Posts Tagged ‘Molinism’

COMPATIBILISM, LFW, REAL OPTIONS & 1 COR 10:13

February 1, 21

Fundamentally, Compatibilism and Libertarian Free Will (LFW) both run on the premise that “We have wills, but our will is influenced by factors such as environment, genetics, mood, etc.”

Where the two differ is on number of real options we can choose.

Under Compatibilism, our will ALWAYS chooses our greatest desire. Hence there is only ever one real option.

Under LFW, we can choose from a RANGE of options each compatible with our nature. Hence there is (at least sometimes) more than one real option. This is often referred to as the Principle of Alternative Possibilities or PAP.

Hence the two systems are based on fundamentally similar premises, yet with very different results.

Tim Stratton (Calvinist turned Molinist) when chatting with Eli Ayala (Molinist turned Calvinist) parsed it this way: He is a Compatibilistic Libertarian, as opposed to a Compatibilistic Determinist.

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Now, how do we test each hypothesis?

If in any particular event there is only one real option, then either Compatibilism or LFW is true. Hence a single event or even many events are not wide enough a sample of cases to test the hypotheses.

If EVERY single event ever has only one real option, then Compatibilism is true and LFW is false.

If there is EVER any event where there is more than one real option, then Compatibilism is false and LFW is true. Hence it’s clear that proving LFW has a much lower bar.

And thus, the above is why LFW proponents like to point to 1 Cor 10:13 as follows:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with THE TEMPTATION he will also provide THE WAY OF ESCAPE, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13.

It says that in every event, we have more than one real option – specifically, at least two (TEMPTATION or WAY OF ESCAPE). This fits with LFW (which remember, already doesn’t even need to be true in every event, just some events).

But if Compatibilism is true then we only have one real choice, in every event ever. This would falsify 1 Cor 10:13. Compatibilism (and other forms of Determinism) are the exact opposite of what 1 Cor 10:13 states.

1 Cor 10:13 – “We ALWAYS have at more than one real option.”
Compatibilism – “We NEVER have more than one real option.”

Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

See also: Passages That Exclude Divine Determinism

Tim Stratton’s New Book on Molinism Memes

November 2, 20

Human Freedom, Divine Knowledge, and Mere Molinism: A Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Philosophical Analysis (Amazon link)

Ones I made, doing my part to keep it #1 best seller in Philosophy:

This next one uses a quote from https://freethinkingministries.com/marginal-credibility-as-a-scholar :

ROMANS 9 – SUPERPOST

September 3, 20

This post is a summarized compilation and cleanup of my many posts of this passage.

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WHAT IS THE CONTEXT OF THE POTTER CITATION?

The passage in Romans 9 I want to focus on:

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? – Romans 9:20-21

This is a lynchpin of Calvinism, as it is used as a prooftext for Unconditional Election of individuals by God to salvation or damnation.

But 16th-century Europeans were not the original target audience Paul had in mind. The intended recipients of the Book of Romans was the mixed Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ. They would have been familiar with the Old Testament stories, passages, citations and references that Paul brings up – the potter of Jeremiah 18, the lineage of Messiah, Pharaoh and the judgment upon Egypt.

Here is Jeremiah’s potter for comparison:

So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. – Jeremiah 18:3-6

But notice what happened to the clay vessel – it became spoiled. That is why the potter repurposed it for a different usage. The potter did not toss the misshapen clay into the trash. Vessels are used to carry contents – oil or perfume or waste fluids – not made for the specific purpose of being smashed and trashed.

And take heed what follows immediately after in Jeremiah:

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’ “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ – Jeremiah 18:7-12

Did you get that? The full context of the Potter quote is God stating that He will change the original purposes He had for a nation (NOT INDIVIDUAL) if the nation DOES OR DOESN’T TAKE HEED. This clearly is at odds with Total Depravity.

