Bob: ….back to my original question which wonders if actual hate is a precondition for love. Or if actual bondage is the necessary condition for freedom. Or if an actual jump off the cliff is necessary for freedom not to jump to be genuine.
Tom: I think it’s pretty clear that the only way to answer these in the affirmative is to posit an absolute metaphysical dualism, an irreducible contrast between God and Evil, light and darkness, love and hate, etc., right down the line; i…e, manichaeism. But I don’t see that such a metaphysic is compatible with a Christian worldview.
Bob: If we humans, due to our experience and reasoning capacity see that a free choice not to jump over the cliff is readily accessible (ie unstrained and unambiguous) so also we can find it readily accessible that knowing love, we should be able to comprehend where hate takes us without actually seeing that.
Tom: Now you seem to be arguing something different. Here you’re saying that in order for us to be free (in the libertarian sense, I’m guessing) with respect to X, the choice for ~X has to be “readily accessible.” And I agree. But this just means the “possibility” of ~X has to be real. But two paragraphs up you’re arguing that your original question wonders whether “actual” ~X is a precondition for actual X.
I agree that to be libertarianly free with respect to some choice, that the choice and the denial of said choice both have to be ‘possible’ (instantiable given all the relevant factors) states of affairs. But why should there have to be actual evil in order for there to be actual love? We’re not manichaeists after all, right?
Bob: It’s a journey we should be able to take anytime we want. This ability we have should also prepare us (well, not us but those who now reject Universalism) to be able to accept the likelihood of Universal Salvation. That is, the consequences of leaving God should be so apparent to us that this need not be actually experienced. But the reality is that they HAVE been experienced! Which means UR should be even MORE likely!
Tom: Gosh I want to understand your point! Arhghgh! ;o) But it keeps passing me by. What am I missing?
Bob: I’m saying then that the very fact that we are able (this far down the line since the fall) to reasonably comprehend hypothetical hatreds by knowing love, so also it should be easily imagined that hell is entirely empty; it’s purpose long since having been filled. (or at least being able to imagine that happening in the future…)
Tom: OK, I think I’m following ya. I’m not sure where the teeth are in the argument. Or rather, I’m not sure exactly what problem you’re trying to address. Let me see if I’m following ya:
First, you want to speak to the inability on the part of the majority to conceive of or imagine a universally redeemed and restored creation, where evil is utterly and absolutely vanquished. You think part of the reason why folks aren’t universalists is that they have such a limited capacity (theologically) to imagine ‘the possible’.
I agree this is a big part of the problem. We’re so conditioned by evil’s presence, and by tradition, and so many other things, that we find it hard to escape the gravitational pull of our own fallenness. We keep orbiting the same stunted, limited, dwarfed perceptions of what really is possible with God. And perhaps tradition and other things reinforce this so that we feel threatened when we come close to thinking about wandering beyond the limits of this orbit.
Second, you think that since we’re able to abstract out from ‘actual’ love and good and happiness to ‘possible’ hatred and evil that the same people who reject UR really ought to clearly see the advantage and beauty of imagining its truth because they so clearly conceive of its opposite. Is that it?