This is an extremely deep issue that takes a lot of careful thought. When correctly understood in light of scripture we can see how Maximal Opportunities bridges the understanding gap in a lot of areas in the Christian faith. This relates to Molinism or the middle knowledge of God. It explains how God does the all work in salvation, how people come to desire God, how he is all knowing, how and why a loving God allows evil, how and why God does not show favoritism, and how he is not responsible for sin.
What is the Maximal Opportunities?
It is the phrase that describes the absolute greatest and best amount of opportunities that God leads a person to experience; where the individual hears the saving message of the gospel, experienced through the greatest and maximally effective sources for each individual. The source could be a friend, family, stranger, tv ad, internet site, billboard, magazine ad, book, even God himself; anything God sees as the absolute most impactful way for the need to desire God to be heard and known.
God’s Work; not ours
God seeks us. We do not initially seek him (Romans 3:11). God searches the hearts of every person that has lived, is living, and will live (Romans 8:27). What is he seeking and searching for? He is seeing from before the beginning of time, all those who will desire to seek him (Ephesians 1:4-5). What does he see? God sees everything we will ever think, feel, desire, and do (1 John 3:20). That means in every possible real event that will ever take place (Matthew 10:29-30). God knows if there is one single instance and life experience where we would desire Him. In that one future instance where we will desire God (Psalm 139:4), he seizes it, and knows he will save that person. That is how he has perfectly chosen us before we are born. He seizes that opportunity of all possible real opportunities (Maximal Opportunities) because he desires to save (1 Timothy 2:4).
If that reality of the possible opportunity exists (only God knows), then he enables us (John 6:65; Colossians 1:12) to hear in such a way we understand and accept the gospel message of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17) and he draws us (John 6:64) to himself. He gives us the gift of faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2:8). He not only grants faith in Jesus but also grants the ability to continue in faith (Philippians 1:29). All of which was decided, prepared, and planned out by God before we are born (Ephesians 2:10).
In this gifted continued faith, He enables us to draw to him and seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Because through enabling us, he also convinces us of His assurances and absoluteness (Hebrews 11:1). It is assured and absolute because he also perfects it in us (Hebrews 12:2).
God Sees Everything; we don’t
God has seen all our sin in all our life and still gives the faith in Jesus. Through this single opportunity to desire him, he then sees the righteousness of his son in us. He grants us his son’s righteousness (Romans 3:22) and justifies us (Romans 5:1), despite our sins that he has seen. That is why, yet while we were sinners, Christ still died for us (Romans 5:8). This is also how God credited the same righteousness to Abraham. He saw the same faith in Abraham, that Abraham would have had in Jesus Christ; just looking forward instead of how we look back. Abraham may not have ever known the name of the Son of God as Jesus; but God knew that he had the same faith in the coming Christ and Savior of his sins. God saw it, planned it, chose him, granted him faith, and credited him righteous.
God is Outside of Time and Space; we are in space and time
God is eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27). He sees all time and all events as one (Isaiah 40:28). He exists with the knowledge of all real events of the past, present, and future, in time and space; from eternity. This means he sees all our possible real opportunities and responses to the gospel message. He already knows, when given the maximum amount of possible real opportunities, whether or not we will accept or reject his son. When we experience the maximally greatest opportunity to desire him; he knows whether or not we will forever accept or reject him. If we reject the maximally greatest opportunity than we will reject all other opportunities; but he still grants the maximal amount of opportunities because of who he is.
Molinism & Maximal Opportunities
God not only sees what will take place, and what could take place, but that which would also take place if the conditions were different. Molinist use Matthew 11:23 as a primary example of the “If-then” knowledge of God. But the question that comes up is the perfect justice and fairness of God. It would be unfair and unjust to condemn those who of Sodom if an opportunity to desire God was not given to them. God is all knowing and does not learn. Learning would mean he is not complete and perfect. God is perfect, therefore he does not need to learn but already knows all things in himself from eternity; including whether or not there are any opportunities that would bring people into faith (1 John 3:20; Job 34:21–22; Psalm 50:11; Proverbs 15:3). But what does Jesus mean in Matthew 11:23 if everyone is justly judged and held responsible for their sins? Matthew 11:24 Jesus states that Sodom’s sins will be justly judged. Matthew 11:25 then helps explain it.
