I’ve assigned myself the longterm task of trying to capture important ideas relating to UR in short, column length essays. They’re not really “essays” per se but are slightly longer than the simple, paragraph response. Or, heaven forbid, the Tweet length statement! (which I find REALLY encourages sweeping generalizations and hasty impulsive inanities… just my take!) The sort of thing one finds in a Newspaper in the “opinion & commentary” section…
So these are generally about 500 to 750 words in length.
For me it’s a great way to try and wrestle with the theology and build coherent ways of expressing what I/we believe…
So here’s another brief essay.
Any comments/impressions are welcome!
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times…
Besides, love not being the sort of thing that is forceable anyway, God desires freely given devotion and worship.
And this of course plays straight in to the explanation of so many Christian believers who deny the reality of Universal Reconciliation. God respects our “freedom” to reject Him; Hell’s door is locked from the inside – by the sinner; God’s sovereignty is limited by the free choices of those who part company with Him.
God’s unwillingness then to use force to accomplish His purposes can in essence be seen as the cause of God’s limited victory over sin and death. For surely death is not really destroyed if there remain those who’ve chosen it for eternity. Death remains in effect, it remains their reality forever, if God is forced by His gentlemanly rules of engagement to let these choices stand.
Thus for the believer in ECT, or in annihilation, God is bound by His own insistence to eschew force in His endeavors to convict and save us. God’s impotence in this particular instance is thus unmasked.
For the Universalist however, this dynamic is far from necessary or clear. For there are, quite simply, realities about God that do not rise or fall on the sinners ability to grasp them. Thus God is love; whether or not the sinner is able to comprehend this. Further, God has, and has always had, the very best interest of the sinner at heart. The fact that the sinner profoundly misunderstands these truths about God reflect nothing of these actual realities about God.
The barriers then to the proper apprehension by the sinner of God’s real self are not the mark of freedom at all; instead they are the mark of the sinners illusions. A sinners inability to grasp and respond to the true nature of God and His sustaining love is not in any way a mark of his freedom. Rather, it is the measure of his delusion and depravity. For to see God as against us is truly delusional and irrational.
But God need not obligate Himself to cater to such delusions forever. For this places God in the impossible predicament of allowing to stand the very delusions and miscomprehension and degeneracy from which no sinner was ever able to extract himself.
And this is the precise place where God is not only allowed to exercise force to effect the sinners salvation, but obligated to do so by His mercy and love. It is from this prison of misapprehension that Jesus claimed He had come to free us. God simply will not, does not, leave the sinner imprisoned in all his depraved and false perceptions. For any “choice” against God that is rooted in such ignorance, stubborn as it may be, is not free at all; it is instead the epitome of bondage.
And to rescue us from this condition God can and will do anything He must – including the use of force – so that our choices are properly informed by reality and untethered by the horrible determinism of sin.