Can You Say No to God Forever?

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9 Responses to Can You Say No to God Forever?

  1. This is so helpful. Thankyou. I think those who would ask for the choice to be damned have a major misunderstanding. Both of God and of being damned. Of God because they do not understand or realise Who He is. Only Love. And of Eternal damnation. Which is, as you say, to exist, but nothing more. To feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing, just ones self forever…..no relationship TO anything. No belonging. Just to be so utterly alone with ones self, that we cannot grasp that. No light, no stars. No beauty of any kind. Just the silence of our own thoughts screaming at us. And totally helpless to change that, whatsoever. Which means, in the end one screams ‘help!’ Because damnation is not what we want, but we may only realise that once we have chosen it! God in His mercy (that is forever) waits. And the moment we call, as you said, there He is! Because He is weeping. Seeing our aloneness, our torment (because that is what it is) but He will not force us. And that too is what Love is. Non coersive, but has known the depths which we as created are prepared to go to to claim our ‘independence’ from this Love. And has, in His mercy, allowed us to choose our way, but also made a way out! Because He knows fully, even though we do not! ( I know best for myself of course!) what damnation actually means. And that, in our right mind no one would want it! Precisely because we are in our wrong mind do we insist we do! Because we are blind to the fact that our independence is death and damnation to us! We were created to be loved. And loved we were, are and will be. But when we will accept that love is up to us.

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  2. Counter-Rebel says:

    2:17 “…even if we can’t explain how that is possible.” I think we can: One position is modest libertarianism, where free will requires at least one non-determined choice but can also include determined choices…

    “Libertarians disagree about precisely where indeterminism is required in the process that produces a free act. Some hold that every free act must be undetermined, that is, lacking a factor that is both prior to and logically sufficient for the act. Others hold that a given free act could be determined, provided that the *determinans* is something for which the agent is responsible in virtue of performing some prior undetermined act that resulted in the *determinans.* We can think of these as ‘strict’ and ‘broad’ accounts of what it is for an act to be free in the libertarian sense.” -W. Matthews Grant, “Divine Universal Causality and Libertarian Freedom”

    …if the determinans (the thing that determines the choice) was freely acquired. After making so many wrong choices and tasting death, the memory of the sour taste will make it so the creature freely-and-inevitably chooses the Good. It’s not coercion since the memory comes from the creature’s own choices. God will save all!

    Anytime one does something evil, it is the result of ignorance or weakness, which reduces culpability. We all want to be happy, and the only thing that will give our hearts rest is God (Blessed Augustine). So God is not violating our free will by guaranteeing that we all get what we (consciously or unconsciously) desire. He’s not violating–He’s fulfilling our free will! Free will does not require the ability to spontaneously posit a (final) end other than the one God has ordained. That would be sheer randomness. We all have the same end (eternal joy with Our Lord)–the choice is whether to do it sooner or later. (Universalists don’t deny hell, just its eternality.)

    “memoria…” -Nirvana, “Come As You Are”

    “It’s a self-correcting system.” -George Carlin

    “[F]eedback is the system whereby any system of energy is enabled to record the results of its own action, so that upon that record, it can, as it were, make plans for the future. It can, in other words, correct its action.” -Alan Watts

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  3. Milton Finch says:

    You asked earlier, around December 6th of 2021, about Capon’s thoughts on God and evil. I’m reading his book, Genesis, The Movie, and in his chapter entitled The River and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, on page 240, I found this:

    “To sum it up, then, creation lives by an invisible stream of Knowledge and Love that runs between and from and to the Three-in-One. We’ve been bobbing along in the River of their economies from all eternity, and at no moment in our history will we ever escape it. No one can swim against the current of the divine Mississippi. We have no choice about being carried into the divine Ocean. Willy-nilly, we’ll all reach it; the most we can do is complain forever about the unavoidable trip home. And just in case your itching for me to say there is a hell after all, there you have my vision of it: a perpetual, upstream struggle against the Love that will not let us go.”

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    • Milton Finch says:

      Here is something much closer to what you asked later on in the same chapter beginning on page 246. Thomas Aquinas seemed to be a big contributor to Capon’s thought in the matter.
      From the book, “Genesis, the Movie”:

      “Consequently, in that larger sense of “knowledge” (and in particular when it’s used in connection with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), I think we should read it not as an awareness that we must choose between good and evil but as the knowledge of how to cope with both at once.”

      “Moreover, when the Director (God’s Holy Spirit) presents the “testing” of the human race in the persons of Adam and Eve in chapter 3, She (the Director who is the Holy Spirit) doesn’t portray it as their choice of some evil particle of creation. There wasn’t a single evil thing for Eve to choose: everything in the film so far (including, presumably, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) was pronounced “Very Good” by God at the end of the sixth day. Indeed, Thomas Aquinas said that that there is no material wrongness, no ontological evil anywhere in the world; there is only the immaterial possibility of evil in the decisions of human will. And that possibility can become an actuality only if we make it so by choosing to perceive the good in an evil way. Aquinas defined the will as an infallible appetite for the good: it simply can’t choose Evil as such. In other words, we can never do evil until we can dress it up as a good in our minds. Evil, he said, can be chosen only ‘ad inastar boni’, only under the guise of good. It has to hide before it can go public.”