Those in Sodom felt they knew it all and they felt they did not need salvation. Thus they, if given the maximal opportunities to desire God, would still reject God; despite not given the specific opportunity to see the miracles that Jesus is speaking of. God saw this about Sodom. Knowing they would reject him, these miracles were hidden from them (Matthew 11:25) which could have been shown to them for them to see their need of salvation; but was not due to what God already knew about them. This is a rebuke on the people of Capernaum. They were given the opportunity to experience what Sodom did not; yet they still rejected God’s truth. But the judgement on Sodom will be worse because they were ultimately more infatuated with themselves, showing them these miracles was not necessary but was part of God’s plan for Capernaum’s maximal opportunities. This reveals the uniqueness of the maximal opportunities God offers to different people at different times. Let us not forget God did see in Lot an opportunity and granted it to him. With that in mind, some were saved who were from Capernaum (Luke 4:31-39, 7:1-10). In Jesus’ statement, he was speaking generally about Capernaum and Sodom and only to those whom he already knew would ultimately reject him given all their unique maximal opportunities.
God’s Unchanging Attributes
He is perfect and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). He is perfect in love (1 John 4:8). He gives us all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to accept or reject his son. He is perfect in Grace and Kindness (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 2:4). He allows all people to exist so that they can experience all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to accept or reject his son in time and space. He is perfect in Mercy (1 Timothy 1:16). He is absolutely merciful and forgiving (1 John 1:9) to all those who, when given all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to accept or reject his son; receive salvation in faith. God’s perfect and holy attributes are validated by offering all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to accept or reject his son.
God’s Just Judgements
BUT he is also perfectly Just (2 Thessalonians 1:6); in knowing all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to accept or reject his son, he is absolutely justified to judge people rightly for their rejection of his son (Psalms 7:11); which is ultimately rejection of himself. In this perfectly just judgement on those who will forever reject his son; his perfect love remains in the fact that he allows them to continue to exist in space and time AND in eternity without him. He grants them their ultimate desire for existing without him.
Those who will forever reject his son when given all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities are those who God hates (Psalm 5:5). They are proud of themselves, self boastful, and continue in their desire for iniquity. They are not given the righteousness of his Son to cover their sins so that they can be in the presence of God. He still gives them all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to desire faith in Jesus, but they instead forever reject his son; in all their opportunities, they love themselves and their sins (Psalm 11:5). This also helps us understand why God shows Common Grace to all people (Matthew 5:45). But he forever sees them rejecting his son and forever sees them with their sin (Prov. 6:16-19). This validates how God can hate sinners but love his chosen.
God’s Perfect Equality
Those who are loved and hated by God were all originally created to be very good (Genesis 1:31). But they were purposely created ‘good’ and not ‘perfect’. Then, when sin was allowed to enter the world, it corrupted all who exist and will exist. Why was sin allowed? Genuine love and worship is not robotic. Genuine love and worship is not forced or coerced. All who exist, and will exist are equally given all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to desire God to genuinely love and worship Him. In this equality of unfavoritism, God retains true genuine Love in himself and in all those who he created. That true love is maximally for him or with out him; but is true genuine love none the less. No one was created destined for hell because all were originally meant for good but corrupted by sin. It is this sin that all people have (Romans 3:10) that needs to be atoned for. Allowing for sin, and resolving sin through Jesus; our genuine love for Him is the absolute perfect plan that reinstates our good and Holy Love in his presence for all eternity. The Maximal Opportunities seen by God maintains this Good and Holy Love for his chosen creation. He can not show favoritism to one person and not another (Roman 2:11; Acts 10:34), he is just and righteous always and forever. All people who exist are given their perfect Maximal Opportunities to accept or reject him in their ultimate genuine desire of love. Which makes favortism pointless when he sees everyone and everything equally and gives equally maximal opportunities to all.
Is God Responsible for Sin?
God is not responsible for sin because in all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities; sin is desired by, and originates from, the created and not from God (Matthew 15:19). If God created everyone without the free ability to chose sin, they are robots and would not genuinely love God because they are not free to. If God created sin, than he is not just in his judgements on those who chose the desire to forever genuinely love their sin. No one is created TO sin, but all are created with the free ability for sin. Because sin exists and no one is perfect; all will fall into sin from birth (Ps 51:5; Ps 58:3; Romans 5:12). Why from birth? Even the fetus experiences sin. It feels pain and can be stressed. It hears the outside world and reacts accordingly. Birth itself is a fearful, painful, traumatic event for every person born, even though no one remembers it. Although the unborn do not have specific knowledge of sin; they still experience it and are corrupted by it.
