Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Universal Salvation? Not the loving choice.

Hey again. Off to post some more.

Let's start today with my views on Universal Salvation. This view of  the Eschatological resolution of the sin problem has become more widespread in Evangelical circles in recent times. I recently read an article by one blogger that I'd found to be an amazing argument for this particular point of view. In it he basically said that, because Christ is Victor: because he was able to defeat death and sin by his resurrection, it would make sense if he were able to save everyone. What kind of victory would it be for God if he were only able to save a few people from sin? Universal salvation attests that God's victory over sin and death is absolute and therefore not one soul will be lost to the wiles of Satan.

This was the first argument for Universal Salvation that I've found to really be compelling. It's not a wishy washy, up with people version of Universalism, such as comes out of the mouths of too many in the Theistic world today. But I believe it still suffers from a significant oversight: the Love of God.
It doesn't seem obvious at first. What could be more loving for God to do then to save everyone out of his boundless love and unlimited grace? But it is precisely the love of God  that gave us free will, the ability to choose. Would a loving person respect the choices of someone who was free to choose? Even the wrong choices? Or would they force them through incessant, eternal appeals to succumb to what they considered the right choice?

    You might not agree with this characterization, but anyone who has had to skirt  the expectations and standards of their family, especially willful mothers, will know exactly what I mean. How painful it can be for loved ones not to respect your choices, but instead use that connection between the two of you to try to grind you into submission to their will through constant nagging. Is this the kind of thing that a loving God who believes in giving his children freedom to choose would do to them? I cannot imagine it. It seems to me that the greatest show of love God could ever make in light of his attributes and power is to respect our No when we make it.

But how, you  may ask, can we then consider God to truly be victorious over death and sin? How when so many are lost to its power? But I would argue there is great joy to be had when you realize that, because of his  choice to respect our freedom to choose, God could easily have lost every single one of us.

Now my idea for how the sin problem is solved would probably be considered  annihilationist. I believe that there will be some who are not saved because they choose not to be. I think that it might be harder to be lost than some surmise, but eventually our No will be accepted by God, and he will allow us to succumb to the wages of sin, which is death. A loving God would let us go if we chose it. That is what true love would do.

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