Theistic Notebook

September 13, 2011

Comment on Everist’s Well-Meant Offer

Filed under: Links,Reflection — David P @ 9:19 pm
Tags: , ,

Here is a comment I posted on Randy Everist’s post, Calvinists and the Well-Meant Offer.  If you haven’t checked out his blog, there is much to recommend: particularly the rigorous and original thinking which informs his writing.  Everist argues that Calvinists cannot consistently hold that God genuinely desires all to be saved and thus cannot say that God extends a well-meant offer of salvation to all.  Commenting on his own post, he says, “If all things are done to the glory of God, and this glory is paramount, then it follows the number of saved and the number of the damned are the optimal glory-balance.”  This argument overlaps some discusions with Randal Rauser that took place during a flurry of posts following this one.

The basic idea is this: some believe that God created this world instead of another world because it brings him maximal glory (there are various ways to cash out glory and maximal of course).  For instance, Molinists maintain that God created this world with perfect knowledge of what his free creatures would do in various situations.  Randal Rauser is one of them, and he affirms that God’s choice to create this world is explained by the fact that this world has the biggest lifeboat: aka, the greatest number of creatures freely choose God’s offer of salvation.  Rauser agrees that there could be more than one possible world with an identically sized lifeboat.  I have problems with best possible worlds (some of them come up in Randal’s comment box), so I’m happy to see that Randy Everist has done work in this area.  As you’ll see, in my original comment, I imputed to Everist a view which he doesn’t actually hold.  Here it is:

But why not think there are different configurations of the same type using different tokens that accomplish the same optimal glory-balance?

For instance, for any possible world W there could be a nearby possible world W’ such that:

– [Saved] and [Damed] in W and W’ have the same number of members
– [Saved] includes agent X in W. [Damned] includes agent X in W’ (swaps with Agent Y)
– Agent X is type identical with Agent Y in whatever respect is necessary to accomplish optimal glory-balance.

This seems possible, but perhaps we wouldn’t be pleased with an outcome that renders us as mere tokens in a randomly chosen possible world. Exploring that intuition for a minute: if there are multiple possible worlds with the same optimal balance, and only the tokens differ…then the fact that I’m saved is no bragging matter. God would be just as pleased with a nearby possible world where I am not saved but some other type-identical agent is saved instead.

Blog at