VICTOR REPPERT SAID:
“So, if there are six people trapped in a mine, it is better that four be rescued than all six, because then the ones who were rescued can appreciate their rescue more knowing that there were two that didn't make it?”
The power of an illustration depends on what the example is chosen to illustrate, as well as the emotional connotations of a given illustration.
If, instead of trapped miners, you used SS officers who fled to Latin America after the fall of the Third Reich, then that illustration would not evoke the same sympathy.
Or say it was a case of 4 college students who gang-raped a coed, then murdered her to dispose of the evidence. For 30 years their crime goes undetected. For 30 years they make a good life for themselves–the life they denied to their victim. Until the case is reopened due to advances in forensic science.
In a fallen world, all of us are evil to some degree. As such, we’re fairly desensitized to evil. And, indeed, it’s in our self-interest to be pretty tolerant of evil. Finally, because we’re fellow human beings, it’s natural for us to empathize with our own kind.
“That's a serious question. It's called the argument from evil. It is the best argument for atheism out there, and numerous Christian philosophers have taken it with the utmost seriousness.”
And the argument from evil applies to your own solution, Victor. You solve the problem by saving everyone. By compensating for evil through a happy ending. But given your libertarian view of human freedom, why must there be evil in the first place, from which God delivers us? If human beings are free to do otherwise, then there’s a possible world which samples our good choices and a possible world which samples our bad choices. Why, according to you, didn’t God instantiate the world which samples our good choices rather than our bad choices?
Even if you invoke transworld depravity (an ad hoc arbitrary restriction on libertarian freedom), surely, if human agents are free in the libertarian sense, there is a possible world where fewer evil choices are made.
If the only possible world is a world in which human beings commit evil as often as they do in our world, then it’s hard to believe that we really have the freedom to do otherwise.
“Look, people in heaven are in fellowship with God. They know what fellowship with God is like. They know what it was like to lack that fellowship with God, since they experienced that before conversion. And they can tell the difference between the degree of fellowship with God they now experience and the more limited fellowship with God they experienced on earth. I mean, these are people who are seeing God face-to-face. What they once saw through a glass darkly, but now they know fully. These people need everlastingly suffering object lessons?”
Every time you attack reprobation, you tacitly admit that you don’t take evil seriously, or mercy seriously. You constantly whine about the fate of the damned as if they were undeserving victims. And mercy isn’t mercy if it’s obligatory.
“By the way, even on a Calvinist read of Rom. 9:22-23, this this doesn't emerge. What is supposed to show the riches of his glory to the objects of mercy is supposed to be God's bearing with great patience the vessels of wrath, not the punishment of the vessels of wrath.”
You disregard the purpose of God’s patience towards the vessels of wrath in Paul’s argument. Go back and read the material I posted by Piper, Schreiner, and Moo. Do the exegesis, Reppert.
But, of course, you have no incentive to work through the exegesis of Rom 9:22-23 since you don’t wish to be tied down to the results in case they turn out badly for your position.
“Look at what this is an attempt to justify. It is an attempt to justify the action on the part of God to commit millions of people to everlasting suffering of the worst kind, when a different choice on the part of God would have resulted in no such suffering at all.”
You’re moral priorities are skewed. Exacting justice on the wicked doesn’t require any special justification. To the contrary, the absence of judgment would be outrageous. Judging the wicked isn’t a miscarriage of justice, Victor. You’ve managed to reverse what is just and unjust. That, itself, is an evil thing to do, Victor.
“Nor can it be argued that God couldn't save everyone because that would be unjust, or that it would violate human freedom. And this is the justification we are given?”
i) Retributive justice is intrinsically good. An end it itself, not merely a means to an end. Even if it served no other purpose, justice is good in its own right.
ii) In Biblical eschatology, eternal retribution, in addition to being intrinsically good, also serves to underscore the true nature of mercy. By definition, mercy is gratuitous, not obligatory.
You know, Victor, you talk like a consigliere. You keep making excuses for the wicked. Do you belong to the law firm of Belial, Old Horny, & Associates?