freely Do? Molinism and the Grounding Objection', Philosophical Frontiers 3 (2008) 43-57.

Cowan, Steven B., 'The Grounding Objection to Middle Knowledge Revisited', Religious Studies 39 (2003), 93-102.

Craig, William Lane, 'Does the Balance Between Saved and Lost Depend on Our Obedience to Christ’s Great Commission?', Philosophia Christi 6 (2004), 79-86.

-- '“Lest Anyone Should Fall”: A Middle Knowledge Perspective on Perseverance and Apostolic Warnings', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 29 (1991), 65-74.

-- '“Men Moved By the Holy Spirit Spoke from God” (2 Peter 1.21): A Middle Knowledge Perspective on Biblical Inspiration', Philosophia Christi NS 1 (1999), 45-82.

-- 'Middle Knowledge A Calvinist-Arminian Rapprochement?', in Clark H. Pinnock (ed.), The Grace of God, TheWill of Man: A Case for Arminianism, Grand Rapids, 1989, 141-164.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and Christian Exclusivism', Sophia 34 (1995), 120-139.

-- 'Middle Knowledge, Truth-Makers, and the “Grounding Objection”', Faith and Philosophy 18 (2001), 337-352.

-- '“No Other Name”: A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ', Faith and Philosophy 6 (1989), 172-188.

-- 'Robert Adam’s New Anti-Molinst Argument', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994), 857-861.

-- 'Should Peter Get A New Philosophical Advisor?', Philosophia Christi 6 (2004), 273-278.

-- 'Should Peter Go To The Mission Field?', Faith and Philosophy 8 (1991), 380-389.

Davidson, Scott A., 'Foreknowledge, Middle Knowledge and "Nearby" Worlds', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 30 (1991), 29-44.

Dekker, Eef, 'Does Duns Scotus Need Molina? On Divine Foreknowledge and Co-causality', in Bos Egbert Peter (ed.) John Dun Scotus (1265/6-1308). Renewal of Philosophy, 101-112.

-- 'Was Arminius a Molinist?', The Sixteenth Century Journal 27 (1996), 337-352.

Flint, Thomas P., 'Hasker’s Attack on Middle Knowledge', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 77-96.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and the Doctrine of Infallibility', Philosophical Perspectives 5 (1991), 373-352.

-- 'The Multiple Muddles of Maverick Molinism', Faith and Philosophy 20 (2003), 91-100.

-- 'The Possibilities of Incarnation: Some Radical Molinist Suggestions', Religious Studies 37 (2001), 307-320.

-- 'Prophecy, Freedom, and Middle Knowledge', in Kelly James Clark (ed.), Our Knowledge of God. Essays on Natural and Philosophical Theology, Dordrecht/Boston/London 1992, 151-165.

Gaskin, Richard, 'Conditionals of Freedom and Middle Knowledge', The Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1993), 412-430.

-- 'Middle Knowledge: Reply to Rice', The Philosophical Quarterly 45 (1995), 505-509.

-- 'Molina on Divine Foreknowledge and the Principle of Bivalence', Journal of the History of Philosophy 32 (1994), 551-571.

Gordon, David and James Sadowsky, 'Does Theism Need Middle Knowledge?', Religious Studies 25 (1989), 75-87.

Greenberg, Sean, 'Leibniz against Molinism: Freedom, Indifference, and the Nature of the Will', in Donald Rutherford and J. A. Cover (eds.) Leibniz: Nature and Freedom, Oxford University Press, 2005, 217-233.

Hasker, William, 'Anti-Molinism is Undefeated!', Faith and Philosophy 17 (2000), 126-131.

-- 'Explanatory Priority: Transitive and Unequivocal: A Reply to William Craig', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (1997), 389-393.

-- 'How Good/Bad is Middle Knowledge? A Reply to Basinger', International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 33 (1993), 111-118.

-- 'Middle Knowledge: A Refutation Revisited', Faith and Philosophy 12 (1995), 223-226.

-- 'Middle Knowledge and the Damnation of the Heathen: A Response to William Craig', Faith and Philosophy 8 (1991), 380-389.

-- 'Providence and Evil: Three Theories', Religious Studies 28 (1992), 91-105.

-- 'A Refutation of Middle Knowledge', Nous 20 (1986), 545-557.

-- 'Response to Thomas Flint', Philosophical Studies 60 (1990), 117-126.

