Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Critique of Craig on Middle Knowledge

Here's a link to a recent critique of William Lane Craig's defense of Molinism, a theory of divine providence that claims to reconcile unconditional (i.e., libertarian) human freedom with meticulous providence (the notion that God has sovereignly decreed everything that happens) by attributing to God "middle knowledge". Middle knowledge is said to be infallible, comprehensive knowledge of what any possible creature placed in any possible free choice situation would do, and this knowledge is supposed to be had by God prior to his creative decree.

This critique is pretty good, in my opinion, though there are a few technical points I could pick on. But time is precious so I'll simply note that the critique comes from a broadly Calvinist perspective and that the author unwarrantedly (IMHO) dismisses open theism (my position) as "obviously mistaken".


At 9/29/2007 1:42 PM, Blogger Micah Tillman said...

Thanks for the link! I must admit that most of the terminology was new to me, but such discussions are always stimulating.

I have a question about Open Theism, as I am unfamiliar with its nuances. Does it hold that God created time? I find working out the consequences of the claim that God is or isn't a Creator (of this or that) fascinating.

At 10/01/2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Alan Rhoda said...

Hi Micah,

Open theists are divided on the issue of whether God created time. Some think that God (and thus existence) is essentially temporal. Others, like myself, think that God is only contingently temporal.

Both positions have defenders among non-open-theists as well.

As for God's being Creator, all theists who are broadly classical in their theology (and that includes open theists) hold that everything that exists is either God, an aspect of God, or a creation of God's.

At 12/09/2007 6:22 AM, Blogger Turretinfan said...


Thanks for the plug!

Sorry for the off-handed dismissal. For the main segment of my audience it is a given, though clearly it would not be for someone who held the position of open theism.

I wonder what you would recommend as being a definitive positive work on the open theistic position?


At 12/09/2007 6:22 AM, Blogger Turretinfan said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 12/18/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Alan Rhoda said...

Hello Turretinfan,

The definitive positive work on the open theist position has not yet been written.

One can approach the issue from either a biblical angle or a philosophical angle.

The best biblical defenses of OT so far are Sanders' "The God Who Risks" (2nd edition) and Boyd's "The God of the Possible". Both give some decent arguments/exegesis, but each only covers some of the more relevant passages.

The best philosophical defenses so far have come from Bill Hasker, though I think he overlooks a number of possible ways of developing the OT position.

Basically, I take the philosophical approach for three reasons. One, I have no particular expertise or training when it comes to theology. Two, as with the longstanding Calvinist/Arminiam debate, I don't see that either side has a knock-down exegetical case to offer. Three, I think the philosophical case for OT is pretty strong. Molinism succumbs to the types of criticisms that you raise in your article. Theological determinism succumbs (IMHO) to the problem of evil.


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