UR follows from this definition of sin


#1

Here is yet another avenue to the conclusion of Universal Restoration. This came to me as I discussed the nature of sin with a colleague who thinks the notion of UR is ridiculous.

Here’s how it evolves. My friend asserts that sin is “depriving God of our worship, fellowship, and companionship.” And, while I don’t go nearly so far as to say (neither does he) that God somehow “needs” us in order to BE God, I think if we come from the question “Why did God create we humans?” a very appropriate answer would be something like “that we might enjoy communion with Him for eternity” – or – “that they might worship and enjoy Me in fullness of Love forever” – or something like that.

So in a sense, God created us with the expectation of something in return. Something like the return of our free worship. Not that God “needs” this but that, as His creation, that’s how we best function. It is God extending the fellowship and relationship of the eternal love and relationship that is the Trinity out into His creation. It’s a love that turns outward; a love that grows and expands and is constrained by nothing. And so here we are; caught up in the grand sweep and panorama that is God’s love. We’re here because God wants us to enjoy Him forever.

Now it seems to me that few should have trouble with this; we already know that law only services love, and that acts from the heart are valued more than rote acts done to earn God’s approval. Thus sin is more than just breaking the law… So, I really find it instructive to conceive of sin as depriving God of that which is His; our free worship and companionship. Not that God is made more or less by our response, but rather we see a God who takes “risks” (via free will) which are inherent in love (ie love rendered from force or determinism is rather meaningless) and sticks with His creation until they come to “see the light” so-to-speak.

OK – if one is able to accept this set-up, we move to the bible where God promises that sin will be no more. Therefore, if sin is depriving God of relationship with Him, and sin will be no more, it follows that relationship with all His creation will be restored!

(Of course it is a rather delicious irony that my friend, who derides and detests UR, provides me with yet another logical path to UR.)

Does this idea hold up for you too?

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#2

I think this follows through. The response could be something like, “Well if God’s creative purpose was to have free creatures come to know and love Him, then God must provide an option which ultimately does not end with us worshipping Him, as without this alternative the decision is not truly free”.

This reply doesn’t really work on the UR thesis laid out by Gregory though, as there is no point at which a decision must be made by (such as death) - someone can choose to reject God for as long as they like before freely choosing to worship Him.

I’ve never really replied to you before Bob - but do know I’ve been reading and appreciating your thoughts. :slight_smile:


#3

Well, I don’t know if I’d call sin a simple deprivation of God’s desire perhaps so much as an active rejection of Him and some kind of hurt or violence being done to His Spirit. I wouldn’t say those who don’t know about Him yet would love Him if they knew Him are thus sinning in that regard because they’re depriving Him of His desire. I would say, however, that an active rejection of Him is sin.

However, any definition of sin would work here, I think. Even if you called a mere rejection of the gospel truth as sin (which is stated numerous times in scripture and held by most of Christianity, although we mustn’t confuse that with a rejection of a false gospel or one in the wrong context), in fact as the sin even, then if it is true that sin is abolished in the end, then everyone will be saved, for they will believe the saving gospel. Heck, I’d say that it might work for any interpretation of sin, if sin is defined as the only thing keeping us from God.

Now, you also must have a strong argument for sin being abolished. I’m pretty sure there are those who believe that people will be sinning in hell - although that may be a mere layman’s view and nothing official - but you have to be ready for people using any escape hatch to get out of the implications of universalism.

I don’t think, however, that people sinning for an endless amount of time would jive well with God placing absolute judgment upon sin, though… and this is just where the clincher is. If God completely judges sin and annihilates it, we are left with two options really, aren’t we?

A) the sinner is destroyed with the sin, assuming of course that there is nothing left of them but sin (a questionable theory), or
B) the sinner’s sin has been removed from them.

In the case of B), what’s to keep them from then being with God? Especially if he longs for everyone to believe, be saved and experience his love.

Now that I think about it, though, it seems there are a good many people who believe that those in hell will simply continue to sin forever (in the sense of rejecting God) and that God seems to have no qualms with this scenario regardless of his sovereign goodness. Even C.S. Lewis espoused this idea, and triumphed the idea of hell as a tourniquet to stop the endless bleeding caused by sin. This is God’s answer, it is said, for people who irrationally rebel against God for their entire existence.

However, another tack can be taken with this line of thought.


#4

Excellent point stel ren!!

Being raised to be an annihilationist though, it was said sin was no more because recalcitrant sinners had been annihilated; sin was not “continuing” then in the form of sinners experiencing ECT. So that’s why this particular definition has certain appeal to me. Not to hang my entire belief in UR on this one tiny hook, it is a hook nonetheless.

It yet amazes me how many take the path that God, to be rid of sin, simply gets rid of the sinners – instead of healing them! A healed sinner has, it seems to me, many many advantages over an annihilated or eternally tortured sinner.

TotalVictory
Bobx3

Oh – and thanks Chris - Qoh