If all are saved - why so many arguments with each other?


Because universal salvation isn’t the only question of religious truth in the world. (Or non-religious truth.) Duh. :wink:

Also, universal salvation for many of us (myself included) is connected strongly to various other theological and/or emotional ideas, which can be in mutually exclusive conflict with other theological and/or emotional ideas connected strongly by people to universal salvation.

To pull one example out of a hat: are we supposed to be worshiping God? If so, how? And should we be worshiping any lesser lord or God? If so, how is that to be reconciled with very strong and frequent exhortations that we shouldn’t religiously be doing that? If not, why do the scriptures expect and exhort us to religiously worship Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (in the NT) and the Angel of the Presence (in the OT)? Aren’t they persons in distinct personal relationships with God the Father? – and if they aren’t, then why do the scriptures often (and very very regularly for Jesus) treat them that way?

Those are the same issues Biblical Christians have always been chewing over, and chewing each other, about. Being saved from our sins involves, at least partly if not chiefly, being saved back into proper loyalty to God and out of putting something less than God more importantly in our lives than God; universal salvation thus involves that for everyone, sooner or later. (And how much sooner? – how much later? --why later, if later, and why aren’t things already so much better if sooner? Are we doing something wrong? We ought to be correcting our mistakes, but what are our mistakes?) But what does loyal worship of God involve and not involve? And where it involves serving other people, what does that involve and not involve?

Then comes the question of acting to inconvenience other people: is that ever right? If so, to what extent? God sure looks in the scriptures like He’s acting to inconvenience creatures, sometimes innocent ones along with guilty ones, to various degrees, even to death, and even after death? How real are those threats, or if real what do they really involve? Were those threats real but are permanently over now? – and if so, why? Should we be worried about ourselves or the people we love, and if so why and to what extent, or why not? (Should we be worried about people we hate, and if not or if so then to what extent?!) A lot of universalists have strongly emotional reactions to things they felt threatened with which (they or we think) turned out not to be true to one or another degree, and rightly or wrongly their universalism is thus strongly connected to opposing the threat of those threats to one or another degree.

By extrapolation, opposing the threat of those threats can, rightly or wrongly, involve opposing ideas which other universalists still see, rightly or wrongly, to be variously levels of important. That can lead to a lot of passionate arguments among universalists in itself, not apart from the question of truth, but supercharging the intensities of the disagreements about what truths are real and/or important – including important for universalism to be true!

And all that is charitably assuming that everyone involved on every side happens to be acting in a perfectly charitable and otherwise sinless way! – but people are sinners (right? or wrong? or under what conditions? the answer either way would be an important truth to take account of!), and as (if?) sinners then we may be opposing each other on points of disagreement about truths, in ways which are unjust to other people. Which, whether those injustices are large or small (or only perceived wrongly as injustices, large or small), doesn’t make the disagreements more naturally peaceful.


What Jason said!

And maybe to make a simpler point, since he’s done the heavy lifting, we will disagree on these issues because we aren’t perfected in our knowledge of God yet. However hard we try to hear the voice of the Spirit, we will get things wrong. The important thing, imo, is to remember Love. If we act in the love of God, we will never go far afield, even when we passionately disagree with one another. So long as we are very, very serious about love, even if we inadvertently act in unloving ways toward one another, all can usually be put right. While knowing things is good and important, ultimately it’s not what you know, but how much you love.


Even within Christian universalism, there are a number of difference approaches. For example:

  1. Are there post-mortem sufferings? It seems that a majority of universalists say yes, while a significant minority say no.

  2. Deterministic universalism, or free will universalism?

  3. Hopeful universalism, or certain universalism?

  4. Universalism for angels and all created beings, or only for humans?

  5. Is universalism the obvious teaching of scripture, or is it a tough call?


(As for me and my house, we believe in no post-mortem sufferings, in free will universalism, in certain universalism, in universalism for angels and all, and in obvious universalism.)


Why so many arguments with each other? I haven’t noticed many. Indeed I have noticed very few.

In my opinion, most of the interchange has been a mutual attempt to seek after truth and reality. And that search is HEALTHY.


I see Universal Salvation connected strongly to the following verse so it is an offense to those who do not see the spiritual reality of it all. Most is the religious realm do not ever recognize Mt Zion

Romans 9 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Note what God’s Word declares about Mt Zion.

Mt Zion is where the Tabernacle of David was brought, it is where saviors will come out of, and it is the same place where God’s Kings and Priest will minister out of, it is where the overcomers will rule and reign with Christ this is the message of MT Zion/Sion.

