Thomas Talbott is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. He is best known for his advocacy of trinitarian universalism. Due to his book The Inescapable Love of God and other works he is one of the most prominent Protestant voices today supporting the idea of universal salvation.[ citation needed ] The 2003 book Universal Salvation?: The Current Debate presents Talbott's "rigorous defense of universalism" together with responses from various fields theologians, philosophers, church historians and other religious scholars supporting or opposing Talbott's universalism. Talbott contributed the chapter on "Universalism" for The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology.
Willamette University is a private liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest university in the Western United States. Willamette is a member of the Annapolis Group of colleges, and is made up of an undergraduate College of Liberal Arts and post-graduate schools of business and law. The university is a member of the NCAA's Division III Northwest Conference and was featured in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives. Willamette's mascot is the bearcat and old gold and cardinal are the school colors. Approximately 2,800 students are enrolled at Willamette between the graduate and undergraduate programs. The school employs over 200 full-time professors on the 60-acre (240,000 m2) campus located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol.
Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. The river forms the boundary between Marion and Polk counties, and the city neighborhood of West Salem is in Polk County. Salem was founded in 1842, became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851, and was incorporated in 1857.
Trinitarian Universalism is a variant of belief in universal salvation, the belief that every person will be saved, that also held the Christian belief in Trinitarianism. It was particularly associated with an ex-Methodist New England minister, John Murray, and after his death in 1815 the only clergy known to be preaching Trinitarian Universalism were Paul Dean of Boston and Edward Mitchell in New York.
Talbott has offered three propositions which many traditional Christians consider are biblically based but Talbott considers can not all be true at the same time:
However those objecting to Talbott's view note that there are multiple biblical verses describing hell as the fate of the wicked. Traditionally;
In religion and folklore, Hell is an afterlife location, sometimes a place of torment and punishment. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations while religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under the Earth's surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, and Limbo.
In the September 1987 edition of the periodical Christian Scholar's Review,Talbott sought, as he explains in a more recent comment, "to make some ideas then current in the philosophical literature available to a wider audience of non-philosophers." He sought to explain, for example, how Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense had transformed the way in which contemporary philosophers approach the so-called problem of evil and why, in particular, even atheistic philosophers came to abandon the claim that evil is logically inconsistent with the existence of God. But at the end of this article, Talbott also ventured into more controversial territory, suggesting ways in which even the tragic suffering of innocent children might contribute, in the end, to the future blessedness of all people (including the children who suffer). In accordance with his affirmation of universal reconciliation, he thus expressed the hopeful belief that "every innocent child who suffers will one day look upon that suffering as a privilege because of the joy it has made possible: the joy of knowing that one has been used by God in the redemption of others, the joy of that final union or reunion in which love's triumph is complete and all separation from others is finally overcome. I would ask but two things of those who [might understandably] reject such a view: first, that they resist the temptation to moralize, and second, that they consider the alternatives carefully."
Alvin Carl Plantinga is a prominent American analytic philosopher who works primarily in the fields of logic, justification, philosophy of religion, and epistemology.
The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient God. An argument from evil claims that because evil exists, either God does not exist or does not have all three of those properties. Attempts to show the contrary have traditionally been discussed under the heading of theodicy. Besides philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is also important to the field of theology and ethics.
Others have, not surprisingly, roundly criticized and even ridiculed such a view. According to John Beversluis, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Butler University, for example, Talbott's view is "so outrageous...that I will not dignify it with a reply....If Talbott is right, he is logically committed and morally obliged to oppose everyone dedicated to alleviating world hunger, ridding the world of terrorism, finding a cure for cancer...and so forth."But in an equally hard-hitting reply, Talbott dismisses this claim by comparing it to a more precise claim of the following form: "If Talbott is right in accepting [proposition] p (where p is specifically identified), then Talbott is logically committed to q." He then points out that a cogent argument in the present context would require two things of Beversluis: "first, that he identify a relevant instance of p, and second, that he make some attempt to deduce q from p. But Beversluis," Talbott insists, "does not so much as identify the proposition that he claims logically commits me to the moral obligation he alleges; much less does he make the required deduction."
Butler University is a private university in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Founded in 1855 and named after founder Ovid Butler, the university has over 60 major academic fields of study in six colleges: Lacy School of Business, College of Communication, College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Jordan College of the Arts. It comprises a 295-acre (119 ha) campus located approximately five miles (8.0 km) from downtown Indianapolis.
Talbott acknowledges, however, that his optimistic view could be regarded as a case of wishful thinking. But he goes on to contrast hope with despair, arguing that, unlike despair, hope is compatible with a healthy skepticism.For whereas despair typically rests upon a set of dogmatic beliefs about the future, hope does not.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times".
Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the "paradox of free will", whereby God's omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism.
