The Evangelical Universalist Forum

After Death Repentance?

If the judgment to come is in relation to deeds done in the flesh, how does after death repentance make sense in a universalist theology? I hope that makes sense:)

I guess that I will proceed with questions:
1: Is ADR (after death repentance) for sins committed in the flesh during one’s life?
2: If there is no sin in the new creation how can there be ADR?
3: Can one sin apart from one’s body (before the resurrection)?

Working backwards:

3.) Can one sin apart from one’s body? I would say yes; any personally responsible sin involves the spirit. Unspiritual matter may be corrupted by sin but is not itself sinful. (Nor can unspiritual matter do anything to please God; it isn’t personal, so it has no personal responsibility either way.)

To this observation could be adduced a discussion of Satan and the rebel angels. Do they have no bodies at all? Do they have bodies of (literally) a different nature than ours? Did they have bodies before (of this Nature or of another one) but now do not? (I tend to this latter view.) If rebel angels exist and do not now have bodies but still continue to sin (much moreso if they never had bodies of any kind to begin with and originally sinned), then by their example the answer again is yes.

2.) Regardless of one’s views on ADR or even on the continuing existence of sinners vs. annihilation, anyone who holds to a resurrection of the evil as well as the good must allow that, in regard to the evil, their ‘new creation’ is not complete. If the resurrection of the evil is followed by some hopeless result (annihilation, or an existence where God either does not seek their salvation from sin any longer or else never intended to save them from sin at all), then whatever ‘new creation’ may be implied in their resurrection remains permanently incomplete (or in the case of annihilation completely undone again, even moreso than their time in the condition of hades).

The upshot either way is that there is no sin in the completed new creation. Notably, one way or another the final chapter of RevJohn pictures the new creation (represented by the New Jerusalem and its inhabitants) co-existing in some kind of connection with sinners: hope goes out of the new creation to those who still insist on loving and practicing their sins, but they cannot come into the new creation until they consent to drink from the river of life and wash their robes clean in the water that is given to them freely without cost.

It may be debated whether this portrait occurs before or after the ‘lake of fire judgment’: I’ve seen authorities argue it must be before it, because obviously hopeful evangelizing is still going on (and how can there be hopeful evangelism after the lake of fire judgment!?) But it nevertheless represents repentance from sin (or the good and proper hope thereof, at the very very least) being a transition from the old life of sin into the new life of the new creation with active continuity between them.

1.) While in a way I think I have to answer yes, I believe (both from metaphysical logic and from scriptural emphasis) that what must be repented of (period, regardless of the question of whether this can be done after death) is the sin we insist upon today, now. If we insist on insisting upon the sins of the past (so to speak) we are still doing so today: today is the day of repentance.

If there is ADR, then I see no reason for this practical focus to change after death. It is not sufficient for me to ‘repent’ of past sins if I refuse to repent of the sins I am insisting upon today. Again, looking to Rev 22, the ones who are not allowed to enter into the gates of the New Jerusalem are those who continue to fondle their sins (as the Greek colorfully puts it.) But they are being exhorted to repent, with good hope that they will.

Are they actually exhorted to repent in the New Jerusalem?

So all sides (CI, ET or UR) would say that when the unjust are raised, they still are rejecting God, therefore the new creation has not been fully “completed”? The CIers would say that they are raised, verdict is passed, and they are destroyed (therefore no rejection still exists in the universe), the ETers would say that they are raise, verdict is passed and they are still in rebellion but continually punished or tormented (the evil of rejection of God continues forever, but is punished forever as well)

Jason said:
3.) Can one sin apart from one’s body? I would say yes; any personally responsible sin involves the spirit. Unspiritual matter may be corrupted by sin but is not itself sinful. (Nor can unspiritual matter do anything to please God; it isn’t personal, so it has no personal responsibility either way.)

I ask:
The problem that I have with that is that the judgment is said to be in regard to “deeds done in the flesh”, no?

Are you talking about this verse?:

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:20

It doesn’t say ‘deeds of the flesh,’ though. And even if it did, it would not necessarily mean those exclusively. Paul is speaking of life here on earth. There would be no reason to think God would not judge concerning actions out of the body, (if actions can be said to be performed at all). True sin is that which is within the heart and comes out of it, just as Jesus said.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (New International Version)

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


Another translation of 2 Cor 5:10, however is such as is found in the NASB: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for the things through the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Even this doesn’t really get the gist of the Greek, although it’s much closer.

The relevant phrase in Greek, that translators have difficulty with, is:

hina == that
komise_tai == may receive
hekastos == each one
ta == those or these (or the things)
dia == through
tou so_matos == the body
pros == toward
ha == that
epraxen == he did
eite == whether
agathon == good
eite == (or) whether
phaulon. == evil

(Although apparently the Textus Receptus, following some other texts, reads {kakon} at the end instead of {phaulon}. They both can mean “evil”, although the latter word can also mean low or mean. Paul’s own new name after his conversion is a variant of {phaul-}!)

The previous context has been talking about the resurrection for a while (back through verse 5:1 at least); and in the immediately preceding sentence, St. Paul was saying that we are therefore striving, whether we are at home or away from home (which is interesting for your current question since to be in the body is at home and to be with the Lord is at home), to be well-pleasing to the Lord. Why are we striving to please Him? For all of us must be revealed (or must appear) before the Judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may receive “somethings” through the body toward what he did, whether good-type or whether bad-type.

