Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Why I’m Not A Universalist

 Well worth a read.

1 comment:

Greg Pavlik said...

The first section on Scripture is really interesting.

The problem overall is that the author states explicitly he cannot really do philosophy (aka theology in this case, setting aside some of the obscurantist Orthodox claims about the nature of theology as pure revelation), but that is inescapable. The reality is we cannot say God is the Good as such and deny the reality of Pauline universalism, at least without evacuating the term Goodness of any moral intelligibility. No appeal to Justice overcomes this (and generally arguments in this direction make things worse). This position essentially makes a case that Orthodox Catholic Christianity is untrue (if you really believe that some infallible dogma has been established that torment without end is an essential truth of the Faith). But even outside of Orthodoxy, I am not sure you can even make any coherent claim on behalf of God as such without reference to irreducible transcendentals, which brings us back to the same problem.

Of course this is obvious - really unavoidably obvious - which is why a long string of proof texts or appeals to authority without argument is the only path to a "case" on behalf of eternal damnation. What is being argued is not really anything about universalism per se, but something quite different, more along these lines: the Church is infallible. Part of its infallible teaching is that the reprobate are subject to eternal damnation. Therefore, universalism is false - regardless of what this makes us say about God as such, Christ, Goodness, Truth, etc.

But everyone knows all this, I think. Most simply aren't willing to try to fully square the circle when they claim universalism is a heresy. I suspect that is because they know it cannot be done. Those that don't recognize the impossibility of squaring the circle, well, I've yet to see something that isn't cringeworthy.

In any case, we really don't have a mechanism in Orthodoxy to fully delineate the idea, scope and application of infallibility, let alone any real mechanism to establish new dogmas: thank God for that.