The Secret of the Greater Hope

“Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee”—perhaps the most famous sentence from one of the most famous prayers in the catholic tradition.1 St Augustine’s words have been quoted by preachers ever since they were penned. They point us to the fundamental truth of our existence: we are made for God and can only find lasting happiness in him. We are divinely ordered to participation and fulfillment in the divine life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Two hundred years later St Maximus the Confessor would affirm that God has given to humanity “a natural desire and longing for Him.”2 Later still, medieval Latin theologians would affirm we have an innate desire for our supernatural end, the beatific vision. Stephen J. Duffey offers the following commentary on Augustine’s prayer:

Grace is a comprehensive ambience for Augustine. No person, event, aspect of his life stood outside the divine intent to bring him to fulfillment. Conver­sion was not the first entrance of grace into his life, only the compass point from which he could read the presence of grace from the very beginning of his days. Wherever he meets himself, God is there before him. Thus the prayer of gratitude suffuses the Confessions. Grace is inescapable, wholly prevenient. Every movement of his heart, every initiative of his will is preceded by God who calls and sustains his holy restlessness. The relentless undertow in his life was the emptiness God had set within him, which only God could fill up, and the unfathomable Providence of God, which drew him, yet rescued him from being swallowed by the emptiness. In Augus­tine’s metaphysics of creation the substrate of every creature is the formless void of Genesis. The creature is mutable, defectible, teetering on the brink of nothingness whence it came. In the created spirit, this void is the innate desire for happiness. Attracting us to God yet unable to bring us to God, it leads to dangerous and restless questing. For the created spirit to be complete, this chaos within must be “formed” by the Word and stabilized by the Spirit. Often a dull ache, this inner desire could erupt in sharp pain. It was this experience that grounded Augustine’s understanding of grace.3

Created in the divine image, we are incomplete without God. Of course, no one is truly without God. As the transcendent Creator, he subsists in the ontological depths of every person. Again Augustine: “Deus interior intimo meo,” “God is more inward than my most inward part.”4 In the deepest depths of our being, there is the living God creating and sustaining us in every moment of our existing. He is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves, always summoning us to the happiness and rest only he can give.

Duffy elaborates a contemporary Catholic understanding of the natural desire for God:

In the concrete nature of fallen humanity there is an interior, absolute desire of the Kingdom that correlates with the universal salvific divine will. This determination is an existential. It is prior to all personal options and persists through all possible acceptances or rejections of one’s end. What­ever one does, one remains interiorly ordered to absolute communion with God. Not that one is in a “state of grace,” to use the traditional language. But one is always in a graced order and under the influence of the offer of grace. To some degree this existential determination seeps into conscious­ness. It is an attraction and all attractions are necessarily consciously experienced in some measure. In this case it is perhaps confusedly experienced as an appreciation of the goods of the Kingdom. More often this attraction will be lived rather than reflected upon. But it can rise to the level of reflection and clear articulation, as in the case of Augustine’s “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless. . . .”5

Humanity is created for communion with the living God. We cannot find happiness apart from him who is the immanent ground of our existence and the consummation of all our searchings. God is the origin and end of all human desire.

And here, I suggest, is the secret of the greater hope. No matter how deeply we sink into our sin and egoism, no matter how thick the darkness that surrounds and penetrates our hearts becomes, we remain images of the divine Image. We are created for the Holy Trinity and interiorly ordered to eternal communion with him. The thirst for the beatific vision can never be eradicated from our being. Even the damned continue to thirst for God, even while denying the only One who can slake their thirst. “Those who are tormented in Gehenna are tormented by the invasion of love,” declares St Isaac the Syrian. Constituted by God for theosis, we abide within his grace and universal salvific will. God yearns for us to repent and enter into deifying communion with him, just as we yearn for rapturous communion with him. This is our fundamental, inescapable truth.

