A Blunder of Cosmic Proportions


“God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Universal salvation is God’s plan, his ultimate goal. The question is, does God’s plan ultimately end in failure. The loss of even one person is a failure for God. But, that is what you affirm — God’s ultimate failure — if you say, as I hear many Christians say, that most people in this world and even throughout history will end up in never ending conscious torture in hell. They will be separated from God forever. Christians site the verse, “straight is the gate and narrow is the way and few there be that find it.” Christians affirm not only God’s ultimate failure, but his utter failure in that he loses almost everybody. It is a colossal failure, a blunder of cosmic proportions.

The Reformed Tradition in Christianity is no better. They get around God’s failure by saying that universal salvation wasn’t his plan in the first place. Contrary to the verse cited above, God does not want all people to come to repentance. God determines who will be saved and who will not. And, most of humanity he damns for hell while a few of them he chooses to be with him. So, in the end, God does not fail. He just means to avoid the cosmic blunder by saying that he meant to do that in the first place.

So, we have two choices. Either God bows down to the idol of free will and utterly fails, or there is no free will and God planned from the beginning to damn most of humanity to hell.  Both views of God are awful. Neither one is appealing.

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10 thoughts on “A Blunder of Cosmic Proportions

  1. Oh, the Christian god is perfect and cannot fail. Never mind the garden or the flood and so on, he meant to damn everyone to hell. His failure is in actually letting someone into heaven.

  2. Actually that is taking Scripture blatantly out of context. God does choose some to come to repentance. He also does not choose others. Does He want us to perish? No. But He is also Holy and therefore justice must takeover.

    When we try to put God in a box, as your post has done, we completely miss the glory and majesty that He represents.

    1. David,

      Your response fails to fully address my concerns. You seem to repeat what I say after saying I took the scripture out of context. How did I do that? What is the correct interpretation of the verse “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should me to repentance?” Does God fail or not? If not, how?

      Let me help you in your response. Below is a series of three statements. All three cannot be true at the same time.

      (1) All human sinners are equal objects of God’s redemptive love in the sense that God, being no respecter of persons, sincerely wills or desires to reconcile each one of them to himself and thus to prepare each one of them for the bliss of union with him.

      (2) Almighty God will triumph in the end and successfully reconcile to himself each person whose reconciliation he sincerely wills or desires.

      (3) Some human sinners will never be reconciled to God and will therefore remain separated from him forever. (The Inescapable Love of God, p. 38)

      Which statement will you reject? Is God’s desire and his will ultimately thwarted by the non-reconciliation of most people throughout history, thus leading to the failure of his will coming to pass?

      1. You assume that verse talks about every person. It does not. It is talking about the elect. That being said, I reject statement 1.

      2. David,

        You affirmed statement #1 when you said, “Does He want us to perish? No.” So, it came as a surprise when you rejected statement #1.

        Your not being consistent in your responses to me. Either God does want all people to be saved, as your quote above says, or he only wants to save some. But, since you rejected statement #1. Then I gather you think God only wants to save some. And this is, as you said, due to the requirements of justice.

        But, how can justice have anything to do with it? Does God only choose the ones who are the most righteous, the ones who can impress him with their good works (or as the Bible says, “filthy rags”)? God counts all our righteousness as filthy rags and therefore cannot be the reason for God’s selection of one person over another.

        I think you will opt to say that election has nothing to do with their righteousness or their good works. In which case, justice has nothing to do with God’s selection of one person over another. Therefore, justice does not “takeover”, as you state above.

        You need to be consistent here. You cannot give in one hand what you take away in the other.

  3. Your problem is that you’ve taken it out of context.

    First you didn’t even use the whole verse, “Instead he is patient with you” gives immediate context, and the Greek words TIS and PANTAS in the verse can mean “all” or “some” or “any of you” most likely reading in context. It also fits the rest of the work especially chapter 2.

    Proof texting is bad and amateurish. I don’t care what side of the debate. You’d mark down a 5th grader for doing it in a book report so at least give us some middle school respect.

    1. vonleonhardt2,

      The Apostle Peter is discussing the fact that heresy is going to come to the church. God’s longsuffering is to those heretics, the ones who wrestle against the truth and will be punished. But, Peter also states that “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation”, later on in the chapter. So yes, God is patient with us, waiting for us to wrestle with the truth and not against it. So, who is God longsuffering toward? The heretics. He desires they come to repentance. It’s a classic case of eisegesis (reading ones own ideas into the text) for the Reformed Theological Tradition to look at this passage of scripture and say that God means to somehow exclude the heretics from salvation.

      Having said all that, the accusation that I’ve “taken it out of context” is a useless charge to level. The heretics use the scriptures to prove their points just as much as the orthodox (meaning correct) use the scriptures to prove their points.

      It is far better for the conversation for you, vonleonhardt2, to wrestle with the ideas presented here instead of muddying the waters with useless charges.

      1. Ah…. Even if I take your reading of heritic for anyone, an internal division of someone affiliated with a group, that still would not imply that people fully external to the group are in preview. And thus, the issue remains “some” as regarding its everyone in-house… which as I remember was what our parsing said.

        One can only be a heritic if they are a Christian, so an election based reading is not incorrect.

        Now for some polemic:
        Talking about eisegises when someone is parsing the greek (focused on diction instead of conotatoons) just shows your trying to win not discuss… what you really mean is “my point is week but your just wrong.”

        I gave you greek parsing, the sentences beginning, and just countered your objection again and all I’ve gotten was before Peter said this or that with no reference, and you didn’t reference in your post, so we cant argue contextualization with no context… so really you’ve no proof even if I agree.

        Which was my complaint. You’d out the page number or chapter or something on a book report about Harry Potter… but you can’t seem to do that here.

        I’m sorry if I seem combative (I don’t feel I am) but I don’t like your attitude. You are discussing a serious subject flippantly, claiming expertise and leaning on one reading (yours), and that reading can’t be bothered to give details…

        Is that how you live?

      2. vonleonhardt2,

        I will grant you that it is possible to interpret “all” as meaning “some”. I will also grant that the context of the verse in question is in a book speaking about heretics and that the “all” can be thought of as limited to the group containing Christians and heretics. But, just because the “all” can be limited doesn’t mean it should be.

        My questions is why would you want to limit the word “all” to mean “some”? What is your motivation for doing so? Do you want your brother or sister, father or mother to be excluded from God? Do you want to worship a god who doesn’t love everyone; a god who, before he created, decide that most of his creation would ultimately be damned to hell? Is not this god less than a God who DOES love everyone, which actually makes him not God at all? Your god is not all-good. He is only good to some.

        There isn’t just the context of 2 Peter to deal with here. Jesus said to love you enemies. We can’t do that by excluding them from salvation. Neither does it make sense for God to love his enemies when he is going to treat them so horribly in the afterlife. Is the judgement of God going to be greater for the ignorant who never wrestle with the truth, or even get the opportunity to, than those who know the truth and wrestle against it?

        I’m assuming here that you have access to 2 Peter and thus have no need of any further reference, especially since it’s such a short book. The “love your enemies” part of the post in from Matt 5:44.

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