Quick Challenge Answer: What is Molinism?

When I first heard the word Molinism, I half thought it was some weird inside joke for Christian philosophers. It’s a word that everyone pretends to know what it means that they casually drop in a conversation but never actually explain, right? As it turns out, Molinism is a fairly detailed theory about God’s omniscient knowledge and how it relates with human free will. If God controls everything, do we still have a choice? What is Molinism? Let me break this down for you as best as I can.

The Origins

Molina

Molinism gets its name from Luis de Molina, a 16th century Spanish Jesuit priest. The challenge has been raised for a very long time, how can both God be sovereign, and humans have free will? If nothing happens without God ordaining it, wouldn’t that mean we have no choice in the matter? Molina’s theory pushed back on some of the reformed theologians of the day like Luther and Calvin by proposing a sort of middle ground. Molinism is all about the kind of knowledge God has.

What Does God Know?

Previously, theologians had understood God as having two kinds of knowledge. God’s natural or necessary knowledge would include everything about the world and what could possibly happen. God’s free knowledge would include everything that will happen. Molinism proposes that God has a middle knowledge of everything that could happen under different circumstances. At any time, in any circumstance, what else could have happened? I don’t know how my life would be different if I studied economics instead of communication, but God does. Moreover, Molinism would argue that God knows how things would be different if I was born in India instead of America, or if I was a fisherman in Galilee who Jesus asked to follow him. Molinism believes that, much like Dr. Strange in the Avengers, God knows every outcome and what it takes to win.

Why Does this Matter?

This middle knowledge allows for an important distinction. It means that God is sovereign because he put the pieces in place, knowing how they would react, and what circumstances needed to be created for his plan. However, this also means that we still have the freedom to make our own decisions. Though he did not cause me to sit down and write about Molinism, he knew that under the circumstances that I would choose to write about Molinism.

This would mean we are still accountable for our own decisions, so I better not mess this post up. This understanding of how we will react also plays a part in objections about those born in other cultures. Would I still be a Christian if I was born in Iran? At least theoretically, God knows the answer and ordained that I be born here instead. Thus he can still control history while we still have freedom. Whether or not this theory is true, or even necessary, is still being discussed and debated, but it is good to have a basic understanding of it.

Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.  

Catagories
Archives
Calendar
February 2023
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  
RSS Listen to Our Latest Podcast Here
  • How Can Jesus Save Us When He Couldn't Save Himself? February 2, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "How can Jesus save us when he couldn't save himself?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Evangelizing To Other Religions January 31, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team offers up advice on evangelizing to other religions.  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Was The Cross Divine Child Abuse? January 26, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Was the cross divine child abuse?".  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Apologetic Resources For New Apologists January 24, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team shares their favorite resources for people new to apologetics. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Does Matthew 16:18 Establish The Papacy? January 19, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Does Matthew 16:18 establish the Papacy?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • What Is Apologetics? January 17, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team answers the question "What is apologetics?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Is Privacy A Good Reason To Allow Abortion? January 12, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team answers the question "Is Privacy a good reason to allow abortion?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • The Baby Jesus In Art January 10, 2023
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses Jesus as depicted in art through history. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Why Do We Celebrate Christmas On December 25th? December 22, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team explains why we celebrate Christmas on December 25th. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Christmas Trivia Pt. 2 December 20, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team has some fun answering Christmas trivia.  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean