Molinism

From Academic Kids

Molinism, named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, is a religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile God's omniscience with human free will. Key to the doctrine is the idea that God possesses what is called middle knowledge (or scientia media).

Under this doctrine, middle knowledge (so-called because it is the second of three types of knowledge God has) is total knowledge of how any possible free agent would act in any and all circumstances. Thus, given possible agent A and possible circumstances C, God is said to know what action that person would freely choose.

This account allows God to arrange for a person to carry out a specific act, without overriding their free will; instead, he can arrange the circumstances surrounding the choice so that the act is chosen.

An important feature in this account is that, although God knows all facts about how free agents would act in any situation, he does not cause these facts to be the case; if he did, there would be no freedom. However, this leaves open the question of precisely how God is able to know what a free agent would do. This difficulty is heightened by the fact that, under a typical libertarian account of free will, it is always possible (in the fullest sense of the word) for a free agent to do an act or not; and therefore, there is no such thing as "what someone would do in a given situation", as a free agent might do anything.

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