Monday, May 20, 2013

Eclectic Orthodoxy explains the "Reitan Maneuver"

I mentioned in connection with my recent interview with Randal Rauser that I would devote some space on this blog to a topic that wasn't explored in that interview: the relationship between universalism and free will. Unfortunately, I'm teaching an intensive three-week course right now and so have little time to fulfill this promise. Fortunately, Fr Aidan Kimel, on his blog Eclectic Orthodoxy, has recently posted a reflection on universalism that takes up this issue--including a concise and accessible overview of some of my main thoughts on the matter.

Specifically, he focuses on the line of argument that I first developed in my contribution to Universal Salvation? The Current Debate--an argument which John Kronen and I expand on and situate into a broader  line of argument in God's Final Victory. Kimel also considers Tom Talbott's thinking on the subject, locating his reflections within his own broadly (eclectically) Orthodox context. He sums up his reactions as follows:

I confess that I am reluctant to speak of a guarantee of universal salvation, as Reitan does; but Talbott’s and Reitan’s arguments should encourage us in a confident and robust hope for the salvation of every human being. God does not need to force anyone to repent of his sins and embrace heaven. Precisely because we are created for him, all he needs to do is to allow us to experience the hell that we think we want. Suffering, divine grace, and the prayers of the Church will do the rest.

The whole piece is nicely done and worth reading for anyone interested in the topic.


  1. I hope you and your family are ok after the storm. I'm not sure where in Oklahoma you are located but the tornado that touched down in Moore has gotten a lot of press coverage here on the east coast.

    1. Tony,

      Thanks for your concern. My family and I are safe and well, but shocked by the devastation that hit so close. We live about an hour's drive north of Moore. I was at my kids' elementary school, having cookies and punch after my daughters' first grade play, when the tornado ripped through Moore, including two elementary schools there. I pray for light in the darkness, comfort to those who mourn, fortitude for those who are part of recovery efforts.

    2. I'm glad to hear you and your family are safe. I'll agree with you in prayer.

      PS I enjoy your blog and, when I have a moment of free time, am looking forward to reading your book Is God a Delusion.