Molinism and Predestination
#1
I never got permission to post on the special forum.  Anyhow, I see an error on the presentation of Molinism.  People are saying the Molinists hold that God sees how people will respond and that effects how He determined who is saved.  This is incorrect.

The Molinist does not give any explanation of why God predestined some to election.  Molinism is about the MECHANICS of it.  So God wants Bill to be saved FOR WHATEVER REASON.  So God has almost an infinite way to set up the material world.  He factors in His desire to save Bill (and the Molinist doesn't posit why Bill was saved) and also how Bill will choose to live his life in various circumstances, and sets up His Sovereign Plan.

Now I am not a Molinist because it presupposed time (God PRE-destined).  But I like it because it shows a system where you have free will AND election. 
Quote: So when we turn to Molinism we are told to consider the idea that God predestines to salvation those that he foresees as reacting well to the gift of grace
This is incorrect.  God predestines to salvation those He wishes for His own hidden reasons that we can't know.  He then chooses a Sovereign Plan by which the elect will freely choose salvation.  He considers the reaction of the elect in setting up the plan, but His reasons for electing some is unknown.  The classic scripture a molinist will use is this: "And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."
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#2
(01-31-2011, 02:48 PM)James02 Wrote: I
Quote: So when we turn to Molinism we are told to consider the idea that God predestines to salvation those that he foresees as reacting well to the gift of grace
This is incorrect.  God predestines to salvation those He wishes for His own hidden reasons that we can't know.  He then chooses a Sovereign Plan by which the elect will freely choose salvation.  He considers the reaction of the elect in setting up the plan, but His reasons for electing some is unknown.  The classic scripture a molinist will use is this: "And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

The original quote is mine  :) I can see that because I've left out mention of the divine decrees and how they fit in, this brief note can be misunderstood. Let me put this right by quoting from the Catholic Encyclopaedia article on Molinism:

"For Molinism attempts to meet the objections just mentioned by the doctrine of the Divine scientia media. Even Molinism must and does admit that the very idea of efficacious grace includes the free consent of the will, and also that the decree of God to bestow an efficacious grace upon a man involves with metaphysical certainty the free co-operation of the will. From this it follows that God must possess some infallible source of knowledge by means of which he knows from all eternity, with metaphysical certainty, whether in the future the will is going to co-operate with a given grace or to resist it."

"[The Thomists system]: God foresees the (absolute and conditioned) free acts of man in the eternal decrees of His own will, which with absolute certainty produce prœmovendo as definite prœdeterminationcs ad unum, all (absolute and conditional) free operations. With the same absolute certainty with which He knows His own will, He also foresees clearly and distinctly in the decrees of His will all future acts of man. However, the Molinists maintain that, since, as we remarked above, the predetermining decrees of the Divine Will must logically and necessarily destroy freedom and lead to Determinism, they cannot possibly be the medium in which God infallibly foresees future free acts. Rather these decrees must presuppose a special knowledge (scientia media), in the light of which God infallibly foresees from all eternity what attitude man's will would in any conceivable combination of circumstances assume if this or that particular grace were offered it. And it is only when guided by His infallible foreknowledge that God determines the kind of grace He shall give to man. If, for example, He foresees by means of the scientia media that St. Peter, after his denial of Christ, shall freely co-operate with a certain grace, He decrees to give him this particular grace and none other; the grace thus conferred becomes efficacious in bringing about his repentance. In the case of Judas, on the other hand, God, foreseeing the future resistance of this Apostle to a certain grace of conversion, decreed to allow it, and consequently bestowed upon him a grace which in itself was really sufficient, but remained inefficacious solely on account of the refractory disposition of the Apostle's will. Guided by this scientia media God is left entirely free in the disposition and distribution of grace"

The Thomist bottom line on this is that it makes God's actions conditional on His scientia media (which is not causative but determined by the free choice of a creature), with the same conclusion as before.



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#3
Your last sentence sums it up: God's ACTIONS.  I sum it up as man's free will determines the "How" of salvation, not the "Why".  So St. Peter's repentance was predestined to happen the way it did, because God saw this as a way that would work, among an infinite set of options.  But WHY St. Peter was saved, a Molinist does not attempt to explain.  God chose to put St. Peter in this position for His own hidden reasons.

I like the Molinist argument when debating Protestants, especially Calvinists.  The Calvinist must deny the "free will" scriptures, which bugs them down deep.  Showing them a Catholic system that respects the Sovereign Will of God, but allows free will into the mechanism of salvation, and thus satisfying both the predestination and the free will scriptures, is a powerful tool in converting them.
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