I wonder about the question of universal redemption from evil. It’s the question that started me writing my science fantasy Curious Origins of a Restless World. Here’s my thoughts on the purely theoretical question of fantasy theology…
Or is it theoretical?
Let’s first consider a planet with life but no life that has come to self-consciousness.
Without self-consciousness, life is without moral choices. Without moral choices, life has no potential to choose any different than what is its nature.
A dog behaves as a dog, not more or less than expected.
A protozoa does what a protozoa does.
Atoms behave within the laws of physics. As far as we know they don’t choose to go one way or another; they simply react to the forces upon them.
No expectations other than what is. There is what there is.
Redemption is the bringing back of what has been separated to the Creator. Redemption needs a Redeemer, and that’s a Jesus.
On this first type of inhabitable planet, redemption is not needed because there is no difference between what is and what should be.
‘Should be’ would be indefinable.
Our problem on earth is that a human more often than not doesn’t behave as he should either by society’s expectations or by his own.
2. Sentient and Pure
Next consider a planet with a sentient species that is perfect and not only that but having no ability or choice to be otherwise.
These beings would have built within them to forever be spiritually non-separated from their Creator. Self-conscious beings could easily be given moral choices, but not necessarily. On the planet under consideration, people act as they should because they have been fashioned in such a way that they cannot choose another way any more than a tree can refuse to leaf in the spring.
Ah… sounds like heaven. And it may be.
Here, too, is no reason to be brought back to God because this species never left and won’t.
But it seems to me these people would love the Almighty just because they love the Almighty. No choice.
That’s not love as we know it here on Earth.
3. Sentient and Unfallen
The third state would be a planet with self-conscious people given the opportunity of at least one moral choice but having – at least so far – always made the right choice.
Again, no one to redeem. Redemption would be incomprehensible to such a species.
This is Eden before the fall: Having the choice to love or despise the Creator, but having chosen to stay with Him. On Earth this state lasted less than a generation. In Curious Origins of a Restless World it lasted into the second generation.
Then all was lost.
4. Sentient and Fallen
This is the people we know… and are. Self-conscious, faced with moral choices, and many times making the worst of it.
Here is death and cruelty and sorrow and suffering. Here we live.
So what’s this free choice anyway? Free choice leads to such a mess. But it also has the potential to lead to love. Love is love when it is chosen.
Love does what love does when there’s a choice to not love.
This kind of world is the subject of another blog.
Or a novel.