As you are a brilliant supporter of Molinism, I dare send you a question about that doctrine.
I find Molinism quite appealing from a theological point of view, for it reconciles everything in a very elegant manner: freedom, providence, omniscience, etc. But, this marvelous theological solution has a very high philosophical cost (as far as I understand it, of course).
It supposes that God can know the future contingent facts… without any ground to do it!
To know something is to have a justified true belief. Now, there are only two ways to justify a belief about events: either there is a causal relationship (direct or indirect) between the event and one’s mind, or one is able to deduce the realization of the event from the present state of the world (scientific prediction).
But, and that is the problem, according to Molinism, God is supposed to know the future contingent events without predicting them from their causes (which is normal since they are contingent), and without “seeing” them (God doesn’t wait in order to see them, nor cause them, as in Thomistic theory of physical premotion).
Therefore, what is the link between ideas of God about the events and the events themselves? God doesn’t cause the event, and the event doesn’t cause the idea…Whence do these ideas come? I see no solution. The presence of the idea in God seems absolutely inexplicable, absolutely unfounded. Where does the adaequatio rei et intellectus come from in that case? This situation sounds absurd to me. My question is : how can we explain the truth of innate ideas of God about the things that do not exist and are unpredictible from present situation? To say that divine ideas are true “by definition” seems to be a pure assertion…
Thank you for your help!
Frédéric Guillaud (Paris/France)
In the beginning, there was God. Just God. No one or nothing else (“prior” to creation). Now, for the sake of taking some of the language down a few notches, let’s suppose God is deliberating between which worlds he wants to create (I deny divine deliberation, but work with me here).
Behind door number 1 is an option for a world and universe for God to create. Let’s concoct what this world would look like:
- Cassidy owns a ginger cat named Basil
- Hugo won $156,000,000 in the lottery
- James got a haircut on 09 November 2004
- Desmond went to prison
Julian Charles at The Mind Renewed asked me some questions concerning Molinism. Please listen to the interview and subscribe to his podcast. See the tags at the bottom of the page for all the topics that came up and were mentioned during the interview.
If God knows the future, how can I be free? If there’s human evil in the world, how can God be good? If people live beyond the reach of the Gospel, how can God be all-loving?
This week we are joined by the philosopher Max Andrews for a fascinating look at the mind-bending and strange (yet potentially illuminating) world of Molinism, a philosophical position on God’s omniscience and providence that offers potential solutions to a whole host of theological conundrums.