Controversies Regarding Eschatology and Universalism: Can a Good God Permit Eternal Damnation?

Mats Wahlberg

Umeå University

The most common explanation of why God might permit some rational creatures to miss their final end is the so-called “Free Will Defense” of hell. Unfortunately, this explanation depends on a problematic conception of free will that is foreign to the Thomistic tradition. Responding to David Bentley Hart’s forceful case for universalism, this lecture suggests a “Thomistic Autonomy Defense” that escapes the problems of the Free Will Defense and goes beyond traditional Thomistic explanations of negative reprobation.

This lecture was originally livestreamed on December 4, 2021 as part of the Grace & Nature: Contemporary Controversies Conference held at the Angelicum in Rome. All of the talks for this conference are available on our YouTube page in this playlist.

Mats Wahlberg is associate professor in systematic theology at Umeå University, Sweden. He has written two books, including Revelation as Testimony: A Philosophical-Theological Study (Eerdmans, 2014). Last semester, he was the visiting Aquinas chair at the Angelicum. Currently he is working on a research project funded by the John Templeton Foundation, about the problem of evil and evolution.