Even other Old Testament passages likening God to a potter (Isaiah 29:15-16; Isaiah 45:9-10; Isaiah 64:8-9) have as their context Israel refusing to serve God’s original purpose for them (Isaiah 29:13-14; Isaiah 42:18-20 & 43:22-24; Isaiah 63:10). See POTTER PROOFTEXTS – TALKING BACK TO GOD & THE EUTHYPHRO DILEMMA for the full citations.

Speaking of Determinism, let’s see what else the book of Jeremiah contains.

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. – Jeremiah 14:14

Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind – Jeremiah 19:4-5

They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. – Jeremiah 32:35

Catch that? Repeatedly God states that He did not command, decree or even think the horrible things the people are doing – such evils are a deceit of THEIR OWN minds.

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HOW DOES PAUL INTERPRET PAUL?

Does Paul think Romans 9 is about Unconditional Election of some individuals to salvation – and therefore on flip-side, some others to damnation? Read on to Chapter 11 and see:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! … And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. – Romans 11:11-12, 23

Does Paul teach that vessels have no say or response in the designated role that God has elected them to? Or does he rather agree with Jeremiah 18, where he gets his Potter citation from? There is actually another letter where Paul uses the vessels analogy for us to compare:

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. – 2 Timothy 2:20-21

So the point of vessels is what they are USED for, not what their own fated destination is. After all, a potter doesn’t make vessels just for the sole purpose of tossing them in the trash for his own glory, does he? And Paul expects the vessels to be able to change the very purpose they are to be used for!

Read that portion of Romans again, and take note of how the vessels are described by the Calvinistic-leaning ESV:

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable USE and another for dishonorable USE? – Romans 9:20-21

Did you catch that again? The vessels are for honorable or dishonorable USE, not ETERNAL DESTINATION.

On a tip from Joshua Sherman, Paul himself is called a ‘vessel’ (same Greek word as used in Romans 9:21-23 and 1 Timothy 2:20-21) by Christ in Acts 9:15, obviously in the context of being used to carry (PURPOSE/ROLE) the name of Christ:

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument [vessel, skeuos] of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. – Acts 9:15

And who is the objector against Paul’s theology? Is it a “man-centered synergist” accusing God of being unfair for predetermining most of humanity to eternal torment before they were born? Or rather, is it a self-righteous Jew who has been cut off / hardened in his rebellion by God for a redemptive purpose?

This is not the first time Paul anticipates this interlocutor’s questions. Back in Romans 3:1-7, Paul goes through virtually the exact same diatribe as he does here in Romans 9. Allow Soteriology 101 to place the parallel verses side by side for your consideration:

Chapter 3 – “A human argument.”
Chapter 9 – “Who are you, O man?”

Also, in Revelation, the correct way Romans 9’s vessels should be understood is easy to see:

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” – Revelation 16:1

Vessels/bowls are used to store and carry things. In modern usage for comparison, “A can of sweetener” or “A bottle of cleaner”. It is not that the vessels in Romans 9 are made to be the target of glory or wrath – it is that they carry and deliver the contents of glory or wrath (though there is some overlap, just as the can or bottle inevitably gets some of the contents stuck to it).

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SO IF ROMANS 9 IS NOT ABOUT SALVATION, THEN WHAT IS IT REALLY ABOUT? …SERVICE ROLES.

Harkening back to the vessels references, Romans 9 is about the roles that people (individuals or groups) play in God’s redemptive plan. Some are used to bring grace and blessing, some are used to bring judgment and punishment. There is much overlap between service role and salvation status, but those things are not 100% synonymous.

As Calvinist Douglas Moo admits (but caveat, he still later goes on to explain why the Individual Salvation view is reeeeeeally right actually):

douglasmooromans9

Reformed scholar Charles Cranfield says similar:

N.T. Wright who is one of the foremost New Testament scholars and theologians shares the service view:

So what you’ve what you’ve got there is something to do with the choice of individuals to carry that purpose forward. And Paul does not address the question that we who have read Luther and Calvin and indeed many others before and since – Aquinas for instance – always want him to address. Which is the ultimate Predestinarian question: Does God actually, before all time, determine that certain persons will be Elected, Chosen, Predestined for salvation?

