• 31
    March 5th, 2012 @ 3:33 am by Kevin

    You decide. Someone sent this to me over the weekend. You can view the original source here.

     



leave a comment on this post (31 Comments)

  1. He forgot about the part about God destroying the devil at the end of the world.

    Eze 28:13-19 KJV
    (13) Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
    (14) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
    (15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
    (16) By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
    (17) Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
    (18) Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
    (19) All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

    Even setting aside everything else he got wrong, now who’s more powerful than whom?

    • I think the “more powerful” argument had to do with who wins more souls at the end. A great many traditional arguments for hell declare Satan the winner.

  2. It’s not about percentages. God prefers quality over quantity.

  3. God is certainly not afraid of collateral damage. Do you remember the story about the flood? Was he not prepared to wipe out all Israel and continue the line of Abraham from Moses? When he told the parable of the sower and the seed, how many of those seeds were eaten by the birds, burnt by the sun, or choked out by weeds?

    Regardless, perceived percentages are not relevant, and thus constitutes a false argument. If God one percent of all humanity was repentant and willing to come to God, that is the percentage that God wants. Human concepts of quotas or limited seating do not apply.

    • If you want to compare proof texts, we could look at the images of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus gives us: a shepherd not satisfied until he has found every sheep, a woman not resting until she’s found her lost coin, a God who knows us down to the finest detail. As for the flood, I would rather accept Christ and his character as normative and interpret such stories through him rather than the other way around. This is the interpretive model Christ demonstrated and advocated.

  4. Not only that, but man (at least his will) is more powerful than God too! God would actually let a fallen, deaf, blind, broken person born into a broken world be responsible for figuring out how not to go to hell (at least if they were not born into the Bible Belt where they would receive thorough instruction), and if he/she doesn’t, oh well. Apparently, they chose hell by default and now God is obligated to send them there because His hands are tied. He was unable or unwilling to intervene (or at least to plan a little better) and bring that one lost sheep safely home.

  5. Julie… God does not want people to sin, but people do sin, so therefore are people more powerful than God? So by the standard you are using people are most certainly more powerful than God.

    Kevin… the reason a shepherd goes looking for a lost sheep is because it is dangerous out there. A lost sheep can be eaten. Have you ever looked after livestock? An obedient sheep (or goat) will answer when you get close, but a rebellious sheep (or goat) will run away from you. If the animal is rebellious it will not be found, except perhaps for the bones.

    … likewise, a lost coin can only be found if it is actually inside the house, rather than being spent. And Jesus is the LORD of the Old Testament, so the entire scripture is applicable.

    Luk 13:27-28 KJV
    (27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
    (28) There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

    Mar 9:43-44 KJV
    (43) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
    (44) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

    For Julie once again, no one has to choose hell by default. We are built as mortal beings thus we are all die just like the beasts. However, unlike the beasts, we are given an opportunity to be raised from the dead to judgment. Have you ever thought about what this implies or the opportunity that might present?

    That resurrection is an intervention on the grandest scale. If you found yourself in the judgment at the last day facing the sentence of an irreversible death for crimes you you were guilty of, what would you do? That was a serious question, if you would like to answer that.

    • Andrew: There you go quoting that King James Bible again. Curious as to why that’s your favorite translation.

      As for your arguments about the shepherd and the sheep, all you’ve demonstrated here is an ability to twist Scriptures to suit your theology rather than a desire to submit to conform your views to what is actually on the page. Sure, we can speculate all kinds of reasons why a sheep might get lost. It could be that it’s rebellious, although if that’s the point Jesus wanted to make, you’d think he would have used a creature more noted for rebellion, such as a donkey. It could be that the sheep became frightened and ran away. It could be that it got lost. It could be that it was following the other sheep instead of the shepherd. It could be that something convinced the sheep that he/she should be afraid of the shepherd. Why the sheep went astray is not the point of the parable. The point of the parable is to describe what God is like, and what Jesus says is that he is like a shepherd who will risk everything for the individual that loses his or her way.

  6. Awesome chart– it shows why there’s something wrong with the “good news” (no caps) as were being told it today by those who lead the church today.
    What’s cool is that in the end, God wins. Winner TAKE ALL! The final kick-in-the-teeth to Satan and sin is that NO one is lost eternally. The ultimate superhero saves everyone on the planet…
    Could it possibly get any cooler than that? I don’t think so! 😀

    Is anyone surprised that church leaders have used a doctrine of eternal hell to keep control over people for… two thousand years (or so)? I’m not the least bit surprised. Think of how corruptible the human heart is.

