Friday, August 10, 2012

Love Wins, Part 06

Our Tuesday night discussion group has reached Chapter 4 of Rob Bell's book, Love Wins.  The provocative title of the chapter is "Does God Get what God Wants?"  What He wants, of course, is for all to be saved.  All. 

What stands in the way of His saving every last human being who ever lived?  Human freedom - at least, potentially.  The trouble is, if He were to override human freedom to "save" us, what He'd really be doing is the opposite:  destroying us as human persons, reducing us to the level of a clever animal.    So the very question is a kind of oxymoron, like, "Can God create a stone too heavy for Him to lift?" 

In Orthodox Christianity, we may not absolutely affirm that everyone will be saved.  We do not know this; that's the main reason we must abstain from saying so.  The other excellent reason is that to affirm it positively is to make too little of human freedom.  Doctrine must always guard our free will.

At the same time, though, we Orthodox are encouraged to hope that in the end, somehow, by Christ of course but in ways unrevealed to us, all will be saved.

So let us hope.  But in the end, as Rob Bell also says, the real, sometimes terrifying, question we need to ask is, "What do I want?"  Because I'll get it.  That bit is for certain.  What do I really, at the deepest abyss of my heart, truly want?