Free Will

n exciting mix!) and am myself implicitly atheist. Despite this though, I remain quite interested in theological questions. After much soul-searching, I have finally found myself prepared to embrace a world absent divinity, but nevertheless keep my heart open to the alternative.

Firstly, I want to thank you for doing what you do, because you are perhaps the most refreshingly clear thinker I know who is easily come across on YouTube. People today are not clear-minded, and movements like new atheism and the people one is generally surrounded by (at least in my neighborhood) will absolutely pollute the mind. Even as an atheist, though, I was brought to euphoria the day I watched you debate Sam Harris. Despite what was for me an unsettling conclusion, your argument was so crisply delivered, I could not help but after joyously reflect, "I was wrong! And I know why!" In all the arguments I've engaged in others with, people tend to reason so murkily that regardless of who is "right", the arguments they offer are so fraught with fallacy that their position is not logically comprehensible, thus leaving their opponent either frustrated or confused rather than intellectually up built.

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Libet’s Experiments and Determinism

Dear Prof. Craig,

what does the Libet-Experiment indicate about free Will?

A US-american Scientist, Libet, conducted in 1979 an experiment involving the measurement of Brain-Activity during a controlled Decision-making Process, in order to better understand relations between neurological (physical) phenomena and the activity of the will.

The observation was, that:
1. brain activity occurs, then after a delay
2. one is oneself aware that a decision has become made, then after a delay (for the body to react)
3. the decision becomes made.

The delay between (2) and (3) can become accounted simply by transmission delays from the brain to the body. Of interest is the delay between (1) and (2).

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Does the Balance Between Saved and Lost Depend on Our Obedience to Christ’s Great Commission?

William Lane Craig

As a follow-up to my middle knowledge solution to the problem of Christian exclusivism, I ask whether the problem does not recur in another form under that solution: is it not the case that the balance between saved and lost depends upon the degree to which we Christians obey our Lord’s Great Commission to bring the gospel to every nation? If so, then is not that conclusion as morally objectionable as the claim that people’s eternal destiny hinges upon the historical accidents of the time and place of their birth? I argue that such a conclusion does not follow because, given divine middle knowledge and providence, it may not lie within our power to bring about a better balance between saved and lost.

“Does the Balance between Saved and Lost Depend on Our Obedience to Christ’s Great Commission?” 

Philosophia Christi

 6 (2004): 79-86.

In the interface of evangelical Christianity and other religions, the principal stumbling block for many is Christianity’s claim that salvation is available exclusively through Jesus Christ. But what exactly is the problem here supposed to be? The central difficulty posed by the doctrine of Christian exclusivism, it seems to me, is counterfactual in nature: even granted that God has, through general or special revelation, accorded sufficient grace to all persons for their salvation, should they desire to accept it, still some persons who in fact freely reject God’s general revelation might complain that they would have responded affirmatively to His initiatives if only they had been accorded the benefit of His special revelation in the Gospel. If God is omnibenevolent, He must surely, it seems, supply all persons with grace, not merely sufficient, but efficacious for their salvation. But then Christian exclusivism is incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

In previously published work


, I have argued that to this challenge the Molinist may respond that it is possible that there is no world feasible for God in which all persons freely respond to His gracious initiatives and so are saved. Given the truth of certain counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, it is possible that God did not have it within His power to realize a world in which all persons freely respond affirmatively to His offer of salvation. But in His omnibenevolence, He has actualized a world containing an optimal balance between saved and unsaved. God in His providence has so arranged the world that as the Christian gospel went out from first century Palestine, all who would respond freely to it if they heard it did hear it, and all who do not hear it are persons who would not have accepted it if they had heard it. In this way, Christian exclusivism may be seen to be compatible with the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

In a very engaging response to this proposed middle knowledge solution


, William Hasker imagines a veteran missionary, Paul, and a prospective missionary, Peter, who are engaged in some reflective thinking. Paul asks himself the two questions:

(A) Are there persons to whom I failed to preach who are going to be lost and who would have been saved had I gone to them with the gospel?

(B) Are there persons who have been saved as a result of my preaching, who would not have been saved had they never heard the gospel?

Being apprised of my proposed middle knowledge solution, Paul will conclude, says Hasker, that the answer to (A) is in all probability, “No.” For given:

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