The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Help with a Discussion

Hey everyone

In discussion with someone on the net, he stated this:

"The three propositions thing seems logical, but I am still not convinced. For one thing, if people can be saved after they die why doesn’t the Bible clearly say that? I have read the Bible cover to cover maybe 10 times in the last 15 years. Why didn’t it jump out at me? Why didn’t at least one of those times the Holy Spirit say, “Hey! See? People can be saved after spending some time in hell.”

In all your Bible reading through the years did you ever see anything that made you think that the condemned Jesus spoke of in John 3 would have a chance to change their mind after they die?

Redemption, salvation, one’s eternal destiny. Aren’t these things what the Bible is all about? If I could be redeemed, saved, make a choice that would determine my eternal destiny while suffering in hell, wouldn’t that be communicated in the Bible?"

I’m interested in your responses to this. The person has been very gracious in his communication with me and is interested in looking further. The “three propositions” thing is Talbott’s.

I believe it’s because that as a society we have been so entrenched within the paradigm of the idea of an endless torment in hell that we cannot see the forest for the trees. One major result in that paradigm is how the Hebrew and Greek words were translated into English. I’m not getting into specifics here, there are plenty of resources and discussions on this forum and on other sites. But once one understands the nature of God, ECT doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Hi rline.

The way I see it, we’re already dead in trespasses and sins. We are all saved out of a state of death. Physical death is no barrier to God…which Jesus made clear when he taught us that physical death is merely “sleep” to Him, and demonstrated how easy it is for Him to wake the sleeping.

Your friend might not find it compelling, but I see nothing in Scripture to convince me that there is no possibility of repentance after physical death. God, in scripture, always seems to say “If you repent, I will forgive you.” Eze 18: “The wicked shall die, but if he turns from his wickedness he will live.” And I don’t know why that should ever change. Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” This is always His way with us.

Sometimes it is necessary for us to experience consequences for sin. An example that comes to mind is David after his sin with Bathsheeba. God took his son as punishment, even though David was repentant and pleaded for his life. It is for our good and growth that we need to experience the discipline of God.

Sometimes it is through punishment that God cleanses us: the punishment clears the way for the Lord. See Isaiah 40. And again, I see no scriptural reason to assume that this principle will change in the ages to come.


Couldn’t the same person be asked “where does it jump out at you that you cannot repent in hell”? Should silence in the scriptures swing to the ECT or the UR view? Or are the scriptures silent on this?
Three possibilities
1: It says that you cannot repent clearly
2: It says that you can repent clearly
3: It is silent on the matter or ambiguous.

My reflections on his question have so far boiled down to:

“If you say that the 3 propositions seems logical, and then ask for evidence that hell is not forever, then surely you’re not really believing that the 3 props is in fact logical.”

I think the “I believe it’s logical BUT…” is now the issue to me. I could just as easily ask any number of other questions.

Anyway, your responses so far are helping me clarify some things before I respond.

Great to hear from you again rline :slight_smile:

This comes up all the time, in fact it was one of the questions in response to Robin’s latest talk (Primary source for Martin Luther’s postmortem quote??). Of course it can also be implied from a larger framework approach too, e.g. if God promises to reconcile everything (e.g. Col & Cor), then He must somehow give people a chance.

I missed a whole ton of stuff, like that God reconciles all things, just as in Adam all die so in Christ shall all be made alive, God never stops looking for his lost sheep, etc. Sometimes I wonder what was going through my head.I was never good at thinking outside of the box. Gene, my husband, however, to his credit, had lots of great questions, which to most of us seemed like a waste of time. I sure look back and appreciate that he was asking them and how faithful God was in helping him understand the things he was seeking to understand. I’ve learned that just because we don’t see it at first glance is not any indicator of how solid a case there is for it since we are so biased from the teaching we’ve been indoctrinated in.

I use to wonder this same thing. I think there probably are lots of scriptures like the ones Sonia mentions that do outline the hope there is when we do finally turn to God. However, it’s making more sense to me lately that the emphasis would be on choosing this day whom we will serve. It’s not as if, like many Christians falsely assume, that just because God never gives up on us, that we would wait and this should become the focus. We are sick now, need healing now, can benefit from knowing God now. Maybe it’d be silly for the author, then, to slip in a, just in case you want to go on hurting yourself and others a while longer, God will never forsake you. :mrgreen: I suppose there are even clues like in Lamentations 3:31 that no one is cast off forever.