Too often when reflecting on hell and eternal damnation, we think of human beings as created in a neutral relationship to God, perhaps even in a posture of indifference. We forget that we are ontologically oriented to God. We may have profoundly enslaved ourselves to our passions and egoism; but we can never obliterate the fundamental desire of our hearts nor definitively cut ourselves off from our Creator. As the psalmist sings:

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Ps 139:7-8)

Thomas Talbott proposes that God can effect the salvation of all people simply by allowing them to suffer the immanent consequences of their rejection of the ultimate Good they desire. Talbott thus sees hell as a mode of purgatory. God does not need to interfere with human freedom; for he has structured human nature in such a way that every departure from the divine will results in interior suffering, dissatisfaction, and misery. All he needs to do is not shield the damned from the terrible consequences of rebellion and disunion. As their misery increases it will become increasingly impossible for them to sustain the illusion that they can find genuine beatitude anywhere but in their Creator.

Alcohol addiction serves as an apt analogy. For an alcoholic to begin the way of recovery, he needs to “hit bottom,” as the folks in AA like to say; and he reaches bottom through the process of experiencing the emotional and physical distress caused by his drinking. At some point, he reaches that point where he can no longer convince himself that the benefits of intoxication outweigh the pain and suffering that his drinking has brought upon himself and those he loves.

Those who die enslaved to the passions remain enslaved in the next life. This is their hell. They are sundered from the goods of creation and thus unable to satisfy their disordered desires. Like the addict who is cut off from his drugs when he enters detox, the damned are cut off from anything that might, even momentarily, assuage their cravings. Thus St John of Damascus:

The righteous, by desiring and having God, rejoice forever; but the sinners, by desiring sin and not possessing the objects of sin, are tormented as if eaten by the worm and consumed by fire, with no consolation; for what is suffering if not the absence of that which is desired. According to the intensity of desire, those who desire God rejoice, and those who desire sin are tormented.6

Talbott advances a similar understanding of damnation, but unlike the Damascene he believes that every person in hell will eventually hit their bottom. Each will reach a point where they can no longer maintain the delusion that selfishness and autonomy will bring happiness. Unbearable suffering breaks us all; it cannot be forever endured. This tiny window is all the God of Love needs:

Pauline theology provides a clear picture of how the end of reconciliation could be foreordained even though each of us is genuinely free to choose which path we will follow in the present. The picture is this: The more one freely rebels against God in the present, the more miserable and tormented one eventually becomes, and the more miserable and tormented one becomes, the more incentive one has to repent of one’s sin and to give up one’s rebellious attitudes. But more than that, the consequences of sin are themselves a means of revelation; they reveal the true meaning of separation and enable us to see through the very self-deception that makes evil choices possible in the first place. We may think that we can promote our own interest at the expense of others or that our selfish attitudes are compatible with enduring happiness, but we cannot act upon such an illusion, at least not for a long period of time, without shattering it to pieces. So in that sense, all paths have the same destination, the end of reconciliation, but some are longer and windier than others. Because our choice of paths in the present is genuinely free, we are morally responsible for that choice; but because no illusion can endure forever, the end is foreordained. As Paul himself puts it: We are all predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (see Romans 8:29); that part is a matter of grace, not human will or effort.7

Can we imagine any lucid, fully informed person freely embracing eternal misery instead of eternal happiness. Would this not be insanity? If God is our absolute Good, then rejection of the Good is rejection of our own good and thus rejection of ourselves. As Talbott writes:

Religious people sometimes speak of God as if he were just another human magistrate who seeks his own glory and requires obedience for its own sake; they speak as if we might reject the Creator and Father of our souls without rejecting ourselves, oppose his will for our lives without opposing, schizophrenically perhaps, our own will for our lives. . . . But if God is our loving Creator, then he wills for us exactly what at the most fundamental level, we want for ourselves; he wills that we should experience supreme happiness, that our deepest yearnings should be satisfied, and that all of our needs should be met.8

The happiness our heavenly Father everlastingly wills for us and the happiness we truly desire for ourselves are identical. 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 and daughters of the God and Father of Jesus Christ. This innate desire for communion with the Holy Trinity is the secret that underlies the greater hope.

Given humanity’s ordination to the Good, what are the chances that all will be saved? Immediately human freedom raises its head. No matter how irrational the choice might be, are we not free to definitively, irrevocably, everlastingly reject the Good we desire? How then can we genuinely hope that all will be saved? Evil lies deep in our hearts. Who can say that in the end there won’t be one holdout, ten holdouts or even ten billion holdouts? Hope for the salvation of all? You’ll get better odds at the roulette table.

