The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Will there be 2nd edition of The Inescapable Love of God?

Dear Thomas,
I heard somehwere, I can’t remember where, that there might be a 2nd edition of your book sometime in the future. You may not want to comment on that here in this forum, but I thought I would give you the opportunity. Thank you so much for writing that book. I read it at the end of 2012 and it really opened my eyes to the possibilites for just how robust a case can be made for God’s purpose to restore all things. Thanks again…

It’s almost finished - I’ve proofread some of the pre-press drafts of the new sections :smiley:

Ohhhh! YOU! That’s not fair, Alex! (she wailed whiningly) :laughing:

:stuck_out_tongue: :laughing:

Great! I am so pleased to hear this! I want to know as soon as it is available. Do you know if there is going to be an ebook edition for the Kindle or the Nook? This is very exciting!

I will definitely let people know as soon as it’s available!

I asked him about it a few years ago & again about a month ago, so hopefully…

This is my first post on this site, so I thought it appropriate that it pertain to Mr. Talbott’s book The Inescapable Love of God. This was one of the first and best books I’ve read that defended Universalism from a philosophical point of view. Does anyone have any idea of what new things might be in the book? Perhaps a section where he answers his critics?

Hi Steve and welcome! :smiley:

I’m looking forward to the 2nd edition as well. Don’t know if Alex can give you a review or not at this point… :wink:

By the way, we would love to learn more about you and how you came to universalism, so tell us more with a post on the “introductions” section!

All the best,


Hello all,

Yes, there will definitely be a second edition of The Inescapable Love of God; and even though these things inevitably take longer than one might expect, it should be out sometime this year. Steve C. asked concerning “what new things might be in the book.” So as a partial answer to his question, I will here reproduce most of the Preface to the Second Edition, leaving out the required acknowledgements concerning previously published material reflected in the new edition.


Preface to the Second Edition

Because I am rarely satisfied with my own prose and often wish after publishing something that I had expressed myself more clearly as well as in greater detail, I have revised this book substantially in its second edition. In addition to minor stylistic changes throughout and a host of new footnotes, major revisions include:

• An additional chapter entitled “Predestination unto Glory,” which is now Chapter 12 of this revised edition;
• Four new sections in previously existing chapters:[list]o A section entitled “The Rich Man and Lazarus” in Chapter 6 Eschatological Punishment;
o A section entitled “Concerning the Evidential Argument” in Chapter 10 Omnipotence and Evil;
o A section entitled “Two Very Different Images: The Lake of Fire and the Outer Darkness” in Chapter 11 God, Freedom, and Human Destiny;
o A section entitled “The Problem of Evil: Some Further Reflections” in Chapter 13 (formerly Chapter 12) Love’s Final Victory;[/list:u]• Substantially updated arguments elsewhere in the chapters just cited and in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 as well.
Updated arguments include, among other things, a response to Douglas J. Moo’s rather fantastic effort to explain away Paul’s use of “all” in Romans 5:18 and elsewhere, a further response to his fallacious inference that “the deliberately worded v. 17 [of Rom. 5] . . . makes it clear that only certain people derive the benefits from Christ’s act of righteousness,” a response to Anthony C. Thiselton on the correct translation of 1 Corinthians 15:4 and its relevance to the universalism of verses 20-28, and a response to Michael Murray’s quandary about the purpose of an earthly life on the assumption that universalism is true. Elsewhere I have also made relatively minor revisions in an effort to achieve greater clarity and precision—as, for instance, where a few added sentences in Chapter 7 and a reference to Romans 11:16 enabled me to nail down much more forcefully, I hope, the inclusive nature of election, as Paul himself understood it. But new material is never easy to incorporate smoothly into an existing work and often requires both additions and subtractions in other parts of the work. So I can only hope that the end product here benefits from greater clarity and precision without having become more convoluted and pedantic than the original.


Behind all of these [omitted] writings, taken as a group, lies my own conviction that St. Paul’s pre-philosophical understanding of God’s all-pervasive grace provides a perfectly clear picture of how free will, indeterminism, and even sheer chance, if you will, could fit into a predestinarian scheme in which a glorious end for each of us is ultimately inescapable. That God’s grace is utterly irresistible over the long run now seems to me the best interpretation of Pauline theology, as a majority of theologians in the West have always insisted. But when I say that this grace is “irresistible over the long run,” I in no way endorse the view that God himself causally determines every event that occurs, whether it be the change of state of a radium atom, a dog’s leaping this way rather than that while romping in the yard, or the rational choice of an independent free agent. For as I now argue more fully in Chapter 12, God has no need to control our individual choices in order to checkmate each of us in the end; he need only permit us to experience the very condition of separation that we sometimes confusedly choose for ourselves. So even though we are indeed free to resist God’s grace for a season, perhaps even for a substantial period of time, that very resistance will at some point produce an irresistible means of grace; hence, no one, I argue, is free to resist that grace forever (see Chapter 12 for the details).

Accordingly, however tragically mistaken a majority of theologians in the West have been about the limited extent of God’s grace in Pauline theology, they have nonetheless been quite right, in my opinion, about its irresistible nature over an indefinitely long period of time. In Part II of this second edition, I thus continue to argue on exegetical grounds that, according to Paul and the New Testament as a whole, the entire human race was unconditionally elected in Jesus Christ; and in Part III, I supplement these exegetical arguments with some additional exegetical arguments not included in the first edition and with a more complete philosophical discussion of human freedom and its essential role in the process whereby God reconciles the entire human race to himself.

Whoa! Nice. :smiley: We are all chomping at the bit here, Tom. Thanks for the lovely tidbit and now we’re only starving for more and compelled to wait for an indeterminate period of time – but that’s okay. We’ll hold on . . . Don’t worry about us . . . . :wink:

Have been meaning to get a copy of Inescapable Love soon – great news on the 2nd edition likely being out this year! Along with Robin’s book he’s editing on Christian Platonism and Deep Church Rising, lots of good reading to look forward to.