Posts tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

May 19th, 2014

The Spread of Molinism

by Max Andrews
I’ve been off of Facebook for a while [for several reasons] and apparently there is now a Molinist group. I don’t know how many people are in it but it’s nice for like-minded individuals to share and exchange ideas with one another (likewise, of course, interacting with opposing views).

I recently spent an afternoon with Tyler McNabb[1] in Glasgow. Later that day Tyler sent me an email of encouragement. Part of it was below. Apparently, someone asked, “Just out of curiosity, how many here were introduced to Molinism by WLC?” Below are a few responses.

Dwight Stanislaw WLC and Max Andrews. Max led me to Keathley’s book, which was the first treatment on Molinism I’ve read. Now I’m reading Freddoso’s intro to Molina’s own work and it’s destroying every last brain cell I have left.

Chad Miller Dwight literally took the exact route I did. I was intrigued by WLC but still Calvinist. I got to know Max via social media and communicated a lot with him. I asked him THE book on Molinism that gave the best argument and he recommend S&S by Ken Keathley, and now I’m here in this group and shall remain as long as Facebook is around…

Jonathan Thompson WLC, Plantinga, and Max Andrews. I first came in contact with this view upon hearing WLC’s lecture “Is One True Religion Possible?”.

June 8th, 2012

The Molinism Directory

by Max Andrews

I’ve decided to gather all my posts on Molinism in one post for easy reference.

  1. Ebook: An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God Has Ordered
  2. Middle Knowledge in a Nutshell
  3. A Review of Salvation and Sovereignty (Journal Publication)
  4. Review Essay: Four Views on Divine Providence
  5. Defining Omniscience
  6. Theological Elites and Their Dismissiveness of “Philosophy”
  7. Q&A 9: Layering Divine Middle Knowledge
  8. The Problem of Bad “Biblical” Rhetoric
  9. Why I’m Not an Arminian
  10. Why I’m Not a Calvinist
  11. The Incoherence of Theistic Determinism–Moral Responsibility
  12. Overpower–Is God Ultimately Responsible for Everything?
  13. The Singular Redemption View of the Atonement
  14. Is a Molinist Concept of Providence Discomforting?
    read more »

May 1st, 2012

Molinism and the Grounding Objection

by Max Andrews

The grounding objection asks the question: By what means or grounds does God know what he knows (particularly middle knowledge)?

Suppose I have an argument similar to the grounding argument from the grounding objection claiming that contingent truths are not self-explanatory but must simply exist, from all eternity, as an ungrounded, metaphysical surd.  How would I, as a Molinist, respond?

This objection is merely the result of misunderstanding the means by which God knows what he does.  God’s knowledge is wholly intuitive and relies on no existent entity and is completely compatible with divine aseity.  According to Luis de Molina,

God does not get his knowledge from things, but knows all things in himself and from himself; therefore, the existence of things, whether in time or eternity, contributes nothing to God’s knowing with certainty what is going to be or not to be… For prior to any existence on the part of the objects, God has within himself the means whereby he knows all things fully and perfectly; and this is why the existence of created things contributes no perfection to the cognition he has of them and does not cause any change in that cognition… [And] God does not need the existence of those things in his eternity in order to know them with certainty.[1]

April 27th, 2012

A Disgrace Worthwhile

by Max Andrews

For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—he had the honesty and courage to take his own miedicine.  Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair.  He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself.  He has himself gone thorugh the whole of human experience, from the trivial irrtations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.  When he was a man, he played the man.  He was born in poverty and died in dsiagrce and thought it well worthwhile.

From Dorothy Sayers, Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World (Eerdmans, 1969), 14.

April 5th, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Kyle

by Max Andrews

I was raised by a nominally Christian family.  We went to church every Sunday, but that’s about the extent of our Christian devotion.  Outside of those church walls on Sunday mornings, it wasn’t an important thing.  I was a kid at the time.  I didn’t read the Bible or pray, nor was I encouraged to.  I wasn’t even taught that sex outside of marriage was wrong.  Honestly, I didn’t even see the point in going to church.  When I got a job and started working on Sundays at 16, I stopped going to church.  I was pretty relieved, because I hated going.  It was always incredibly boring!  Just get the service over with so I can have some lunch, I always thought.