There are, of course, different kinds and degrees of hope. There is the hope that tomorrow will be a bright and sunny day, given that the weatherman says there’s only a 5% chance of rain. We might call this an almost-certain hope. There is the 3:2 hope that Secretariat will win the 1973 Kentucky Derby. We might call this a confident hope. There is the 50–50 hope of the coin-flipper that the quarter will fall heads instead of tails. Let’s call this an even money hope. And there is the hope of the Texas Holdem player that he will hit his one-outer on the river and make quads (only a 2% chance)—a truly desperate hope. Our hopes range the gamut of probabilities.

Dare we hope for the salvation of all?—to this question Met Kallistos Ware, following Hans Urs von Balthasar, tenders a cautious yes. God’s love for mankind is unshakeable and certain; but human freedom precludes us from affirming anything stronger than an antinomic hope:

If the strongest argument in favor of universal salvation is the appeal to divine love, and if the strongest argument on the opposite side is the appeal to human freedom, then we are brought back to the dilemma with which we started: how are we to bring into concord the two principles “God is love” and “Human beings are free”? For the time being we cannot do more than hold fast with equal firmness to both principles at once, while admitting that the manner of their ultimate harmonization remains a mystery beyond our present comprehension. . . . Our belief in human freedom means that we have no right to categorically affirm, “All must be saved.” But our faith in God’s love makes us dare to hope that all will be saved.9

Clearly it is impossible for us to assign a probability to the antinomic possibility of universal salvation. It does not fall into the four categories described above. There are no odds to calculate. What then does it mean to say that we may dare to hope that all will be saved? Is “hope” even the right word?

“Faith,” Richard John Neuhaus explains, “is hope anticipated, and hope is faith disposed toward the future.”10 We hope God will raise us the dead because we believe God has raised Jesus from the dead, and we trust him and his promises. The former enjoys the same level of certainty as the latter. Resurrection is impossible within the terms of the world as we know it. Even so, our hope possesses an evangelical certitude. As Jesus teaches us, “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). The hope of the general resurrection and the eschatological transfiguration of the cosmos transcends antinomies. In his omnipotent love, God will make it so—a 110% guarantee.

But regarding the universalist hope, Ware tells us, we face a different situation. Even though God desires the salvation of all (1 Tim 2:4), his desire is apparently constrained by human free will:

Because humans are free, it is argued, they are at liberty to reject God. His gifts are irrevocable; He will never take away from us our power of voluntary choice, and so we are free to go on saying “No” to Him through all eternity. Such unending rejection of God is precisely the essence of hell. Because free will exists, there must exist also the possibility of hell as a place of everlasting suffering. Take away hell, and you deny freedom. None can be forced to enter heaven against their will. As the Russian theologian Paul Evdokimov observes, God can do anything except compel us to love him; for love is free, and thus where there is no liberty of choice there is no love.11

Human freedom excludes divine determination. The LORD may offer the salvation of the Kingdom, but he neither coerces nor manipulates our free acceptance. Surely at least one person will dig in their heels and definitively and eternally reject God, and if one, then why not a thousand or a million or a billion? How can we speak of hope for universal salvation when our experience of humanity, and of ourselves, leads us to expect the damnation of many?

We find ourselves at an impasse. We may dare to hope that all will be saved; but that hope appears to be a hope beyond hope, a hope against hope. Yes, there are many passages in the Scriptures that intimate, even promise, the universality of salvation; but the bound­ary of human freedom remains—and with it looms the horror of everlasting torment. Ware posits two irreconcilable principles—divine love and human freedom—and declares that “the manner of their ultimate harmonization remains a mystery beyond our present comprehen­sion.”12

The majority of Christians today—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—affirm what is often called a free-will model of damnation.13 God does not damn: the wicked damn themselves. Rather than embracing the forgiveness offered by the Father, they instead freely and irrevocably choose separation and autonomy. C. S. Lewis capsulized this model in his oft-quoted statement: “The doors of hell are locked from the inside.” The damned are free to make their exit yet inexplicably never turn the key. Underlying the free-will model is a libertarian construal of human freedom: human agents determine their own actions and always remain free to do otherwise. Libertarian freedom thus excludes all forms of divine determinism. Thomists and Calvinists will demur, but let us assume that the libertarian account is true and faithfully represents what Christians should believe. Let’s also assume that some version of the free-will model of hell is true, that human beings are always free to irrevocably damn themselves. How might we then understand the possibility and likelihood of universal salvation?

