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TRUTH AS I SEE IT – W.F. SALTER

“Does God not love His enemies, even as He has taught us to love ours? If He fails to reconcile even one, must it not be due to a lack of love, or of power? These qualities find their source in Him! So of a certainty He shall bring circumstances to bear which shall ultimately cause all to know, with understanding, His great love manifested in the gift of His Son, and this in turn shall fill each heart with adoration and love, and praise to God.

When God’s plans for the ages of time (eonian times) have been accomplished, every experience of man will, under the guidance of His wisdom, work together with every other experience for man’s highest ultimate good, and thus redound to God’s honour and glory.”
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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quote:
"Tradition has taught that God will not save a person against their will. I agree. However He has the power to orchestrate whatever circumstances are necessary to effect one’s will to change."


But when? It's obvious that many die in a state of "enslaved minds and wills," as one of your sources notes. Unless one assumes a possibility for conversion after death, it would seem that one would be "stuck" with this enslavement in the afterlife.
quote:
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven--through a purification or immediately,-- or immediate and everlasting damnation. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 1021-1022)

Of course, Catholicism also affirms the existence of Purgatory, which is a state that allows for the transformation of those who have not so completely rejected God as to be unresponsive to the graces bestowed from the prayers of the faithful.

But the main point, here, is that the traditional understanding is that one cannot do anything to help oneself after death. The mold has been cast, as it were. Scripture also makes it clear that no one who has rejected God completely is to be excused.
quote:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Rm. 1:18-20.

God is merciful, as the universalist affirms, but God is also just, as Scripture affirms. God's intent that all be saved can indeed be thwarted by sinful resistance. This doesn't invalidate the doctrine of omnipotence (God can do what God wishes), but demonstrates that God so respects the freedom of creatures that He allows us to experience the consequences of its misuse.

- - -

You might enjoy this discussion on an Orthodox forum.
- http://www.orthodoxchristianit...ex.php?topic=26748.0

Fr. Aidan is very good in laying out the options.
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Report This Post
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Why I believe that the Bible teaches that everyone who is cast into the lake of fire which is the second death will be saved out of it.

Greek scholar William Barclay wrote concerning kolasis aionion (age-during corrective chastisement) in Matthew 25:46
"The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. There is no instance in Greek secular literature where kolasis does not mean remedial punishment. It is a simple fact that in Greek kolasis always means remedial punishment. God's punishment is always for man's cure."

See what other Greek scholars say about it too.
AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS – Louis Abbott
http://www.tentmaker.org/books/asw/Chapter11.html

Fifteen literally translated (not interpretively translated) Bibles that reveal what God will do with the sinners in Matthew 25:46
Concordant Literal, Young’s literal, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Rotherham’s Emphasized, Scarlett’s, J.W. Hanson’s New Covenant, Twentieth Century, Ferrar Fenton, The Western New Testament, Weymouth’s (unedited), Clementson’s, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Bullinger’s Companion Bible margins, Jonathan Mitchell’s translation (2010).

Regarding the meaning of aionios, many Greek scholars agree with John Wesley Hanson.
AIÓN – AIÓNIOS
http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.shtml

Dean Hough wrote “The definition given in THE VOCABULARY OF THE GREEK TESTAMENT (edited by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan) is helpful. Concerning aionios we read, “In general, the word depicts that of which the horizon is not in view . . .” (p.16). If the horizon of the extermination spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is simply not in view, then we can see that what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:22 can truly occur. The same all who are dying in Adam, which includes some who incur eonian extermination, can indeed eventually be vivified in Christ.
The Bible, in fact, does not speak of judgment and condemnation, death and destruction, hades and Gehenna, or any of these serious consequences of sin, as unending. It may refer to them as not having the end in view, but none of these fearful works of God can keep Him from achieving His will (1Tim.2:4); reconciling all through the blood of Christ’s cross (Col.1:20, and becoming All in all (1 Cor.15:28).”
Dean Hough

SEE

THE SCHOLARS CORNER THE CENTER FOR BIBLE STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN UNIVERSAL SALVATION
http://www.tentmaker.org/ScholarsCorner.html
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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Hi Rodger,

I too considered the universalist position for some time. Hell just scared the Hell out of me and I really didn't want it to be an eternal reality.