Theodicy, in its most common form, is an attempt to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. Some theodicies also address the evidential problem of evil by attempting "to make the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good or omnibenevolent God consistent with the existence of evil or suffering in the world." Unlike a defense, which tries to demonstrate that God's existence is logically possible in the light of evil, a theodicy attempts to provide a framework wherein God's existence is also plausible. The German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz coined the term "theodicy" in 1710 in his work Théodicée, though various responses to the problem of evil had been previously proposed. The British philosopher John Hick traced the history of moral theodicy in his 1966 work, Evil and the God of Love, identifying three major traditions:
The omnipotence paradox is a family of paradoxes that arise with some understandings of the term 'omnipotent'. The paradox arises, for example, if one assumes that an omnipotent being has no limits and is capable of realizing any outcome, even logically contradictory ideas such as creating square circles. A no-limits understanding of omnipotence such as this has been rejected by theologians from Thomas Aquinas to contemporary philosophers of religion, such as Alvin Plantinga. Atheological arguments based on the omnipotence paradox are sometimes described as evidence for atheism, though Christian theologians and philosophers, such as Norman Geisler and William Lane Craig, contend that a no-limits understanding of omnipotence is not relevant to orthodox Christian theology. Other possible resolutions to the paradox hinge on the definition of omnipotence applied and the nature of God regarding this application and whether or not omnipotence is directed toward God himself or outward toward his external surroundings.
Predestination is a doctrine in Calvinism dealing with the question of the control that God exercises over the world. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, God "freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass." The second use of the word "predestination" applies this to the salvation, and refers to the belief that God appointed the eternal destiny of some to salvation by grace, while leaving the remainder to receive eternal damnation for all their sins, even their original sin. The former is called "unconditional election", and the latter "reprobation". In Calvinism, people are predestined and effectually called in due time to faith by God.
Richard G. Swinburne is a British philosopher. He is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years Swinburne has been an influential proponent of philosophical arguments for the existence of God. His philosophical contributions are primarily in the philosophy of religion and philosophy of science. He aroused much discussion with his early work in the philosophy of religion, a trilogy of books consisting of The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason.
The problem of Hell is an ethical problem in religion in which the existence of Hell for the punishment of souls is regarded as inconsistent with the notion of a just, moral, and omnibenevolent God. It derives from four key propositions: that Hell exists; that it is for the punishment of people whose lives on Earth are judged to have sinned against God; that some people go there; and there is no escape.
In Christian theology, universal reconciliation is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God. The doctrine has generally been rejected by Christian religion, which holds to the doctrine of special salvation that only some members of humanity will eventually enter heaven, but it has received support from many prestigious Christian thinkers as well as many groups of Christians. The Bible itself has a variety of verses that, on the surface, seem to support a plurality of views. The non denomination Christian religion supports that anyone who believes in Jesus saving their sins goes to heaven, unlike Mormonism or Catholicism, which is slightly different.
John Harwood Hick was a philosopher of religion and theologian born in England who taught in the United States for the larger part of his career. In philosophical theology, he made contributions in the areas of theodicy, eschatology, and Christology, and in the philosophy of religion he contributed to the areas of epistemology of religion and religious pluralism.
Assurance is a Protestant Christian doctrine that states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that he or she is saved. Based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, assurance was historically a very important doctrine in Lutheranism and Calvinism, and remains a distinguishing doctrine of Wesleyanism and Methodism.
Marilyn McCord Adams (1943–2017) was an American philosopher and Episcopal priest. She specialized in the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and medieval philosophy. She was Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology at Yale Divinity School from 1998 to 2003 and Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 2004 to 2009.
Blake Thomas Ostler is an American philosopher, theologian, and lawyer. He has written numerous articles on the topics of Mormon theology, philosophy, and thought.
The logical order of God's decrees is the study in Calvinist theology of the logical order of the decree to ordain or allow the fall of man in relation to his decree to save some sinners (election) and condemn the others (reprobation). Several opposing positions have been proposed, all of which have names with the Latin root lapsus meaning fall.
Sociology of Religion is a 1920 book by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. The original edition was in German.
Christian universalism is a school of Christian theology focused around the doctrine of universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be "saved" and restored to a right relationship with God.
Alvin Plantinga's free will defense is a logical argument developed by American analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, and published in its final version in his 1977 book God, Freedom, and Evil. Plantinga's argument is a defense against the logical problem of evil as formulated by philosopher J. L. Mackie beginning in 1955. Mackie's formulation of the logical problem of evil argued that three attributes of God, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence, in orthodox Christian theism are logically incompatible with the existence of evil. In 1982, Mackie conceded that Plantinga's defense successfully refuted his argument in The Miracle of Theism, though he did not claim that the problem of evil had been put to rest.
The Augustinian theodicy, named for the 4th- and 5th-century theologian, philosopher and Saint Augustine of Hippo, is a type of Christian theodicy designed in response to the evidential problem of evil. As such, it attempts to explain the probability of an omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnibenevolent (all-good) God amid evidence of evil in the world. A number of variations of this kind of theodicy have been proposed throughout history; their similarities were first described by the 20th-century philosopher John Hick, who classified them as "Augustinian". They typically assert that God is perfectly (ideally) good; that he created the world out of nothing; and that evil is the result of humanity's original sin. The entry of evil into the world is generally explained as punishment for sin and its continued presence due to humans' misuse of free will. God's goodness and benevolence, according to the Augustinian theodicy, remain perfect and without responsibility for evil or suffering.
The theology of John Calvin has been influential in both the development of the system of belief now known as Calvinism and in Protestant thought more generally. There has been disagreement among scholars regarding the degree to which later Calvinism corresponds to Calvin's own theology.