Consider the following five statements, with brief commentary:

1) Human beings are created by the Holy Trinity to enjoy eternal fellowship with the Holy Trinity. God is our supreme good, supernatural end, eschatological fulfillment, and true happiness.

Humanity is not created in a neutral stance vis-à-vis its Creator. We are created by God and our ultimate desire is always for God.

2) To turn away from God is to turn away from our supreme good and thus to turn away from true happiness. By our sin we create our own hell and doom ourselves to ever-increasing anguish.

Universalists do not deny hell. We know too well its misery. We know, and fear, the possibility that in the end we might choose self over the Good.

3) God will not permit us to irrevocably decide against union with him based on either insufficient information or disordered desire.

Anyone who is ignorant or deceived about the nature of God or the terminal consequences of their choices cannot be said to have freely embraced their destiny. Ditto for anyone who is enslaved to disordered desires and passions. Just as addicts are incapable of making responsible decisions until they have been liberated from addictive substances, so those who are enslaved to disordered desires and passions are incapable of free decisions and actions. They cannot do otherwise.

4) God never gives up on any sinner; he never withdraws his offer of forgiveness; he never abandons his children to the torment of the outer darkness.

God has not set a time limit on the offer of salvation, nor has he configured the afterlife to render it impossible for sinners to repent and turn to him. God loves every human being with an infinite and absolute love. He truly wills the good and salvation of all (1 Tim 2:4). Like the good shepherd, he searches near and far for the one lost sheep; like the woman who loses one of her ten coins, he turns his house upside down until he finds it (Luke 15). Jesus has and will reconcile all to himself. He will not be without his brethren for whom he died and rose again.

5) When a person surrenders to God in death or in the afterlife, his orientation is definitively stabilized and his eternal bliss confirmed.

After death the redeemed no longer have the freedom to reject God, for their freedom has been fulfilled in the beatific vision. Theologians advance various arguments to explain this truth, but all agree upon it. In heaven, once saved, always saved.

The above statements can, I think, be worked into a valid argument for universal salvation. The first premise is uncontroversial and widely accepted in the orthodox tradition. The second premise expresses the free-will model of hell that has become dominant in ecumen­ical Christianity. The third premise is rarely discussed in the literature and therefore probably controversial. The fourth is definitely controversial, as it denies a widely held belief, yet the possibility of post-mortem salvation has long been affirmed by many Eastern Christians and is supported by the Orthodox practice of praying for the departed. The final premise is uncontroversial and enjoys ecumenical assent.

Assume, for the moment, that all five statements are true. How confident may we be that God will bring all humanity to salvation? The quick, too quick, answer: we don’t know. Every human possesses free will, we continue to insist, and is thus free to make the ultimate Luciferian decision: “Evil, be thou my good.” But why would anyone make such a decision if they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that only God is their true happiness and that rejection of the divine offer of salvation must bring only misery? Perhaps a person might delude themselves about this truth for a while, but as the agony and despair intensifies, how long can he or she hold out until the truth crashes down upon him? How long before absolute reality shatters all illusions? Satan is ubiqui­tously invoked at this point. If he can deliberately choose evil for the sake of evil, so can anyone. Herbert McCabe thinks not:

When we sin it is entirely our choice of something instead of God’s friendship. To come to God’s friendship in Christ is to choose a good, the greatest good and the greatest good for us; and the creative and gracious power of God is in us as we freely make this choice. It is both our free work and God’s work. To do good is to choose the highest good; but to fail to do this, to sin, is not to choose evil. Nobody chooses evil, it cannot be done. When we sin what we do is to choose some trivial good at the expense of choosing God’s friendship. Sin is sin not because of the thing we positively choose: the human satisfaction, the pleasure or the power. It is sin because of what we fail to choose, what we sacrifice for the sake of a minor good. Sin is sin because we have opted not to grow up to our flourishing, our happiness which is life in God’s love and friendship.14