    “Absolute Power corrupts– absolutely!” said Lord Acton. And is there any power more absolute than to declare that your particular church or way of life MUST be followed, or the penalty is eternal damnation? Wow. I’m surprised we didn’t see through the lies sooner… It’s so obvious, once you see it. God’s plan is 100%– no one left behind.

    Makes me want to sing and dance around praising Him… How amazing is He?!?

  7. Julie knows me and my sore spot on this. I think Andrew represents a good majority of Christians and rightly so.

    The two subcategories of Christians fall into:
    a) Determinists: God only desires to save the elect (this includes Calvinists and Calminians)
    b) Libertarians, God releases a person from their totally depraved state, thus removing the blinds so they may make the choice to be on the winning side or the losing side (Arminians, Calminians).

    Thus as Andrew defends – God wins in the end and many, including Satan, lose. So the argument fails to really make the point.

    It seems more effective against the Arminian, but a learned Arminian has no trouble with this. And it makes 0 sense to Calvinists. They deny the 2nd premist that God desires “all” to be saved.

    I think more careful articulation is required.

  8. Kevin, do you have a particular objection to the King James? It speaks clearly, eloquently, and is easily accessible to everyone. It was written with the blood of martyrs like William Tyndale and John Frith, and it is a standard that is not going away.

    What other English translation would you have me use? I am not going to use a bible that contradicts itself, that would risk me having to explain how it was “improperly translated at this part.” Along these lines, have you never noticed how the modern translations of the past 100+ years have “eternal conscious torment” parts added in subtle ways?

    As for your arguments about the shepherd and the sheep, all you’ve demonstrated here is an ability to twist Scriptures to suit your theology rather than a desire to submit to conform your views to what is actually on the page.

    If you are going to make an accusation like that, you should be ready to back it up. How have I “twisted scripture” to “suit my theology?” If you are talking about what is actually on the page, where have you presented what is actually on the page? What you have done is to make vague allusions without the original context.

    In Matthew, setting the tone for the parable of the ninety-nine and one sheep, Jesus explained:

    Mat 18:3-5 KJV
    (3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    (4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    (5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

    That beginning phrase, “Except ye be converted” is conditional. Let’s keep looking at what’s on the page to see who has been twisting scripture to suit their own theology, shall we?

    Mat 18:8-9 KJV
    (8) Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
    (9) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

    Same page, verse 9 rules out Universal Reconciliation right there. Living with one eye is better than dying with two eyes. This is the tone that it set before he speaks of the ninety-nine sheep.

    Mat 18:13-14 KJV
    (13) And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
    (14) Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

    Who are the little ones? If we are looking at the same page, the little ones are those that become as little children who shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Within this context, these are his sheep.

    Likewise, it also follows that those who will not become as little children shall not enter the kingdom of heaven, may be the ones who should have had a millstone hung around their neck and tossed into the ocean (verse 6, same chapter) and will be thrown into hell fire.

    If you look just a little further down the same page we are given another standard demonstrating that even if one had been forgiven of much, that forgiveness will be revoked if he does not show mercy to others. This is not “unconditional” or “universal reconciliation.”

    Mat 18:32-35 KJV
    (32) Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
    (33) Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
    (34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
    (35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

    When we are considering sheep, you might want to note that in John 10:1-6 Jesus makes mention of “his own sheep” and in the context there are also thieves and robbers who are not his sheep. The robbers are not his sheep, and you only need one exception to contradict the “Universal” of “Universal Reconciliation.”

    Joh 10:1-6 KJV
    (1) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
    (2) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
    (3) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
    (4) And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
    (5) And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
    (6) This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

    It could be that it’s rebellious, although if that’s the point Jesus wanted to make, you’d think he would have used a creature more noted for rebellion, such as a donkey.

    Sheep can be rebellious as well, but they are generally more docile. Yes, in the context of the ninety-nine and the one sheep Jesus chose sheep because they were supposed to represent the ones that became like little children. But in another place he did choose creatures more noted for rebellion…. called goats.

    Do you want to know an important difference between a sheep and a goat? If you tackle a rebellious runaway goat it puts up a fight even on the ground. If you tackle a runaway sheep it stays down without struggling.

    Mat 25:33-34, 41, 46 KJV
    (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
    (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    (41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Please do not accuse someone of twisting scripture and ignoring what’s on the page unless you are prepared to back it up. Experienced Universalist authors (like Gary Amirault of http://www.tentmaker.org) do at least admit that the bible does speak of the ultimate destruction of at least some people if it is allowed to be read in the literal sense. I do not have to “twist scripture” to speak against Universal Reconciliation.

