Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

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Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Alex Smith » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:55 pm

Does God allow truly irreparable harm—harm that even he can never heal, repair, or undo? Tom Talbott looks at this in light of God's love, predestination, total victory over sin & death, & our free will.
https://reforminghell.com/2017/12/02/ta ... able-harm/

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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:37 pm

As long as God has morally sufficient and justifiable reasons to allow harm He does nothing wrong in allowing it. Those in hell have their hearts separated from God's mercy as Christ says depart from me. As a result their hearts harden. They loathe God and His children. They don't want Him. If they don't want to love God they don't have to. But God is never obligated to give someone who hates Him and His children and don't want to have anything to do with Him the gift of grace. The longer one is in hell the more wicked they become and the more just the punishment is. What God is mainly doing by keeping evil God haters out of the new creation is protecting His holy children from the contamination and harm of evil. God therefore has a morally sufficient and justifiable reason for hell. In all likelihood there's infinitely many more reasons seeing that God is infinite in wisdom in knowledge and logical explanations are infinite in number. The new heavens and earth is created new and reconciled as all things are made new. The whole world that is fore loved and predestined worship God and love each other because they want to. Having all desire for sin removed from their hearts they become like God in that it is impossible for them to sin. They chose what they most want - God. This is freedom. Every knee bows in heaven, earth, and those saints resurrected from under the earth. The Hebrew phrase "Heavens and Earth" means "all things". These are the all things reconciled. The nations and the kings of the nations are those in the new Heavens and Earth. The new city of Jerusalem is the center of the new universe. The lake of fire isn't included in "all things made new." or the "whole world."


Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”



As we can see the "all things made new" is separated by the word "but" and then it goes on to describe those in the lake of fire separating the lake of fire from the new city and the new heavens and earth which is where the new city is located. The city or new Jerusalem isn't the new heavens and earth. It's only a small fraction of the new heavens and earth. The gates of the city are open for the nations in the new heavens and earth. Not the lake of fire even though that's also outside the gates.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:47 pm

Here's one more justifiable reason out of the infinite number God has by Jonathan Edwards:

It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God's glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all....

Thus it is necessary, that God's awful majesty, His authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God's glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of His goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God's holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in His providence, of Godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God's grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness so ever He bestowed, His goodness would not be so much prized and admired...

So, evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which He made the world; because the creature's happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of His love. And if the knowledge of Him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect. - Jonathan Edwards



The happiness here isn't cruel and sadistic. As Edwards and Aquinas have stated: It's not the suffering of those in hell in and of itself that the saints delight in but the glories of God's love and justice. Aquinas and Edwards never taught a sadistic delight in the sufferings of those in hell. The saints delight in the suffering of those in hell only in the sense that the glory of God will appear in it. The saints will feel the intense glory of God as he shows His tender love for them by bringing His justice down on evil God haters.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Alex Smith » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:03 pm

You raise a lot of things there but I'm a bit unclear about where you're coming from—are you a universalist?
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Bob Wilson » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:05 am

Michael,

I read you as arguing against the thesis of this universalist site, and for Edwards' view that God elects those made in his image to the irreparable harm of ECT. But I'm not seeing that you engage Talbott's argument against celebrating divinely sanctioned "irreparable harm." The crux appears to be one's conception of the character of God as having the essential character of love. Perhaps you can articulate how you see the nature of divine love for those God created.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:30 am

God's love is expressed by protecting His children in the new creation from evil. It's also paradoxically expressed to those who have their hearts eternally separated from God's mercy in hell by inflicting them with sufficient torment to prevent them from doing irreparable harm. God keeps in check the horrors those people could inflict on each other (because their hearts are separated from all mercy) by distracting them with a precisely determined amount and kind of pain or discomfort. Such pain and discomfort restrains them. God calibrates each person's torment to exactly the level necessary for restraint of their potential for expressing irreparable harm. Thus, we see God's paradoxical love in hell. These are morally sufficient and justifiable reasons for hell. Therefore it's not unjust for hell to exist. Of course ages unto ages means a very long time. So, I'm considering that hell is thousands upon thousands of years long. Maybe not though. Eternity is also a very long period of time. I'm still thinking this over.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:54 am

Michael,

Thanks. You appear to define that the expression of agape toward those whom God has chosen not to bestow saving faith and grace, is to endlessly and non-redemptively assign them to separation from God and all mercy, and to inflict them with torments that prevent irreparable harm.

