Dr Karen Kilby Reviews ‘That All Shall Be Saved’

“The most intellectually dense strand of the book—and the most difficult for non-specialists to follow—is Hart’s argument against the idea that any rational being might permanently choose evil. The density here comes from the fact that Hart is working within a philosophical and theological paradigm that was once mainstream for the Christian tradition but is now unfamiliar to most Christians, even the well-educated, unless they have formal theological training. If one accepts this paradigm, with its assumptions about the relation of intellect and will, about the fundamental ordering of all creatures towards God, and about the nature of evil as privation, then one should find it inconceivable, Hart insists, that any human or angel could continue forever to choose against God. The idea is simply incoherent. This is a genuine challenge that needs to be taken up and wrestled with by Thomists and others who work within this classic theological paradigm.”

Read the entire review

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12 Responses to Dr Karen Kilby Reviews ‘That All Shall Be Saved’

  1. oliver elkington says:

    The view commonly held by Catholics now seems to be one where those who are damned are those who God would have known would never repent no matter how many chances he gives them, this i think goes against the main Thomist view of eternal damnation at least and makes very very little sense in all reality. Why should a person who repented during their life from sin but suffered a sudden death just after committing a mortal sin be seen by God as someone who would never ever repent again? It just seems inconceivable that someone who repented say 20 times during their life should suddenly be fixed to a sin when they die at 90 and be fixed to that sin on and on in eternity with no wish for it to end!


  2. Jen says:

    If there is no hell, then what reason is there not to kill ourselves? Still cannot understand this.


    • Iain Lovejoy says:

      Universalists do not believe that there is no hell, only that it is remedial and not eternal
      The premise of your question is odd – it sort of assumes that life and existence has no purpose, the only reason to go on living is fear of being punished if we give up and we would all be perfectly happy in loving union with God and each other if only we were all dead.

      Liked by 3 people

    • arthurja says:

      “If there is no hell, then what reason is there not to kill ourselves?”

      Your question seems to assume that God automatically condemns people who commit suicide to eternal suffering.
      Reason clearly dictates that the vast majority of suicides (if not *all* of them, actually) are committed out of irrationally because the vast majority of those who commit them *do* commit them either because they suffer from some kind of mental illness, because they’re under the spell of alcohol or drugs (see Suicide in Russia, for instance), or because they’ve just learnt something awful and unexpected (their sibling just died, they’re completely ruined, etc) and they just can’t bear to keep living *with* their illness or *without* whoever or whatever it is that they just lost.
      The fact that suicides are always or almost always committed out of a particularly excruciating form of emotional distress, means that they’re committed out of irrationality : the vast majority of suicides appear to be caused by a suffering that is so intense that it truly *numbs down* one person’s judgment, thus making that person innocent of his own tragic death.
      If God condemns people who have already suffered tremendously in this life – to such a point indeed that they couldn’t even bear to stay alive for another day – because they’ve committed suicide even though they’re actually *innocent* of that deed in a very real way, to *eternal* suffering, then your God is both incredibly wicked and incredibly stupid, in which case no one should ever wish to spend eternity with him.

      Another possible way to interpret your question is the following one : “Only hell gives our lives meaning”.
      However, since that is clearly nonsensical, I assume that is not what you actually meant.

      Your question was unintelligent (sorry but that is true and I hope that you will eventually come to see that clearly some day) and to be honest, I am baffled that some people actually think the way you do – though I must add that I do not despise *you*, I just despise the way you *think* on that particular matter : I assume you’re in error rather than you’re incapable of rational thought or of actual empathy.
      Honestly though, I do take my answer to your question to be *so* obvious that I am truly amazed that it actually needed to be spelled out in the first place.

      Good night, I wish you the best and I wish you to increase in wisdom.


      • Jack says:

        Not to split hairs, but I wouldn’t say every act of suicide is irrational. I think here of Publius Quinctilius Varus, who fell on his sword after his defeat in Teutoburg Forest. A truly grisly fate awaited that man if he did not do so.

        Really, all suicides seem to me to be a “lesser of two evils” kind of thing, whether the cause of the decision is internal pain or exterior pressure.


        • arthurja says:

          Alright, Jack, I’m happy to concede that not ALL suicides are irrational and that they often follow the “lesser of two evils” logic, that is true.

          Nevertheless, my point still stands : people who commit suicide are actually innocent of that decision in a very real way since that decision is never *truly* free, and so what an awful god God would have to be to condemn them to further suffering – and especially so if that suffering were to go on forever.

          But let us not talk too much about such a tragic thing, really.
          That is more than enough, already.


          • I would just add that at least from corresponding with Hart on here, we could probably make distinction between two types of irrationality.

            One would be being intellectually aware of what is doing in a merely cognitive sense. In this sense, we KNOW what we’re doing is wrong and do it any way.

            In the second sense, knowledge goes beyond a mere intellectual knowing to a knowledge of EXPERIENCE. It is in this sense that we all are irrational to some degree until we come to know God when he is “all in all” when no evil exists in any of us anymore. For some, this will happen after a long sojourn in hell.

            For suicide, certainly more recently, the Orthodox Church tends to acknowledge that many suicides are done without rationality in the FIRST or SECOND sense, at least that’s how I understand things.

            Dr. Rossi has a couple good podcasts on this. His story at the end of part 2 about the SCOBA paper with Archbishop Demitrios makes me wonder if this is the way an Athanasius or Gregory of Nazianzus or Maximus could change the tide of opinion in one one fell swoop. Really a wonderful story.


            Liked by 1 person

    • Pmyshkin says:

      Imagine that Jesus, the one who showed us who God is in the way He died as a human being (h/t Fr Behr), is and that his isness is greater than the fall. Now imagine the joy of the Father, who through His Son’s life death and resurrection can welcome all His children home. Do you see? Evangelization happens through witness and birth. Every single conception adds to the joy of heaven forever. That’s why we live. We live to find the lost sheep, to make the sheep, to serve the Shepherd, to Be, for your life brings eternal joy to the Father.
      rest assured fr Kimel that I will pray for him tomorrow on the feast of all souls as I did today on the feast of all saints as I do at every Mass, and your prayers and ours are not in vain. Peace

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Otto says:

    Is she a Catholic?


  4. rephinia says:

    Quite underwhelming for something written by an academic. And don’t think she’s right about the free will argument being the most difficult to understand. DBH laid out this reasoning in The Doors of the Sea, Atheist Delusions, and The Experience of God without anyone getting mad.

    It’s the first argument that people seem to be avoiding addressing. It’s exciting and novel and I don’t think the general public is used to thinking in the terms laid out in that meditation.

    Liked by 1 person

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