Helm, Paul and Terrence L. Tiessen, 'Does Calvinism Have Room for Middle Knowledge?', Westminster Theological Journal 71/2 (Fall 2009), 437-454.

Hunt, David P., 'Middle Knowledge and the Soteriological Problem of Evil', Religious Studies 27 (1991), 3-26.

-- 'Middle Knowledge: The "Foreknowledge Defense"', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 28 (1990), 1-12.

Kielkopf, Charles F., 'Suarezian Middle Knowledge: A Response to Dean A. Kowalski', Philosophia Christi 5 (2003), 229-232.

Knebel, Sven K., 'Leibniz, Middle Knowledge and the Intricacies of World Design', Studia Leibnitiana 28 (1996), 199-210.

Kowalski, Dean A., 'On Behalf of Suarezian Middle Knowledge', Philosophia Christi 5 (2003), 219-228.

-- 'Kielkopf's Compromise: A Reply to Charles F. Kielkopf on Suarezian Middle Knowledge', Philosophia Christi 5 (2003), 233-234.

Kvanvig, Jonathan L., 'On Behalf of Maverick Molinism', Faith and Philosophy 19 (2002).

Laing, John D., 'The Compatibility of Calvinism and Middle Knowledge', Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 47/3 (2004), 455-467.

-- 'Molinism and Supercomprehension: Grounding Counterfactual Truth', (Ph.D. dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2000).

Linville, Mark D., 'Ockhamists and Molinists in Search of a Way Out', Religious Studies 31 (1995), 501-515.

Maitzen, Stephen, 'Does Molinism Explain the Demographics of Theism?', Religious Studies 44 (2008), 473-477.

Martin, Timothy John, 'Significant Responsibility Amidst Robust Providence: A Defense of Reformed Molinism as a Rapprochement between Divine Election and Metaphysical Human Freedom', (Ph.D. dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010).

O'Connor, Timothy, 'The Impossibility of Middle Knowledge', Philosophical Studies 66 (1992), 139-166.

Otte, Richard, 'A Defense of Middle Knowledge', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 21 (1987), 161-169.

Perszyk, Kenneth J., 'Free Will Defense with and without Molinism', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 43 (1998), 29-64.

-- 'Molinism and Compatibilism', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 48 (2000), 11-33.

-- 'Molinism and the Consequence Argument: A Challenge', Faith and Philosophy 20 (2003), 131-151.

-- 'Stump's Theodicy of Redemptive Suffering and Molinism', Religious Studies 35 (1999), 191-211.

Plantinga, Alvin, 'Middle Knowledge and the Free Will Defense', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 198-217.

-- 'A Response to Adam’s Arguments', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 51-57.

-- 'A Response to Adam’s Criticism', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 222-225.

Rasmussen, Josh, 'On Creating Worlds Without Evil – Given Divine Counterfactual Knowledge', Religious Studies 40 (2004), 457-470.

Rice, Hugh, 'On Middle Knowledge', Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1994), 495-502.

Sennett, James F. 'Why Think There Are Any True Counterfactuals of Freedom?', International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 32 (1992), 105-116.

Toner, Patrick, 'The Prayer of the Molinist', The Heythrop Journal 49 (2008), 940-947.

Voak, Nigel, 'English Molinism in the Late 1590s: Richard Hooker on Free Will, Predestination, and Divine Foreknowledge', The Journal of Theological Studies 60 (2009), 130-177.

Walls, Jerry L., 'Is Molinism as Bad as Calvinism?', Faith and Philosophy 7 (1990), 85-98.

Werther, David, 'Open Theism and Middle Knowledge: An Appraisal of Gregory Boyd's Neo-Molinism', Philosophia Christi 5 (2003) 205-218.

Wierenga, Edward J., 'The No Grounds Objection', in William Hasker, David Basinger, Eef Dekker (eds.), Middle Knowledge: Theory and Applications, Contributions to Philosophical Theology Vol. 4, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2000, 58-65.

Zimmerman, Dean, 'Yet Another Anti-Molinist Argument', in Samuel Newlands and Larry M. Jorgensen (eds.) Metaphysics and the Good: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams, Oxford University Press, 2009, 33-94.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Closer To Truth

Closer To Truth is amazing. I cannot fathom why anyone would not take advantage of the wealth of information found on this site. Now, much of what I have spent thousands of dollars to acquire in books is available for free.