Far too often I find Christians dismissing something because it’s “philosophy” and not from the Bible, a creed, a confession, etc. In my experience, many people tend to accuse Molinism as philosophy. To follow this brief tangent, middle knowledge and Molinism isn’t a philosophical grid being laid over Scripture; rather, it’s a derivation of a commitment to certain principles already obtained from Scripture. (See The Molinism Directory for more on that issue.) Well, it just happens to be the case that I saw a tweet yesterday making this same claim about Molinism being philosophy. (This particular tweet simply categorizes Molinism as philosophy but it’s still dismissed in the long chain of preceding and succeeding tweets.)
If we are pursuing truth then there are many means to discovering what the truth is [about God, reality, etc.]. It’s incredibly naïve to dismiss something because it is not in a preferred category. If we are pursing truth then it would be a category error to dismiss Molinism simply because it’s philosophy (according to the person making the claim). Feel free to disagree with Molinism but do so on a consistent basis and refute it via Scriptural witness, theological reflection/considerations, logical and metaphysical consistency, etc.
This method of reasoning is hardly efficient and contrary to a classical approach to education. I think many have forgotten or don’t know why theology was once considered the “Queen of the Sciences”. When students studied in school or university theology was the last thing they learned. Students learned philosophy, art, biology, chemistry, physics, literature, math, etc. first and then learn theology. Why is that? Because all of these disciplines are essential for learning about God and exegeting the Scriptures.
For example, it’s necessary to have a scientific understanding of nature and agency prior to interpreting Scripture. In order to know a miracle has happened one must know that liquid water is less dense than the human body, or that water doesn’t normally undergo chemical reactions to become fermented wine, or that dead bodies don’t normally undergo a natural biological resuscitation or resurrection. In fact, I find the pursuit of science to be an excellent means of discovering theological truths–science is the pursuit of the sacred. So why is the pursuit of science the pursuit of the sacred? I’m sure it came off as a bit blasphemous to some readers at first. If God is the creator of the natural order then we can have a meaningful natural theology. If science is the discovery of empirical truths that lead to the explanation of certain phenomena then to learn scientific truths is to learn truths about God. All [objective] truth is God’s truth. We too often like to bifurcate science with God. Why? If we pursue knowledge about the created order then we are pursuing knowledge about God.
I doubt that such theological and categorical elites will dismiss an argument I present for the resurrection because it has scientific components to it (e.g. the biochemical or physical aspect of death). You hardly hear, “No, no… that’s science and not biblical or theological.” That is, unless you start talking about the creation account–we all know we can’t have science involved in our exegesis there now can we… (sarcasm). My point is, that philosophy is often dismissed simply because it’s philosophy–we need to stop doing that.
Philosophy shapes and guides how we think and reason through every discipline. There’s a philosophy of math, philosophy of biology, philosophy of physics, philosophy of art, etc. for a reason. So, even if Molinism is only “philosophy” then it would be illicit for these categorical elites to discriminate against anything philosophical simply because it’s philosophical