Friday, May 29, 2015

What Have You Been Up To?

So what’s going on with me lately? I’ve recently finished my penultimate semester (hopefully!) in my MAPR degree, and I’m working full time in SEBTS’ Distance Learning office. I’m continuing to teach online at Trinity Baptist College, and loving every step of the way of that!

I’m doing some major research for my MAPR thesis, and it is going to be a beast of a task to complete, and it’s on Molinism. I’m trying to find an easy way to explain my research, so here goes: Dean Zimmerman says that it might be possible that, had God caused one speck of space dust to rotate counterclockwise instead of clockwise, that the universe would unfold where we would do things differently than we did. In fact, for all of these counterfactuals (conditionals describing what we would have done in various circumstances), it could be the case that God could manipulate (not cause, mind you) the appropriate counterfactuals in combination to get the kind of world he wants, and these sets of situations he calls “transworld manipulability” (TWM).

He makes two inferences from TWM. First, he infers that such actions, though not necessary nor caused, are not free. If God can just manipulate us however he wants, we’re not really free. Second, it destroys the traditional Molinist defense against the problem of evil—and it does so relying on the same type of logical move the Molinist makes in her own defense against that problem.

Thus, Molinists have a number of responses: it’s not possible that TWM is true after all, both a huge burden to prove and it might rob God of control the Molinist wants him to have; she can embrace TWM but deny the traditional Molinist response helps with the problem of evil; she can deny both TWM and the traditional Molinist response by arguing that an invalid or otherwise unjustified inference is made.

Which response to take is not easy to say, and I am finding that my research is taking me to metaphysics, free will, agent causation, counterfactual logic, and the problem of evil. It should be fun!

This July, I am headed to Oxford, England on our school’s Oxford Study Trip. This trip will involve my working on an independent study of the life and philosophical writings of C.S. Lewis. We’ll be based in Oxford, but travel to London, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. While it is not a missions trip, evangelism will be a strong focus during the trip—and the UK needs it. They have such a rich history with Lewis, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Charles Spurgeon, and others, and yet much of that is foreign to the British. Please pray that God would use us in some way on this trip!

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