Not finding any Biblical support for this definition of God's agape, as revealed in 1 Corinthians 13, or most clearly in Jesus crucified, your conception of it sounds to me like the essence of doing "irreparable harm" to these ones made in God's image. Taking away all potential for mercy is exactly what my flesh desires toward those I do Not love. Thus, I'm glad you are still thinking over how eternity is a long time to inflict such a conception of agape. It sounds to me worse than "paradoxical." How does it not just contradict the central claim that "love builds up" the enemies who love is called to persevere in loving?

I would prefer a conception of love that doesn't contradict the kind Edwards cites in referring to the "lowliness, mildness, meekness, and gentleness of spirit" made clear in the One who the Bible says provides the fullest revelation of God and his character as He comes to us in the flesh.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby qaz » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:04 pm

Michael:
It's also paradoxically expressed to those who have their hearts eternally separated from God's mercy in hell by inflicting them with sufficient torment to prevent them from doing irreparable harm.


That doesn't make sense. If someone is eternally separated from God's mercy, he has done irreparable harm.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:07 pm

Agape is mingled with God's severity for those in hell. That's the paradox. Love protects. Therefore the torment inflicted on those in hell restrains them. This is God's protection in keeping those in hell from harming each other. Edwards believed that Vengeance belonged to God. We imitate Christ in the meekness He showed while on earth. Those in hell hate God and His children. They don't want to have anything to do with Him. God is never obligated to give such a person the gift of grace. Grace is unmerited favor and never owed.


Behold then the kindness and severity of God
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Paidion » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:12 pm

Grace is unmerited favor and never owed.

That's a pretty modern concept of grace. It is not the Biblical one. In a word grace is enablement to be able to accomplish what we could never do apart from it.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and pious lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:4-10

For by works of the law no human being will be made righteous in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are made righteous by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a means of mercy by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be righteous and the one who makes rightesous he who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. Romans 3:20-27

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:1-4

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
High priest ---- one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:14-18
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:56 pm

According to Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary


Grace

Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves....Paul makes it abundantly clear that salvation is not something that can be earned apart from grace. It is received as a gift of grace. (Rom. 4:4)

Grace must be accompanied by faith; a person must trust in the mercy and favor of God, even while it is undeserved (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 2:16)


Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce, R.K. Harrison are experts on the Biblical languages and speak multiple languages from the Bible.




From the online Catholic Encyclopedia. Even the Catholics believe grace is a gift:



Grace (gratia, [Gr.] charis), in general, is a supernatural gift of God to intellectual creatures (men, angels) for their eternal salvation, whether the latter be furthered and attained through salutary acts or a state of holiness. Eternal salvation itself consists in heavenly bliss resulting from the intuitive knowledge of the Triune God, who to the one not endowed with grace "inhabiteth light inaccessible" (I Tim., vi, 16). Christian grace is a fundamental idea of the Christian religion, the pillar on which, by a special ordination of God, the majestic edifice of Christianity rests in its entirety. Among the three fundamental ideas—sin, redemption, and grace—grace plays the part of the means, indispensable and Divinely ordained, to effect the redemption from sin through Christ and to lead men to their eternal destiny in heaven. Before the Council of Trent, the Schoolmen seldom used the term gratia actualis, preferring auxilium speciale, motio divina, and similar designations; nor did they formally distinguish actual grace from sanctifying grace. But, in consequence of modern controversies regarding grace, it has become usual and necessary in theology to draw a sharper distinction between the transient help to act (actual grace) and the permanent state of grace (sanctifying grace). For this reason we adopt this distinction as our principle of division in the following exposition of the Catholic doctrine.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:06 pm

Michael, thanks for amplifying. It's widely accepted, and I agree, that agape can involve severity (though this needn't mean a contradictory paradox concerning love's pursuit of the best for us, insofar as the severity is seeking the true saving welfare of the loved one).

But you suggested earlier that Edwards thought hell protects us from irreparable harm, and now from harming one another in hell. And as one for whom he carries no authority, that just sounds made up to me. The usual consensus is that 'hell' means being thrown into a position that IS precisely irreparable, and I'm not seeing how you've offered any Biblical challenge to that interpretation, OR addressed how Edward's idea of hell is consistent with the texts I cited on genuine love's commitment to seeking the best for the one loved (as Jesus put it, to "seek the lost Until they are found").

