Recently, Rachel Held Evans interviewed Jerry L. Walls on her blog. I was very impressed, because Jerry L. Walls, representing the “traditional” view of hell as a place of eternal conscious torment (ECT), forthrightly admitted that he hopes that someone debunks all of his research. Wouldn’t it be great, Walls reasons, if universalism was true after all and Jesus Christ ends up saving every last human and devil?
Walls approaches the topic of hell from the perspective of philosophical theology. (He has a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University!) In his 1992 book, Hell: The Logic of Damnation, the first in a trilogy on Christian philosophical conceptions of the afterlife, Walls actually defended the traditional view of hell using an account of divine goodness. Naturally, as a “convinced universalist,” I am eager to learn what account of God’s love might cohere with an eternal hell.
My suspicion is that Jerry Walls must postulate that the ability to resist grace eternally is a necessary aspect of human nature and a necessary aspect of divine love. This universalist is curious to see how he will pull that off.