Apologetics - Universal Reconciliation > Arguments Against Universal Salvation

James White's objections need to be addressed

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Hi Everyone,
I came around recently to God's desire to reconcile everyone only recently.  I've been a fan of reformed apologist James White, and I still listen to him, as he tries to stay Biblical in everything he teaches.  (But to me he seems to fall into the unconscious desire to hold onto Damnationism.)  At any rate, I find him much more intelligent and sophisticated than any other apologist, and his objections to Universalism must be addressed, because he raises some good points.  Anyone care to try:  http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4855 ?  I have a few thoughts.

Lets have them thought of yours. I went to that site and well rather than open that door, I would appreciate your thoughts for right now. Thanks :icon_flower:

Argh!  :sigh:  Unfortunately I wrote them down on my computer at home, and didn't put it in a google doc.  I'll post them tonight.  I believe Dr. White's main concern was that God must be free to display all of His attributes, for His own self-glorification.  (I agree with this.)  The only way to do that is to save some sinners by grace (which by definition must not be demanded of Him), and to justly condemn the rest of the sinners and leave them there forever.  (I don't agree with this, because it disagrees with Scripture and has a warped view of justice.)

Not only that, but it also disagrees with God's nature.  God-is-love.  He is not death.  He doesn't give us what he doesn't have in him.  He is light, he gives us light.  He is endless, he gives us abundance.  He is peace, he gives us rest.  All of the opposites to those things are from the carnaltiy in us, not from the purity in him.  He's ways are righteous.  They are just.  His judgments are righteous.  By handing judgment upon us, that action purges us and we "become" righteous.  There is no place in heaven for death . . . if death is purified in the lake of fire, how then can people still be bound to it?

White's argument that the freedom of God demands that some be ultimately condemned to ECT is ludicrous.  If God is "free" then He can choose to save everyone if He desires such. 

His rebuttal to Col.1:20 is weak in that it appeals to humanity being different than the stars or the earth, things not created in the image of God.  How this supports his position I don't understand. We do not disagree that there is an inherent difference between humanity and the rest of creation.  He also implies that there is another meaning for reconciliation, that does not imply bringing back into unity two waring parties. But he doesn't offer this different meaning. And White questions why Paul said "If you continue in the faith" to those who have been reconciled.  But all this does is recognize that even after having been reconciled, people have the free-will to turn from Christ and there to be problems in their relationship with God. 

His rebuttal of Phil.2.10 is also very weak saying that some will confess/bow but such will not indicate a change in heart but only an acknowledgment that Jesus is God. Problem with this is that "confess" is a weak translation of exomologeo which means to "acknowledge openly and joyfully", and bow which is a universal sign of surrender, worship, honor.  Also, this is a quote of Isa.45:23 which in context is speaking of salvation, and the word for confess is shawbah which means to "swear and allegiance to".

He wonders why when people die, their character would be made perfect.  He fails to recognize the purpose of God's judgment where the fire of truth burns the hell out of us, purges us from all evil.  I wonder if he's experienced the judgment of God?  I have and it's terrible, but it changed me forever. 

And just a noter, something that irritates me in his reading of these passages is his trying to make light of them through his tone, instead of taking them seriously.

Concerning Rom.5 White says that Paul is presenting Two humanities, one In Adam and one In Christ.  How in the world he arrives at this from the text is beyond me!  Paul is comparing the universal effect of the sin of Adam with the universal effect of the sacrifice of Christ, except Paul notes that the sacrifice of Christ is even greater for it not only overcomes Adam's sin, but all of our subsequent sins.   

Well, I only listened to this point.  White comes across to me as arrogant and dismissive, not really wrestling with either the text or the arguments in favor of UR.  Of course his understanding of the Judgment is radically different than mine.  I believe Judgment is a means of reconciliation. In order for there to be reconciliation we must understand and acknowledge the truth concerning ourselves and God, and we must repent from it.  When a person encounters the holiness of God it will kill you; you will die to all selfishness.  The fire of truth will burn the hell out of you - Reality Discipline in the Extreme! 

Being White's a Calvinist, it seems to me that He'd recognize that salvation is completely an act of God.  It is something that God does in us.  God raises us from the dead, delivers us from slavery.  But many of White's arguments are stated from a position of us needing to repent, making a choice to follow God.  I wish he'd make up his mind; is it God's sovereignty that he appeals to or human autonomy! 

For me, it was seeing that the UR passages seemed to evidently affirm UR that compelled me to study the passages on Hell to reaffirm my traditional infernalist beliefs.  But when I got into the passages that I thought affirmed ECT, only to find out that that there is little, if any, evidence in scripture for Hell, I was dumbfounded, scared.  As I studied these passages on the judgment of sin though it became clearer and clearer to me that the purpose of judment and punishment is the mitigation of evil and ultimately reconciliation. 

Oh well, I hope this helped a little.


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