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?