I get it now.
I see now the necessity of a cold and totalizing sovereignty to justify Infernalism that must finally deny “God is love” and redefine “Good” & “holy” & even “God” as beyond good & evil—as pure (sic) Will-to-Power. Nietzsche saw it: this is how God dies & how we killed him (Thus Spake Zarathustra).
But the true sovereignty of infinite Love can never find its telos in eternal torment, for the river of fire that flows from the eternal throne is none other than the unfailing, redeeming flame transforming Love, proceeding from the One God & Father/Source of the entire cosmos.
The likewise necessary and natural response of every creature to the fiery passion in our divine Lover‘s eyes will be like that of a sword plunged into the forge. Without ceasing to be the sword by nature, by our immersion in the flames of Love, we will effectively assume the properties of the fire—sovereign Love’s heat, its light, its power will transfigure even the coldest, hardest, steely heart. Our natural, willing response to the Fire will be to become like the Fire—love itself. So says the historic faith.
Another analogy derives from Revelation 21-22. A River of Living Water flows from God’s throne and out through the ever-open gates of the New Jerusalem. And the invitation to the wretched lost outside the city (those same tormented souls we’d seen in the Lake of Fire in ch. 20) is, “Come, all you who are thirsty. Come and drink from the infinite spring, the fountain of eternal Life.” And how will those with their cracked lips of sorrow & parched tongues of self-alienation respond to the hospitality of that all-merciful, forever-gushing Spring? Their own thirst will lead them home, not begrudgingly but by the free & desperate desire of heart-sick love. The moment they hear the Spirit & Bride call. And Abba shall run out of the gates at the first hint of their turning, while we are still a long way off. He will throw his arms around us & kiss us, robe us & heal with wine & oil, give us the waters of life & the feast of angels.
This good news invitation does not await the end. Ultimate redemption asks, “Why the hell would we wait?” Are you thirsty? Or are you not thirsty, tired, burdened enough? “Are you not done?” my 12-step sponsor asks. “Okay. Then go get done. Hopefully in this lifetime. And when you’re done, the RSVP stands.”
I’m asked too often, “If redemption is God’s final word for everyone, why respond now? Why not wait? And why tell anyone now? Why not let them be?” What a sublime & privileged ignorance to the agony of alienation! What a horrific confession of blindness to Love’s irresistible gaze! Such souls must surely still be entombed in wilful spiritual catatonia, unaware of people’s agony here & now, without empathy for the human condition & clearly lacking a living connection to God’s world-embracing, radically inclusive affection for ALL. That condition is so tragic that we must find an apt and poignant term for it. Jesus found one. He calls it Gehenna. And then he extends a hand. “Come. Yes, even you. Your exile is over—I will not banish you. For when I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.”