Indeed, I think a more Biblical picture is that hell and God's judgment do NOT focus on protecting us from God's wrath, but more involve a Severity wherein his protection is removed, and we face the severe torment of reaping what we've sowed. For the N.T. emphasis is that we cannot become a new creation until we face our sin, experience the destruction of our old man, and recognize the need to put to death the deeds of the flesh.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:58 pm

Michael, thanks for amplifying. It's widely accepted, and I agree, that agape can involve severity (though this needn't mean a contradictory paradox concerning love's pursuit of the best for us, insofar as the severity is seeking the true saving welfare of the loved one).



The torment would be the kind that restrains those in hell from harming each other. So, I would agree. It's not made up but taken from the Bible that says God is kind and severe and that God is love and that love protects. Not only would those in hell be protected from harm but so would God's children in the New Creation.

I guess the purification can take place when God separates the sheep from the goats. Christ says depart from me. The pruning takes place so the body can grow better.


Indeed, I think a more Biblical picture is that hell and God's judgment do NOT focus on protecting us from God's wrath



I never said it's a protection from God's wrath but a protection from evil. Love always protects from evil.


Revelation 22:14 14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.



This passage clearly states that not all those in the lake of fire wash their robes. Augustine held that God saves some out of the lake of fire. This would be purgatory. The great wedding banquet says many are called but few are chosen. Not everyone is saved through the fire. Not everyone is grafted back in. In the new heaven and earth Christ is "all in all" All flesh will worship Christ there. Those that are in heaven and earth and those from under the earth (purgatory). All flesh:


 
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.  From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.  “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” - Isaiah 66




As we can see, those in the Lake of fire aren't included in "all mankind" or the new heavens and earth. You have to be grafted in. The Bible is silent on who will be grafted back in. But according to Revelation it's only those who wash their robes. This clearly isn't everybody.


Matthew 12:32

Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.



Matthew 12:31

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven



Mark 3:

Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.



AS these passages state, some are saved out of the lake of fire in the age to come but not all.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:29 am

St. Michael wrote:
Revelation 22:14 14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.


This passage clearly states that not all those in the lake of fire wash their robes.


Actually, simply stating the conditions for salvation does not at all declare how many will ultimately confess Jesus as Lord at all, much less 'clearly' limit it. Indeed the most literal didactic texts with the greatest grammatical clarity don't limit God's power and love the way that you do.

18 "Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5)
Clearly, the same 'many' who were made sinners in Adam (in parallel with vs. 18's "all people") "WILL (future tense) be made righteous" through Christ.

22 "For as in Adam all die (true of all sinners), so in Christ ALL will be made alive. 23 But each in turn..." 1 Corinthians 15

19 "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Colossians 1) Here, as in many texts, Paul again clearly declares that all those "created" by God (see vs. 16) are to be reconciled into God's peace by the blood of Christ.

You can assert that apocalyptic judgment texts more clearly limits these plain promises of what God's love and power can and will do. But my perception is that this position selects to camp on the less clear texts in order to limit and deny the plain promises of the extent of the victory God's power and love is assuring. And as I've said, your position defines agape in contradiction to the clear definitions of a steadfast love that perseveres in "seeking the lost UNTIL they are found."
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:24 am

God seeks after His lost sheep. The sheep are not the goats. The "whole world" and "all mankind" doesn't include those who have been cut off and separated in the lake of fire. You have to be grafted in to be part of the "whole world" or "all mankind". It's a union.


Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”



Notice that God makes all things new. Heavens and earth is a merism that means "everything" including the "whole world'.


But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”



Those in the lake of fire aren't included in "all mankind" or the "whole world". They have been cut off from "all humanity" and are not in union with the "All things" made new. You have to be grafted in to be a part of "all things" or the "whole world"

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.  From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.  “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” - Isaiah 66
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:30 pm

I've heard many attempts to get around the 'all' language in the NT, especially in Paul, and have not heard one that does not tangle up in its own presuppositions. Paul is very straightforward in his 'all' language - though calling him 'straightforward' in general would be stretching it. :idea:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:14 pm

A way to settle it would be with a metaphysical argument. Here's the airtight logic of Edwards:


“Every crime or fault deserves a greater or less punishment, in proportion as the crime itself is greater or less. If any fault deserves punishment, then so much the greater the fault, so much the greater is the punishment deserved. …so that if there be any such thing as a fault infinitely heinous, it will follow that it is just to inflict a punishment for it that is infinitely dreadful.