In that time Christianity wasn’t part of my life.  Though I never became an atheist, religion wasn’t important to me.  I lived as if God wasn’t there.

Back in 2008 when I was about 20, I began suffering from major loneliness and depression.  I wanted to love and to be loved, but all of my friends were off to college, I wasn’t getting along with my roommate, and there were no potential girlfriends in town.  I wanted my life to have a purpose, but I was stuck in a dead end town with a dead end job.

February 22nd, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Reduplicated Predication in Christology

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Reduplicated Predication

Definition: A means of understanding the relationship between the natures of Jesus Christ.  When Scripture attributes human qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his human nature.  Likewise, when Scripture attributes divine qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his divine nature.

More about the term:  With this notion, we may be able to solve the issue of predicates to the Person.  The predicate property of the person is with respect to one nature (i.e. ignorance with humanity and omniscience with divinity—hunger and fatigue with humanity, necessity with divinity).

But now there is a problem.  Once we apply this to Jesus, such predicates like omniscience and ignorance, and impeccability and humanity seem to be incompatible.  It poses a problem with limitations.  Is this irremediable?  I don’t believe so.

Further qualification—We may postulate that divine aspects of Jesus were largely subliminal during humiliation (ministry before death).

February 16th, 2012

Can You Lose Your Salvation? A Molinist’s Perspective

by Max Andrews

FOCUS:  Can a born-again believer lose his or her salvation while simultaneously affirming God’s sovereignty and human free will while being consistent with Scripture?[1]

An Examination of the Perseverance of the Saints Doctrine

Apostolic warnings against apostasy pose a difficulty for the classic doctrine of perseverance of the saints because either the warnings seem superfluous or else it seems possible for the believer to fall away after all.  The attempt to construe the warnings as the means by which God effects perseverance fails to distinguish the classical doctrine from a Molinist doctrine, according to which believers can fall away but in fact will not due to God’s extrinsically efficacious grace.  A Molinist perspective is coherent and, unlike the classical doctrine does not render superfluous the apostolic admonitions.[2]

The traditional doctrine of perseverance states that not only will the saints maintain grace and salvation, but literally cannot fall from grace.  (It is very important to approach these and understand these texts in light of appropriate exegesis.) However, this seems to ignore numerous Scriptures, which warn the danger of apostasy of those who deliberately fall from grace:

Rom. 11:17-24; I Cor. 9:27; Gal. 5:4; Col. 1:23; I Thess. 3:5; I Tim. 1:19-20; II Tim. 2:17-18; Jas. 5:19-20; II Pet. 2:20-22; I Jn. 5:16

Perhaps the most prominent:

Therefore leaving the elementary teachings about the Christ, let us press on the maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the death and eternal judgment.  3And this we will do, if God permits.  4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.  7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings for the vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed and it ends up being burned.  Heb. 6.1-8 (NASB)

February 15th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Hypostatic Union

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Hypostatic Union

Definition: A formulation of the relationship between Jesus’ divinity and Jesus’ humanity.

More about the term:   The hupostasis is the two natures in one Person, being Jesus Christ.  Hupo means under, and stasis refers to substance.  Though the English words “nature” and “substance” can be synonymous, meaning essence, we need to make a distinction for theological purposes.  If nature is conceived of as a substantive entity, then nature and substance would be the same, and the incarnate Christ would consist of two substances, and would be two Persons (Nestorianism).  But if “nature” is viewed as a “complex of attributes” this error is more apt to be avoided.  The single Person of the incarnate Christ retained the total complex of divine attributes and possessed all the complex of human attributes essential to a perfect human being.

Here we must remedy Apollinarius’ thought on the Logos.  Apollinarius believed that the Logos did not possess what would qualify as a human rational soul.  On the contrary, the Logos, in consistence with the Imago Dei, does possess the attributes of a human rational soul.  If the Logos does not posses the attributes, it compromises the Imago Dei and then we would not be made completely in the Image of God.

What makes a human a human? —A physical body and a rational soul.

What makes God to be God? —Divine necessity and divine attributes.

So how can He be ignorant if He is God?  How can He not sin if He is human?  Is there a polarity here?

