An Advantage of Open Theism?
May 28, 2010 — 0:28

Author: Dan Speak  Category: Open Theism  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 31

I am tempted by the claim that open theism is in a better position to respond to the problem of evil than is Molinism. Consider some particular evil e1 that has occurred at a particular time t2. A group of innocent German Jews is gunned down before a mass grave they have been forced to dig themselves, let’s say. On the open view, God knew at some time before t2 that e1 would occur. But God did not know that e1 would occur from time immemorial. It won’t be as if God has built e1 into the basic structure of the world, as it appears God does on Molinism. Intuitively, it seems to be easier to defend God’s failure to prevent e1 given that God becomes aware of its forthcoming occurrence at t1 rather than prior to the creation of the world. That, at least, is how it has seemed to me.
Against this intuitive appeal comes the “Molinist Retort”. The basic idea behind it is that whatever resources are available to the open theist to justify God’s permission of e1 at t1 are equally available to the molinist to justify God’s permission of it from before the creation of the world. Presumably the open theist will have to appeal to some kind of balancing of goods contingent upon free will over against the amount and gruesomeness of evils parasitic upon the goods. The molinist can claim to make appeal to these self-same considerations. I think this retort fails.