A Syllogism of Talbott's Argument


Thomas Talbott has written a simple argument for Universalism based on the power of love to link the emotional state of each us to that of others. On the Reasonable Faith Forum, I have presented a syllogism of the argument, reproduced below.

Premise 1: If not all people get to Heaven, Heaven would be a place of sadness.
Premise 2: Heaven is not a place of sadness.
Conclusion: All people get to Heaven.

This argument can also be used not only to establish that all people get to Heaven, but also to establish that nobody has been forced to get there, as follows. The conclusion of the argument establishes that all people are in Heaven. And because Heaven is not a place of sadness (Premise 2), all people there have freely chosen to be there, for if any of them had freely chosen not to be there, Heaven would be a place of sadness for them. Consequently, nobody in Heaven has been forced to be there against his or her free will. All people have freely chosen to be there.


At the end of the day, theology won’t be decided - by the philosophical laws of logic. If that were so, we would all be Baptists, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, etc… depending on who has the best premises and logical conclusions.

Having said that, it’s nice to see folks using a branch of philosophy, to resolve theological dilemmas. :wink:


Good argument & job of providing a simpler one than by Tom Talbott.

BTW, I often find Tom’s writings go way over my head. If someone could pen a book “Understanding Tom Talbott: For Dummies”, i’d be very grateful.

How about this one: God is love, therefore no one gets tortured for eternity. Or everyone gets saved. I think Tom makes the same arguments in some of his writings, except it is a bit more detailed ; The way i put it is more of the “Universalism For Three Year Olds” version rather than those with fifteen PHDs.

On pages 15 & 16 of this forum thread “Light of the East” offers some powerful reasoning for universalism:

christianforums.com/threads … 37/page-15


“Tom’s Triad” is also rather interesting. No one accepts all three.

#1 – God desires the salvation of all because God is benevolent.
#2 – God is sovereign so God will achieve what He desires.
#3 – Some people will be ‘lost’ or ‘unsaved’.

Arminianism accepts #1 and #3, but rejects #2.
Calvinism accepts #2 and #3, but rejects #1.
Universalism accepts #1 and #2, but rejects #3.


Yes, that’s a good comparison. The first 2 premises make a good syllogism, too, a syllogism I have posted here before. But here it is again.

Premise 1: God desires all be saved.
Premise 2: God accomplishes what He desires.
Conclusion: All are saved.

Each of the premises is amply supported in the Bible.


Is your conclusion tantamount to “All have been saved”? An accomplished fact?
If so, that conclusion doesn’t follow logically from the two premises.
The conclusion “All either have been, are being, or will be saved” does follow.


Is this logical:

Premise 1: God desires all shall be saved through their freewill choice.
Premise 2: God accomplishes what He desires.
Conclusion: All shall be saved.


In my later versions of the syllogism, I use “All will be saved.” But what I meant in this version that you address, i.e., “All are saved,” is this.

One of the definitions of the word be (from Merriam-Webster) is “used with the past participle of some intransitive verbs as an auxilary forming archaic perfect tenses, such as ‘Christ is risen from the dead.’”

The word saved is a past participle. Also, the word save can be transitive, but it can also be intransitive, as it is in this case. So, I was intending to write as in an archaic perfect tense in using “All are saved.”

But as I said, I now use “All will be saved.”