A crime is more or less heinous, according as we are under greater or less obligations to the contrary. This is self-evident; because it is herein that the criminalness or faultiness of any thing consists, that it is contrary to what we are obliged or bound to, or what ought to be in us. So the faultiness of one being hating another, is in proportion to his obligation to love him. The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to honour him. The fault of disobeying another, is greater or less, as any one is under greater or less obligations to obey him. And therefore if there be any being that we are under infinite obligations to love, and honour, and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty.

Our obligation to love, honour, and obey any being, is in proportion to his loveliness, honourableness, and authority; for that is the very meaning of the words. When we say any one is very lovely, it is the same as to say, that he is one very much to be loved. Or if we say such a one is more honourable than another, the meaning of the words is, that he is one that we are more obliged to honour. If we say any one has great authority over us, it is the same as to say, that he has great right to our subjection and obedience.

But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty. To have infinite excellency and beauty, is the same thing as to have infinite loveliness. He is a being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore he is infinitely honourable. He is infinitely exalted above the greatest potentates of the earth, and highest angels in heaven; and therefore he is infinitely more honourable than they. His authority over us is infinite; and the ground of his right to our obedience is infinitely strong; for he is infinitely worthy to be obeyed himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon him.

So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving of infinite punishment.- Nothing is more agreeable to the common sense of mankind, than that sins committed against any one, must be proportionably heinous to the dignity of the being offended and abused…”



What Edwards argument shows and what he scriptures teach is that there is a sense in which all sins are equal in that they all separate our hearts from God's mercy.


You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.




For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.




But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.





In one sense, all sins are equal. “The wages of sin is death …”, refers to all sin, in thought, word, or deed. They all separate our hearts from God's mercy.Of course, there's another sense in which some sins are worse than others. So, with the eternal separation comes different degrees of torment in hell just as there are different rewards in eternal life. Some in hell need more restraint than others. The eternal separation of the heart from God's mercy causes it to harden. Therefore the longer in hell the more hatred people develop for God and the more corrupt they become. You don't get better without God's mercy you get worse. People in hell don't want God as they refuse Him because of hardened hearts. The pruning is for the body of Christ. The bad is cut off so that the body can grow better. The correction takes place as the sheep are separated from the goats. The goats depart from Christ and their hearts grow harder and harder as they become more wicked.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:51 pm

I still think it is prudent to try to understand Paul's logic, more than Edwards or any other theologian for that matter.

Eloquence can uplift, or it can least astray, or inflame, and Edwards is eloquent to be sure - but he is not inspired in the same manner or same extent as St. Paul.

And Paul is clear in his usage of 'all' in Romans 5 and I Cor 15. That closes the case for me, and gives me cause to hold firm in the faith.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:11 pm

Well, I showed you the scripture and reject it. So, I thought we would look at Reality
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:29 pm

Sure.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:01 pm

Michael,

If your assertion is correct that Paul's cited promises that God will make righteous & reconcile ALL "men" (anthropoi), qualified as all of them who are in Adam, and as all those he created (even as all those on the earth, above the earth, and under it!), is actually Paul's way of referring only to a select group God had grafted in, then your argument is coherent. But I perceive you have then made language meaningless, because it implies there is then No way Paul's language could convincingly delineate that he actually means by "all people" to be referring to all people.

You're welcome to embrace a philosophy that what has sounded to historic Christendom as God's plain desire to save all is not what even God's power & love will accomplish. But I find your way of handling Scripture's language lets you turn any affirmation into whatever view you choose.

