Can we extricate ourselves from Molinism?
Here is what I expect will be some of the responses to these objections from those who defend the Thomist system:
Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:The first objection is the danger that in the Thomistic system the freedom of the will cannot be maintained as against efficacious grace, a difficulty which by the way is not unperceived by the Thomists themselves. For since the essence of freedom does not lie in the contingency of the act nor in the merely passive indifference of the will, but rather in its active indifference — to will or not to will, to will this and not that — so it appears impossible to reconcile the physical predetermination of a particular act by an alien will and the active spontaneousness of the determination by the will itself; nay more, they seem to exclude each other as utterly as do determinism and indeterminism, necessity and freedom. The Thomists answer this objection by making a distinction between sensus compositus and sensus divisus, but the Molinists insist that this distinction is not correctly applicable here. For just as a man who is bound to a chair cannot be said to be sitting freely as long as his ability to stand is thwarted by indissoluble cords, so the will predetermined by efficacious grace to a certain thing cannot be said to retain the power to dissent, especially since the will, predetermined to this or that act, has not the option to receive or disregard the premotion, since this depends simply and solely on the will of God. And does not the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. v, can. iv) describe efficacious grace as a grace which man "can reject", and from which he "can dissent"? Consequently, the very same grace, which de facto is efficacious, might under other circumstances be inefficacious.

This objection might be considered a strawman argument, because from the chair analogy in the explication of Thomism from the same article, the man is not bound to the chair; rather, he freely sits. It is as though he has been walking for many days and God places a chair before him. The sight of the chair is delightful and God removes any reason that would cause his will to choose to remain standing, so the man freely chooses to sit. However, he nevertheless retains the capacity to remain standing. 

Session VI, Can. IV from the Council of Trent says that man “can dissent”—that is, they retain the capacity to resist. However, God reveals His goodness through His grace in such a way that man has no cause to resist it. So he can resist, but he won’t.

Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:Herein the second objection to the Thomistic distinction between gratia efficax and gratia sufficiens is already indicated. If both graces are in their nature and intrinsically different, it is difficult to see how a grace can be really sufficient which requires another grace to complete it. Hence, it would appear that the Thomistic gratia sufficiens is in reality a gratia insufficiens. The Thomists cannot well refer the inefficacy of this grace to the resistance of the free will, for this act of resistance must be traced to a proemotio physica as inevitable as the efficacious grace.

I am not sure how the Thomist responds to this one, expect perhaps that sufficient grace is sufficient for efficacious grace, not sufficient for the good action itself.
Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:Moreover, a third great difficulty lies in the fact that sin, as an act, demands the predetermining activity of the "first mover", so that God would according to this system appear to be the originator of sinful acts. The Thomistic distinction between the entity of sin and its malice offers no solution of the difficulty. For since the Divine influence itself, which premoves ad unum, both introduces physically the sin as an act and entity, and also, by the simultaneous withholding of the opposite premotion to a good act, makes the sin itself an inescapable fatality, it is not easy to explain why sin cannot be traced back to God as the originator. Furthermore, most sinners commit their misdeeds, not with a regard to the depravity, but for the sake of the physical entity of the acts, so that ethics must, together with the wickedness, condemn the physical entity of sin. The Molinists deny that this objection affects their own system, when they postulate the concursus of God in the sinful act, and help themselves out of the dilemma by drawing the distinction between the entity and malice of sin. They say that the Divine co-operation is a concursus simultaneus, which employs the co-operating arm of God only after the will by its own free determination has decided upon the commission of the sinful act, whereas the Thomistic co-operation is essentially a concursus proevius which as an inevitable physical premotion predetermines the act regardless of the fact whether the human will can resist or not.

I am not sure about this one. I expect the Thomist would respond that God is not the author of evil acts, but we are; God merely passively wills them. In this way, it is like a set of two gears, the independent gear being the performance of a good or bad action and the dependent gear being the will of man. When a good action is ordained by the will of God, God’s will actively moves forward causing the dependent gear to deny itself its own forward motion and give itself over to the movement of God, thus moving it backward. But the independent gear does not turn unless the dependent gear co-operates. To avoid the difficulty of the dependent gear thwarting the forward motion of the independent gear, God so entices the will of the dependent gear to “relax” (as it were) and allow the independent gear to move it without resistance.  However, when the greater glory of God is brought about by the reciprocal effect of an evil action, God does not actively will the evil action; rather, he passively permits it on the condition that it will profit His greater glory in response to it. In this way, the independent gear “wills” to allow itself to be turned backward by the dependent gear, which is given a free choice to move forward or backward (forward=selfish action / backward=selfless action). God’s omnipotence ordains that a bad action chosen at such and such a time will bring about His greater glory, but He does not actively will the evil action; nor does He author the bad action. Instead, He offers the choice to the dependent gear and provides it with sufficient grace while temporarily withholding efficacious grace. Provided that the dependent gear is not going to respond to the sufficient grace, God’s knowledge (which is a consequence of His omnipotence) of this future resistance means that he does not provide it with efficacious grace (to coerce it to conformity), at which time He actively wills to passively allow the dependent gear to move itself forward, which turns the independent gear backward. Thus, the bad action is permitted in accordance with God as the First Mover, but only insomuch as it is activated by us. 
Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:From this consideration arises the fourth and last objection to the claim of the Thomists, that they have only apparently found in their physical premotion an infallible medium by which God knows in advance with absolute certainty all the free acts of his creatures, whether they be good or bad. For as these premotions, as has been shown above, must in their last analysis be considered the knell of freedom, they cannot well be considered as the means by which God obtains a foreknowledge of the free acts of rational agents. Consequently the claims and proper place of the scientia media in the system may be regarded as vindicated.

This objection seems to rest on the validity of the previous objections—that premotion is the knell of freedom; but I don’t think that premotion and freedom are necessarily as mutually exclusive as the Molinists think. 
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Re: Can we extricate ourselves from Molinism? - by INPEFESS - 08-22-2011, 03:19 AM



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