    I am trying to be kind so that I can understand your reasoning, but if claws are going to come out with accusations of “twisting scripture” then let’s bring out the scripture and see what it says. I am not afraid of scripture.

    The point of the parable is to describe what God is like, and what Jesus says is that he is like a shepherd who will risk everything for the individual that loses his or her way.

    If we are actually looking at the page in question, he said he was laying down his life for those who would become as little children that would enter the kingdom of heaven. These are the “little ones” and others that come not by the door are thieves and robbers.

  9. Julie, sometimes you have just got to “let go of the rope” :-). Just got done reading your book. Paired with Rob’s book beforehand, it really paved the way to open my mind and to ask “why” do I believe what I believe. I just needed to look to God’s Word in the language in which it was inspired and the confirmation of His Spirit and not my parents, pastors, or sunday school teachers. Wow! God truly is as big as the Universe and as narrow as Himself. God is described as “Love” and “Love” is not easily angered, keeps no records of wrong, always protects, always hopes, always perseveres, and “Love” NEVER FAILS!!!

  10. …just a thought about the Lost Sheep: “Sheep.” It was already a part of the flock.

  11. Before you see this movie read my ‘Five Star’ book entitled, “Dropping Hell and Embracing Grace,” by Ivan A. Rogers. Available now from Amazon.com, also available on Kindle. Here is a small excerpt from the book: “We have now come to a place in history where the hell doctrine cannot answer the questions being asked of it. A crescendo of voices is crying out, saying, ‘Hell and the God of Love are incompatible!’…Therefore, hell has to go! But dropping hell will not be easy. Many Christians and theologians will fight like hell to defend hell. They are so steeped in the concept of God’s wrath that they find it difficult to understand his grace–except for themselves.'”

  12. A couple Christians (myself included) critiqued the aforementioned picture. I’d love to get your thoughts.

    http://splitframeofreference.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-satan-is-more-powerful-than-god_05.html

    –Nick

  13. In your critique of “point six” of the poster, you seemed to conclude that Universalism was essentially four-point Calvinism. Am I reading this correctly?

  14. I think it is far closer to UR than Arminianism, yeah. But, I tried to leave that as open as possible to avoid my own thoughts. 😉

    –Nick

  15. I can understand how Universalism can overlap with Calvinism because they seem to require the same assumptions, i.e. that God ultimately determines who will rebel and who will repent.

    However, I have seen someone claim that Universalism is completely compatible with “Arminianism” … but I was never able to get an explanation of why they thought this. Any model of reality that allows men to choose good or evil will inevitably result in some people choosing good and some people choosing evil.

    So if you’re willing to offer your perspective here, do you see any way that Universalism is compatible with any free will model, such as described by Arminianism or Open Theism? Or is the Calvinist system almost a prerequisite for Universal Restoration?

  16. In answer to your question, Andrew, I prefer a chess analogy, b/c it illustrates how God’s will remains supreme while keeping our will intact. Think of God as a grandmaster as chess. He can go up against anyone and not know what moves they’re going to make and not determine what moves they are going to make, but he can still put them in checkmate every time b/c he has totally mastered the game and is equally prepared for every eventuality. So in the end, God gets what he wants, and we get what we want, but what we want is ultimately conditioned by God freeing our will to the point where it coincides with his.

  17. Hey Andrew! I appreciate the question. I’m not an expert, but I have been pondering the ideas of free will and universal salvation. Let me see.

    “I can understand how Universalism can overlap with Calvinism because they seem to require the same assumptions, i.e. that God ultimately determines who will rebel and who will repent.”

    I don’t think I disagree at all. Reformed Universalists such as Jurgen Moltmann would hold to this.

    “However, I have seen someone claim that Universalism is completely compatible with “Arminianism” … but I was never able to get an explanation of why they thought this. Any model of reality that allows men to choose good or evil will inevitably result in some people choosing good and some people choosing evil.”

    I think it is more difficult to square both systems (Ur & A), but if God is entirely sovereign (as both A and C would affirm) then it would make sense that God, in his sovereignty and perfect knowledge, be able to devise a way that all men would come to him freely. Molinism would be a possible way.

    Keith DeRose’s (a convinced exclusivity universalist) believes in post-mortem salvation, which would entail the everlasting possibility for repentance for all men. Considering God’s perfect knowledge and his desire that all men would be saved makes the implications for the combining of A and UR possible.

