I think one of the best arguments for universal reconciliation is the total moral arbitrariness of suddenly being beyond saving the moment you die
Like, the idea that God is infinitely forgiving and patient with people who are alive but not with people who are dead seems…
You didn’t answer the objection. I don’t mean: ‘You didn’t answer the objection well’. You didn’t actually answer it. You just reiterated what he had a problem with in a slightly more verbose way.
To be human in this world is to be an embodied being with an indeterminate relationship with God
is a shit way to encapsulate human life because it misses out, well, almost absolutely everything.
Of course it isn’t a complete encapsulation of human life.
It is purely formal sketch of human existence, which is what I am interested in at the moment. The form of present human existence differs in important ways from the form of human existence after death, thereby rendering it non-arbitrary that God’s patience and mercy do not extend after death. I no doubt failed to be explicit enough, so I will try again.
The human relationship with God here is not decided, because as embodied intellects who lack direct knowledge of God or any universal truths, we have greater room for indecision and repentance. Josef Pieper argues in one of his books (I can look up the reference if you are interested) that since in human thought and action in this world, our will is never perfectly in control, we never irrevocably commit ourselves to something, because there is always an aspect beyond us in all our decisions. So, as embodied intellects, we cannot irrevocably commit ourselves to rebellion against God.
However, after death, we are not embodied intellects (we might become re-embodied in the resurrection)- so there is not room for repentance anymore- what we think is simply what we are.
Finally, it seems like in the resurrected bodies, the disjunction between the mental and the physical vanishes to some degree, what we think is what we are in a stronger sense. In which case, the freedom offered by underdecision would not be present in the resurrected body either.
So, I am not sure how this account is simply a re-statement of the problem, it is a sketch of what difference between the pre-death and post-death states I think relevant to the discussion of universalism.
Now, as to your second criticism, I freely admit that in my haste to discuss this topic, I accidentally stated in an inadequate definition. Fallen Humans should probably be called something like a contingent dependent rational social animal (embodied animate being) whose final end and completion rests in God, but in this life can have no final satisfaction of this end nor the final resolution of the relationship with God. Insofar as I wished to get one with the argument, I forgot to properly state all of this. But, adding all of this does not seem to impact any of the claims in my argument, so I am not sure why it seems so important to you that I forgot this clarification (unless you simply seek to save me from error, in which case I am grateful). Surely, Human beings as a rule have an indeterminate relationship with God, without any absolute resolution being likely in this life? If even Christ was liable to be tempted, I am rather dubious that I or anyone else can have an absolutely firm relation to God here in this world.
If you are instead making a general point about formal definitions, I agree with you that they necessarily fail to fully capture the content of what they define, or even the importance of what they define. No definition of God will capture why he is worthy of worship, even when said definition provides some sort of intellectual framework for defending or explaining that claim. Nonetheless, there is value in the intellectual framework, because it provides some positive direction for further seeking, and it provides some negative direction for blocking certain kinds of claims from contentful experience.
But, I have rambled long enough, so I propose this. Either you ask me questions about my definition of humanity, and I defend or modify my definition according to your questions, or I do the same for yours. Simply making assertions and counter-assertions back and forth is unlikely to be helpful.