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Divine Providence: The Molinist Account (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Paperback – October 12, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0801473364 ISBN-10: 0801473365 Edition: 1st

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Divine Providence: The Molinist Account (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) + On Divine Foreknowledge: Part IV of the "Concordia" (Cornell Classics in Philosophy, "Concordia") (Pt.IV) + The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This exposition is clear and full, measured and well-oiled."—Religious Studies

"In this book, Flint systematically articulates and defends Molinism . . . and the result is a rigorous, clear treatment. . . . I recommend this book very highly to specialists in the field."—Charles Taliaferro, The Journal of Religion, October 1999

"Thomas Flint, a leading proponent of 'Molinism', has written a stimulating exposition and defense of middle knowledge. . . . His are the arguments that anyone involved in the debate over Molinism will now have to engage, while even readers with little interest in divine providence may find the book worth studying just for its insights into explanatory priority, counterfactual power, and similar topics of general interest."—David P. Hunt, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion

"Divine Providence is the only full-scale treatment of Molinism to have appeared in recent years. . . . It tackles Molinism directly and at length. It is written with great clarity, and it gives one a good idea of what can reasonably be argued for given its basic thesis. Those who want get a sense of how modern-day Molinists might wish to defend themselves today have nothing better to read at the moment."—Brian Davies, American Catholic Quarterly, Autumn 1999

"I am very impressed with Flint's discussion. He does an extraordinary job of setting forth clearly the Molinist metaphysical perspective and defending the engine that drives this system—God's middle knowledge—from attack. In fact his discussion of middle knowledge and the intricate interesting philosophical issues this concept continues to generate in current, mainstream philosophy of religion is, I believe, the best to date. . . . Flint's book remains required reading for any serious philosopher of religion or philosophical theologian."—David Basinger, The Philosophical Review, April 2000

"In an exceptionally engaging, clear, and ingenious book, Thomas P. Flint appeals to divine middle knowledge to present and defend an account of divine providence. In the process he mounts a sustained development and defense of the doctrine of middle knowledge."—Edward Wierenga, Philosophia Christi, Vol. 13, No. 1

"Divine Providence is a remarkable book that should quickly earn its place as the leading authoritative contemporary exposition and defense of Molinism."—William Hasker, author of God, Time, and Knowledge

From the Back Cover

"Divine Providence is a remarkable book that should quickly earn its place as the leading authoritative contemporary exposition and defense of Molinism."--William Hasker, author of God, Time, and Knowledge
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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (October 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801473365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801473364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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This book should be in the shelve of everyone who wants to understand Molinism.
S. Jasin
His defense includes critiques of the three primary alternatives to Molinism, as well as responses to the main objections lodged against the account.
Kyle Demming
I really enjoyed this book, and found it both philosophically and theologically rich.
Kevin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bob on November 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Demming on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
In "Divine Providence: The Molinist Account", Catholic theologian Thomas Flint endeavors to explicate and defend a particular view of God's foreknowledge and providence. The theory, which takes its title from the 16th century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, attempts to reconcile the notions of divine providence and creaturely freedom.

Molinism contends that there are three logical moments of God's knowledge. In the first moment, God knows all logical possibilities. This includes every logically possible choice that every possible free agent could make in every possible situation. This conceptual stage of God's knowledge is known as natural knowledge. In the second moment, God knows all contingent truths that God does not determine Himself. Such truths include the free choices of agents endowed with free will. For example, a truth such as "If Adam is placed in the garden, he will freely sin" is included in this category. Herein lies the crucial notion of middle knowledge.

Middle knowledge does two important things. First of all, it limits the range of worlds God can create. For example, God may desire to create a world in which Adam is in the garden and Adam freely refrains from sinning. Yet, if Adam freely decides to sin when placed in the garden, then God cannot actualize such a world. Surely, He could override Adam's free will and force him to avoid sinning. But, then we wouldn't be talking about the same world. The second important function of middle knowledge is closely related to the first. This knowledge aids God in His decision-making and providential control of the world. For, God knows infallibly what every possible free creature would do in every possible circumstance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Jasin on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be in the shelve of everyone who wants to understand Molinism. Other important books on Molinism is Craig's The Only Wise God, Keathley's Salvation and Sovereignty and Luis de Molina's On Divine Foreknowlegde.

If you are interested in Molinism, start with Craig's book.

A side note, William Lane Craig also has a lot of readable papers on Molinism in his website - just google his name :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Rennells on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flint's writing styles is amazingly readable, many philosophy texts end up unnecessarily dense. Philosophically speaking, it was rigorous and provided a well-thought-out defense of Molinism. This was my introduction to Molinism, & I was quite able to follow without further research & a little help from others more well-versed than I.

As it has been almost a year since I read this text, much of the specifics have escaped my memory. However, there are a few things I do remember. As one might expect, Flint is particularly interested in Catholic doctrines - many of his examples are drawn from the Catholic tradition. Of course, plenty of this examples are more denominationally neutral, ensuring that his conclusions have versatility.

You'll have to judge his arguments for yourself - I would hate to deprive anyone of that joy!
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