I, with Phil, have sympathy for your position as it tries to uphold the Love and Sovereignty of God above all. But I think in doing so you fall prey to the same mistakes Calvin made that lead him to believe that some people are predestined to Hell. Free Will simply cannot be abandoned, not for predestination to Hell and not for universalism either.

The problem with your approach is that it relies too heavily on lexical work with regards to Greek words. But you've stripped that lexical work from the context of the Church and her Tradition out of which the text itself came.

I'd urge you to consider this article on the website Called to Communion, in which the author addresses the problem between the lexical approach and the approach of Tradition.
 
Posts: 715 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 12 August 2005Report This Post
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The only choice that anyone can make is to choose what they prefer THE MOST. It is not even possible to make any other choice. Consequently, there is no such a thing as "free" will.

Here's the way that James Coram puts it.
"In any certain moment, either we have a given preference (and consequently effect a corresponding choice and action) or we do not. We cannot have a new preference while our old preference still exists. Nor can we make a new choice while we still have an old preference. For the act of choosing is merely the exercise of existing preference.

Albert Einstein put it this way “I do not at all believe in human freedom in the popular philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only from external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. A man’s actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that he cannot be responsible [i.e., able to act otherwise], any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motion it undergoes."

My own quote.
"After due deliberation we always make the choice that our combined reasonings and feelings (i.e. preferences and desires) convince us is the choice that we prefer and desire the MOST.
The fact that we choose it demonstrates that we prefer and desire it the MOST, or we would have made some other choice instead."

I believe that after our resurrection from the dead God will eventually somehow transform every second of everyone's suffering into something better that it happened.
That includes both the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as what the Bible calls "kolasis aionion" which means age-during corrective chastisement that everyone who needs it will experience.

I believe that God will eventually fit every unique individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.
Then, after God has finished using evil and suffering for the reasons why He allowed them to temporarily exist, He will eradicate them from existence.

I believe that God has both the ability and the intention to save all fallen creatures from everything from which they need to be saved, and He will not fail to do so.
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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Here is how Ray Prinzing puts it:

TIME, ETERNITY AND GOD – REDEMPTION’S GLORY – RAY PRINZING

“Modern theology has so long circumvented our thinking and teaching to the biased idea that God will save only part of His creation and so limited His redemptive powers that we have forgotten that with God all things are possible and shall be wrought out in due time. God has a definite schedule for saving His creatures, and there is nothing that can withstand His purpose.

Sin was allowed for wise ends, and only after these have been secured will sin cease to exist. It is all a part of God’s purpose of the ages and redemption’s glory will only shine out the more after the plan’s execution. God never allows sin to go beyond His transforming power. God always has everything under perfect control.”

THE MAGNITUDE OF REDEMPTION – RAY PRINZING

“ ‘And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.” 1John 4:14.
‘Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come into a knowledge of the truth’ 1Tim. 2:4.

This is not a pitting of man’s will against the will of God as some try to teach, with man’s will able to resist and hold out until God cannot change him, but must throw him into some eternal cesspool to be tormented. NAY – for we read that ‘He is working out all things after the counsel of His own will,’ and man cannot disannul that which HE has willed. It is God’s will that all shall come to Christ. He is the propitiation for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. Why then shall we be so foolish as to dispute the immutability of His truth?”

THE INTERPLAY OF GOOD AND EVIL – RAY PRINZING

“God is sovereign, and He controls all the interaction of evil and good, and causes all to redound to His own glory. It is not – what was lost by the fall was to be regained by redemption, BUT by the interaction of FALL AND REDEMPTION, God achieves greater, wiser, nobler, and higher goals for everyone than by the Adamic race remaining in its pristine state.

Evil and good are synchronized to accomplish God’s will and purpose, so that the ultimate goal shall reveal all evil transformed back into good, and all negation cancelled out by GOOD. Evil is allowed for wise ends, and when these are secured it must cease to exist, for God will restore all things into good. HE controls all the interaction between evil and good until His purpose of the ages is fulfilled. Then shall God be All in all.”

