As though I don’t have enough to do right now (including catching up on posts here at the EU forum eventually…! ), I somewhat foolishly entered into a discussion set up by my friend Dr. Victor Reppert at his “Dangerous Idea” blog.
For those who don’t know, the DangIdea title (as I like to fondly abbreviate it) refers to Victor’s book promoting theistic arguments from reason, especially the attempt made by C. S. Lewis. (On which Victor is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts; and of which I have more than a little experience and skill myself. ) The site’s title doesn’t refer to any other topic, including the one of this discussion. But Victor is a professor who, aside from students, has a wide range of associates and likes to bring up things for discussion.
He is also, soteriologically, an Arminian (more-or-less of the Lewisian kind)–or a 2-and-a-half point Calvinist (maybe 3-1/2), as he sometimes applies the popular joke. So once a year or so, he will start a round of discussion on Calv vs. Arm soteriology (with a nod to universalism thrown in.) Thomas Talbott and I sometimes show up for such discussions; and the remarks from popular Calvinist internet apologist Steve Hays which Gene (Auggy) is currently commenting on, over here on the forum, come from one such lengthy thread at DangIdea a couple of years ago.
Several days ago, Victor posted a brief point-for-discussion here at DangIdea: the key question being, does God love those He ‘reprobates’? (Particularly in the Calvinist sense of that word.)
Steve Hays from Triablogue has been gamely replying, both in the comments and a little more extensively here at Triablogue. Steve, and fellow Triabloguist Paul Manata, have continued the current yearly Calvinist discussion with Victor in subsequent posts, though not specifically in regard to the main post I’m referring to here. This subsequent post, for example, although having some obvious topical relevance, “was not meant to function as a rebuttal to Victor’s question: ‘Does God love the reprobate?’, but, rather, to offer an argument against his public position. That is, if he holds to (traditional/exhaustive) omniscience, an eternal hell, and the purpose of the hell being rehabilitative, then I think he has a means-end rationality problem for God.” [Paul Manata, private correspondence, gladly posted with his permission] (Relatedly, Lewis believed both in a rehabilitative purpose of hell and also in final perdition for some souls. Victor, as a student of Lewis’ theology, has been exploring the question of hell’s rehabilitative purpose for years.)
On the other hand, a frequent Arminian proponent (possibly an annihilationist; I can’t recall, or exactly figure out from his comments so far) by the nom-de-plume “Ilíon” has been the main commenter for one kind of Arminian soteriology. (The kind given by absolutely honest Arminians who know what they’re talking about, as he puts it.)
I’m currently fencing both (neither one has engaged the other at this point); with a healthy smattering of commentary from other proponents of what may be all three sides so far.
The thread is quite interesting to follow (and I don’t mean merely my comments ), if a little… testy, on the part of some participants. (Not that I blame them; I get a little testy myself toward the end of my reply to Steve here , with pickups from the previous comment post.)
Steve, along the way, provides links to two articles (one a recent journal post by Paul Helm, an educated and well-read Calvinist, retired professor; and one a late-1940s paper presented by committee to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, with minority report commentary and critique) as two examples of how “Calvinists have come down on this subject (i.e. about whether God loves and seeks the salvation of all men.)” In his own blog post, Steve adds a third example (which I haven’t read through yet, being busy enough just keeping up with my sides of the discussion.)
Since my most recent set of replies to Steve Hays will easily run over Blogger’s new 4096 character comment limiter, I have decided to move them here instead, with an invitation to Steve to continue with posts on Triablogue if he cares to and has the time. (If not either way, that’s certainly okay; and I ask readers here to remember that any lack of reply from either of us should not be taken as admission of defeat or anything like that. Life goes on and other things ought to be done.)