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Divine Providence: The Molinist Account (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) [Paperback]

By Thomas P. Flint (Editor), Acram Taji, Ph.D. (Editor) & John Reganold (Editor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   258
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 12, 2006
Publisher   Cornell University Press
ISBN  0801473365  
EAN  9780801473364  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Thomas P. Flint develops and defends the idea of divine providence sketched by Luis de Molina, the sixteenth-century Jesuit theologian. The Molinist account of divine providence reconciles two claims long thought to be incompatible: that God is the all-knowing governor of the universe and that individual freedom can prevail only in a universe free of absolute determinism. The Molinist concept of middle knowledge holds that God knows, though he has no control over, truths about how any individual would freely choose to act in any situation, even if the person never encounters that situation. Given such knowledge, God can be truly providential while leaving his creatures genuinely free. Divine Providence is by far the most detailed and extensive presentation of the Molinist view ever written.Middle knowledge is hotly debated in philosophical theology, and the controversy spills over into metaphysics and moral philosophy as well. Flint ably defends the concept against its most influential contemporary critics, and shows its importance to Christian practice. With particular originality and sophistication, he applies Molinism to such aspects of providence as prayer, prophecy, and the notion of papal infallibility, teasing out the full range of implications for traditional Christianity.

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More About Thomas P. Flint, Acram Taji, Ph.D. & John Reganold

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Admirable effort  Nov 30, 2003
Flint's rigorous, scholarly defense of the Molinist account of Divine Providence is one of the more welcome additions to the latter-day debate over this tendentious issue. Flint has given us a book brimming over with rigorous argument, served in a style of writing that is much more readable than one could ever expect in such a densely philosophical work.

Flint's work will serve as an excellent introduction to Molinism for the patient layman unfamiliar with the literature. It also goes a long way in explicating why Molinists believe as they do, and will force philosophers in other traditions to sharpen their arguments against Molinism. One other contribution to the current debate on free will and divine providence that Flint could have made, but didn't, is also significant: He sends no new fur a-flying. His tone is warm and genial, even huorous at times, thoughout. Thank you Prof. Flint!

In the end, I don't think Prof. Flint ultimately succeeds in his task of justifying Molinism. Despite his rigorous argumentation, I still find highly implausible the idea that we can somehow be responsible for the truth or falsehood of "counterfactuals of freedom" that were true or false billions of years before we were born. (Or true from all eternity, or whatever) Only a completely airtight argument could convince me of this, and as Flint himself admits, his argument is not completely airtight. Flint says in a couple of places that Molinism has may have its problems, but it is still the theory of Divine Providence that he embraces because he finds the other theories' problems to be so much worse. I think this is a judgement call on Prof. Flint's part (and I think he may agree with me) and, unfortunately, I have a different judgement. And so, still, after reading Flint's fine book, I am not a Molinist.

Nevertheless, "Divine Providence" is worth your time if you are interested in the current free will/providence debate. This book might not bring you into the Molinist camp either, but it will deepen your understanding of the Molinist position, and maybe even deepen your understanding of your own position.


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