The only “somethings” nearby that seem to fit are the agathon and phaulon/kakon. So, all contexts considered, I’m inclined to think that the verse is talking about how we will receive reward or punishment (good or contempt) in the body at the judgment seat of Christ in regard to what we have done.

Not that I have a clear idea of why you are asking the question, to be honest. :mrgreen: But for what it’s worth, that’s my analysis of the verse.

No; they are actually exhorted to repent outside the New Jerusalem, and so obtain permission to enter the New Jerusalem.

Which may have been what you were asking. I couldn’t tell if you were misunderstanding me to be saying that those in the New Jerusalem are being exhorted to repent, or if you were asking whether those outside are still being exhorted to repent ‘in the age to come’ so to speak, and got some words mixed up. :slight_smile:

The Bride (those inside the NJ) are joining the Spirit in exhorting those who are suffering the lake of fire judgement (outside the NJ) to drink freely of the freely given water coming out of the never-closed gates of the NJ (from the throne of the Lamb), slaking their thirst, washing their robes clean, and so obtaining permission to enter the city to eat the leaves of the tree of life and be healed. Some of them are certainly doing so, too, since the “kings of the earth” (who have been the staunchest human rebels against God throughout RevJohn, last seen scattered for the birds back in chp 19) are bringing their treasures into the city where no one who still loves and fondles their sinning can enter.

22:17; the Spirit and the Bride (and the one who hears) are saying “Come”. To whom? The one who hears (i.e. the Evangelist) is saying come to the one who is thirsty. To satisfy that thirst how? By taking the water of life without cost.

22:14; those who wash their robes (i.e. in the water of life, the only place for washing in this and the preceding chapter), are blessed because they then obtain permission to enter by the gates into the New Jerusalem to eat of the tree of life. So, who are the ones who would be thirsting and who need washing?

22:15; the ones outside: the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons, etc. (the typical list used in RevJohn and elsewhere), everyone who still loves and practices their lying. These are the ones with filthy robes (v.11–and are expected to keep doing wrong in the interim period once the tribulation starts.) Are they in the lake of fire?

21:8; yep, their portion is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Which, poetically speaking, might be expected to make someone thirsty. :slight_smile: ) Will they ever come into the city?

21:27; nope, so long as they remain unclean and keep practicing their abomination and lying. Does that mean the gates are closed?

21:25; nope, not in the daytime–and there shall never be a night there. Why are those gates still open?

21:24,25; so that the nations can walk by its light (which is the glory of God and the Lamb) and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and the glory and the honor of the nations into it. Who are the kings of the earth?

19:19; last seen ganging up with the beast to make war on Christ and getting their butts righteously kicked, leaving their bodies scattered for the birds of the air (which counts as shepherding them with a rod of iron, v.15–compare to the end of Psalm 23.)

So, they have to go into the city first to get the water? No, that wouldn’t make any sense; the water has to be flowing out to them–just as the light (Christ Himself, compare to Rom 10) is going out to them. So when they go into the city will they be hopelessly punished some more?

22:2; nope, the leaves of the tree of life in the city are for the healing of the nations. Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will give without cost from the spring of the water of life to those who thirst (21:6); and He shall wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who are citizens of the New Jerusalem, and there shall no longer be any death, nor mourning nor crying nor pain, for the first things shall have passed away: He is making all things new. (vv.4-5)

Notably, this scene is anticipated back in chapter 7:9-12; where John is looking forward to that which takes place “after these things”. A great multitude beyond counting from every nation and tribe and people and language clothed in white robes crying out with a loud voice, “SALVATION!” to our God Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb–for which the angels and the elders and the four living creatures fall on their faces before the throne and worship God. One of the elders asks John, “Who are these clothed in white robes and from where have they come?” John says the elder (who may be a future version of John himself!) knows, so the elder answers: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation,” which hasn’t happened yet in the prophecy, “and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His sanctuary, and He Who sits on the throne spreads His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd and guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”

This promise is not only fulfilled for some chosen few (the excessively vast number rules that out) coming out of the great Tribulation, but is fulfilled in scattered bits to those still outside the city at the end, even the kings of the earth (being shepherded toughly by Christ at the end of their rebellion, in language directly resembling Psalm 23, and coming into the city afterward).

To be fair, that would be true.

Although also, to be fair, most–though not all–ETs and URs would agree that no one is inherently immortal except God; most of us do agree that those who live forever, hopelessly or not, do so conditionally upon God.

Although yet again, I have to admit that ETs have an odd propensity to ignore this bit of orthodox data and promote the idea (accidentally or otherwise) that souls in hell continue existing without God acting to keep them in existence! But that’s their theological problem, not mine. :wink:

(And yet again, again :mrgreen: – I did recently run across an annihilationist who, for sake of keeping “libertarian free will” from being violated by annihilation, speculated that the annihilated soul continues in some existence after all apart from God. Yet again, his theological problem, not mine. :laughing: But to be fair, I haven’t run across that idea explicitly from any other annihilationist yet.)

From Christian Forums Dot Com:

Der Alte said: “Do you see any redemptive purpose in the following passages?”

In light of the following, why don’t you?

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it. (CLV)

Clearly everything has a positive purpose to it: “to humble them”.

BTW, is “hell” (Hades/Sheol, Tartarus, Gehenna, the lake of fire, the abyss, etc) not also “under the heavens”.