1 Peter 2: 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Could it be the real offense you are taking is the messages Mt Zion which is a high and exalted spiritual place where Jesus reigns, which God’s Word declares an offense a stumbling stone, a rock of offense.

We also have: Obadiah 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion (the high places of Ruleship in the kingdom) to judge the mount of Esau (Flesh); and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.


…um, welcome to the forum, but who and what are you replying to? Everyone in the thread is a Christian universalist (of one or another type), and the arguments we’re talking about among ourselves are not at all about being offended over the saving scope and power of Jesus.


I believe that many universalists don’t get the understanding of aionios correctly. I hear many say it means “limited duration”. I don’t think it gives an endpoint to the duration at all. I believe that something that is aionios can be limited or unlimited duration because I don’t believe the term speaks to that.

I believe that aionios means “age-enduring”. Therefore it speaks to a continuing point. I liken it to a horizon, you can’t see how far whats on the other side of it is but you know it that what you referring to exists past that horizon.

This is important because once you understand this then it places FOCUS on the next age. Jesus is going to rule in that next age and therefore, when I see something speak to being aionios with a future context then I think of Christ immediately and His Coming rule.

So you can see that a verse like following poses problem for those that believe in “limited duration”:

Mat_25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

But for me this is simple.

Mat_25:46 And these shall go away into age-enduring punishment: but the righteous into life age-enduring.

So I re-wrote verse above and substituted the words. The life extends beyond the age and the punishment extends beyond the age. This means that both are implied to be acquired or existing in the PRESENT age and I believe they are. I believe that everyone is being punished currently for Adam’s sins which is to toil and die - that is a punishment that was cast upon Adam and all that would come from Him. Jesus excluded since He was not under that curse (being born of the virgin).

This is one way in which many universalists are different in their beliefs.


A common but queer belief. If you had an evil son, would you punish his children for their father’s wrongdoing?


It’s not quite that simple, since the children inherit the problem. The better question would be is would you try to cure his children’s terminal disease that they received from their father?


I just finished Enns’s “Evolution of Adam”. Enns believes in evolution and that Paul mistakenly believed Adam was the progenitor of all humanity. However, Paul being wrong about human origins does not in any way undermine the universal problems of sin and death, which Christ took care of. When it came to Adam, Paul was simply creatively interpreting scripture in light of Jesus, the same way he elsewhere took OT verses out of their context and gave them new meaning. This is not a knock on Paul. Creatively giving new meaning to verses was common in second temple Judaism. The point of all this is that if all humanity does not actually descend from Adam, then we couldn’t have inherited sin from him.


Strictly speaking, even if neo-Darwinian gradualism is true, the odds are very high that we do in fact all descend from two progenitors (through mutation of a gene passed successfully on), who had a baby who was genetically our species although neither of them technically were, and who then went on to interbreed with the prior species and bear or sire at least some children of our new species, who then passed it on down the line, and so on.

Of course then we get into the question of transitional interbreeding species which don’t seem to have existed… or to exist much, if at all, today… when there ought to be tons and tons of obvious examples… :wink:

(The point to the criticism of a lack of transitional species is that for any earlier and later genus, who cannot interbreed genetically at all, there ought to be some X number of species between them who can breed not only with each own species but to some degree with each other though less successfully as genetic distance increases. There ought to be, let’s say, humans and elves, who cannot interbreed with each other genetically at all, and then three species between us. Each species can breed entirely well with each other and pretty well with species immediately one step in either direction, but with more difficulty the farther genetic space away. So in the sequence Elf, EM, M, HM, Human, Elves can breed with Elves, and pretty well with EM, and not so well with the species in the Middle, and barely at all with HM, and not at all with Humans, who can breed with Humans and pretty well with HM, and so on back in the other direction. Given gradualism, the chains should be a lot longer than that! – of course there could be missing gaps here and there for some evident chains, due to population continuity breaks, but the chains generally should be evident even with occasional gaps. The only known living examples I’ve ever heard of in the literature – and I have inductive doubts about the validity of the data – are a type of plant, if I recall correctly, living on an small isolated island with a pauce ecosystem. The plant can breed with itself under a house, and breed pretty well but not perfectly with a variant outside, and so on to some other part of the island, plus backward the same way. But the example was touted in the literature as being the first, or one of the very first, such discovered transition chains. It shows that the theory works under some highly limited circumstances, but still leaves the freakisly vast number of missing transitionals unaccounted for where they are – or where they aren’t, rather. The famous Galapagos finches should be something like this; maybe they are, but I’ve never heard of them being.)


