David Opderbeck is the smartest kid in the room on any blog he frequents, including this one. He’s got a post up dealing with what I think is the single biggest flaw in Love Wins — and, David says, in Francis Chan’s polemic against Love Wins — which I haven’t read, and don’t plan to.
“God can do ANYTHING he wants.” So say Preston Sprinkle and Francis Chan in their book “Erasing Hell.” It’s fair to say that this proposition is the cornerstone of Sprinkle and Chan’s theodicy of Hell. “Won’t God get what he wants?” So asks Rob Bell in his book “Love Wins.” It’s also fair to say that this question, along with the belief that God wants everyone to be saved, is the cornerstone of Bell’s theodicy of Hell.’
David goes on to write about the philosophical ideas of nominalism and voluntarism. It’s a long, sophisticated post, and I commend it to you.
However, I’ll write the same thing in a bit different terms:
In Love Wins — particularly in chapter four — Rob makes two claims that I think are mutually exclusive:
- God get whatever God wants.
- God is bound by love.
I don’t think that Rob can have it both ways.
If God gets whatever God wants, then God is completely sovereign and is not bound by anything — not the laws of physics, and not the law of love.
If, on the other hand, God is bound by love, then God has abdicated some of God’s sovereignty, in which case God does not necessarily get what God wants.
In either scenario, a case can be made that there is no hell (or that hell is empty, as it seems Rob (and C.S. Lewis and John Stott) would have it). In scenario one, God wants everyone to go to heaven, so there is no one in hell. In scenario two, love binds God to embrace everyone after death, meaning that hell is empty.
So I’m not saying that Rob Bell is wrong in his conclusion. I just think that he sets up a fallacious argument to get to his conclusion.
What say you?