      “I have no idea what you think of Aquinas’s philosophical analysis, but I find it utterly true to life. I never choose to lie unless I can convince myself that the untruth is somehow better than the truth. And to carry Aquinas’s insight all the way to 9/11, al Qaeda could never have assassinated 3000 people with hijacked planes until it convinced itself that the good of Islam required such a monstrous act. None of this, of course, diminishes the devastating consequences that murders or lies can bring into the world: real beings suffer real agonies because of them. But the taproot of their horror lies in a fundamentally unreal perversion of a genuine good.”

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      • Milton Finch says:

        Then I found this in Genesis, the Movie in his chapter called Passing the Buck and the Beginning of God’s Curses on page 310.
        “With one grand adversative, the life’s work of the author of the books of Kings becomes just so much scrap paper in the trash can of realpolitik. The God of good reneges on his promises, and the God of evil licks his chops in satisfaction. And yet they are not two Gods but One. The God who holds good and evil as an ecology not only tolerates the evil— he takes full responsibility for it. Indeed, I’m even tempted to say that, for all biblical and practical purposes, Satan is the alter Ego of the great I AM.”

        “No doubt that really bothers you. I’ve tried to soften it a bit by calling it God’s ‘tolerance’ of evil. But what’s the point of that? For the Almighty to allow evil can mean only one of two things. Either he’s not Almighty and can’t stop it, or he is, and he permits it. Only the second represents the Bible’s view, and it alone squares with common sense. If you see an 18 month-old toddling toward the edge of a cliff— and if you have the power to stop her but don’t use it— ‘you’ are the agent of her death.”

        Of course there’s a lot more argument about this in the chapter.

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  4. JBG says:

    Do any theologians address this ambivalent dual-willed God that is implicit in the presentations of infernalism? Not only does their God possess dual desires/wills, but these wills can actually be in conflict.

    God wills/desires your salvation (and by extension your perfect, unending happiness). Yet God also wills/desires the operation of your “free will”. God desires that “your will be done”, even If that should result in your endless torment. God’s desire for the operation of one’s “free will” supersedes his desire for one’s happiness, yet an obvious and irresolvable conflict abides.

    The God of the infernalists simultaneously desires both eternal happiness and eternal misery upon some creatures, and this excruciating internal conflict within God must rage on for eternity. In granting creatures the power to doom themselves, God is in essence dooming himself to eternal conflict. It really makes you wonder why he even bothered to created in the first place, doesn’t it?

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  5. Hank says:

    Infernalists must also believe that God prioritizes His will for free choice in persons above His will for the salvation of all, but only until the arbitrary point of that person’s death, at which point God “solidifies” the person’s character such that the person can never again have the free choice to change his mind or repent.

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    • JBG says:

      Hank: “…God “solidifies” the person’s character such that the person can never again have the free choice to change his mind or repent.”

      Yes. And yet the infernalists still maintain, as comically absurd as it is, that God eternally loves those in hell. To love someone is to desire their well-being, full stop.

      If it’s any consolation, God will eternally love you (and desire your well-being) while you are seething in abject torment, a state from which you can never be freed.

      Moreover, it is because God values your free-will over and above your well-being that God desires that you experience the repercussions of your freedom—in this case, interminable agony. God simultaneously desires both your well-being and your interminable agony. How is that for being conflicted?

      To recap: God desires your well-being, but he desires and values your free will to a greater extent, and therefore, there are indeed circumstances wherein God desires one’s interminable agony more than he desires their well-being, although this lesser desire must remain due to his undying love. Yes, this God will be in this state of conflict for eternity.

      But he loves you (cue George Carlin).

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  6. Ashpenaz says:

    This isn’t exactly on topic, but I don’t know where else to ask this question. As far as the Greek is concerned, couldn’t this be an acceptable translation of Rev. 10:15?

    “And if anything was not found written in the Book of Life, it was thrown into the lake of fire.”

    Why does this verse have to refer to people? Why couldn’t the author be saying Death, Hades, and anything else that isn’t in the Book of Life is thrown into the Lake of Fire? Maybe Revelation teaches that no human being was thrown into the Lake of Fire–just evil entities.

    Also, it doesn’t make sense that the Book of Life would include everyone’s deeds but not everyone’s names. In order to be a full account of each person’s deeds, wouldn’t everyone who ever existed have to have their names in the Book of Life? Next to their deeds? It makes no sense that there would be lists of deeds not attributed to anyone.

    Again, not sure where to post this–just thought I’d see what others thought.

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