Theology – Molinism

William Lane Craig on Experiential Knowledge in God

From Can God Learn Anything:

Premise three says a being’s omniscience entails that a being has all experiential knowledge. Omniscience entails that a being has all experiential knowledge. That, I would say, is false. That is not the classical definition of omniscience. Remember, I said to be omniscient a being must know every true proposition p and believe no false proposition. So that means that omniscience is defined in terms of propositional truth, not in terms of experiential truth. So being omniscient does not entail, for example, knowing how it feels to have a sore back. God knows that having a sore back involves having pain and is uncomfortable, that’s propositional knowledge. But God doesn’t know himself what it’s like for his back to be sore, because he doesn’t have a back. Or he doesn’t know how it feels himself to be a sinner. Now, he knows the proposition that being a sinner feels lousy, feels guilty, feels depressing, he knows those propositions, but he doesn’t know how it feels to be himself a sinner. Or he doesn’t know what it is to be himself Bill Craig. He knows how Bill Craig feels, that’s propositional knowledge. But he doesn’t have to have the experiential knowledge of believing that he is himself Bill Craig. You see what I mean? So classically omniscience is not defined in terms of non-propositional knowledge. It is defined in terms of propositional knowledge, and there is no incoherence with God having all propositional knowledge. So, again, the objector here is saying that God cannot have the experiential knowledge of knowing what it is like to learn something. Now, I think that’s false, as I’ve already explained, I think God does know what that’s like, but that’s not entailed by omniscience. God doesn’t need to have experiential non-propositional knowledge in order to be propositionally omniscient. And that is what the doctrine of omniscience means.

Hasker on Molinism

From The Openness of God:

As has been noted, middle knowledge can afford God a very high degree of providential control over the world. But a price must be paid for this. The effect on our understanding of a personal relationship with God is similar to what we saw for Calvinism: God becomes the archmanipulator, knowing in every case exactly “which button to push” in order to elicit precisely the desired result from his creatures. The analogy of the cyberneticist and the robot applies here also, with one change:” we must suppose that part of the programming of the robot was done by a third party. (This, of course, represents the counterfactuals of freedom 39) But the robot-master still knows all about that part of the program and is able just as before to fine-tune the situations that the robot encounters so as to achieve just the desired result. Whether the change from Calvinism to Molinism makes the situation appreciably better in this regard is left for the reader to decide.