DIVINE INWORKINGS – ALL IN ALL – RAY PRINZING

“We would not minimize the judgments of God, but the more the spirit of revelation unfolds the truth, the more we see God’s judgments in proper perspective, that they are remedial, corrective in their nature and used to bring forth a state of righteousness. They shall not be executed in unholy vengeance, for MERCY shall balance the score. God’s judgments are ever tempered with mercy, and when they have fulfilled their purpose, the judgments end. Mercy will outlast all the judgments, and will rejoice in the ultimate restoration of all that was perverted, corrupt, and evil.
Mercy can operate on the basis of justice because Christ has gathered the whole into His own heart, and suffered to reconcile all to Himself.”
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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quote:
The only choice that anyone can make is to choose what they prefer THE MOST. It is not even possible to make any other choice. Consequently, there is no such a thing as "free" will.

This doesn't ring true with my experience. Sometimes I am confronted with several options, among which I have various degrees of preference. To say that I will always end up choosing the one I prefer the most in all cases is simply a truism, and implies nothing about free-will.

Why?

Because if I make my decision after careful deliberation, then I obviously choose that preference because I value it more than the others. It does not mean I could not have chosen any of the others. Indeed, without careful deliberation, it's likely that I would have chosen differently -- out of habits of mind and will, as it were.

The clearest exercise of free-will is in making value-informed sacrifices. We prefer one option, but choose another more difficult one instead for a long-term good. Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane reflects this kind of choice. Parents make it all the time, getting up in the night to care for their crying babies.

What ironic, Roger, is that in denying free-will, you end up regarding humans as nothing more than smart mammals. Theologically, you also affirm predestination, for if we have no will, we have nothing to say about our salvation. I can see why it would be so important for you to affirm universalism.

As a Catholic, I consider these to be settled issues, the contrary opinions of biblical scholars, theologians and philosophers notwithstanding. All in all, I think St. Maximus put it best: "One should pray that Apokatastasis is true, but one would be foolish to teach it as doctrine."
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Report This Post
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Of course we have a will.
But we will always, without exception, choose what we prefer THE MOST.
It is not even possible to make any other choice.

Even in the case of the apostle Paul, his frustration was that,
regretfully, he sometimes preferred sinning. The fact that he actually chose sinning demonstrated that, at least momentarily, he preferred it, or he would not have chosen it. It is what we actually do that demonstrates our true preference. We can say we don't prefer it, but our actions speak louder than words.

Sometimes Paul's sinful nature was the strongest influence in his life.
Romans 7:14-25 makes it plain that in no way was Paul’s will “free.”

But the Spirit of God taught Paul through experiences that in those times that “the sin that dwelt within him” (v20) preferred sinning; he could then reach out to Jesus for rescue. This God-taught attitude gradually, and no doubt reflexively, became the strongest influence on Paul’s will in his war with his sinful nature.

“God is a despot. Paul in Ephesians 1:11, speaks of ‘the purpose of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will.’ Yes, God exercise a despotic sway over the whole universe, but we are thankful for this because He is Love. Though He will brook no opposition to the furtherance of His purpose, He is never a tyrant. When He inflicts evil upon any, it is always in order that good may follow. His sovereign will is the ultimate salvation and blessing of all, that He may be All in all.

For all creation in its need,
The future is engraved
In words of life, for all to read,
‘In grace shall you be saved.’

Let every mental conflict cease,
Let every barrier fall,
For grace removes each bar to peace
Till Thou art All in all.

O God, how glorious is Thy grace!
How radiantly divine!
It stretches out its wide embrace,
To make all creatures Thine.

When God is All in all, the whole creation will have become His achievement, and every member will be a beneficiary of His OVERWHELMING GRACE.”
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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The reason we know that everyone will eventually be saved is because God “will have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4)
It is God’s “pleasure” that all mankind be saved.
And “God is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

Change it to read “in accord with the counsel of what He wants” if you like.
Because God says
"My counsel shall stand.
I will do all my pleasure
(the saving of all mankind is part of the pleasure that God wants)
Yea I have spoken it.
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it.
I will also do it."
Isaiah 46:10,11

Job 23:13 “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him?
He does whatever he pleases.
(the saving of all mankind is part of what He wants that pleases Him).

Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(the saving of all mankind is part of all of which God desires or wants)

So we see God does all His pleasure, He does whatever He pleases, and His word accomplishes that which He desires.
His pleasure, that which He desires and pleases Him is what He wants.

His will = What He wants
What does He want?
THE SALVATION OF ALL MANKIND
Why will it happen?
Because God Himself will see to it that it gets done.
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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quote:
Of course we have a will.
But we will always, without exception, choose what we prefer THE MOST.
It is not even possible to make any other choice.

"Prefer" in what sense, Roger? Emotional? Intellectual? And I'm still not following why this supposedly negates the freedom of the will.

Choosing between options is a matter of intellect and will. Generally, it is informed by values, and how they pertain to a particular circumstance. That people generally choose what they prefer most says nothing about freedom of the will per se, but that we exercise choice for what we perceive to be the most agreeable, or pleasurable, or expedient, etc. Why would we not do so? But this generalization does not invalidate the process by means of which the preferential choice was arrived at, that process entailing the exercise of the mind and will to discriminate among options.

I should also note that your argument, here, is based on the unproveable assumption that people will always choose what they prefer most, which is dubious, as I noted above, and also that this somehow disproves free-will -- also a dubious point.

- - -

Also, Roger you proof-text in your use of Scripture, choosing only passages that prove your point while ignoring the many other references to Hell, including those spoken by Jesus.
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Report This Post
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Addenda: ultimately, the denial of human freedom presents a tremendous theodicical problem, for it would seem, then, that without freedom, then humans bear no responsibility for the evil deeds that we do in fact commit. Creatures become little more than pawns in a monistic universe wherein God is the only real ontological agent at work, with creatures being naught but instances of the divine play.

Ironically, monism cannot help but affirm universalism, if God is a good God, that is.

The Judeo-Christian tradition is not monistic, however.
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Report This Post
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THERE IS NO “CHANCE” THAT WE CAN CHOOSE ANYTHING ELSE
Our choices are not made because we had a “chance” to make, or not to make them.

I think of myself as a theistic determinist. I believe that everything HAS to happen the way that it does, including all of our attempts to assist, or prevent it from happening.
Theologically this is called God’s decretive will, or that which MUST occur, in contrast to God’s preceptive will, which is what His creatures OUGHT to do, e.g. THE GOLDEN RULE, and choosing Jesus Christ.

The kind of fatalism that I reject is the kind that says that things happen no matter what we do.

The truth is that things happen because of what we do, even though what we choose to do is caused by the reasons why we want to choose a certain choice the MOST instead of a different choice at any give point in time.

A few seconds before, we might not have wanted it the MOST.
A few seconds later, we might not have wanted it the MOST.
It may even be true that most of the time we would have wanted to choose something else the MOST.
But at that point in time when we actually make a choice, it's because we want it the MOST, and, at that point in time there is no “chance” that we could have chosen anything else.

As a theistic determinist I believe that nothing happens by “chance” and that God intends to eventually transform all evil and suffering into something better for everyone, than had it not occurred. That includes the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as kolasis aionion (age during corrective chastisement) that everyone who needs it will experience. Then, when the existence of evil and suffering has served God’s purpose, He will eradicate both of them from our existence.
THE PURPOSE OF EVIL by A.P. Adams is good on this subject!
http://thegloryrd.com/apadams/evil.html

As far as salvation is concerned I don’t believe it happens because we are given a “chance.”

As a universalist I believe the Bible teaches that the first fruits of election, the remnant chosen by grace out of each generation, will be saved first. Then all of the non-elect will be saved later.

The following two links are good on this subject.
REDEMPTION IN TWO PARTS
God's Plan Of The Ages; The Purpose Of God In This Age; Redemption In Two Parts; As In Adam - So In Christ; Every Man In His Own Order; All Things In Subjection; God All In All
http://www.godfire.net/eby/allinall.html
and
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE AGES OF TIME
THE EONS OF THE BIBLE WITH CONCORDANCE
The eons of the Bible with Concordance, God’s purpose of the eons.
http://www.saviourofall.org/Tracts/Eons2.html

I believe that God will eventually fit every individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

The idea that it wouldn't be "right" for God to hold us accountable if we cannot help but choose what we do is an ethical opinion that is rendered irrelevant by the fact that we always, without exception, choose what our reasonings tell us is the choice that we prefer the MOST at any given point in time.

