Talbott's universalism, divine justice, and the Atonement
JOHN KRONEN a1andERIC REITAN a2 a1 Department of Philosophy, The University of St Thomas, 2115 Summit Avenue, St Paul, MN 55105 a2 Department of Philosophy, Oklahoma State University, 308 Hanner Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-5064
Thomas Talbott has argued that the following propositions are inconsistent: (1) it is God's redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to Himself; (2) it is within God's power to achieve His redemptive purpose for the world; (3) some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign them to a place of eternal punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence altogether. In this paper we explore two attempts to reconcile (1)–(3) by appealing to divine justice. We argue that both versions fail for the same reason: in order for the appeal to God's justice to effectively reconcile (1)–(3), the demands of God's retributive justice must be taken to be so exacting that they call forth a very strong doctrine of the Atonement. And such a doctrine of the Atonement removes justice as an impediment to saving all.