Others have argued for universalism from God’s omnipotence. Origen, declared, “For nothing is impossible to the Omnipotent, nor is anything incapable of restoration to its Creator” (On First Principles, 3.6.5). This, of course, implies that God desires by His goodness to do so, a position easily supported by many Scriptures (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 peter 3:9). But if God wants to save all, and he can save all (i.e., He is all-powerful), then it seemed to follow for Origen that he will save all.
Two points should be made in response. First, God’s attributes do not operate in contradiction to each other. God is internally consistent in His nature. This is why the Bible insists that “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). This is also the reason that God’s power must be exercised in accordance with His love. That is, God cannot do what is unloving. Second, as already demonstrated, it is unloving to force people to love Him. Forced love is a contradiction, and God cannot do what is contradictory. Love cannot work coercively but only persuasively. And if some refuse to be persuaded, as the bible says some will, then God will not coerce them into His kingdom. The Universalist would have God do exactly this by having God “condition sin” out of the wicked in the lake of fire.
This is a topic I’ve been writing about on facebook for several months now. I believe your OP is somewhat hard to grasp for us Universalist for many reasons. There are assumptions you make which many of us would not ascribe to nor endorse.
The Free will position often sets things up in ways which are not accurate.
If I have 3 children and they are born under my household. I am their father and I raise them and love them. Now can I say they really love me?
According to free will - NO!
For their choosing me requires that they be subjected to another Father who raises them poorly. Only after an equal amount of time with both of us will they will be able to make a free choice of which they want. If they choose me then they freely chose me and I can say I did not force them to love me. If they choose him then I can hate them and say they rejected their true father since they lived with both.
I simply do not believe the free will position is correct. And if determinism is correct, I don’t care.
What I love is that I love my children and they love me in return. I could care less that they’ve never been raised by another father in order to experience a “free” choice of love. I know they choose me and ONLY because I’ve raised them and loved them. They’re not experiencing another father is meaningless to me and therfore I see no reason to believe the following:
God CAUSING people to walk in his ways is hardly a violation of free will
God CAUSING people to keep his commandments hardly means they do not choose his ways.
God CAUSING people to love him hardly means love is meaninless. (for if it is then if/when you have children you should allow someone to raise them so they can either love your or not).
27"I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
If you say it is unloving for God to ‘force’ people love him (not that I agree that God does that), would you not also say it is unloving of God to force their submission? (which is, if I understand right, the way you interpret “every knee shall bow”).
p.s. I would still like to know what you mean by the phrase “condition sin out of people”
You accidentally double-posted John, so I deleted the extra one.
Also, it really isn’t necessary to repost the whole quote in follow-up. Especially if you’re only going to add a brief general comment (e.g. ‘loved that, great!’) afterward.
(Though on the other hand, I have to admit that someone doing this actually saved an original post from BA having been accidentally deleted once! We were able to restore it afterward by copying it back in toto.)
Maybe, but if so I was determined to have it by God (according to some people), so don’t blame me. I just do things, I don’t actually think about them, much less have any actual control over my behaviors. (Contemplation of what happens, among other controls over my behaviors, would require at least some freedom of the will. )
I believe God is completely Sovereign in everything He has done not because He has determined our every step but rather when our finite will is confronted by the infinite will, our will always loses to the infinite one and because God is love, we (God and all creation) win! God is all in all!
Much the same here, though I call it the principle of omnicompetency. Sooner or later, the house is going to win, because the house sets the rules. We’re entirely free to play within those rules, but sooner or later we’re going to go bankrupt. (And unlike a real casino, we aren’t free to cash in and quit whenever we’re temporarily ahead. )
This is practically the whole point to that place in the Psalm of Moses (Deut 32:34-39) where, after prophesying that Israel will fall away and become poisoned by the fruits of the nations–and after complaining about their pride, both in that they would do this and that they considered themselves inherently immune to such a fall in their righteousness–the Lord says, “Is it not laid up in store with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? Vengeance is Mine, and retribution!–in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them. For the Lord will vindicate His people (i.e. by the judgment of retributive vengeance upon them), when He sees that their strength (literally hand) is gone and there is (emphatically) none, bond or free. And He will say, Where are their gods, the rock in which they sought refuge? Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their libation? Let them rise up and help you, let them be your hiding place! See now that I, I am He, and there is no god beside Me! It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
For which the people are supposed to rejoice, that He will avenge the blood of His servants and have vengeance upon His adversaries–keeping in mind that much of the point of the preceding prophetic Psalm is that His own chosen servants will be His adversaries! The people are supposed to rejoice that God will even have vengeance on them, because God’s vengeance is directed toward the end of restoring fellowship. Similarly the nations are called to rejoice; and in the final day God will reconcile or make peace with His people (both Israel and the nations).
But of course, the people only rejoiced in that they would be avenged by God, and that God would have a vengeance of destruction (until there is emphatically nothing left of them, neither free nor even as slaves) on their enemies (i.e. those enemies of God over there). Historically, it was rare for the Jews to really understand the hope of the vengeance of God, until they themselves had fallen into the terrifying hand of the living God. Then they began to dimly see, sometimes in more fitful glares, that if God’s vengeance on them was actually hopeful, maybe so was God’s vengeance on those-over-there-not-Israel.
**Romans 11:30-33 **
Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
If Israel who was God’s chosen behaved in a worst way possible against God knowing who God was and yet Israel is saved regardless, then how much more are those who did not know God but acted out of ignorance saved!