, Peter Gurry"]What does it mean that Christians should hope that universalism is true? This sort of “universalists have the moral high ground” argument seems to come up again and again in this discussion. I don’t really get it. What exactly is the nature of this supposedly virtuous hope in universal reconciliation? Is it the kind of hope I have about Christ’s return? Or the kind of hope that my kids will grow up and turn out all right? I’ve been wondering along with James Smith whether we’re not falling prey to a kind of hubris in suggesting that a hopeful universalism has the moral high ground. As Smith says, “…even our wishes, hopes, and desires need discipline.” At what point in this “hopeful” universalism are we in danger of saying we know a better ending to the story than God does? This uncomfortable question really needs to be asked by those who use this kind of rhetoric.
Also, people have got to stop citing Lewis’s Great Divorce as any kind of support for post-mortem second-chances. As N.D. Wilson (who’s currently writing the screenplay adaptation) rightly points out, “And, of course, Lewis put the universalist George MacDonald in Heaven and made him watch the unrepentant damned get back on the bus to Hell. A little wink and gloat at one of his favorite authors.”
If Lewis meant The Great Divorce to be any kind of argument for second chances he failed miserably. Every one in the story who visits the outskirts of heaven returns to hell whence they came. Lewis is making a point about the after life, but it is not that folks will change their minds once they get there. Quite the reverse, in fact. He is making the point that our trajectory upon exiting this life continues on into the next. I’d say Robin has been too busy to answer him, so would someone like to help?