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05 March 2011

Theology: Incomplete Thought on Universalism

There has been some controversy over Evangelical pastor Rob Bell's forthcoming book. It's gotten me thinking.

"Worship" means being worthy, as in worthy of adoration. If a divine being would choose to damn for all eternity a person who only through historical and social circumstance was deprived of knowledge of and exposure to the "true" religion, that being is not worthy of my veneration, acknowledgement, or love. I wouldn't even feel the need to go that far, though. The damning of a person who did have knowledge of and exposure to the true religion but due to social pressure could not or would not convert or accept it is fundamentally unjust, and a god who would do such a thing would also not be worthy. But, that's the crux: God is by definition all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, and thus, such unworthy judgments would be paradoxically impossible so I conclude that the god of conservative Evangelicals is not the God. In short, God could not create a boulder of judgment so heavy that God's love could not lift it.

Call me a universalist if you will. Is God the god of our universe? No, God is bigger than our universe. It reminds me of the lyric from a praise song that I've heard on a commercial for a complication CD on television. It goes, "God of wonders beyond our galaxy...universe declares your majesty." Absolutely wrong. God is not beyond our galaxy; God is not apart from our universe. God is utterly transcendent and radically immanent.

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