The one thing we have in common with robots is causality.
Everything we do is the product of a cause, that cause being the reasons why we prefer one choice the MOST, instead of a different choice.

The fact that you chose it proves that you preferred it at least slightly more than some other choice, or you would not have chosen it.

Your reasons for choosing what you choose are the cause of your making any choice. It is not possible to make a different choice from what your combined reasonings motivate you to prefer the MOST at any point in time.

Nothing God does is "meaningless." When we look back from the consummation of God's plan for the ages of time, everyone will agree that it was better for everyone that everything happened the way that it did.

It is not even possible to choose any differently (after due deliberation or instantly) than the combined reasonings persuade us to prefer that choice the MOST at that particular moment in time, so much so that we actually do choose it.

In other words, the only "free" will we have is to choose what our combined reasonings persuade us in the choice that we prefer the MOST at that particular point in time. It is not even possible that any other choice could have been made than that one.

It is not even possible to not choose what that reason persuades us is the choice we want to make the MOST at any particular moment in time.

A man devises his ways by using all the info at his disposal.
The end result will be the only "way" he could have devised.
Considering all combined influences in devising that particular way, there simply was no other way that he could have devised at that particular point in time.
We will work out our salvation in response to the combined influences that cause us to work it out in a particular way, the only way that we could possibly work it out. No other way could even be possible.

We are individuals who always, without exception, choose what our combined reasonings persuade us is the choice that we prefer the MOST. The fact that we actually choose it proves that we prefer it the MOST.
No other choice is even possible.

The one thing we have in common with robots is causality.
In the case of humans the cause is the combined reasonings why we prefer one choice the MOST instead of a different one.

It is absolutely impossible to choose what we do not prefer MOST.

The fact that we choose it proves that we preferred it MOST even though there may have been other influences that were almost just as strong. For example, try to believe differently than you do right now. You can't can you? And you won't be able to until/unless stronger influences CAUSE you to do so.

During the act of making a choice, it is not even possible to refuse to choose whatever is having the strongest combination of influences on our mind to choose. The REASONS that we choose "something" over "something else" are the CAUSES of our choice.

If we insist that our will is so "free" that it was not caused to choose, we are saying that there were no reasons that we chose what we chose. That would mean that we had to have chosen randomly (e.g. flipping a coin), i.e. not based on any reason, or combination of reasons.

In either case, a caused choice, or a random choice, could not have been prevented. The choice that was made was the only choice that could have been made at that point in time.

Our not wanting to reap the consequences becomes part of the reasoning process that causes us to choose to change our ways. The "not wanting" becomes so strong that it is no longer possible to choose to reap the consequences.

The combined influence of internal preference, i.e. finally deciding what we want MOST after due deliberation, or not, plus external persuasive considerations will CAUSE all choices to occur.

The exact same set of influences in the exact same situation (if that were even possible) would always produce the exact same choice in the exact same person at that particular point in time.

That is why it is not even possible to choose differently than we do at any given point in time.

The idea that it is wrong for God to hold us accountable for choices that we cannot help making is an ethical opinion that is rendered irrelevant by the fact that we always, without exception, choose what our reasonings tell us is what we want to choose the MOST.

Like I said before, I believe that God will eventually fit every individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

That is why I call myself a theistic determinist.

I believe that God will eventually fit every individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

I’m convinced that after we have thought the very best thoughts about God, we can be sure that He is even better than that because He is able to do above what we can even think, Ephesians 3:20. And IMHO I cannot think any higher thoughts than universal transformation.

I believe that after our resurrection from the dead God will eventually somehow transform every second of everyone's suffering into something better that it happened.

That includes both the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as what the Bible calls "kolasis aionion" which means age-during corrective chastisement that everyone who needs it will experience.

Scripturally or otherwise, it has, and always will be true, that we always, without exception, choose what our combined reasonings and feelings tell us is the choice that we prefer the MOST at any given point in time.

