I was not surprised by the response but still a tad disappointed. A couple of weeks ago I visited an online Thomist discussion group and proposed the following:
Let’s do a thought experiment: Bracket for the moment your belief in an eternally-populated Hell. Pretend that apokatastasis is still a dogmatically legitimate theologoumenon. How might a Thomist argue for universal salvation based on Aquinas’s understanding of God as the Good?
I believe that this thought experiment could prove illuminating. One might try it not only with Aquinas but with other important theologians and philosophers—Augustine, Dionysius, Maximus, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Karl Barth, Robert Jenson. But hardly anyone was willing to play. Apparently it is just too obvious that apokatastasis cannot be advanced or defended on a Thomist understanding of God, creation, and divine grace. “God saves whom he will,” one person told me. We don’t even have to think about it. We don’t have to think about what it means for a rational being to be created for the Good. We don’t have to wonder whether it is really possible for a human being to freely, definitively, and irrevocably close himself off to Grace and Love. We don’t have to explore what free will means when God himself is our only happiness. We don’t have ponder on the justice of God creating a world in which he foreknew that a large percentage of human beings would die in a state of mortal sin. It’s all been dogmatically decided.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
In the spirit of my thought experiment, I commend to you this Thomist defense of everlasting damnation. Do you find it persuasive?