Earlier on this thread I quoted Barry who wrote, ‘…maybe with respect, we need to bracket for the time being the things we’ve been indoctrinated with and widen our scope.’ I think all of us would do well to adopt such an attitude.
It can be difficult and also frightening to examine one’s assumptions and beliefs, especially if held from childhood. Adventism has a theology (a variation of Arminianism which is based on the free will of man) which I accepted with little examination when I joined the church. I look back now and remember how hard it was for me trying to understand how my Calvinist friends had so much difficulty with my theology. They saw things so very differently (and had many verses to back up their view). I now see that confusing time as a blessing because it helped me to value other Christian viewpoints, and I guess, at some level, to realize that if there is to be the unity of believers that Christ prayed for, there must be a third way to see things.
We all struggle trying to comprehend God and we all crave security and thus create systems of theology to answer our need to ‘explain’ Him, to put Him in a box as it were. But we really can’t.
So, I guess one way to attempt to address your question about justice is to look at the nature of God, sovereignty and authority. Adventism maintains that each of us, because of our free will (which it is said God will never overrule), is ultimately responsible for her/himself. This seems most just. My Calvinist friends say no, God is sovereign over His creation and has chosen who will be saved (they call this group ‘the elect’). To one raised in the modern day Western world this doesn’t seem right or ‘fair’. (BTW, I think Calvinism has it wrong; I believe ‘the elect’ aren’t the only ones saved, rather they are the first ones saved.) But, when I started studying Scripture on my own seriously, and trying to ignore my Adventist assumptions, I discovered many, many Bible passages in which God did indeed overrule the will of people for His own purposes.
God created each of us and as Creator He has this right. He is sovereign. We find examples of this in God’s law. If a man creates (starts) a fire and it gets out of hand and burns his neighbour’s crop, he is responsible for the damage. If a man creates (digs) a pit but doesn’t fence it off and an animal falls into it and is injured or killed, he is responsible and must pay damages to the owner of the animal. Thus, as our Creator, God is ultimately responsible for each of us. That is why Christ came as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2). He takes His sovereignty seriously.
Oh, he has given us a degree of freedom. We have some authority. We have some responsibility for ourselves. There will be a reckoning, a judgment and appropriate chastening. Matthew 11 says it will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom, Tyre and Sidon than for the cities in which Christ walked and was rejected. Luke 12 says the slave who knew his master’s will and ignored it will receive more lashes than one who did not know it. I don’t know exactly what form this justice will take, but because God is ultimately responsible for all of us, He is love, and love never fails, so, after all is said and done, whatever is decided will be for our benefit and to restore us to Him.
In my studies I also learned that words translated as destruction, perish, eternal and forever had very different meanings to the ancients. That helped me understand that there are more ages to come in which I believe these things will take place, but at some point all will come to know and love Him.
I realize it is a much different way of looking at salvation, and it took me a lot of study and some prayer to get here but, to me, it more truly reflects the nature of God and thus His plan for us. I hope I have helped answer your question.