The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Gallery for Joel Green & Gregory MacDonald Dialogue

Discuss the dialogue between Joel Green and Gregory MacDonald (viewforum.php?f=21) here.

Hey, good idea, Qo!

Not much to discuss yet… :wink:

Anyone have any news on when the dialoguing will commence? I’m supposing that end-of-semester hectic-ness (hecticality… whatever) is the culprit.

Also, will someone who knows who “Gregory” really is be writing an introduction for him as well? (Dr. Green himself would seem to be the best choice for doing so. Details can be obscured or generalized for sake of maintaining “Gregory”'s secret identity, of course.)

I chose not to do a introduction on GM for the obvious reason. I’m not in favor of it and at this point will simply withhold that option unless GM should express a difference.

I’m not trying to be a pain but I don’t want any information slipping that might make him right in the radar.



and yes I’ve been in emails with JBG and GM and they are busy with school. We’re still hoping to get them on soon.


Just seconding the prayers for Dr. Green and his family and friends as he recuperates from his surgery.

I’ll ask for some help here.
(1)What does Gregory mean by “The elingtenment”?

(2) Dr. Green states

I’m a bit lost on this point. Can someone help me with these two questions.

Gregory’s statement in the discussion with Dr. Green, btw, was “A final thought: I sometimes wonder if the notions of freedom that we work with in such discussions are not more determined by the Enlightenment than the Bible.”

My guess (since Gregory hasn’t explained there precisely what he means), is that during the Enlightenment period, people were looking at religious freedom as freedom from many things, all of which could be labeled under “oppression by the church” I suppose. But then for some people, that would include freedom from believing in God at all. And, as is well known, a large part of that “freedom” involved freedom from ideas of divine judgment recognized by people (rightly or wrongly) to be diabolical in flavor.

One related strand of this concept of “freedom” would be the nominal (or even minimal) deism of the Enlightenment (some of which eventually shaded into cosmological God/Nature dualism, where not into outright atheism.) God creates Nature but then (aside from ‘mere’ providential upkeep perhaps) never interacts with Nature, leaving it alone to unfold according to the inherent ‘genius’ (in several senses of that word) of its design.

(Incidentally, the rebel angels of my series of fantasy novels tend to have a very similar idea about God. :wink: Not entirely the same, as they’re willing to affirm something that practically any deist would quickly deny, namely the Incarnation; but in their understanding the end-result of the Incarnation leaves them alone in a deistically set-up universe.)

Anyway, the point is that Biblical freedom has nothing at all to do with being free from God–if anything, that notion is identified with Satanic wishful thinking! And if such freedom is testified to in the scriptures, it would be annihilation, which wouldn’t be ‘freedom’ at all (since the annihilated person would cease to exist as a person, even if his remains were still around to be an object of loathing for the redeemed.) Incidentally, one annihilationist I was debating with in recent months ended up having to speculate, on this ground (since his annihilationism was based on God lovingly giving this “freedom” to sinners who insisted on it), that annihilated sinners continued existing anyway as persons after annihilation, so that they could benefit from the “freedom” (i.e. from God) that God had given them!

Those are my guesses as to what our Gregory was referring to, in regard to Enlightenment freedom. (Not that their ideas of freedom didn’t also include the notion of “being free to do things”; but the other notion of freedom seems to be what Gregory was thinking of.)

I think Dr. Green is asking, “But is one’s rejection or acceptance of “salvation” such a consciously reflective, cognitive event”? (As he puts it shortly afterward.) Based on his own recent studies (see his second point in that post), he would seem to doubt that much of what we do, including rejection or acceptance of salvation, is such a consciously reflective, cognitive event.

To the degree that our rejection of salvation isn’t such a consciously reflective, cognitive event, then we are “being sculpted” (in proportion that this isn’t such an event) “in [or perhaps by, rather] an environment that is itself not committed to the prayer that the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven” and so therefore we “will… be shaped in ways that do not reflect an orientation toward serving God’s redemptive agenda.”

In that case, and to that degree, our “salvation” would seem to be equally pre-or-subconscious, and (just as equally) not so much of a consciously reflective, cognitive event.

I suspect this line of thought is strongly linked to his point in the third paragraph, that just as people rarely consciously choose the bad results of intoxication etc., Dr. Green expects that people rarely consciously choose damnation per se–which is what he understands Gregory to be talking about.

I hope Gregory and Dr. Green will be able to continue their discussion for us eventually. :slight_smile: (And I’m occasionally praying for Dr. Green’s health and recovery, though not only for our purposes… :laughing: )