    If you are interested in a great book on the topic, Thomas Talbott’s “The Inescapable Love of God” works with both A and UR and, I think, manages to make it very plausible.

    Again, thanks for your question. 😉

    –Nick

  18. Also, considering the influence of the Holy Spirit on top of such things.

    –Nick

  19. Kevin, I don’t understand how your explanation favors Universal Reconcilation or allows compatibility with a free will model. A game of chess presumes that the opponent is not willing to lose, and each player is attempting to force the other player into a checkmate where the rules of the game force them to resign…

    … and the reason the civilized rules of the game require a resignation is because if the rule was ignored, the next step would be to kill the king, just like any of the other pieces.

    So if we were to consider a chess game as a valid analogy, with God as the Grand Master Chess player, you will still eventually arrive at a point where if but nothing else, the mortal’s plans to fight against God will eventually fail and he will stand before judgment. That would be the equivalent of checkmate.

    However, a checkmate is still a forced situation and it does not win the heart nor necessarily produce love. It is simply the last move of the game that stops short or willing surrender or inevitable execution. So with all things considered, the chess analogy does not seem like a favorable model for Universalism.

    … but considering my original question, the chess analogy does seem to confirm that Universalism requires the Calvinistic assumptions.

  20. Andrew: I guess I don’t see chess as combative as you do. I agree that it’s not an airtight analogy (nothing is) b/c chess is more a battle of wits than wills, and what we’re talking about here is more of a battle of wills. But I think it does show how the notion of “free” choice can be maintained in the face of God’s sovereignty. In the end, the ultimate act of a free will is to submit to God. So I would see capitulation in this case as an end to the battle, b/c throughout this battle of wits, the will of the opponent has been affected to the point where they see that they were wrong to see God as an opponent in the first place. So surrender is not a situation forced upon the opponent but one to which they willingly submit, b/c they realize clinging to their own agenda is a poor choice.

  21. If an Arminian is saying that God has already foreseen every action and choice that everyone will make, then he is basically saying that the future is already written in stone and cannot be changed, and so in effect he has already denied that men have free will.

    Your explanation also seemed to assume that Calvinists and Arminians agree that “God is sovereign.” However, the only agreement that I have seen between the two is when the word remains undefined. If either side asks the other to define their term you will see differences fairly quickly, and you may no longer have seeming agreement.

    So, it seems that you are saying that an Arminian could be Universalist as long as they were not set on the “free will” position, but according to my question, that puts them back in the Calvinist worldview already.

    So maybe the Calvinist critique that the Arminian is on a fence between Calvinism and Open Theism does have some merit. So revisiting (and perhaps revising) my original question again, does Universalism find any ground with a true free will system like that described by Open Theism?

  22. “If an Arminian is saying that God has already foreseen every action and choice that everyone will make, then he is basically saying that the future is already written in stone and cannot be changed, and so in effect he has already denied that men have free will.”

    I think that is begging the question. God knowing the future entirely and God setting the future in stone are not the same things.

    –Nick

  23. I debated that very point with Greg Boyd last summer. But I think before we can respond to your question, we need to define terms. My first question is, what do you mean by the term “free will”? Also, why do we feel the need to attach the word “free” to the word “will”? To my way of thinking, that’s the entire point–the will is not free. It’s in bondage. The process of salvation is a process of freeing the will.

  24. Kevin, do you play chess yourself? I am a fairly decent player, and the game has always seemed like a game of combat to me, and when played seriously the game does require a mix of wit and will which cannot be separated.

    This last summer I was teaching a kid to play chess, but he was a little immature and had a short attention span. He once decided that he was going to ignore the checkmate and make another move… so I killed his king. Those are the “old rules” of chess…

  25. Nick…

    I think that is begging the question. God knowing the future entirely and God setting the future in stone are not the same things.

    Can you please explain? If God knows everything that will happen with one hundred percent certainty, then that means there is zero percent possibility that it can be changed. If the future cannot be changed then we cannot change it, and when the scope of this knowledge includes our thoughts and decisions, the obvious conclusion would be that we do not have free will but are merely gears in a machine.

    Kevin…

    My first question is, what do you mean by the term “free will”? Also, why do we feel the need to attach the word “free” to the word “will”?

    In this context, free will is the will of man that he freely chooses, as in “I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life” and “turn ye from your wicked ways, for why will ye die?” (see the context of Deuteronomy 30:19, Ezekiel 33:11)

    Deu 30:19-20 KJV
    (19) I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    (20) That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

    Eze 33:11 KJV
    (11) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

    I would be willing to offer those two passages as a proper context for defining free will. We have set before us life and death, blessing and cursing, righteousness and iniquity, and we actually do have a choice. Not the illusion of a choice, but an actual choice.