Well said. Also, a point about 'missing links" - apparently we have them! - it’s the entire rest of the edifice that we are missing. This point has been made effectively (and not answered satisfactorily imo). There should be tons of evidence in the fossil record that show a clear chain of change that would enable us to fill in the great Tree of Life - but in fact there is very very little and what there is is skimpy.

I have of course done no field work, but many that have, have written extensively on the doubtful theory of which Darwin himself had doubts.


Except in cases of speciation by polyploidy, parents X1 and X2 of species X will differ from their offspring X3 by only a relatively few genes, compared to the vast number of genes that make up the genome of any species. (Some estimates give the number of new mutations in each generation, of humans for example, at about 175.) As a result, these parents and their offspring can always interbreed; they are members of the same species. But the offspring X3 will have vastly many more genetic differences from other species, even their ancestral one, so they will not be able to successfully interbreed with them. (Speciation by polyploidy, in which parents are instantaneously reproductively isolated from their offspring, occurs when the entire set of chromosomes is multiplied in the offspring beyond the normal number to give 3, 4, or even more sets, not the normal 2, which occurs in most species we are familiar with. Speciation by polyploidy is much more common in plants than in animals. I don’t think you are referring to speciation by polyploidy here.)

Members of closely related species that interbreed among one another do occur. I gave one such example in a recent post in another thread that focused more on evolution. But they are rare. The reasons they are rare are likely related to various levels of reproductive isolation that exist between closely related species. By that I mean, any two closely related species still do have many genetic differences between them. These differences cause many difficulties before, during, and after reproduction, should it occur at all. First, the two species have likely developed different breeding-time preferences, different breeding-habitat preferences, and different breeding behaviors during the many generations they developed apart. Those things all prevent reproduction in the first place. Second, the two species have definitely developed different DNA sequences in their chromosomes and these chromosomal differences will cause difficulties in the embryonic development of any successful fertilization between the two species. And third, even if the embryo of an interspecies cross did develop, the resulting hybrid will likely show some lowered fitness because of the genetic mismatch between chromosomes from two different species. That lowered fitness can show up in reduced vigor of the hybrid or ultimately in sterility. Sterility is the major problem in hybrids that survive to adulthood because the chromosome pairs have one member from one species and the second from the other species. Because the DNA sequences in the chromosomes are so different compared to the normal case, the needed chromosomal pairing in meiosis does not occur normally, resulting in no or few successfully produced eggs and sperm.

I don’t agree with your expectations here. In normal allopatric speciation, not speciation by polyploidy I mentioned above, species develop over long periods of time in isolation from the ancestral species. Say new species B develops slowly in isolation from ancestral species A. If isolation between ancestral species A breaks down before new species B can accumulate enough genetic differences to be truly a new species, it will interbreed freely with A, and the end result will be only ancestral species A. Only after a sufficiently long time has passed and a sufficiently large number of genetic differences have accumulated will species B actually be able to exist in the presence of A. So, the reason why so few transitions exist is they are wiped out before they can be seen, swallowed up by the mixing of the insufficiently few accumulated genetic differences from the gene pool of the ancestral species.

But there are circumstances in which we can force these transitions to appear. Such is the case with many fish species hybrids, in which the normal reproductive isolating mechanisms that naturally exist between closely related species are overridden. Fish culturists can mix sperm of one species with eggs of another in captivity, overriding the normal seasonal, habitat, and behavioral differences that exist in nature, differences that would otherwise keep the species apart in nature. Thus, we see human-induced hybrids (transitions) between brook trout and brown trout, between brook trout and lake trout, and between striped bass and white or sand bass, to name just a few common examples.


People are tribal in nature. They often seek out and find comfort when other people validate their beliefs. At some level, nearly everyone is prey to this aspect of humanity. Very few have ever been so independent on all matters they they have embraced complete independence from all others. Such people are called hermits.

To get personal, even as independent in thought as I feel I am, there is still a part of me that seeks validation from someone or something. I am highly selective on where that validation comes from, but I am still, on a primal level needing those things.

Examples of tribes some many subscribe

Skin Color: Hey, this guy is , just like me, so we share a kinship.
Nation: American’s are the greatest people in the world! I don’t care what happens to the rest of the world, as long as America is in good shape.
Sports: Green Bay fans are stupid. Only the Vikings are great

To hit religion specifically:

Religion: Only Christian’s are right about God. I am a Christian.
Religion Reduced: Only Protestants are true Christians. I am a protestant.
Religion Reduced Further: Only Baptists know the true God. All else are wrong.
Religion Reduced Furtherer: Only German Anabaptist are the true followers of Christ.
Religion Reduced Furthererer: Only practicing German Anabaptist are the true followers of Christ.
Religion Reduced Furtherererer: Only practicing Germans Anabaptist’s that read the KJV 1611 AV are true followers of Christ.

