Monday, June 22, 2009

Does God love the reprobate?-5

by JasonPratt on Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:14 am

“Note: Please remember that I basically gave up on Steve--even though I don’t believe God will.”

Oh, dear! Looks like Jason has consigned me to the ranks of the goats. However, that development isn't nearly as alarming as it appears at first sight. You see, hell is not what it used to be.

If I’m currently on the primrose path to hell, and if is just a temporary way station, then I might as well indulge in some riotous living while I’ve still got the chance to live it up. After all, there’s nothing to lose.

In universalism, sin/sin is a win/win. Since, no matter what I do here on earth I’ll eventually wind up at the pearly gates, why deny myself?


  1. "Since, no matter what I do here on earth I’ll eventually wind up at the pearly gates, why deny myself?"

    Now I don't know specifically what the universalist position, but essentially it involves people being punished for their sin but not forever--is that about right?

    If so, then perhaps a universalist can reply: Yes, you can do as you wish, but your punishment is going to be harsh, and you will have thought it not worth it to have to endure that punishment, though it not be eternal, rather than to obey God's will and enter into heaven right away at death. It is more prudent and wise to obey his will because the pleasure gained on earth in a few years will not compare to the pleasures of heaven.

  2. The problem with that counter is that if the damned repent under harsh punishment, then that's coercive. They're repenting, not because they're genuinely contrite, but to avoid further harsh punishment. It's like recanting under torture.

  3. Well, the universalist can say:

    (1) It is still more prudent to obey God now then to endure punishment then.
    (2) It is possible that a sinner really feel regret and sorrow for his sin under the weight of punishment, though perhaps not all of them will. But how is that a problem?

    I don't know the universalist position all that well (I am not a universalist myself), so I imagine my hypothetical responses are perhaps not what a more educated and knowledgeable universalist would

  4. Or perhaps the universalist could say:

    (3) God does not allow that a person repent of their sins and enter heaven until they do so truthfully and genuinely.

  5. (1) Mere prudence can be cynical.

    (2) If you define the punishment as "harsh," then they are relenting under duress (to avoid harsh punishment, and not because they feel genuine compunction.

    (3) That's in tension with "harsh punishment" as the motivational factor.

  6. Hmm.

    (1) Perhaps a person living as if Christianity is true because he is convinced by the "argument from prudence" eventually comes to be sincere in his beliefs, and so is saved. That others never become sincere is not at all a problem for the argument, which still carries some weight I think.

    (2) I think it is possible that a person feel true regret under harsh punishment rather than just "giving in" to attempt to evade further discomfort; do you disagree?

    (3) Perhaps God doesn't want just that a person give in to his rule externally, but the purpose of hell is that the person enduring punishment also has a change of heart and accepts God's "sovereignty" in a deeper sense. So, mere willingness to assent to God's sovereignty without having their "heart" in it is not enough to get into heaven, and they are still to be punished till they change inside as well.