    The reason the word “free” is attached is because Calvinist theology has colored the term in their system to where “will” seems to mean “the illusion of will” and essentially becomes a useless or deceptive term. If you were to look up the word “will” in an English dictionary I think you would find that the normal accepted meaning of the word does mean “free will.”

  26. Hey Andrew,

    “Can you please explain? If God knows everything that will happen with one hundred percent certainty, then that means there is zero percent possibility that it can be changed. If the future cannot be changed then we cannot change it, and when the scope of this knowledge includes our thoughts and decisions, the obvious conclusion would be that we do not have free will but are merely gears in a machine.”

    Again, it doesn’t seem you are distinguishing between knowledge and actualization. God’s knowledge of the future is complete. It cannot be added upon. He knows all things, which includes variables and all such possibility.

    This does not leap to him actualizing all things. A distinction must be made. An analogy, if I may:

    Let’s assume I’m a parent (and I recognize that I am fallible in regards to God 😉 ), and I put my daughter in a room. I know that she could possibly put her finger in a light socket, or run into the corner of the table. That does not mean I actualized or caused her to do either. My knowledge doesn’t necessarily entail the actualization of said knowledge. They are separate. I think you are equivocating the two into one, and I’m not certain this is merited or necessary. If I misunderstood you, I of course apologize.

    And I think open theism (open futurism) has a decent case that the future is not necessarily set in stone. Of course, I’m not an open theist, but the idea of an “open future” seems relevant, especially when cause and effect is taken into account. God often says, “if you do *this*, then *this* will happen.”

    Very cool question. Kinda digging this. Let me know if I’m making sense. I’m running to work right now. God bless. 😉

    –Nick

  27. Explaining,

    Again, it doesn’t seem you are distinguishing between knowledge and actualization. God’s knowledge of the future is complete. It cannot be added upon. He knows all things, which includes variables and all such possibility.

    When the concept of God “knowing all things” is spoken of it usually switches back and forth between the “anticipating all possibilities” and “knowing what will actually happen” so this is important to differentiate.

    * The “knowing what will actually happen with 100% certainty” agrees with Calvinism and Molinism (and I do not see must difference between the two.)

    * The “anticipating all possibilities” would seem to fit the “Open Future” model.

    Even with the former analogy of a chessboard, a grand master player certainly knows all of the moves that could be made at any one time, but he can still be surprised by a player… “I didn’t think he would actually do that!” (it might even be a very suicidal move…)

    I start having difficulty seeing a model where the chess player actually knows what his opponent will do ahead of time and could have written all his moves down in an envelope and let someone sit in his place to move the pieces for him, but where he sits in just to give the illusion that he is actually paying attention.

    I think you are equivocating the two into one, and I’m not certain this is merited or necessary. If I misunderstood you, I of course apologize.

    Those two usually are equivocated into one and the same, or it seems that a “bait and switch” interchanges one for the other as it becomes convenient. I often see the subject discussed in terms of philosophy rather than actual biblical examples.

    Back to the subject at hand, given that the bible describes faith and repentance is a prerequisite for “salvation” then the only way that “all men could be saved” is if all men will actually repent.

    1) It seems to me that Universalism predicts that this will happen because God will simply force people to repent… which is compatible with the Calvinist model of reality. The future is set in stone because God has either seen it already (and is powerless to change it) or because he is going to force it to be written that way (down to every last detail.)

    2) I do not see how “all men will repent” is would be compatible with an “Open Future” model where men actually are given free will. God can still “force things to be written” but it is impossible to force someone to repent and know love of their own free will. This is essentially the “An all powerful God still cannot create a square circle” problem.

    If these seem like two extremes, I suggest that there really isn’t much room for middle ground between the two. Universalism would seem to require a “Closed Future” or “Forced Future” model, but would be hard to explain from an “Open Future” foundation.

    As you have noted, God makes a lot of conditional statements in the scripture… and conditional statements are usually only made when there are possibilities. I can see other places where God changed his mind in response to his creation, which seems to require an “Open Future” model, where prayer and repentance have hope and meaning…

You decide where Hellbound? Releases

Want to be among the first people to see Hellbound? Demand the movie in your city and help spread the word. The more requests we get from your city, the sooner we'll release there.

Demand The Movie

Links to external site