Molinism is an interesting but dangerous concept.  It is a shame that it is gaining a lot of ground among evangelicals, and is now a leading apologetic in questions about the problem of evil.

Molinism, or Middle Knowledge (scientia media), should not be confused with Modalism or Monism. Molinism is a view of the relationship between God’s grace and human free will. It originated with the Jesuit theologian, Luis de Molina (1535-1600), a Spaniard, who debated the Dominican Order over the topic.

It assumes God must “wait” to know things are true.  But even children can tell you that God is eternal. He therefore has an eternal perspective, knowing things before they occur in time. He does not have to “wait” to know anything.

While proponents of Molinism attempt to provide an easy to understand account of human freedom and divine sovereignty, they begin with the premise that scientia media is indeed a biblical fact. Actually, they have gone so far as to call it a “doctrine.”  And whose doctrine is it?

First of all, there is no such thing as counterfactuals. Counterfactual history is a myth propounded by philosophers who dip into in theology as a side hobby.  There is no “alternative history” as purported by the Molinists.   The only history that exists is His Story.

There are no Plan B’s in God’s Plan, only Plan A.  God does not need a Plan B.  God does not possess a “middle knowledge.” Whatever knowledge God has, He has it because what occurs and comes to pass is in fact His own divine decree determined from eternity past. There are no “worlds” beyond God’s plan.

The Molinist view implies that the world has events happening whereby His creatures determine what will transpire, and then God decrees what will come to pass after the fact. In other words, God has an endless supply of backup plans.  In their view, God can tidy up after the decisions of men have been made and see to it that His own will is fulfilled.

Contrary to what Molinists claim, Acts 2:23 does not need Middle Knowledge philosophers to make it understandable to the theologians. The theologians understand it just fine without the Molinists’ help.

For further reading: Ps 139:16; Is. 14:24, 26, 27; 19:12, 17; 22:11; 23:9; 37:26; 46:11; Job 38:2; 42:3; Ps. 33:11; 106:13; 107:11; Prv. 19:21; Jer. 32:19; 49:20; 50:45; Mic. 4:12.


Molinism: The Contemporary Debate


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  1. internet elias August 9, 2009 at 3:35 PM #

    Nicholas, good post. I agree. God has no plan B. If we professing Christians were more spiritually ‘discerning’ of scripture, we would better understand Plan A. By way of more clearly understanding Plan A…we would have no need to devise a Plan B for the Father. His is perfect. His will is perfect. His plan A is PERFECT. And He has so graciously revealed it to us by way of His inspired Word…through His perfect Holy Spirit.

    Again, good post. Thanks.


  2. Peter August 9, 2009 at 8:57 PM #

    Thank you for the lesson. God knows what would have happened if … (the miracles that were performed in Capernaum had been performed in Sodom, etc.), but God also works out all things according to the purpose of His will (Eph 1:11).

    Molinism appears to be an attempt to reconcile freedom of the human will with divine sovereignty, but in the attempt, the position appears to diminish God into a learning, reacting, growing Being rather than holding that He is an ordaining, predestining, complete Creator.


  3. defendtheword August 10, 2009 at 5:04 AM #

    This still does not explain free will, and I guess that is what you like to be the case, however despite all the “Calvinistic teaching” there is also plenty of the “Armenian” that forms part of our Biblical scriptures. I think it is too simplistic to simply say, God can choose whatever he likes and who are you to tell him what to do. Fact is we are made in his image and he has given us free will, we see that in the story of the sower which is frequently explained both ways.

    I think we need to move away from mixing philosophy with theology, but at the same time we must engage our logic, as this is God given tool, something we use to discern right from wrong. Interesting fact for you here, most new Christians who are not trained in theology and have not had explanation given to them in regards to election find this doctrine to be completely unchristian, how do you explain that if the Spirit will lead you into all the truth. Or does this not apply anymore?

    Kind regards

    Defend the word


  4. jmatthanbrown November 2, 2009 at 12:15 AM #

    Hello Nicholas,

    I’m afraid you’ve confused Molinism with Open Theism:
    You claim that Molinism, “assumes God must “wait” to know things are true. But even children can tell you that God is eternal. He therefore has an eternal perspective, knowing things before they occur in time. He does not have to “wait” to know anything”

    Molinism assumes nothing of the sort. Molina believed God had middle knowledge prior to his free act to create. In other words, God knew what free choices you (Nicholas) would make in any and all possible worlds before the foundation of the world. Philosophers word it this way: God’s knowledge of conditional future contingents (counterfactuals of creaturely freedom) is prevolitional.

    Contrary to Open Theism, Molinist’s hold a very high view of God’s omniscience. I have written an article on this matter on my blog if you are interested:


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