The Evangelical Universalist Forum


I have been researching UR and am intrigued, to say the least. I could never stomach the thought of an eternal
hell, like most people, even though in secular matters, I am a tough-on-crime, law-and-order guy for the most part.
There is more biblical support than I would have guessed, and I cannot help but notice that most arguments against UR/EU
contain strawmen associating it with the UUs, etc. I do not know why I do not have that mental block that most other
traditional christians have when it comes to even understanding UR. When the gung-ho ECT advocates are not pinning guilt by association on UR/EU, they resort to even weirder strawmen such as UR downplaying the cross…which is like saying
that 100 percent effective antibiotic or other medical treatment is pointless-this is ludicrous. another strawman is when they say UR means God does not punish sin-again, ludicrous. UR as I understand it only means that punishment is proportional to the crimes and are meant to bring to the sinner to repentance in this life or the next. It always did seem(bragging follows) like I was smarter than my church friends when it comes to understanding(without needing to agree with) opposing points of view on various
doctrinal and philosophical issues.

Anyway, both sides can dredge up a lot of scriptural support, while explaining away the support of the other side. Sometimes the takes on opposing passages are plausible, sometimes ridiculously strained.

The biggest problems for the ECT crowd seem to be: Col 1:20 and Phil 2:9-11, Romans 5:18, Cor. 15:28
The biggest problems for UR/EU seem to be: in the book of Revelation, no one is shown getting out of the lake of fire,
and it is never stated that this is a remedial punishment.
Isaiah 66:24 seems to imply annihilationism, and comes right after “all flesh” worshipping God.
So, if anyone can explain these can still jive with EU/UR, I’m in at least tentatively.

I am aware of the issues surrounding translation of Ainios, Gehenna, etc, but the ends of Isaiah and Revelation still seem problematic for Universalism.

Welcome! It’s exciting to read your introduction, I hope we can help with some of your questions. There’s also an entire chapter on Revelations in The Evangelical Universalist—Gregory Macdonald and Isaiah does come up a fair bit in the book too :sunglasses:

Funny you mention Isaiah 66:24, I’ve spent weeks debating this verse in recent months Joe: Salvation for ‘All flesh’ and Isaiah 66:22-23 and I’m sure there have been other threads on it too :slight_smile:

Welcome Masterpea! :wink:

Rev doesn’t end with the Lake of Fire. :mrgreen:
After the Lake of Fire, we see the City which is the Church, the Bride of Christ descending, where God will make His home among men, making all things new, and wiping the tears from their eyes. And those outside the city being invited to wash their robes and enter. The gates of the City stand always open, the light of God shines out of it towards those outside, the water of life flows out of it in an ever increasing cleansing river, the tree of life grows on the banks of the river and it’s leaves are for the healing of the nations, and the kings of the earth (formerly at war with Christ and slaughtered by Him) will bring the glory of the nations into it.


Welcome masterpeastheater!

I look forward to getting to know you and discussing scripture with you. Concerning the lake of fire, note that it doesn’t say that the ones cast in there stay there or that they get out. Also note that the lake of fire is:

  1. In the presence of the Lamb (revelation of the Atonement) and the presence of the angels (revelation of the supernatural benevolence and protection of God).
  2. God is a consuming fire.
  3. Toment (basanizo) was a word related to the testing and purification of gold by fire.
  4. Brimstone, sulfur, (theon) means “divine (theo) fire” and was burnt as incense for spiritual purification and physical healing. Hot sulfur springs were widely known for their healing properties. And even today, many pharmasutical drugs are sulfur-based.

When I put these things together, it seems to me that the lake of fire is the “All-consuming, healing, purifying, burning presense of God as especially revealed in the Atonement and the Supernatural benevolence and protection of God!” But that’s the difficulty with metaphorical, prophetic language; it can be so widely interpreted. And of course, Revelation is interpreted from at least 4 significantly different viewpoints - Preterist, Historical, Metaphorical, and Futuristic. In short, I don’t look to Revelatation to establish doctrine, but to illustrate doctrine that I’ve come to believe based on the more didactic writings and historical narratives of scripture.

Concerning Isa. 66:24, note that it says “corpses”, not “living people”. The old man, the flesh, does die so that the new man can arise. Saul died so that Paul could arise; and I’m sure that when Paul looked back on all that Saul did he abhored it! Once a person is saved, they always look back at the evil they did with abhorance, shame, and regret - especially if they lived a very evil life.

btw, the worm that dies not is the maggot. It doesn’t die, it transforms into a fly. Did ancient man know that? I don’t think so. To them, maggots could have seemed to appear and disappear and never die.

Also, in the Jewish culture, to be left unburied to be consumed by maggots, animals, and fire was an ultimate shame for the deceased. It was as if the person was worthless, only good to become animal dung. A life of evil is worthless and will bring terrible shame and regret.

For me, it was the sparsity of evidence in scripture that could even possibly be interpreted to affirm ECT that freed me to accept in faith the many passages that affirm the salvaton of all humanity. I mean, if ECT was true, it seems to me that such would be repeatedly and specifically warned of in scripture, especially the OT. But, as you know, it’s Not, especially in the OT! Have you noticed that even the word Hell is disappearing from English translations as they increasingly reflect what is actually written in the Hebrew and Greek text.

Well, anyhow, welcome again to this forum! I hope you find it encouraging.


Hi MPT, Welcome to the forum. I hope you find it as helpful and enjoyable as I have. As for your questions… I agree with all Sherman said - couldn’t have put it better!

A lot of interesting points, Sherman. Oh, SLJ, that thing about the kings of the earth…wow. I am stunned. The
things that conservative evangelicals will gloss over in their quest to supposedly be oh so literal is getting comical.


One of the first big projects I posted here after being invited as a guest author, was this analysis of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi’s argument for annihilationism. Dr. Bacch leans heavily on Isaiah 66:22-24; but as I point out in detail his argument tends to fall apart, not only contextually but even on its own merits.

I’ve done a huge amount of work on the forum concerning the final chapters of RevJohn, too (as well as earlier in that text), showing the details leading to the results Sonia was talking about. (I recall she arrived there independently on much the same ground before finding the forum.) Unfortunately I don’t recall where they are at the moment–I’m starting to think I need a special page linking to the stuff I’ve done here… :wink:

Fortunately I compiled my side of that commentary (or most of it–I may have inadvertently missed some things as it happened across several threads). I’ve attached it as a doc file below in this comment. Be aware that it doesn’t cover much of the oppositional commentary, which could be considered a weakness. I’ve been intending to polish it into a monograph on the topic someday. But until then, here it is in a more unpolished form.
The Final Chapters of RevJohn.doc (158 KB)