DENYING LFW LEADS TO DENYING MIDDLE KNOWLEDGE?


A simplified summary of Molinism’s premises are:

1) God has Middle Knowledge
2) Humans have Libertarian Free Will

We probably all know that Determinists would deny Premise 2.

However, does it seem surprising that Calvinists deny Premise 1 as well? Shouldn’t all Christians affirm the maximal view of God’s omniscience? Even some variants of Open Theism affirm that God knows all that is logically possible to know, it’s just that the future is not logically possible to know.
Since Calvinism affirms God’s perfect future knowledge (in the form of Free Knowledge) – even if it is through God’s determining the actions of every creature, “Foreordination first THEN foreknowledge” – then Middle Knowledge would still be the highest level of future knowledge. Perhaps it’s just a kneejerk reaction against a ‘competing systematic’ proposed by a ‘Roman Catholic counter-Reformation Jesuit’?

“Without middle knowledge, God would find himself, so to speak, with knowledge of the future but without any logical prior planning of the future”. – William Lane Craig, The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Eugene/USA: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1983), p.134

However, I think I’ve realized that a denial of Premise 2 might actually lead to a denial of Premise 1 by default.

If creatures have no LFW, then God has no Middle Knowledge and in fact, no true future knowledge of any sort. This is because everything is 100% directly, causally determined by God – the only free decisions ever made are God’s own. Everything is either God’s direct causation or else a domino effect from God’s decisions and actions – there is no variance possible as there are no free agents, only fixed laws of physics causing a totally predictable (for God’s omni-intelligence) domino effect.

God of course knows what He will decide and do – a fact that atheist Dan Barker uses to fallaciously argue that God does not have free will, see https://freethinkingministries.com/a-theistic-response-to-dan-barkers-free-will-argument-for-the-nonexistence-of-god/ … Also related to Tyler Vela’s proposition that God’s perfect nature results in God not having LFW, see his ‘Argument Against Libertarian Freedom From God’s Impeccability’ or other examples at https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2021/01/06/responses-to-tyler-velas-argument-against-libertarian-freedom-from-gods-impeccability/

Hence this is not a true form of future knowledge, any more than myself knowing that I would pick coffee over tea in the morning is a form of future knowledge. Any down-the-line domino results are also not unpredictable, as God with omni-intelligence would know the exact parameters, calculations – and hence the end results.

And God of course cannot be double-minded! He knows exactly what He wants and would choose. There’s only one choice God would make, and hence only one ‘possible world’ that God would even consider.

Hence, if God has Middle Knowledge but there are literally NO hypotheticals, counterfactuals or possibilities that God could even consider – only the one actual decision that God would ever make. Middle Knowledge collapses into one lane, de facto Free Knowledge. The ‘WOULD’ of Middle Knowledge is completely subsumed by the ‘WILL’ of Free Knowledge. If Middle Knowledge is likened to a tree sprouting infinite branches and sub-branches and twigs, subsuming it into Free Knowledge is more like a straight pole. Or instead of a Choose Your Own Adventure book (like how The Babylon Bee put it), it’s a linear novel (similar to what Chris Date likes to analogize).

“Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” – Peter Van Inwagen, An Essay on Free Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), p.3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: