Hello everyone and welcome to Deeper Waters where we are continuing our dive into the ocean of truth. We’ve been studying the Christian doctrine of God and we’re on the topic of predestination. As we have seen, predestination is more about the nature of God than it is about the nature of salvation. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas which can be read at NewAdvent.org. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the question of reprobation.
“A loving God would never send anyone to Hell.” We’ve all heard it before. There are alternatives to such an idea. The first is universalism. This was a view that was held by Origen. In the end, all would be saved. The second view is annihilationism. This is the view that the lost will not go to hell and be there for the rest of time, but rather that they will eventually be destroyed and “perish.”
These views are nothing new. They were around in the days of Aquinas. There is nothing new under the sun. In fact, the very first objection against the view that God reprobates some people is that God is a God of love. If God loves every man, then he would not reprobate anyone.
However, because God loves every man, it does not follow that God wills every good come to every man. Some men are single and some are married and strong Christians come in both forms. Paul was likely single. Peter was not. It does not follow that God loved one more than the other in that he allowed one to be in one state and another in another.
I would contend in fact that Hell is really for the good of the ones who wish to avoid God. God grants them their desire. For such people, Heaven would be Hell. We find that hard to imagine since we desire to see God, but if you live your life in hatred of God and animosity towards him, you have no desire to constantly be in his presence.
However, I also am open to an idea that Heaven and Hell more describe relations than anything else, much akin to Lewis’s view in The Great Divorce. In that case, there is one place people end up, in the manifest presence of God. To those who love God, this is Heaven. To those who do not, it is Hell. However, I see no reason to think that all will be saved and enjoy the presence of God forever regardless.
As for annihiliation, the problem with this is that too many Scriptures do speak of a reality of suffering after this life and placed alongside of the eternal life of the blessed. It is my view philosophically that God does not destroy that which is in his image for that which is in his image is good. I do not even believe he destroys the devil for the devil has some goodness in that he exists, and existence is good, and he has intelligence, and intelligence is good, and he has will, and will is good. Make no mistake about it however. He is depraved morally entirely and cannot will to do any good.
We conclude sadly that God does reprobate man. No one delights in this, or rather no one should. Let it be our charge to advance the Kingdom as much as possible to prevent this from happening.
We shall continue tomorrow.