This would have to be my debut post outside of the introduction area.
Determinism played a large part in bringing me to a Universalist frame of mind… not to mention the surprise to find so many verses that I overlooked prior to seriously considering Universalism. Questions that led me to determinism were developed from an attempt to reconcile Arminianism and Calvinism. I grew up an Arminian more or less, believing in libertarian freewill and found Cavlinism rather repulsive. Yet Calvinism had many strong verses in support of it, which actually in the end also helped lead me to Universalism.
Exploring the title:
The cause and effect concept within determinism led me to these questions - Why would I chose God over my neighbour? Why would anyone not chose God if He is so desirable? What would be the deciding factor? Am I subject to this factor and my neighbour is not? Apparently so, therefore why is my factor different from the other guy’s? We were made all in the image of God weren’t we? Different, yes, but could God create someone in His image that would never have that factor of being His image? I mean, could God actually create/intend someone who is permanently evil and then call them His image? Maybe Adam was originally made in God’s image and then turned bad? But God called His creation good, therefore how can something that is good become bad? It must have been bad or not made completely good if it had potential to be bad.
On the same lines of thought. If a certain cause has an effect, then wouldn’t that effect reflect what the cause determined it to be? If the effect was not determined by the cause then it must have been a random consequence. However, I believe that our lives are not random, we are beings with certain natures. God being the Creator or first Cause, our natures must have come from God. If God is a consistent God, being the same yesterday today and forever, then wouldn’t He be consistent? Or alternatively does He have random effects emulating from Him as He created the world and us therein? Was He in control, or was He trying to control the chaos He Himself created?
Hence I cannot see how God would create anyone in His image and leave them forever contrary to His nature. As mentioned before, If God is the cause of this world and the world is the effect, then it must ultimately reflect who He is. If cause and effect is not true and therefore causes are not predictable, then how is there any reliable thinking or doing. We would be mere random creatures loosely firing our ever changing wills. Not only us, but God too. Observing “reality” would suggest that things are not so random, there is at least some uniformity.
Therefore I don’t believe anything is ever completely random. Random is only a word for incalculable complexity.
To further explore these ideas, Christ must have been plan A and not plan B. Genesis chapter 1 verse 1-a obviously states “In the beginning God”… thus everything in existence stems from Him and follows that we are made in His image. Everything in reality is the fullest expression of God with the cross being the pinnacle. I believe that God created good and evil as it says in Isaiah or wherever it is. God needed to demonstrate that He is anti-evil and pro good. With that being His “Character” or “Nature”, it HAS to be expressed. The very nature of good will always be ultimately more powerful than evil, because God is good. Love will conquer its enemies, and evil is necessary for the expression of true love. How does it profit to only love those who love us? Christ showed us higher way and that is to love our enemies. Christ’s example on the cross demonstrated and showed us the way to salvation… die to self and come humbly before God.
Coming back to creation being “good”. Even when it had the capacity and surety to be “bad”, I perceive life to be about a journey of seeking and therefore finding God through the many different contexts and paths we take. And God is the author. Some of us find Him sooner than others, but I believe that ultimately all people must become reconciled to God, due to us being made in His image.
Are there any other hard determinists here? Personally I would find it hard to be a Universalist if I were not a determinist. I humbly think that it would be impossible to predict universalism if Freewill was involved. I mean, with Freewill we could change our minds from each moment to the next. Unless God knows the future. Then again, if He has seen the future then it must be solidified and therefore has all ready happened/determined?