Arminians make heavy weather of the fact that, according to Calvinism, God predestined who would go to heaven and who would go to hell.
Yet traditional Arminianism subscribes to conditional election. And this isn’t just a thing of the past. That doctrine is reaffirmed by the Society of Evangelical Arminians:
“We believe that God’s saving grace is resistible, that election unto salvation is conditional on faith in Christ, and that persevering in faith is necessary for final salvation.”
So, on this view, God foreknew who would accept the Gospel and be saved as well as who would reject the Gospel and be damned. Yet he went right ahead created hellbound sinners despite that fact.
Question: from an Arminian perspective, why didn’t God simply create the faithful? He knew who the faithful would be. Moreover, Arminians attribute libertarian freedom to God. So it’s not as if God had to create this particular world, rather than some other one–or none at all.
The freewill defense is useless at this point. For God never had to create the damned.
From an Arminian perspective, why would a loving God willingly and knowingly create hellbound sinners? Wouldn’t we expect a loving God, as Arminians define it, to only create heavenbound sinners? How is it loving, as Arminians define it, to create men and women whom you know are doomed to spend eternity in hell–even though it lay within your power to refrain from precipitating that outcome?
Keep in mind that there’s no antecedent quota on how many human beings must exist. Likewise, there’s no antecedent limit on how long or short human history must be.
Even if the subset of the heavenbound is far smaller than the totality of the saints and the damned, which is better from an Arminian standpoint–a more populous world in which some are saved while others are damned, or a less populous world in which everyone is saved?
Perhaps an Arminian would content that a world in which more people are saved, even if some people are damned, is preferable to a world in which fewer people are saved–even though everyone, albeit fewer overall, are saved.
But in that case, the salvation of some comes at the expense of the damned. The damned exist to facilitate the salvation of some who wouldn’t be saved (or even exist) apart from the existence of the damned. Yet that sounds eerily supralapsarian.
Does Arminian theology subscribe to a utilitarian soteriology? Does the salvation of the saints justify the fate of the damned, as a means to an end? How, by Arminian lights, could God be so ruthless and cruel?