On Molinism and Manipulation: Does Molinism answer the problems about Providence, Foreknowledge and Free Will?

Robert Ian Anderson
University of Notre Dame Australia
Molinism attempts to resolve the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human libertarian freedom by the inclusion of the divine will into the solution. Moreover, middle knowledge is providentially useful under the Molinist model because of the way God uses it. This speaks of an integral link between the divine will and intellect that works in such a way as to provide a foreknowledge solution and, allegedly, the best view of providence. Nevertheless, there have been several anti-Molinist arguments by analogy which suggest that the God presented in the Molinist model is a manipulator, and therefore something is lost or undermined in the libertarian freedom that Molinism purports to uphold through its model of foreknowledge and providence. This thesis examines the anti-Molinist charge of manipulation primarily by analysing how God uses information known through middle knowledge. The findings of the anti-Molinist arguments from analogy are reconstructed to form deductive arguments. These are evaluated against standard definitions of objectionable manipulation. It is concluded through analysis of these stronger, deductive arguments that divine providence under the Molinist model is a case of objectionable manipulation, one which many theists, classical or progressive, should find abhorrent. The effects of manipulation on ostensible libertarian freedom are then analysed, leading to the conclusion that Molinist-style manipulation results in a form of free-will compatibilism, ergo, the divine foreknowledge problem is not answered, nor is the result compatible with libertarian freedom. Given that it is close to a form of divine determinism, Molinism is then compared with Calvinism along several lines of criticism, namely whether such a God is good, loving and personal
Keywords Molinism  Manipulation  Analogy  Foreknowledge  Providence  Molina
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