Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

Why Molinist/Arminian intuitions about God and evil must be false

By on

2 minutes to read A simple parallel argument to clarify my previous posts.

A Facebook friend who has been following my posts on God and evil (#1 and #2) comments:

I don’t think you showed “the underlying M/A intuition must be false—namely, that something is morally wrong about God’s relationship with evil under Calvinism.” I think you showed that M/A has the same problems.

I think I did show it, but maybe it wasn’t as obvious as I thought. Here’s how it looks:

The argument against Calvinism runs something like this:

  1. It is evil to cause evil (asserted as a moral intuition)
  2. Under Calvinism, God causes evil
  3. Therefore, under Calvinism, God is evil

Molinists/Arminians use this as a basis for rejecting Calvinism. So what I’m effectively doing is constructing a parallel argument like this:

  1. It is evil to permit evil (asserted as a moral intuition)
  2. Under Molinism/Arminianism, God permits evil
  3. Therefore, under Molinism/Arminianism, God is evil

The point here is to show that rejecting Calvinism was the wrong move. Molinists/Arminians try to get away with it on the basis of asserting the truth of (1). But since (1) and (4) are not relevantly different, and (4) leads to the falsehood of their own theological system, it’s clear that what we should be rejecting is not the system but the intuition represented in (1) and (4).

But if you reject the intuition, you eliminate the motivation behind much of the acceptance of Molinism/Arminianism, which is to distance God from the awful fate of being the “author of sin”. You eliminate the ability to say that “Whatever the Bible says, it can’t be that”. And you also cast serious doubt on other theological assumptions asserted as intuitions—such as the critical belief that actions determined by God cannot be culpable.

Now, I agree I am not building a positive case for Calvinism here, in the sense that I’m not showing how it can be that a perfect God brings about evil. But I think I have clearly shown that the underlying intuition of Molinism/Arminianism must be false, given what God has already done.

Comments are on holiday for a short while.