Divine foreknowledge and eternal damnation: The theory of middle knowledge as solution to the soteriological problem of evil
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 48 (2):160-75 (2006)
Traditionally, Christians have hold the two following beliefs: the belief that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good on the one hand and the belief that God has actualized a possible world in which some people freely reject Christ and are damned eternally, while others freely accept Him and are saved on the other. The combination of these two beliefs seems to result in a contradiction. This serious and well-known problem is called the soteriological problem of evil. In this article the author, on the basis of William Lane Craig's Molinist theory, argues that there is no contradiction between these beliefs and that, therefore, there is no soteriological problem of evil, unless one adds two premises. The theory of middle knowledge shows that there is no good reason to accept the second of these. Therefore, there is no contradiction between belief in a perfectly good, omniscient, and omnipotent God and the eternal damnation of some people in this world. This Molinist account is defended against some philosophical and theological objections that have been raised against it. Finally, the author tries to show that, although Craig's concept of transworld damnation is helpful to offer a defense of the compatibility of the two traditional Christian beliefs mentioned above, it does not help us to offer a theodicy of post-mortem evil.
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