|This page is a 'work in progress' and can
change at any time :)
Purpose: Christian Soteriology is the study of study of the salvation of man as it is revealed in the Bible. Why is this a relevant subject of research? Because it is good and useful to try to better understand how our Creator has implemented a plan to reestablish a relationship with fallen humankind i.e. the Good News!
Background: Up to 2014 and (almost) my 52nd year, I had not given much systematic thought to my beliefs regarding God's involvement in offering salvation to humanity. I had assumed that the well-established system of Calvinism was 'probably' correct -- since it was the only one I had ever really heard about (!). In preparing for an adult Sunday School class on the Calvinist/Arminian debate, I encountered a counter-understanding of Arminianism, which (at the time) seemed more in-line with my Mennonite roots. While comparing and contrasting these views, I then ran into the 'middle' position known as Molinism -- which I have currently embraced. This is NOT to say that other beliefs of Calvinism and Arminianism aren't fully acceptable as orthodox Christian doctrine, but I am personally more comfortable with Molinism -- I think it has more explanatory power than other positions.
Present: With the disclaimer that I don't (yet?) fully endorse any particular person or group on this understanding, strong credit goes to the following individuals/websites for clarifying the issues for me:
Introduction: Here is a great summary quote for
Molinism teaches that God exercises his sovereignty
primarily through his omniscience, and that he
infallibly knows what free creatures would do in any
given situation. In this way God sovereignly controls
all things while humans are also genuinely free. [Kenneth
D. Keathley, What
Here is a nice short video where William Lane Craig
explains the basics of Molinism:
Here are two audio presentations by William Lane Craig
on the same topic:
Here are some good introductions to the idea of
Charts: Here are two very useful charts that
attempt to explain the 'moments' of Molinism:
[Kenneth Keathley, Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach]
[William Lane Craig, Four views on Divine Providence]
Bible References: There are many good verses in the Bible that strongly suggest that God retains 'middle knowledge':
Exodus 13:17-18 (NET)
When Pharaoh released the people, God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.” So God brought the people around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea, and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle.
1 Samuel 23:10-12 (NET)
Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, your servant has clearly heard that Saul is planning to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, please inform your servant!” Then the Lord said, “He will come down.” David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand?” The Lord said, “They will deliver you over.”
Jeremiah 38:17-18 (NET)
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “The Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, says, ‘You must surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon. If you do, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down. Indeed, you and your whole family will be spared. But if you do not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians and they will burn it down. You yourself will not escape from them.’”
1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (NET)
Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing. Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Acts 17:26-27 (NET)
From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.