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The Nature of Providenc1

The Nature of Providenc1 - The Nature of Providence I Three...

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The Nature of Providence I. Three Accounts of Divine Providence A. Thomist/Augustinian account. There is a realm of necessary truths beyond God's control (that God exists, basic principles of logic, metaphysics, etc.), but God has real freedom, introducing real contingency into things. All contingent states of affairs are ultimately under God's control, and God knows them by knowing His own contingent will for them. God is impassive -- not affected in any way by the creation, only by His own active will toward the creation. There is real human freedom and other instances of secondary causation, but, in each case, it is God who determines how creatures employ their freedom. Adam freely chose to take the forbidden fruit, but it was God who determined that Adam would freely (and contingently) act in this way. B. Molinist account. Facts divide into three categories: necessary truths, contingent facts under God's control, and contingent facts not under God's control. The third category includes facts about how finite creatures exercise their free will. God knows, not only how each creature does or will exercise its free will, but how every possible creature would exercise its free will under any possible circumstance. This is God's middle knowledge : his knowledge of conditionals of the form, "if creature A were put into circumstances C, A would freely choose to do B." These conditionals are all contingently true (if they were true of necessity, no free agent could ever act otherwise than he did), but it is not God who decides their truth or falsity. Since God knows these
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