He seems determined to stick with his question which he’s much more interested in. Which is how God’s redemptive historical plan is being carried forward through the people of Israel.

Dr Ben Witherington, who says the early church fathers taught the same corporate view of election, and election to purpose. Predestination is God’s plan for those who love Him. Calvin smushed together election, salvation and stuck predestination onto it. Regarding Romans 9 ‘Jacob I loved, Esau I hated’ – Hebrew & Aramaic don’t have good ways to compare things. So to say ‘Jacob I loved, Esau not so much’ they have to use antonyms.

William Lane Craig:

Frank Turek:

Beyond the Fundamentals has a study going through every word translated as Election or Chosen etc, showing that it’s always about purpose rather salvation:

Follow up to the above video:

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And my posts of Romans 9 from where the above is cobbled together from (plus some other stuff too):

ROMANS 9 – A NON CALVINISTIC INTERPRETATION

VESSELS OF MERCY/WRATH

ROMANS 9 AND OLD TESTAMENT CONTEXT

ROMANS 9 & JEREMIAH

ROLE-MANS 9

HOW WOULD THE ORIGINAL RECIPIENTS OF ROMANS 9 HAVE UNDERSTOOD IT?

WHAT CONTEXT ARE THE OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES CITED IN ROMANS 9?

WHO IS THE INTERLOCUTOR OBJECTING TO GOD’S WAYS IN ROMANS 9?

WILLIAM LANE CRAIG ON ROMANS 9 & 10, EPHESIAN 2 ‘FAITH IS A GIFT OF GOD’

N.T. WRIGHT ON ROMANS 9 & ELECTION TO PURPOSE

Acts 17 – A Passage Used by Three of My Belief Systematics

July 17, 20

vv26-27 are used by Molinism with regard to God (via Middle Knowledge) setting up the optimal conditions of the universe that would lead to the maximal number of people who freely accept Christ; and is also used for the related concept of Transworld Damnation, whereby those who are unsaved in the actual world would have freely rejected the Gospel no matter what time and place they could have lived in. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/podcasts/defenders-podcast-series-2/s2-doctrine-of-creation/doctrine-of-creation-part-13/ and shorturl.at/deCDE

v4 is used by Provisionism to show that persuasion is part of evangelizing (rather than a mysterious, irresistible working of God); and v27 is used to show that God wants everyone to seek and even find Him. https://soteriology101.com/2016/08/04/biblical-persuasion-the-heart-of-evangelistic-apologetics/ and https://soteriology101.com/2015/03/21/what-about-those-who-never-hear-the-gospel/

vv26-31 are part of the Divine Council Worldview (DCW) popularized by Dr Michael Heiser, specifically how the nations are allotted to spiritual rulers – a view shared by both Jews (Deuteronomy 32:8, Psalm 82) and Greeks (Plato’s Critias). See the section from 20:40 of my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_div-Q0HRlc&t=617s for this particular focus.

Musings on Calvinism

May 29, 20

A a record of my journey exploring and ruminating on this issue. I strive to present the issues in as simplified a manner, in order to aid understanding. Great thanks especially to Leighton Flowers, Kevin Thompson, William Lane Craig, Tim Stratto, Braxton Hunter, Eric Hernandez, Michael Heiser, and the many posters and commentors on various FB groups whose insights and explanations (from many different viewpoints) have proven invaluable.