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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby St. Michael » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:20 pm

I've been reading my book that defends purgatory and see that the author goes along with many church Fathers including Augustine that purgatory and hell are both under the earth in the Lake of Fire. Hell is just a different state of being than purgatory. The Catholic liturgy holds out the hope for the salvation of all for they pray for all the dead because they never claim any person actually dies in a mortal sin and don't know who enters the state of being called hell. The church never proclaims anyone to be in the state of being that is hell. Based on this and the scriptures above we must reasonably hope that all will be saved. The "whole world" and "all mankind" is restricted to the new heavens and earth where "all things" are made new. The lake of fire isn't included in this. To be included in "all people" or the "whole world" one has to be grafted into the body of Christ and become part of "all humanity". The Bible does teach that God does this for some but is silent on the rest of those in the Lake of fire. The route I now take is that of the Catholic theologian Von Balthasar. We can reasonably hope and pray that all will be saved.
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Is God a monster if ETC is true?

Postby Origen; » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:35 am

The title of this thread is, "Does God allow irreparable harm?" I haven't read Tom's comments yet, but i wonder if this question is related: "Is God a monster if ETC is true?"

Following is part of a discussion i've been having recently with a EO lady at CF. Now i'm off to read what Tom said ;

~Anastasia~, post: 72141987, member: 343500 wrote:I agree that many theologies out there characterize God as a monster.

(WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE FOLLOWING)

God created you for the sole purpose of tormenting you forever.

God didn't choose some to be elect so there is no possibility of them ever being saved.

God's supposed election is purely arbitrary, not based on anything the person does, thinks, or is - just God's whim.

God torments people forever just to prove He can.

(WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE ABOVE ITALICIZED STATEMENTS!)

Those kinds of theologies make God a monster. Trying to reconcile those kinds of theologies that describe such a monstrous God with "God is love" have driven folks away. Those are NOT what we teach.

God gives man the dignity of free will. If a man truly rejects God's mercy, He isn't going to force it on them. He will still love such a person. But we all have the dignity of choice. Our choices affect who we become.

If our beliefs, actions, heart, etc. incline us toward God, and we become very much like Christ - transformed, in this life, as we are supposed to do according to the Gospel, with the help of the grace of God, then we have every reason to hope in Christ, to love His appearing, and in that case we will enjoy His Presence forever.

If our beliefs, actions, hearts, etc. incline us away from God, make us more selfish and destroy love in us, make us into creatures very unlike Christ ... then we have every reason to fear His appearing, to fear standing before Him, we may hate and reject the love of God. Still, He will be there, and we will no longer be shielded from His presence as Moses was when he asked to see God. If there is nothing like Christ in us, that very Presence and His love will torment us, we will hate it, seek to escape it, but not truly be able, since where can we flee from God, such that He us not there?

This will be fiery torment. Not because God wants to torment people. Not because some cosmic law demands He do so, whether He wishes it or not. Not because He wants to show how big and powerful He is. But simply because He Is. And we are not compatible to bear His presence. It will be we ourselves, and what we have become, that judge and condemn ourselves.

That much we must affirm.

Now, is it POSSIBLE that such a scourge could prove somehow a motive for people to relent? Maybe, we don't know. Will it BE possible for them to change, repent, relent? Or will they be fixed at that point in their perversity and enmity with God? Again, we don't really know, because God has not told us. We may hope this. We may ask God for it. We may pray for God's mercy, whenever He will extend it and for whatever purpose it may serve, for any person, and group of persons, or even all persons. Then ... we leave it in God's hands. That's all we can do. That's all we know. God alone knows the final end.

But there is no reason we have to think that God will simply mercifully destroy. So our hope is that many, most, or even all might be saved. But we have no assurance, no knowledge. Only God knows beyond this.


Anastasia,

You say God doesn't want to torment them, yet He forces them into His presence which torments them. As if One Who is Omnipotent had no other options. Such as in this world where He doesn't force them into such torments, so there is no reason why He would have to do so in the afterlife. None that you have yet provided, at least.

A Being who Is Love simply doesn't cause, or allow, such sufferings, unless there is a positive purpose & goal in mind, in this case the salvation of all who He would choose to subject to such torments. Yet you claim it cannot be known if such sufferings would be corrective & salvific. If they are not, the only logical alternative is that they are hideously monstrous. And if endless, then infinitely worse than the sadists of all history combined.

So no matter how you try to flower up the dead corpse of unceasing miseries with roses & petals, a rotting carcass is still a rotting carcass, whether it's the Calvinist brand of an eternity of sufferings, or any other.

~Anastasia~, post: 72141987, member: 343500 wrote:But there is no reason we have to think that God will simply mercifully destroy. So our hope is that many, most, or even all might be saved. But we have no assurance, no knowledge. Only God knows beyond this.


