Linda responds to my Calvinist critique as follows:
“No matter how you slice it, the Bible is clear that many will go to Hell. Is not the real problem is [sic] that many go to Hell, yet God could of made it where all go to Heaven?”
Not according to the traditional Arminian free will response. On that view, human beings have libertarian free will meaning that not even God can determine their free actions. And the tragic reality is that some freely choose eternal damnation. As C.S. Lewis famously said (by the way, did Lewis ever say anything that didn’t become famous? I bet Lewis was even quotable when he asked his brother Warren to pass the marmalade at breakfast)….
Let me begin again. That intrusion was too big to recover my sentence.
So as I was saying, as C.S. Lewis said, there are only two kinds of people, those who say to God “Thy will be done” and those to whom God says “Thy will be done.”
But as I noted in my book Faith Lacking Understanding (chapter 7) that is not a very satisfying response. Imagine an angel went on an assignment for a billion years, returned to the universe just after the resurrection to judgment and discovered billions of people screaming in a lake of fire. “Lord,” the angel asks, “Why are all these folk burning forever in unspeakable agony?”
God responds, “Because that’s what they wanted.”
“Okay,” the angel responds, “why don’t you make them want the good instead?”
“Because that would override their free will.” God responds matter-of-factly.
“That’s true,” the angel says carefully. “But they wouldn’t know their free will had been overridden. You just give them the right desires so they follow the right path ineluctably.”
“But then they wouldn’t be free.”
“Yes Lord, but they’d be blissfully happy and creation would have been fully restored to you.”
“Sorry,” God replied. “According to the Arminian apologists free will is inviolable. I can’t go there. My hands are tied.”