The fact that we choose some certain thing instead of something else, proves that we preferred that certain thing the MOST, even though we may try to claim that we really preferred something else the most.

I agree with Albert Einstein, who said, “I do not at all believe in human freedom in the [popular] philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only from external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. A man’s actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that he cannot be responsible [i.e., able to act otherwise], any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motion it undergoes."

Albert Einstein, IDEAS AND OPINIONS, pp.8,39; New York: Crown Publishers, 1954

Instead of God being a "gentleman," I worship a God Who will, sooner or later, successfully influence the will of every fallen creature for their own good, so they will WANT what He wants for them, which does not include sustaining them alive in an inescapable state of everlasting suffering or annihilating them.

I call myself a theistic determinist because I believe in a God Who has decided that the fate of every fallen creature will be salvation from everything from which they need to be saved, including their stubborn will.
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: 20 February 2007Report This Post
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I'll get back to you, Roger. I'm away for the weekend at the retreat center. Just a quick reply to your point:
quote:
The fact that we choose some certain thing instead of something else, proves that we preferred that certain thing the MOST, even though we may try to claim that we really preferred something else the most.

OK, but why does this invalidate free-will? I don't get that. You even use the word "choose" in your sentence. I'm just not seeing why the choice for what we prefer most discounts free-will. Why should anyone choose otherwise? And how would that convince you? You'd only move the goal posts and say they switched their preference, again proving your point.

Freedom is to be found in the ability of our consciousness to consider options, pros and cons, possible consequences, and make the choice we consider best. Granted, some choices aren't so well-considered; many are driven by emotional habits. But that we can intellectually consider options and direct our lives against the headwinds of cultural and even habitual behavior patterns proves that we have freedom. Non-human animals cannot do this.

Sorry, but you will never convince me that we do not have free-will. I know that I do. It seems that in your understanding, will drives intellect, but that need not be the case. It is the truth that sets us free, and when we comprehend truth and act on it, we are free indeed.
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Report This Post
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Roger, check out http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1083.htm and St. Thomas' accounting for free-will. Note that he does not locate it so much at the point of choice, as you do, but in reason's ability to consider options.
quote:
But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will.

For St. Thomas, reason was considered a spiritual faculty that enables one to make considerations that go beyond sensory information and project possible consequences. Free-will is to be found precisely at this point: that we can examine these options, choose among them what we consider best, and direct our lives accordingly. Without free-will, there would be no such considerations: only irrational conditioned responses.

Scripture presumes free-will. Else, why preach and invite people to change their lives. The word for conversion, metanoia, implies a change of direction.

Scripture also presumes that we are responsible agents. Responsibility has no meaning without free-will, however.

Deut. 30:18-19 - "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live…"

See also the section from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on free-will.
- http://www.vatican.va/archive/...techism/p3s1c1a3.htm
quote:
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

1733 The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to "the slavery of sin."28

1734 Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.


Theological determinism . . .

Maybe, but I doubt it. It seems that what is at stake is an attempt to preserve an absolutist understanding of God's sovereignty and omnipotence. But in creating spiritual beings, God has entered into an arrangement whereby God's power is lovingly persuasive, leaving the creature free to respond. If God's goodness and love were fully revealed, we would have no real choice to make, as such revelation would be irresistible. Instead, the divine influence is generally mediated through nature, or other people, or Scripture, especially its accounting of Christ. We are always given sufficient grace to persuade us to take a step in the direction of God's vision for us in the creation. We are also free to reject this grace, in which case I believe God allows us to experience our consequences, which are part of God's nudging us from the rear, as it were, even as God continues to woo us in love. The courtship ends at death, however; we have either responded to the invitation to attend the wedding feast, or we have ignored it.

You allude to a continuing wooing by God after the general resurrection, and that may well be. But I do not see that anywhere in Scripture. Indeed, the parable the sheep and the goats ends as follows, with Jesus telling the goats:
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

- Mt. 25:45-46.

If these goats were to be given more opportunities for salvation, I wonder why Jesus didn't mention it? Surely this is an important issue, and one that he could have touched upon, no?