No, once there is a rational conception of the two natures in one Being, it fits like a puzzle.  Though these questions are not all the questions there may be, they are examples of how the two natures function in a rational compatibility.  Self-consciousness may play a role.  The question is whether Christ in His own self-consciousness was aware of His deity and humanity.  The answer is that the Person was always aware in Himself to His deity and that the Person grew in self-consciousness with respect to His humanity.

Jesus is able to be sinless because although the Bible teaches that everyone has sinned (Rom. 3:23), sin is not necessary.  Recall the possibility of a world that does and does not have sin (used in the problem of evil):

There is a possible world in which all free creatures willingly and freely choose to do right.

There is a possible world in which all free creatures willingly and freely choose to do evil.

Thus, it is possible that every world God could create containing free creatures would be a world with sin and evil.

This does not mean that Jesus is created (outside of the biological human complexity that exists in the physical body).  This is in relation to Jesus as a free agent, even more so due to humans having the notion permission.[1]  The two natures exist eternally and are not created (Imago Dei).  In this logic, we can see that human righteousness is not dependent upon sin (just as we have a rational soul in our human nature, we can choose to do right without necessity of wrong). So it is possible for Jesus to be genuinely tempted (in His human nature), while still maintaining His divine nature.  Jesus’ human nature was able to feel the draw and lure of temptation but would not be able to sin because of His divine nature.  God cannot feel the draw and lure of temptation, thus it was His human nature that was tempted.  To sum this point up, righteousness is not contingent upon sin.


[1] This point disagrees with the Fifth Ecumenical Council, which affirmed diothelitism (two wills of Christ).  I would tend to believe there to be only one will, otherwise there would be a duality of two persons (Nestorianism).  There was a full human mind and intellect with a rational soul.

 

February 13th, 2012

The Theological Advantages of Molinism

by Max Andrews

For a context of where I’m coming from concerning Molinism please see my previous posts:

  1. Middle Knowledge in a Nutshell
  2. Why I’m Not an Arminian
  3. Why I’m Not a Calvinist
  4. God Controls Everything–Good and Bad
  5. Overpower–Is God Ultimately Responsible for Everything?
  6. The Pelagian Equivocation
  7. The Singular Redemption View of the Atonement
  8. Does God Ever Literally Change His Mind?–Yes
  9. Is a Molinist Concept of Providence Discomforting?
  10. Word of the Week Wednesday: Supralapsarianism

Advantages

  1. Holds a high view of God’s sovereignty while holding to an equal and uncompromising view of human free will.
  2. Provides a better model for understanding how it is simultaneously true that God’s decree of election while His rejection of the unbeliever is conditional.
  3. Affirms the genuine desire on the part of God for all to be saved in His universal salvific will  (which is problematic for the Calvinist) claiming that God loved the whole world (John 3:16) yet, Christ has a particular love for the Church (Eph. 5:25).
  4. God control’s all things, but does not cause all things.
    read more »

May 3rd, 2011

Is Hell is a Good Thing?–More Thoughts on Bin Laden’s Death

by Max Andrews

As the days continue to pass since new of Bin Laden’s death my interaction with other Christians have been quite mixed.  Some are more saddened that he has gone to hell and some are more joyous that he is dead.  I’m careful about how I make that distinction.  My continuous reflection has got me thinking, “Why am I not more appreciative of justice?”

This is how I work it out and how I believe God views mercy and justice.  Antecedently, God willed and genuinely desired Bin Laden to repent and to respond to the revelation he has been given.  However, consequently, because of Bin Laden’s rejection of God and infatuation with evil, God has willed that Bin Laden atone for his own sins and for there to be justice.  This justice is his death and punishment in the afterlife.  Why am I not taking joy in God’s justice?  I believe my apprehension of justice is far removed from how God loves justice since it is ontologically based in him.

Yes, antecedently we should not joyful that Bin Laden is taking on his own punishment.  However, in turn and consequently, God is receiving his glory from Bin Laden’s sins being atoned for.  For the Christian, hell is a good thing, hell is the means by which God renders justice to those who have not had their sins atoned for by Jesus Christ on the cross.  The important thing is to make the antecedent-consequent distinction in how we respond.