Divine Foreknowledge and Eternal Damnation: The Theory of Middle Knowledge as Solution to the Soteriological Problem of Evil
Traditionally, Christians have adhered to the two following beliefs: the belief that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good on the one hand and the belief that God has actualized a possible world in which some people freely reject Christ and are damned eternally, while others freely accept Him and are saved on the other. The combination of these two beliefs seems to result in a contradiction. This serious and well-known problem is called the soteriological problem of evil. However, in my paper I argue that there is no contradiction between these beliefs and therefore no soteriological problem of evil, unless one adds two dubious premises. I will also argue that the theory of middle knowledge (also called Molinism) can be used to show convincingly that one of the two premises has to be rejected. Therefore, there is no contradiction between belief in a perfectly good, omniscient, and omnipotent God and eternal damnation of some people in this world. Moreover, I will use the concept of transworld damnation to offer a defense of the two orthodox Christian beliefs: these two beliefs are perfectly compatible with each other. I will defend this account against the major philosophical and theological objections that have been offered against it. Finally, I try to show that we can even do without the concept of transworld damnation.
Keywords: Molinism, Damnation, Divine foreknowledge, Transworld damnation
Henric David Peels Rik
Graduate Student, University of Notre Dame