God's will is indeed sovereign, but we cannot conflate primary and secondary causes.
- see CCC 306-314 ( http://www.vatican.va/archive/...techism/p1s2c1p4.htm )

Consider, here, that Roman Catholicism (as with Orthodox Christianity) is the most long-standing tradition of theological wisdom on these matters.

There are practical implications of theistic determinism and universalism. Such a message can easily leave the impression that if one will be saved in the end no matter what, then one's behavior in this world doesn't much matter, either, logical and natural consequences notwithstanding.

I could go on, but am pretty much done. I'll allow you a rejoinder or two if you'd like, then I will close the thread, as it seems this topic has been sufficiently presented as discussed.
 
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Theological determinism . . .

Maybe, but I doubt it. It seems that what is at stake is an attempt to preserve an absolutist understanding of God's sovereignty and omnipotence. But in creating spiritual beings, God has entered into an arrangement whereby God's power is lovingly persuasive, leaving the creature free to respond. If God's goodness and love were fully revealed, we would have no real choice to make, as such revelation would be irresistible. Instead, the divine influence is generally mediated through nature, or other people, or Scripture, especially its accounting of Christ. We are always given sufficient grace to persuade us to take a step in the direction of God's vision for us in the creation. We are also free to reject this grace, in which case I believe God allows us to experience our consequences, which are part of God's nudging us from the rear, as it were, even as God continues to woo us in love. The courtship ends at death, however; we have either responded to the invitation to attend the wedding feast, or we have ignored it.


Couldn't agree more Phil. What you are missing Roger is that your theology reduces human beings to machines or robots. As Phil pointed out, all the scriptures that exhort us to 'choose', to 'make an effort', to 'decide', would be absolutely meaningless. To allow evil in a world in which evil will have no final consequences is to make God fully responsible for all the evil acts ever committed. I say this because, if evil will simply be destroyed by God's sheer force then it should never have been allowed to exist in the first place. There is no point in allowing suffering to continue if you have the will and power and intention to destroy it at some future date.

I still have sympathy for your position Roger, but I don't think you've allowed the philosophical and theological implications of this position to be confronted by some of the issues raised by Phil and myself and the long tradition of the Church (Catholic and Orthodox), who have been aware of universalism from the start and rejected it for many good reasons.
 
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Love freely gives and receives, enjoying a radical degree of freedom, albeit not absolute. Love frequently responds to the soft power of seduction, which we distinguish from the hard power of coercion.

Few, who have ever been seduced by the celestial Siren, could even begin to imagine how any could ever possibly resist Her cunning and wiles and charms. This theoretic possibility, however, must be maintained, in principle, so as not to denature love or, through some philosophic alchemy, change its very essence, for that would then entail our equivocally using the same word, love, but with very different meanings and totally novel understandings.

At the same time, we may well believe in the practical probability that all will eventually be seduced, freely surrendering, in a spousal-like mysticism, to that gentlemanly Suitor, who waited patiently for us to come around.

Thus a practical universalism , in my view, will not necessarily be heterodox, if sufficiently nuanced, but a theoretic universalism can not be premised on an anthropology that diminishes the radical degree of freedom we enjoy, for that would substitute hard for soft power, coercion for seduction, realities that differ -not only in degree, but - in kind, like the difference between mere physical proximity and deep spiritual intimacy, or between contract and romantic marriages.

So, a theoretic universalism, before it runs into theological trouble with many, gets in trouble with anthropology, which describes human freedom, and with common sense, which experiences this freedom, existentially.

I consider myself a practical universalist and if the universalism described hereinabove (sorry, didn't read the whole thread) lends itself to an interpretation that employs the soft power of seduction rather than the hard power of coercion, it wouldn't be heterodox. Phil Hefner, Christian theologian, describes the human as both bounded and determined as well as autopoietic and free, so any determinst influence must be considered greatly attenuated. The term determinISM, I'm afraid, seems to imply too robust a degree of same, as if universalism was a theoretic necessity rather than probability.
 
Posts: 178 | Location: http://www.scribd.com/johnboy_philothea | Registered: 03 December 2011Report This Post
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OK, seems we're pretty much caught up with all the commenting on this topic. I am closing the thread.
 
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