If this is true for ordinary sins committed in this life, how much more so must it be true for the eschatological exercise of one’s fundamental orientation towards God. Talbott main­tains that the notion that a free rational agent might decisively, definitively, irrevocably reject his supreme good is incoherent: “For no one rational enough to qualify as a free moral agent could possibly prefer an objective horror—the outer darkness, for example—to eternal bliss, nor could any such person both experience the horror of separation from God and continue to regard it as a desirable state.”15 David Bentley Hart concurs:

But, on any cogent account, free will is a power inherently purposive, teleological, primordially oriented toward the good, and shaped by that transcendental appetite to the degree that a soul can recognize the good for what it is. No one can freely will the evil as evil; one can take the evil for the good, but that does not alter the prior transcendental orientation that wakens all desire. To see the good truly is to desire it insatiably; not to desire it is not to have known it, and so never to have been free to choose it.16

Yet perhaps the libertarian construal of freedom requires the option of choosing alienation from the Creator and the absolute misery it brings. Despite the revelation given in the afterlife, perhaps a person can still hang on to the delusion that he can bear the isolation and torment. Perhaps, for no good reason at all, a person can still choose a destiny that contra­dicts his intrinsic good and happiness. “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven!” we cry. As absurd and self-destructive as such a decision must be judged, perhaps we cannot declare it impossible. And let us further stipulate that God will honor the individual’s refusal to repent and will allow that person to everlastingly endure the terrible consequences of his decision. If this is so, can we still entertain a reasonable and confident hope of universal salvation? Eric Reitan believes that we can.

Eric Reitan analyzes the free-will model of hell in a 2004 essay. Like Talbott, he is skeptical of the proposal that a rational agent might voluntarily choose a destiny of utter misery. Can we imagine someone freely choosing an infernal state of being “knowing that doing so will doom them to eternal alienation from everything of value?”17 Can we imagine this person enduring the ever-increasing loneliness, despair, and torment for all eternity, never once wondering whether he has chosen wisely? Perhaps he originally chose separation from God under the illusion that it wouldn’t be so bad, that he could still find some measure of happiness; but this is a false belief. There is no happiness divorced from deifying union with God. Is it really possible, asks Reitan, to cling to a false belief forever when it produces only ever-increasing misery? Is it not more likely that the punishments of hell will eventually shatter all illusions and bring one to that point where one can only desperately cry out, “Jesus, help me”?

Reitan states the matter this way:

On the progressive view of DH [the doctrine of hell], the doors of hell are locked from the inside—that is, God never withdraws the offer of salvation. Hence, if any are damned eternally it is because they eternally reject God’s offer. It’s not enough to turn God down once. It must be done forever.

We are assuming that, to have libertarian freedom on the matter of our eternal destiny, we must be able to reject God’s offer of salvation even when we know what we are doing and are not in bondage to sin. But this means that it must be possible for us to make a choice that we have no motive to make, and every motive not to make. To say that this is possible is not to say that it is likely. In fact, it seems clear that, however possible it may be for us to act against all our interests, it is very unlikely at any moment that we would actually do so. But in order for someone to be eternally damned, the person must not only make this unlikely choice once. The person must unwaveringly choose to reject God at every moment for the rest of eternity, even though the person sees absolutely no good reason for doing so, has every reason not to do so, and has absolutely no compelling desire to do so. Is that really possible?18

But if we hold to a libertarian understanding of human freedom, then it must indeed be possible for a person to reject God for no good reason whatsoever when he has every compelling reason to surrender to God and experience the absolute Good that is the good he desires for himself. The state of alienation is infinitely inferior to the state of salvation: if the agent goes ahead and chooses it anyway, this must mean either that his decision is grounded on delusion or pathology or that it is purely random and arbitrary.

Reitan advances two responses to this formulation of damnation. First, is libertarian freedom as valuable as it is often claimed?

