Monday, August 17, 2015

Why Neither Molinism nor Determinism Can Be True

"Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind"    Jeremiah 19:4-5   NASB
Molinism and Theological Determinism suffer from the same scriptural and fatal flaw, in my mind. Either regimen has to say something about how God thinks that he doesn't say of himself. We don't know, nor can we know how God thinks. We have what he tells us about himself, and that is it.

In the passage above, God tells us something about how he thinks, namely that the brutal, idolatrous infanticide practiced by apostate Jews was something that never entered his cogitations. It was not something that found it's way into his thinking nor something that arose because of his thinking. This was solely existent because of the agency of the Jews in question. God had no prior involvement, as it were.

This conclusion depends, to a degree, upon how one reads this text, there is some ambiguity in it. The general context of the passage is God's decrial through Jeremiah of a sin incomprehensibly out of place given Israel's history and God's word to them. As I see it, the extension in thought (v. 5) intended to be communicated by the author was something along the line of: "I did not command such a thing be done, I never spoke of such a thing, nor has such a thing ever even entered my mind." In other words, the antecedent of the understood "it" in that last phrase is the horrific act of infanticide, not the act of commanding or speaking.

Even if the antecedent of the understood "it" in that last phrase were to be seen to be referring to the action of God commanding or speaking (i.e., "nor did it ever enter my mind to command such, or speak of such"), there would still be an issue concerning God's decrees. If all is only as God decreed, as either Molinism or Calvinism would affirm, then the Israelites were, in effect, commanded (decreed) to burn their children from before time began and it did, in fact, enter God's mind to speak (decree) of it. His disclaimer through Jeremiah would be a disingenuous protest at best if Molinism or Calvinism were true--merely crocodile tears.

On either Theological Determinism or Molinism, my reading, which I think reflects what was the original intent, could not possibly be true. In both regimens, "it" would have had to enter God's mind before this world was actualized (which would actually be the case regardless of how one interprets that "it"). Therefore, for either system to be true, this passage would have to be false. The Word says, "let God be true and everyman a liar," so Molinism as well as Determinism must be tossed into the ash can, as far as I can see.

2 comments:

  1. It depends on how you read the original (with bold additions mine):

    "...because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind to do so."

    That seems the most natural reading of the text. God neither spoke it nor did He ever intend to speak it, which follows from what is implied by the nor.

    Read that way, God's ability to foresee the sin remains, as does its ability to be actualized.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I incorporated my initial response to your very thoughtful comment into a revision of the original post. Thanks for the comment. I really should have included that material to begin with!

      Delete

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