Now, there are millions of tribes like the above. Each person, for themselves, independently decides what tribes they are a part of (they could be a part of many tribes, depending on the scope of the topics. You could be a German Anabaptist KV11 who is also a super right wing republican who is even more strict than his tribe adheres because of his membership to other tribes.

Univeralists, for the most part, have decided on this: God will save all. But that doesn’t stop there… Some will insist how he does it and this will create more tribes. The people who insist they are right (which are most people) will typically of their own accord, separate themselves from others who do not think like them, or agree with them.

Certainly, there is a bit of ‘compromise to be had’ - which is why so many tribes exist. If everyone reduced their believes others must subscribe to be exactly like theirs, then we should have as many tribes as we have people, because no two people agree. So, even the German Anabaptist KJV11 AV Republican compromised somewhere, in other to have fellowship with SOME people. He decided, of his own accord, what was an acceptable level of differing opinions with his fellows.


Very few have ever been so independent on all matters they they have embraced complete independence from all others. Such people are called hermits

Or they may be called “secure.” In politics the fastest growing group are called “independents.”


Except in cases of speciation by polyploidy, parents X1 and X2 of species X will differ from their offspring X3 by only a relatively few genes, compared to the vast number of genes that make up the genome of any species. (Some estimates give the number of new mutations in each generation, of humans for example, at about 175.) As a result, these parents and their offspring can always interbreed; they are members of the same species. But the offspring X3 will have vastly many more genetic differences from other species, even their ancestral one, so they will not be able to successfully interbreed with them. (Speciation by polyploidy, in which parents are instantaneously reproductively isolated from their offspring, occurs when the entire set of chromosomes is multiplied in the offspring beyond the normal number to give 3, 4, or even more sets, not the normal 2, which occurs in most species we are familiar with. Speciation by polyploidy is much more common in plants than in animals. I don’t think you are referring to speciation by polyploidy here.)

Correct, not referring to polyploidy.

However, your example still ought to produce transitional species – except for where on one side of your example X3 can breed with the ancestral species, X1 and X2, just fine until the other side of your example when X3 cannot breed with the ancestral species, X1 and X2, at all. Unless we aren’t talking about individuals but about populations – then we’re probably talking about transitional species in principle. But not in practice. Otherwise you wouldn’t have to go on to appeal to punctuated equilibrium to explain their absence.

Which I clearly wasn’t denying. I was denying the prevalent and preponderant existence of transitional chain species between genuses.

Right, even the interbreedable species are relatively rare. Much moreso transitional species chains.

In fact those various levels of reproductive isolation have to exist in order for serious speciation (leading to genus differences of non-interbreedable species) to show up at all; otherwise the breeding population genetic drift would tend to cancel itself out. But expecting all such speciation to have succeeded from such isolation is a conceptual stretch.

However, unless they have become totally separated physically from one another by catastrophic (or other artificial, like human breeding program) events, they should still be in breeding continuity with the genetic pool, albeit on far sides of the pool. This, extrapolated over time, would create the transitional species – that don’t actually exist (for all practical purposes) in nature. (The other factors you mentioned would be side-effects of being on far ends of the breeding pool, so to speak. But the breeding pool should still exist between them.)

Thus why punct eq per se was promoted as a viable tool to get around several serious problems in gradualism. But then to account for the lack of transitional species, all major speciation would have to depend on punctuated equilibrium (of a fairly drastic sort), and that turned out to be historically untenable, both on the face of it and under study.

Which of course is a major reason why gradualism has to be gradual (even in a punctuated equilibrium situation). This would roughly be the genetic result expected between species X1 and X4, or X2 and X5, in a transitional pool of X1 to X5 (where the two ends are now different genus and cannot interbreed at all). It’s the lack of the other species in between (and in some cases, like horses and donkeys, the lack of an X1 or X5 species) that’s the problem.

This is the punctuated equilibrium situation (which also requires a seriously reduced population in the isolated species pool so that genetic drift isn’t washed out normally), which would account for lack of transitionals between species A and B. But which would not account for a lack of transitional subspecies in B itself. Those end up lacking, too. Or else the population pool remains so small that we don’t have transitional subspecies with new fringes who can’t breed with each other while breeding okay with species near them – instead we get cheetahs: essentially clones with serious genetic problems. (This happens with artificial breeding programs, too, intentionally selecting too specifically for particular traits.)

