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Middle Knowledge and Biblical Interpretation

Luis de Molina, Herman Bavinck, and William Lane Craig


Sze Sze Chiew

If God knows human actions in advance, do humans really have freedom of choice? Throughout the centuries various solutions have been offered as to how to retain or reconcile both the concepts of divine omniscience and human freedom. One solution focuses on the idea of middle knowledge. This theory originates with the Spanish Jesuit Luis de Molina, was contested by Reformed theologians such as Herman Bavinck, and makes a remarkable comeback among present-day analytical philosophers such as William Lane Craig.
Apart from a wealth of philosophical considerations, the appeal to biblical texts also plays an important role in the work on middle knowledge by each of these thinkers. The book examines their writings and investigates how contemporary biblical scholars interpret the biblical texts used by them. The author elaborates a creative proposal as to how these gained insights apply to the theory of middle knowledge and what this means for our overall evaluation of this theory.
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This work is a Ph.D. dissertation with the title “You Know It Completely: The Concept of Middle Knowledge and Biblical Interpretation in Luis de Molina, Herman Bavinck, and William Lane Craig”. It was my privilege to work on this dissertation with Prof. dr. Cornelius van der Kooi and Prof. dr. Gijsbert van den Brink at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Both provided invaluable theological guidance, thoughtful advice, and challenging critique. Errors remain in this work are certainly mine.

I am indebted to a number of people for their generous contributions throughout the journey of pursuing my doctoral studies. I am grateful for the financial support received from the Chinese Churches Association of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (CAMA), USA, which enabled me and my husband to live in the Netherlands during the final two years of both of our doctoral studies. Also, I am grateful to the Chinese Churches of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (CAMA) of the Netherlands. Thank you for welcoming and accepting us as co-workers and family.

I also wish to express my appreciation to Malaysia Bible Seminary, for granting me the study leave that enabled me to complete this research, as well as providing the fund for printing this book. I am similarly thankful to many churches in Malaysia which had supported me all these years.

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