We can do better than merely hope, since the apostle states "many" will be saved. Furthermore it's so many that it's used in the same sentence, and in parallel, with the number of humanity who fell through Adam:

Rom 5:18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for all mankind for life's justifying."

Rom 5:19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just."

Whether one wants to believe their church dogma, or the Word of God, is up to them. Evidently EO scholar David Bentley Hart has chosen the latter.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby qaz » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:59 am

Origen:
Yet you claim it cannot be known if such sufferings would be corrective & salvific. If they are not, the only logical alternative is that they are hideously monstrous. And if endless, then infinitely worse than the sadists of all history combined.


EXACTLY!
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:16 am

There is only one refuge for those that claim that God will allow/decree that ECT is fitting - and that refuge is Sovereignty. But in order for that to 'work' as a justification of ECT, we would have to accept behaviors from God that we would find appalling in a human being.

This debate can lead to a very uncomfortable set of conclusions, among which is: when one side says 'god', is it the 'same' god as the other side is talking about? We've talked about this on the Forum previously.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby qaz » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:26 pm

DaveB, anyone who wants to make a sovereignty argument whereby virtually any behavior can be justified runs into the euthyphro dilemma.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:54 pm

Excellent point!
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Origen; » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:35 pm

qaz wrote:DaveB, anyone who wants to make a sovereignty argument whereby virtually any behavior can be justified runs into the euthyphro dilemma.


Does the euthyphro dilemna present a problem for those who try to justify endless torments based on sovereignty?

DaveB wrote:There is only one refuge for those that claim that God will allow/decree that ECT is fitting - and that refuge is Sovereignty. But in order for that to 'work' as a justification of ECT, we would have to accept behaviors from God that we would find appalling in a human being.

This debate can lead to a very uncomfortable set of conclusions, among which is: when one side says 'god', is it the 'same' god as the other side is talking about? We've talked about this on the Forum previously.


If someone can direct me to such discussions, i'd appreciate it.

BTW, the article by Tom Talbott is excellent. I'll need to read it again so it can soak in.

"This does not mean, of course, that a loving God, whose goal is the reconciliation of the world, would prevent every suicide, every murder, or every atrocity in human history, however horrendous such evils may seem to us; it follows only that he would prevent every harm that not even omnipotence could repair at some future time, and neither suicide nor murder is necessarily an instance of that kind of harm. For God can resurrect the victims of murder and suicide just as easily as he can the victims of old age. So even if a loving God could sometimes permit murder, he could never permit one person to annihilate the soul of another or to destroy the very possibility of future happiness in another; and even if he could sometimes permit suicide, he could never permit his loved ones to destroy the very possibility of future happiness in themselves either. Just as loving parents are prepared to restrict the freedom of the children they love, so a loving God would restrict the freedom of the children he loves, at least in cases of truly irreparable harm. The only difference is that God deals with a much larger picture and a much longer time frame than that with which human parents are immediately concerned."
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby qaz » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:07 pm

Origen:
Does the euthyphro dilemna present a problem for those who try to justify endless torments based on sovereignty?


Yes.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Origen; » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:36 pm

qaz wrote:Origen:
Does the euthyphro dilemna present a problem for those who try to justify endless torments based on sovereignty?


Yes.


How is that a problem?
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:50 pm

edit
Harm- that is a good question :lol:
Last edited by maintenanceman on Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby Origen; » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:57 am

The Talbott article has some very interesting remarks re election & Romans 8.

Similarly in another piece he tackles predestination:

http://www.evangelicaluniversalist.com/ ... nation.pdf

Likewise Alex has an excellent article on the elect here:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2151

Which gives an overview of the topic through the entire Scriptures.
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Re: Talbott—Does God allow irreparable harm?

Postby DaveB » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:24 am

"Does the euthyphro dilemma present a problem for those who try to justify endless torments based on sovereignty?"

The question of the Good and it's relation to 'the gods' (Plato) indirectly speaks to the ECT problem we face. As we wrestle with that problem we are, for lack of a more respectful term, putting God 'in the dock' - we are posing an ethical question to God by asking what is more important - sovereignty or 'the good'? Is one subordinate to the other? And why? That gets us to Euthyphro.
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