Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Molinism and Prayer

The following is an excerpt from my MA Philosophy thesis, on middle knowledge and prayer:

MK is used to answer the problem of prayer. If God does not change his plans, and whatever will take place in the future will take place, then why pray? What could possibly be the point in the exercise? Many people intuitively believe that prayer accomplishes something, even if they are not sure precisely what or how. Flint argues that Molinists do not believe that prayers have any causal impact on God or his actions—instead, the efficacy of prayer is in terms of influence or of making a difference from what would have happened instead.[1] In a somewhat complicated chapter, Flint argues that God may take into account, via MK, what would result in circumstances where the relevant CCFs are true such that some free agent would pray; finding it comports with his goals or what he would wish to allow, God then chooses to honor that prayer. Flint writes, “If God had known that Paula would pray if placed in S, perhaps he would have seen via middle knowledge that much good would result were he to place her in S and answer her prayer.”[2] Thus, Molinism provides several good and helpful responses to problems within both Christian theology and apologetics.

               [1] Ibid., 231.

[2] Ibid., 247. We can regard the use of “see” as anthropomorphic or otherwise metaphorical; MK does not rely on a perceptual mode of omniscience.

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