Libertarian freedom as described does not seem worth having. In fact, as described, I sincerely hope that I lack it. The capacity to eternally act against all of my motives would introduce into my life a potential for profound irrationality that I would rather do without. And if I exercise my libertarian freedom as described above, dooming myself to the outer darkness without reason, I sincerely hope that God would act to stop me—just as I hope a friend would stop me if I decided to leap from a rooftop for no reason. I would not regard the actions of that friend as a violation of any valuable freedom, but would see it as a welcome antidote to arbitrary stupidity.19

Yet even if extreme libertarian freedom obtains, Reitan believes that we may still have a guarantee, or at least mathematical certainty, of universal salvation. He proposes this thought experiment:

Imagine a box of pennies, spread out heads-side up. Suppose that the heads-side of each penny is covered with a thin film of superglue, such that if the penny were to flip over in the box it would stick to the bottom and remain heads-side down from thereon out. Imagine that this box is rattled every few seconds. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that there is no chance of the pennies getting stuck to the walls of the box or anything like that. Let us suppose, furthermore, that for any penny that is heads-side up at the same time that the box is rattled, there is exactly a fifty percent chance that after the box is rattled the penny will land heads-side up, and a fifty percent chance that it will land heads-side down. Once a penny lands heads-side down, however, it sticks to the bottom of the box and remains that way, regardless of how much the box is subsequently rattled. Let us imagine, furthermore, that the box is rattled every five seconds indefinitely, stopping only once all the pennies have landed heads-side down and become stuck that way.

In this situation, we would expect that eventually the rattling would stop, because eventually every single penny in the box would become stuck heads-side down. We expect this outcome even though every penny started out heads-side up, and even though at any given time a heads-side-up penny has a fifty percent chance of staying heads-side up. If the rattling continued forever, we would be inclined to say that this outcome is inevitable.20

Reitan argues that the question of libertarian freedom and universal salvation is analogous to the box of pennies. If we assume that God never withdraws the offer of his forgiveness, and if we assume that those who have chosen perdition remain free at any point to choose otherwise, then “there must be some possible world in which the person does accept the offer. Thus, the person who has yet to accept the offer of salvation is like the bad penny: While the person has not yet chosen to be saved, at every moment there is some probabil­ity that the person will so choose.”21 Remember, the damned have every good reason to change their minds and no good reason not to: the funda­mental happiness they desire for themselves is identical to the happiness that God wills for them.

Given that the opportunities for repentance are infinite, the probability that any one person will hold out against God approaches zero. This is not to say that the probability ever reaches zero; it is still possible to say that it remains theoretically possible for someone to reject God forever. “But,” counters Reitan, “the possible world in which this occurs is so remote that there seems to be no good reason to think that it is actual”22 Thus we have a mathematical certainty that all will freely embrace the salvation of God given in Jesus Christ.

Talbott’s and Reitan’s arguments should encourage us in a confident and robust hope for the salvation of every human being. God does not need to force anyone to repent of his sins and embrace heaven. Precisely because we are created for him, all he needs to do is to allow us to experience the hell that we think we want. Suffering, divine grace, and the prayers of the Church will do the rest.

(4 June 2014; rev.)

Footnotes

[1] Augustine of Hippo, Confessions 1.1.
[2] Maximus the Confessor, Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice 100, in The Philokalia (1984), II:284.
[3] Stephen J. Duffy, The Dynamics of Grace (2007), p. 82.
[4] Augustine, Conf. 3.11.
[5] Stephen J. Duffy, The Graced Horizon (1992), p. 23.
[6] John of Damascus, Against the Manicheans PG 94:1573.
[7] Thomas Talbott, The Inescapable Love of God, 2nd. ed. (2014), p. 189.
[8] Ibid., p. 185.
[9] Kallistos Ware, “Dare We Hope for the Salvation of All?,” The Inner Kingdom (2000), pp. 214-215.
[10] Richard John Neuhaus, “Will All Be Saved?” First Things (August 2001): https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/08/will-all-be-saved.
[11] Ware, p. 212.
[12] Ibid.
[13] See Jerry Walls, Hell: The Logic of Damnation (1993).
[14] Herbert McCabe, God Still Matters (2005), p. 185.
[15] Thomas Talbott, “Towards a Better Understanding of Universalism,” in Universal Salvation? (2004), p. 5.
[16] David Bentley Hart, “God, Creation, and Evil,” The Hidden and the Manifest (2017), p. 245.
[17] Eric Reitan, “Human Freedom and the Impossibility of Eternal Damnation,” in Universal Salvation? (2004), p. 133.
[18] Ibid., p. 136; also see Kronen and Reitan, chap. 8.
[19] Reitan, “Human Freedom,” p. 137.
[20] Ibid., p. 138.
[21] Ibid., p. 140.
[22] Ibid.

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