Max Andrews has recently released a new ebook that provides an introduction to Molinism. Purchasing and other information can be found here: http://sententias.org/2014/06/07/purchase-an-introduction-to-molinism-available-now/
Dr. James White released another Dividing Line podcast on Thursday aimed at refuting Molinism. It was a response to a response by William Lane Craig to an argument by James Anderson (of Reformed Theological Seminary) about “the fallible God of Molinism”. There was also another response by White to Craig’s response to J.W. Wartick‘s summary of Travis Cambell’s argument against Molinism based on an objection to divine aseity. There are a lot of moving pieces so I’ll list the play by play.
December 18, 2013: Dr. Travis Campbell discussed middle knowledge in this podcast and objected to Molinism on the basis that it undermines God’s aseity.
January 8, 2014: J.W. Wartick summarizes Dr. Campbell’s arguments and makes his own comments in this blog post here. Sometime afterwards, William Lane Craig picked up this post and decided to use it to discuss Molinism on his podcast.
January 29, 2014: Dr. James Anderson of Reformed Theological Seminary formulated and published an argument against Molinism on the issue of fallibility in this blog post here.
May 4, 2014: Dr. William Lane Craig discusses J.W. Wartick’s blog post and responds to Dr. Anderson’s arguments in this podcast here.
May 8, 2014: On the Dividing Line podcast, James White plays and responds to Craig’s May 4th podcast which can be found here.
I’ve been catching up with the Dividing Line podcast. In the last 15 minutes of the March 11 episode, Dr. White picks back up with his commentary on the Unbelievable? episode with Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Paul Helm discussing Molinism. I do have a lot of respect for Dr. White, however, as I have mentioned in the past, there are a few mistakes that I think he makes when critiquing Molinism.
Note: This is merely a brief overview and not an in-depth, extensive defense of the framework hypothesis
I have espoused a certain degree of skepticism about Neo-Ussherianism (e.g. here, here, and here). Along with an endorsement of an old Earth comes the questions of how to interpret the opening passages of the book of Genesis. There are two broad categories that are usually denoted ‘literal’ and ‘non-literal’. In the first category, the days of Genesis 1 are taken as actual demarcations of time that are either 24 hours in length (calendar day view) or unspecified but several million or billion years in length (day-age view). At one point or another, I have endorsed both of these perspectives, but, for exegetical reasons have abandoned them. The most critical error would be the issue of light temporally preceding any of the light bearers (e.g. sun, moon, and stars). For an in depth perspective, consult this paper where Meredith Kline brilliantly combines the light issue with Genesis 2:5 to make a potent case against the literal view.
I recently outlined four essential truths about the Doctrine of the Trinity. In that article, I mentioned a few detractors of the Doctrine of the Trinity, one being ‘oneness Pentecostals’. One of the more popular incarnations of this group is the organization known as the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). On the official website, there is a tract called “60 Questions on the Godhead” wherein the UPCI outlines 60 questions concerning the nature of God and defends a form of modalism. I will reproduce these questions and answer them in an effort to correct some of the misunderstandings in the tract.
In a recent Dividing Line podcast, James White was responding to a recent debate on Calvinism vs Molinism between Paul Helm and William Lane Craig. It’s a rather good podcast in general and I would recommend it. White makes many good responses worthy of consideration. In the future, I may cover some of his other points, but for now, I’m concerned with his closing remarks.
“THE TRINITY” IS NOT IN THE BIBLE
That is to say, the word “Trinity” does not appear in the text of the Bible. The word is Latin based and is not used to describe God until around 180 AD by Theophilus of Antioch. However, this shouldn’t be of any major concern as there are many words that do not appear in the Bible, words like “rapture” and “Bible” for example. Nevertheless, we can use these words to intelligibly discuss Christian doctrine. The word “Trinity” is used to summarize the Scriptural data which testifies to the nature of God. So, using this textual fact as an argument against the validity of the Doctrine of the Trinity is rather silly.
THE TRINITY IS MONOTHEISTIC
Sometimes, the claim is made “The Trinity is wrong because the Bible says there is one God”. This is, however, not a contradiction. The Doctrine of the Trinity in its simplest form states
- There is one, and only one God
- The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God
- The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father
When someone says “The Bible says there is one God!” the Trinitarian will heartily agree as this is an affirmation of the first point. The distinction between the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity and say, the Islamic Doctrine of Tawhid or oneness Pentecostalism is not one of monotheism vs trithiesm; rather, it is the distinction between Unitarianism and Trinitarianism.
Unitarianism is the doctrine that the one God is one person while Trinitarianism is the doctrine that the one God is three persons. It gets to be confusing when artistic depictions of the Trinity are practically tri-theistic like this and this and this and this.