James White's terrible attacks on Molinism

I was just listening to a talk James White did on Molinism (youtube.com/watch?v=6SNtuo7kGro), and I was just appalled by how terrible the level of argumentation was. I mean, let’s just examine the points that he made, shall we?
Monergism says that salvation, not just the possibility of salvation, is of God, which is why only God is to be glorified (implying that if Calvinism isn’t true, then man is to be glorified as well as man)
Of course, this doesn’t follow at all, which is why he didn’t say it explicitly. If I send out a lifeline to someone who is drowning, and he freely chooses to grab onto that lifeline, that doesn’t mean that he earned it in anyway, or that he earned it in any way. The same thing goes when we talk about grace; God sends out the lifeline, and we merely cooperate with God by having faith in Him and by obeying His commandments.

Molinism is philosophically derived, and is not derived by exegesis of Scripture.
Of course, this way of evaluating a doctrine is incoherent. You can’t derive from exegesis of Scripture that the only way you can derive a doctrine is by exegesis of Scripture. It astonishes me that someone who (rightfully) talks so much about the need for consistency and somewhat popularized the phrase “inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument” would say something incoherent on such a fundamental level as this. :rolleyes:
Also, just because all of the ins and outs of something aren’t mention in Scripture doesn’t mean that the system has no Biblical support. The whole system of middle knowledge isn’t spelled out in Scripture, but the building blocks of it (God knows conditionals being the main one) are. It’s the same thing with the Trinity; there isn’t a verse which spells everything out about the Divine economy, but the building blocks of it (Jesus is God, the Spirit is God, etc.) are very well supported in Scripture.

The overriding consideration of Molinism is the free actions of creatures, not God’s will.
This is because it would be better for creatures to freely choose God than it would be for God to determine creatures to choose Him. White doesn’t like it when we say this, but creatures whom God determines to choose Him are no different from robots. And what else did he expect!? This is, after all, an attempt to reconcile Divine sovereignty with human libertarian free will. Pointing out that a main theme of it is human libertarian free will is like pointing out that a knife cuts things.

Molinism limits God’s sovereignty by human libertarian free will.
The whole point of Molinism is that God creates a world such that His plan is fulfilled, and it uses middle knowledge to explain how this is compatible with human libertarian free will. To say that this is not possible is just to beg the question against Molinism.

Molinism says that God couldn’t have done better than this.
This is because determinism and free will are not compatible. This is an assumption that White denies, but for the theist, proving it is child’s play. If determinism and free will are compatible, then God could have determined every human being to freely choose Him, and thus the problem of evil is unsolvable. This is why Calvinists like White use a system of defending against objections to Christianity like the problem of evil which doesn’t actually answer it, because they can’t.

Molinism tales the personality out of predestination.
Um, no it doesn’t. God put me in a situation where I would accept Him. Sounds personal to me. :shrug:

Theology should determine philosophy; philosophy should never determine theology.
That philosophy should not determine ones theology is a philosophy by which White determines his theology. It is incredibly ironic that the same person who so often says that “inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument” would say something as fundamentally incoherent as this.

(In response to William Lane Craig’s saying that God gives sufficient grace for anybody to accept Him)
Sufficient grace saves.
Again with the lifeline analogy; when I throw out a lifeline to a drowning swimmer, I give him a sufficient amount of help for him. But he can still decide not to grab onto it if he wants to. To say that sufficient grave saves is to beg the question in favor of determinism.

(In response to Craig saying that some people would never freely accept Christ under any circumstances, so if God creates a world in which they are damned, it is their fault for resisting God’s grace)
The Biblical teaching is that is all of us.
He uses Rom 8:7 to say this, but it is clear that this text doesn’t say that. The Catholic teaching that God gives those who trust Him the grace to obey Him explains this; the text says that the mind governed by the flesh can’t follow God’s law, not that the mind governed by the flesh can’t choose to trust in God, who then gives it the grace to follow His law. To use the lifeline analogy again, it says a drowning swimmer cannot breathe, not that the drowning swimmer cannot grab onto a lifeline.
He also uses Jn 6:44 to support this, but one doesn’t have to say that the text says that God’s drawing of people amounts to coercion. One could simply say that the “him” that Christ will raise on the last day refers to those that come to Him, and not those whom the Father draws.

Molinism says that God cannot save those who would never freely choose Him, because the ultimate authority is man’s free will.
Again, this is because it would be better for some to freely choose God and others to freely reject Him than it would be for everyone to be determined to choose Him.

Molinism says that God is interested in “numbers games” and it is very impersonal.
The reason why Molinists say that God wants to maximize the saved is because we take texts like 1Tim 2:4 seriously.

On Molinism, God’s decree is based on number-crunching rather than His good pleasure.
White is suggesting that God creates people to go to Hell for His good pleasure. For those of us who take texts like 1Tim 2:4, as well as God’s benevolence, seriously, this is simply an unacceptable view to take. White is doing with God’s benevolence what many Muslims do with His justice, when they suggest that God should be able to “just forgive us”; he completely disregards it. Molinism is, I think, the only system that maintains all of God’s attributes.

Molinism assumes humans act consistently in the same circumstances.
Every circumstance is different in some way, even if it might seem the same to us.

Humans are unpredictable; how could God know what we would do in a certain circumstance?
This is just a terrible objection. God knows us more than we know ourselves. There are many things which seem more complex to children than they do to adults. The same thing goes with us and God.

Molinism says that God’s sovereignty is determined by his middle knowledge, which isn’t based on His decree. This contradicts the notion that everything that exists is determined by God’s decree.
White here is confusing a person with the decisions that that person would make. Yes, the person’s existence is determined by God, but not what he/she would do under different circumstances. His complaint that this isn’t determined by God is nothing more than a pet peeve of his.

How can God intimately know someone before they exist?
This is an attack on Divine omniscience, not on middle knowledge. This objection can be equally applied to White’s Calvinism.

The intention of Mat 11:23 is to say something about the people of Jesus’ day, not of Sodom.
…and Christ does this by saying something about the people of Sodom.

Eph 1 doesn’t mention middle knowledge.
This is an argument from silence.

God created for His own self-glorification, not for His creatures’ sake. Craig doesn’t mention this.
How are the two incompatible?

James who?

I appreciate your responses to his indictments. I find it surprising that not only that Calvinists object so strongly to Molinism, but also many Thomist theologians. I’ve heard almost scornful arguments against it from Thomists. Personally I find Thomism in its Banez predeteminist form to be too much. I’m actually rather undecided on which theory of predestination/grace is correct, but this is precisely because the Church makes no statement. The catechism is enough for me on the subject.

Thanks again for your responses to his indictments.

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