Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lies We Believe About God (21)

Summary of Chapter 21
The 21st 'lie' is that 'death is more powerful than God'. This chapter is not, however, a statement about the truth of resurrection. It is about the possibility of choosing life even after death... about postmortem conversion. Young believes free will continues beyond death. God's love for us remains. Our freedom to choose remains. Death, in Young's view, is the beginning of a restorative process intended to free us to run into the arms of love. Young believes death will carry with it the opportunity to choose Life. Life is bigger than death.

This chapter is not surprising to anyone who read chapters 13 or 15. Young believes that all people will ultimately be saved (actually, to reiterate, he believes that all people ARE saved, but some simply are not yet aware of or experiencing their salvation). Since many don't ever begin to experience their salvation in this lifetime, Young believes they will come to this experience after death (thus, in a strange way, many saved people experience hell and, in fact, hell is completely occupied by 'saved' people).

But the main point of this chapter is clearly that Young believes postmortem conversion is possible. And he believes this because he sees no reason to believe that free will ceases to exist after death. I agree that there's no air-tight case for the elimination of free will after death. I would say, though, that an even better argument for the possibility of postmortem conversion is the unchanging character of God. Young would certainly support this, but doesn't emphasize it as much as the free will angle. A difference between Young and myself, it seems to me, is that I am not sure that anyone will convert in 'hell' and Young is sure that everyone will. I don't think it is legitimate for Young to be so confident about this, especially given his emphasis on free will. How can he (how can God even!?) guarantee the future choice of a free will creature (I recognize that Young is not, like myself, an open theist... but that doesn't remove what appears to me a logical inconsistency).

Concerning his main point (the possibility of postmortem conversion), I have no major objection. I consider it a possibility as well. C.S. Lewis famously said the gates of hell are locked from the inside and the Book of Revelation states that the gates of the holy city will never be shut. No major objections here.

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