Reply to William Lane Craig
At the following URL: reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6765, William Lane Craig explains why, in his opinion, those suffering in hell forever need not undermine the blessedness of the redeemed in heaven. He writes:
Here Craig makes a two-fold claim. So I’ll take up his first claim now and take up the second claim in a subsequent post.
According to Craig’s first claim, I have assumed “without justification that the redeemed in heaven do know that some persons are damned” forever. But strictly speaking, as a universalist who rejects the idea of eternal damnation altogether, I could hardly make any such assumption as that. Neither have I ever denied that God could, if he so desired, damn some of my own loved ones even as he renders me blissfully ignorant of this fact. Could I not experience great joy, for example, at the very moment that my daughter is being raped, tortured, and murdered? Of course I could–provided, of course, that I remain wholly ignorant of what is happening to her. But why suppose that such blissful ignorance would qualify as true blessedness at all, or even as an objectively worthwhile form of happiness? Not all forms of happiness, after all, are equally worthwhile. If I should be happy while acting immorally, or if I should delight in the sufferings of others, then my happiness would hardly qualify as true blessedness in the Christian sense. So the issue finally boils down to this: Just what are the conditions of true blessedness? I contend that, according to the Christian religion, true blessedness is precisely the kind of happiness that God himself enjoys: It can literally endure forever, it requires a heart filled with love for others, and it must be able to survive, even as God’s own happiness does survive, a complete disclosure of truth about the universe. Jesus himself put it this way: “you shall know the truth, and the truth [not blissful ignorance and not an elaborate deception] shall make you free (Jn. 8:32). But it is almost as if Craig wants him to say: “You shall not know the truth, and your blissful ignorance shall preserve your happiness even in the face of terrible tragedy.”
Craig does not, I should perhaps point out, claim that God will in fact keep the redeemed in a state of blissful ignorance; he claims only that this is a genuine possibility, one that will suffice to defeat my own argument. But I see no reason to think it even logically possible that a God of truth and of love would do such a thing.
Any comments? Would keeping the redeemed in heaven blissfully ignorant really be an act of mercy, as Craig suggests?