I have cleaned up and organized all my posts related to this topic. Click on this to sort for only those posts:

https://scottthong.wordpress.com/category/soteriology/

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The following are the most important ones that have to do with common proof-texts or arguments for Calvinism, as that is the crucial issue in my opinion:

*** 111. ROMANS 9 – SUPERPOST

6. ROMANS 9 – A NON CALVINISTIC INTERPRETATION

15. YOU ACCEPTED THE GOSPEL? SO YOU THINK YOU’RE SAVED BY YOUR WORK?

20. VESSELS OF MERCY/WRATH

22. LIKE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN VS LIMITED ATONEMENT

28. ROMANS 9 AND OLD TESTAMENT CONTEXT

31. JOHN 6 & DRAW

32. ROMANS 9 & JEREMIAH

36. ROLE-MANS 9

39. HOW WOULD THE ORIGINAL RECIPIENTS OF ROMANS 9 HAVE UNDERSTOOD IT?

43. DOES ACTS 13:48 TEACH UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION?

47. HEBREWS 12:2 AND FAITH NOUN/VERB

64. REGENERATION SO YOU CAN BELIEVE, OR BELIEF SO THAT YOU ARE REGENERATED?

67. WHAT CONTEXT ARE THE OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES CITED IN ROMANS 9?

69. THE PROVISIONIST VIEW OF ROMANS 3:10

71. WHO IS THE INTERLOCUTOR OBJECTING TO GOD’S WAYS IN ROMANS 9?

74. ‘SOTERIOLOGICAL’ PSALMS IN CONTEXT

79. PASSAGES THAT UNDERMINE LIMITED ATONEMENT, GOING FURTHER THAN JUST ‘ALL’

83. BRAD SAAB ON CALVINIST & NON-CALVINIST INTERPRETATION OF EPHESIANS 1

84. EPHESIANS 1 AND PREDESTINATION – TO WHAT?

85. WHO IS PREDESTINED, AND FOR WHAT?

86. WILLIAM LANE CRAIG ON ROMANS 9 & 10, EPHESIAN 2 ‘FAITH IS A GIFT OF GOD’

87. FALLACY OF EQUIVOCATION: IS ACCEPTING SALVATION A ‘WORK’?

88. ROMANS 8 – THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF ADOPTION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ACCEPTED CHRIST (NOT THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF SALVATION FOR THE TOTALLY DEPRAVED WHO ARE UNCONDITIONALLY ELECTED)

90. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:14 – ABOUT UNREGENERATE UNBELIEVERS, OR IMMATURE BELIEVERS?

91. ROMANS 8:29-30 – PAST TENSE OLD TESTAMENT?

94. LIMITED ATONEMENT – LIMITED IN ACCEPTANCE BY CALVINISTS

108. N.T. WRIGHT ON ROMANS 9 & ELECTION TO PURPOSE

116. DOES JEREMIAH 19:9 TEACH DETERMINISM?

119. ARE DICE ROLLS ANALOGOUS TO HUMAN WILL?

130. REFORMED SCHOLAR CHARLES CRANFIELD – ROMANS 9 IS ELECTION TO HISTORICAL FUNCTION, NOT SALVATION

133. LAMENTATIONS 3 – THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD WANTING EVIL & GOD ALLOWING EVIL

139. JOHN 3:16 – GENERAL OR SPECIAL LOVE?

145. JOEL WEBBON STUMPED ON COLOSSIANS 2:12 BY LEIGHTON FLOWERS

148. POTTER PROOFTEXTS – TALKING BACK TO GOD & THE EUTHYPHRO DILEMMA

151. A TEXT WITHOUT CONTEXT IS PRETEXT FOR A (CALVINIST) PROOFTEXT

152. Man’s Steps From the LORD = Determinism?

178. Passages That Exclude Divine Determinism

181. COMPATIBILISM, LFW, REAL OPTIONS & 1 COR 10:13

208. PROVERBS 14:6 – GOD MAKES DAMNED PEOPLE?

211. SHORT EXPLANATION OF CALVINISM’S TULIP USING LOGICAL NECESSITY & ORDER

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Or, browse by all post titles in chronological order below, with the above most important passage-related posts bolded:

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