A Brief Introduction to Molinism

Molinism is a theological philosophy developed by Luis Molina in the 16th century which attempts to reconcile human freedom with divine omniscience using counterfactuals and God’s knowledge of them. Philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig states it this way:

“What Molinism holds is that God knows logically prior to His decree to create a world what any person would freely do in any fully specified, freedom-permitting set of circumstances in which God might place him.”

Counterfactuals are the ‘what-would-have-happened,’ in any given situation – in the above quote, counterfactuals are “what any person would freely do in any fully specified, freedom-permitting set of circumstances in which God might place him“. For example…

‘If I were rich, I would by a sports car.’

‘If I had a steak, I would eat it.’

‘If I had eaten that steak at 3pm, I would not have been hungry at 5 pm.’

..are all examples of  counterfactuals (counterfactuals can become a very complicated idea very quickly, but this basic definition suits our purposes fine) . God’s knowledge of all counterfactuals in all possible worlds – God knows in every possible world what anyone would freely do in any given situation – is the basis upon which Molina believes that libertarian free will and divine omniscience can be reconciled. Molinism is defended most prominently today by Dr. William Lane Craig.

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