That’s why the punct eq has to continue until when-if-ever the divergent species return to contact. But then all speciation has to occur this way, which strains credulity (and actual testing). And meanwhile the new isolated spin-off population has to have some explanation for a lack of development of its own transitional species chain in its own population. So the explanation for a lack of transitional species has been put back one stage for no gain.

The only way the proposed system would work is if (a) all non-interbreedable speciation develops by punctuated equilibrium; and (b) if all such speciation results in the equivalents of cheetahs. Result (b) is flagrantly untrue in practice, and condition (a) seems demonstrably just as untrue (as well as inherently implausible).

Which are not naturally occurring transitional species; and from your description I can’t tell that they’re even being presented as transitional species in principle: where for example brown trout and lake trout can’t breed genetically with each other at all but they can breed with some genetic difficulty with brook trout (and pretty well with trout 2 and trout 4, which in turn can pretty pretty well with the trout species ‘next to them’ genetically but not so well at farther distances down the line).


The X1 and X2 designations I meant to apply to parent individuals 1 and 2, not to ancestral species, of species X. My point was that, in allopatric speciation, offspring can always interbreed with parents or at least the offspring generation can always interbreed with its parental generation because the genetic differences between temporally adjacent populations are not big enough to prevent interbreeding.

I don’t understand the rest of your comment.

And I explained why seeing transitional species between genera or between closely related species in general is not expected–due to either failure of the hybrids to be formed in the first place, failure to survive if they are formed, failure to reproduce if they survive, and failure to persist as a population because of swamping by the ancestral or extant species.

All speciation requires reproductive isolation of some sort. What exceptions do you have in mind?

But the point of that kind of speciation–allopatric speciation–is there is a physical separation of populations from one another in some way. There is no genetic exchange between physically separated populations. If there were, the needed genetic distinctiveness followed by reproductive isolation would not occur.

You are reading way too much into this punctuated equilibrium distinction! Punctuated equilibrium is merely a different model to explain the tempo of speciation: in punctuated equilibrium, speciation occurs in pulses, i.e., many species are formed in a relatively short time and between the pulses are long periods of stasis. Speciation under punctuated equilibrium still depends on physical isolation of the populations followed by genetic distinctiveness developing in the separated populations followed by reproductive isolation of the populations.

These examples I presented are transitional individuals that represent what could happen in nature if reproductive isolating mechanisms are overcome. There are actually transitional individuals between other species in nature, and they occur for that precise reason. It does happen in several groups of species, notably the fishes of the family Cichlidae. The many species of fishes of the family Cichlidae are kept separate in nature often by prezygotic reproductive isolating mechanisms, which mean that the species are kept apart by traits that operate before mating, and thus keep the zygote of a cross between species from forming. Thus, we see different species of Cichlidae reproducing in different habitats in the deeper lakes of Africa, for example. Habitat specificity in mating is a prezygotic reproductive isolation mechanism. But if habitats are altered by various forces, sometimes human-induced, then two species, normally separated by habitat during the reproductive season, can come together during the reproductive season and hybridize because they are similar enough in other ways to allow development of adults should the zygote be formed.


Jason, do you agree or disagree with Enns that it doesn’t matter whether or not there was a historical Adam who was the progenitor of all humanity?


I don’t know Enns’ argument per se about mattering, so I have no opinion there.

I think it would matter in various ways if there was or wasn’t, but I don’t think it would necessarily matter about our hereditary impulses to sin, nor would it matter about any choices we make to sin, and thus would not matter either way about our need for salvation from sin. It would only be an acceptable difference between “in Adam” meaning inheriting a problem (genetic predispositions I suppose, perhaps also something like a spiritual genetic problem) from the first of our species specifically, or “in Adam” meaning corporate mankind. And if the historical Adam is true, then both would still be true.

That said, I accept from both philosophical rationale, evident Biblical testimony, and biological speciation principles, that we had an original pair of human ancestors. And, from Biblical testimony and speciation principles, that the first female ancestor derived from our first male ancestor somehow. Also that there could be and apparently was interbreeding of some kind with a previous established population of the prior species! – Cain goes out and finds a wife east of Eden, to give the famous or infamous Biblical example (although there are solutions to that which don’t have to involve a prior or other near-human species.)



It’s simply that sin and death are universal problems that Christ came to save us from, and that fact is not in any way undermined if there was no historical Adam, even if Paul believed there was.