What if I were to tell you that I had a perfectly rational explanation to the question of free will and predestination that has been ravaging the Church of Jesus Christ for centuries? I bet you would think that I was mad, unlearned (after all, what have all the highly educated theologians been fighting about), and overly simplistic.
Well there is such an answer and many may be surprised to find out that it is fully accepted by Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. In other words, it’s not the sole product of a sectarian group with a vested interest in a particular theological system.
It may also surprise you to find out that you probably already hold to the core tenets of this “magic bullet” system even though you may have never heard them clearly stated as a codified set of doctrines before.
Molinism is a theological system named after a Spanish Jesuit priest, Louis de Molina. In modern times it has also come to be known as “middle knowledge” due, in part at least, to the influence one of it’s most ardent supporters, Dr William Lane Craig.
While many books have been written on this subject (some of which I’ll list below), and many lectures (some of which I’ll link below), I’ll try to summarize Molinism in a few paragraphs.
Before God created he knew all possible worlds and all possible events and all possible interactions in all of the possible worlds (including all possible reactions and outcomes of His direct interactions in all of these possible worlds). Out of all of these possible worlds God chose to actualize or create one of them so that, while all things are effectively determined, they are neither causally determined by God nor is God constrained to the position of merely reacting to the choices of His free creatures. We are indeed free and God is indeed sovereign.
One seminary professor put it to his students this way: “It’s up to God which world you find yourself in. It’s up to you what you find yourself doing in that world.”
I’m sure if you are new to Molinism (or if you are like most pastors and incredibly confused about what it really is), I encourage you to explore this topic further.
Here are a few resources that might help (if you know of any more, please let me know!):