Monday, February 27, 2012

C.S. Lewis, Free Will & Hell

This is a really interesting article written by Kevin Miller over at Hellbound -- 
"One Lewis book that almost failed to pass the evangelical smell test, however, is The Great Divorce. It’s about a group of people in hell who board a bus to heaven, where they get to decide whether or not they want to stay. One-by-one, most of the people find a reason to get back on the bus, finding they prefer to wallow in their petty jealousy, self-pity and bitterness rather than submit to the healing on offer in heaven. 
This is a difficult book for many evangelicals, because it seems to suggest that Lewis believe there might be an opportunity for postmortem salvation–a second chance to get things right after death. It also smacks of an Orthodox understanding of the afterlife, which sees heaven and hell not as separate places but as distinct psychological conditions.

Most evangelicals turn this grit of sand into a pearl by saying, “It’s just a story.” Lewis didn’t actually mean to suggest there might be a second chance after death; he was merely seeking to demonstrate that wherever we wind up after we die, our destination will ultimately be a result of the choices we make here on earth. In fact, the road to heaven or hell doesn’t begin at death; it begins right now. 
While many people find this to be an airtight defense of hell, others aren’t so sure. Philosopher Thomas Talbott is one such dissenter. In his view, the C. S. Lewis defense falls under the category of “hard-hearted theism” a.k.a. “tough love. Many people content themselves with the idea that if people freely choose to reject God, too bad for them. They had their chance just like the rest of us. They just made the wrong choice. And far be it from God to intervene in the face of such poor decision-making. After all, we’re not a bunch of automatons. However, Talbott raises two objections to this line of thinking:"
I'm a fan of Talbott, and he always manages to make me think. To continue, click below!

Article

Hope you enjoy!

--Nick

P.S. for those of you interested in reading more of Thomas Talbott,

Thomas Talbott's personal site and his academic one.

It includes various chapters of his books, as well as his articles. He has interacted in the past with John Piper and William Lane Craig on the philosophical nature of Universalism and free will. 

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