Our free will to desire to love God remains intact and places the responsibility for sin on those who chose it. This does not diminish God’s absolute power in salvation and perfectly validates his attributes. He remains perfectly loving, good, gracious, kind, merciful, forgiving, righteous, holy, and just. He humbly awards us, his special creation, the freedom to genuinely desire; given all the maximal opportunities, all are given the opportunity to know him, of which he sees before the creation of the world. In our free will, he sees what our ultimate desires will be, if or when given our maximal opportunities. Because we are uniquely created and are given each our own unique maximal opportunities; we remain free to desire whatever we individually will desire and God remains all knowing and just in his choosing and judging before we are even born.
Our genuine Free Will does not negate God’s absolute Sovereignty (Proverbs 16:33; Matthew 10:29; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:11). God existed before our free will was granted. God existed eternally, we were created. God is not dependent on what he created (Acts 17:24–26). Through his divine attributes he humbly grants this special nature to us and in us. The same love that God freely and genuinely has for himself as the Triune God is the same love he grants to his unique creation, us.
Turns People Away
This teaching turns people away. Not by God’s doing, but in the hearts of those who hear it. Even some who followed Jesus initially heard this and walked away from him (John 6:61, 66). God did not elect them to turn away; but in their own desire, for whatever reason, they chose to. Maybe some came back later, after the Holy Spirit illuminated their mind and opened their heart through later opportunities. Maybe some did not because they will forever reject the truths of God even after given other opportunities later in life. Only God knows because only God sees the hearts of what they will truly and ultimately desire given all the maximum amount of possible real opportunities to hear the good news of salvation from God alone.
Why Create Those Who Will Reject Him?
to the question about why God would create people destined for hell; why
would he create anyone that he knows will ultimately reject him in the first place? In
relation to the prior section ‘God’s Perfect Equality’ God is also just
in doing as he pleases with his creation without violating his Just and
Righteous nature. Knowing person A will ultimately reject him but will
influence person B to accept him; he uses what person A will ultimately
decide and do to lead person B to desire him (Romans 8:28). Person A
does not exist in vain, and God gives purpose to their existence for his will to be done in those who will
accept him (Proverbs 20:24; 21:1). Person A is still held accountable for their ultimate
rejection while still given purpose in God’s will and plan for
salvation. Remember, Person A was originally meant for good before the
foundation of the world but is corrupted by sin and held accountable for
their ultimate desires given all the maximal opportunities to freely
desire God. This goes to the heart of why Satan was created and exists. His ultimate rejection of God’s authority is used against himself to lead others to salvation; which maintains our free will and genuine love for God, despite sin.
The Unborn Person
the unborn are given the same maximal opportunities because of God’s perfect fairness. Even though they
are not born in the world, due to sin (miscarriage, abortion, etc), they
are still known by God before conception as a unique person (Jeremiah 1:5). God sees their decisions in all the maximal
responses to the potential opportunities to desire him; because he knows them
already. This is where God’s middle knowledge in Molinism comes into play. Though some babies are never born, they may still be saved due
to God’s eternal knowledge of who they were meant to be, and their
potentially of real maximal opportunities to accept or reject Him. But this is only known to God who will be saved (Romans 11:33–36).
The Guy on The Island
What about individuals who are alone, by themselves, who never hear the gospel message? The same is true for them just as the unborn person. But all people who are born, experience God in creation (Romans 1:20). They look up at the sun and stars. They see creation grow and die. They see and experience beauty, pain, and suffering. God also sees the the maximum amount of possible real opportunities through their situation for that alone unique individual. He knows if that individual will ultimately accept or reject him. Even this lone individual is given his own maximal opportunities to desire God because God is just and loving.
God’s sovereignty in salvation, his non-contradictory eternal perfect attributes, and our genuine free will can be better understood through Molinism and Maximal Opportunities. It helps us explain how God is right in choosing those who will be saved before the foundation of the world, how God is just in his choosing, how God is perfect in his judgements on those who will not be saved. It helps us see our uniqueness and understand our freedom in what we will ultimately desire. It also helps address legitimate concerns people have for the for the unborn and those we feel (in our limited knowledge and understanding) are not given an opportunity to hear the gospel. Which can actually turns into one of the maximal opportunities to hear God’s truths and the need for salvation.
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