God wills our good, and our good is God. Human personhood and divine personhood thus mysteriously coincide in the depths of the human being. God has created us with an insatiable hunger for him that we might become who we were created to be—adopted sons of the God and Father of Jesus Christ. This natural desire for communion with the Holy Trinity is the secret of the universalist hope. Using the language of Aquinas and Protestant Scholasticism, John Kronen and Eric Reitan state the argument:
Rational creatures, by definition, can choose based on reasons—that is, they are motivated to act not merely by instinct or appetite, but by the recognition that certain apprehended truths (reason) entail that a course of action is good to do. Saying that rational creatures are ordered to the good means two things: first, when they directly and clearly encounter the perfect good in unclouded experience, they will recognize it as the perfect good; and second, the perfect good (which, by definition, is the standard according to which all other goods are measured) would, under conditions of immediate and unclouded apprehension, present itself as overridingly worthy of love. Creatures’ subjective values will thus spontaneously fall into harmony with the objective good, with all choices reflecting this proper valuation.
Put another way, immediate awareness of the perfect good will so sing to the natural inclinations of the soul that love for the good will swamp all potentially contrary affective states. One would have every reason to conform one’s will to the perfect good and no reason not to. This latter point gains further strength from the Christian notion that what is prudentially good for rational creatures (what promotes their welfare) does not ultimately conflict with what is morally good—both are realized through union with God. Unclouded apprehension of the perfect good will thus harmonize prudential motives such that every rational creature presented with a clear vision of God would have every reason to love God and no reason to reject Him.
From all of this it follows that God could guarantee uniform salvation-inducing motives in rational creatures simply by presenting an unclouded vision of Himself. God’s doing this certainly seems metaphysically possible, and hence within God’s power; and if (as Aquinas maintained) free acts are not random but motivated, it follows that any rational creature presented with the vision of God will freely but inevitably respond affirmatively to the promise of loving union. (God’s Final Victory, p. 136)
The logic may be impeccable, but Orthodox sensibilities will probably find it too abstract, rationalistic, and “Western.” Entering into deifying union with the Lord is so much more than careful calculation and assessment of gains and losses. I’m sure Kronen and Reitan would agree. What is needed is for an Orthodox theologian to translate the Augustinian argument into the Eastern idiom. We need the visionary and prophetic exposition of … Fr Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov!