The Evangelical Universalist Forum

In a nutshell, universalism has...?

Blue Raja,

Thanks for your thoughtfulness and your replies to everyone. One theme catches my attention in your responses; that you (like many Christians and “pre-Christians” too!) Have been infected by the idea that we are saved by WHAT we believe. This isn’t ever taught in scripture, and thank God it isn’t. I KNOW I’m wrong about many things. If I knew what those things were, I’d change my mind and then I’d be right. But just how right do you have to be to qualify for salvation? If I’m 90% right (which would be a pretty optimistic guesstimate), is that good enough? What if you have to be 90.6% right in order to make the cut? Would God still hedge and let me in if I was only a tenth of a percent down? Would He do it for my brother if he was three-tenths low? Does He grade on a curve?

I think maybe the idea that we have to believe the right things about God comes from something Jesus said: “This is the work of God; that you believe on him whom He has sent.” (Meaning Jesus, of course.) But we’ve interpreted this to mean that we have to believe the right things about Jesus when in fact NONE of us can ever know whether or not we believe the right things about Jesus. I’m betting that we’re all WAY off and that what Jesus meant was that we must simply look to Him in trust and follow Him as He followed the Father; that is, with the constant guidance of the Spirit. He wants us to walk with Him. We don’t have to get everything right, but we do have to keep following Him the best we can. Otherwise we’ll take a lot longer getting home than we needed to take.

My point is that it’s all about following Jesus. As we follow Him, we’ll learn what He’s like and we’ll, little by little, become like Him. Because of this, teaching universalism or annihilationism or ect isn’t that big a deal unless it turns people away from following Him. If you believe in ect and you’re following Jesus, you’ll get to where He’s going (and I expect He’ll help you adjust your faulty doctrine too. :wink: ) If you believe in anni . . . same thing. If you believe in Universalism, same thing.

If you’re a Hindu, well, same thing. Maybe you follow the Hindu religion all your life and you’re not a nice Hindu, but a mean bad guy persecuting Christians and treating the lower castes like crud. But eventually, Jesus will find you and you will see the Light of the world and you will follow Him home. Christian universalists still believe in sharing the gospel and that we should spread the good news to everyone (and we really HAVE good news), so if we were to come into contact with that Hindu man and Father made a way, we would eagerly share the way with him. If he refuses, that’s not a lot different than if he refused to believe the ect believer (except he might have a little more excuse for it). If he would have received Christ under the ministry of the ect believer because of his fear of hell, then I’m not sure you could say that he was drawn to Jesus anyway. He wasn’t. He was repelled by hell. Is the man who has his “ticket to heaven” and is not really in love with Jesus “saved” yet? Mmm . . . really, I don’t think he is. I think you have to be in a right relationship with God and if you’re not, then that’s not heaven.

Correct doctrine isn’t what saves us. It’s Jesus who saves – and He does not fail. :smiley:

Blessings, Cindy

Blue Raja,

I appreciate your effort to consider Scripture. You said that you don’t know any text that says that all men will be made righteous. The one that every universalist argument begins with which I cited is Romans 5:18-19. You seem to grant that Colossians 1 means that all people will be “reconciled” to Christ when it says that he had made this peace with them through Christ’s blood. But you then say “reconciled” can simply mean that he rules them even though they aren’t saved but damned. That works IF you can show me where ‘“reconciled” can mean remaining separated and ruined, or where such remaining out of relationship with God is its’ definition or the purpose that Christ’s blood is about satisfying. But it seems obvious to me that such turning words upside down can make the Bible say virtually whatever someone wants it to say. This sounds equivalent to saying, Believe in Christ and you will be “saved,” may just actually mean that Christ will have dominion over you and torture you forever. Isn’t the burden on the one who proposes such a novel definition of the words?

Grace be with you,


Keep in mind that TBR is probably just replying with what he has heard Christians say over the years. I’ve heard the same thing about “reconcile” on occasion, too, since after all it’s one of the only two ways to try getting out of Paul teaching universalism at Col 1. :wink: I think he was just asking if “reconcile” could mean less because other people have tried to say so. I don’t think he was SAYING reconcile could certainly apply without intention (Calv) or eventual success (Arm) in saving from sin. It isn’t his fault that Calvs and Arms have tried to say so themselves respectively; but they do, so he’s reasonably asking about it.

Edited to add: TBR did however put it that way, as a claim (not merely a question asking) that “reconcile” could refer to a situation of mere domination over never-ending rebellion, or to a situation with never-ending enmity between persons and no repaired relationship.


I agree with Bob, of course, on the technical answer: “reconcile” obviously refers to the topic of salvation of sinners from sin everywhere else in the scriptures, including perhaps most pertinently a few verses later in Col 1 itself! – the reconciled are those who used to be enemies of God but aren’t anymore. Also pertinently in the first quarter of Romans 5, though, where Paul stresses that if we have been reconciled to the Father through the blood of the cross (just as in Col 1), how much moreso shall we be saved into His life.

We don’t even have to add up the contexts of the rest of Rom 5, although those are still worth adding up, too (and for proper accounting we still should, of course.) That earlier statement in Rom 5 stresses the assurance of victorious persistence, just as Calvinists routinely cite it for; and the statement in Col 1 stresses the assurance of total scope, just as Arminians routinely cite it for. Unless Paul completely changed his mind between one text and the other, or one or both aren’t from Paul at all (sometimes Colossians is doubted by moderate and liberal scholars although not on any grounds I’ve ever thought plausible), the implications only add up one way.

Which is reinforced by the other details of Rom 5 (which absolutely testify to the scope of salvation while still hinting strongly at the persistence, too – which in context of the strong assurance early in chapter 5 should be regarded as more than possible hints), and of Col 1 (which testify to the creative potency, authority and competency of Christ in relation to those same creatures included in the “reconcile all to Himself”).

I’ll try to set aside time this weekend to go back through your other replies to the other thread participants and mention where I agree with the other participants or have some more details. Since you asked them, they should have the lead in answering you of course; but you did ask for comments from me, too, if I had any, so… :slight_smile: (Has everyone replied already? I’ll make sure to check that, too, as I don’t want to preemptively jump in front of anyone…)

Nothing even to add to Sobor’s reply. :slight_smile:

Sonia ([tag]SLJ[/tag]) hasn’t replied yet, and I don’t want to pre-empt hers. But Cindy’s reply about what’s actually at risk in any case is something I agree with (and wrote on at length already), so I’ll wait to see if there are any spares to address after Sonia.

Watchman and Johnny haven’t replied yet, but I expect they’ll say something from 1 John about perfect love casting out fear. :slight_smile: Still, as C. S. Lewis used to say, lots of other things cast our fear, too! – but we shouldn’t let anything less than perfect love cast out our fear, including our fear of chastening.

Numinous fear is something else, like the fear we may have of those we dearly love when we are thinking of how good and noble they are and so, by consequence, our pride shrinks down to nothing in their light. :slight_smile: That kind of fear we should never be rid of, especially toward God, but even toward those we love under God.

I don’t know how much that may be of help. I don’t think fear of punishment for our sins is necessarily a bad thing, although I think it’s better to accept discipline against our sins instead, drinking the fire as the saying goes. But reactive fear (or any other emotion) erodes whatever abilities we have to rationally assess (and judge) reality. That isn’t much help, I know, when in the grip of fear; but I try to keep in mind that my emotions should properly follow my reason, rather than precede it. Easier said than done, but so is learning Judo or Tai Chi or any other redirective art. :slight_smile:

Sherman hasn’t answered yet, and I don’t want to pre-empt his reply. But a short answer about {aidios} will let him work on fire-refining references (of which there are many, including some which connect to verses appealed to for hopeless punishment where those who appeal don’t notice the connection to refinement. 2 Thess 1:9, where you’re getting the “eonian destruction” phrase, is one of those examples, by the way, although it isn’t immediately obvious.)

{Aidios} only occurs twice in the whole NT. Both times it could just as easily mean “invisible” (the only difference in spelling would be a pair of double dots over the iota, which is a late punctuation aid), and the one time it refers to punishment (Jude 6) the local and extended referential contexts definitely point toward it meaning invisible not eternal. Moreover, no one who believes in the resurrection of the wicked (and/or the release of the rebel angels temporarily to cause trouble in the Tribulation) can coherently believe it refers to “eternal bonds” at Jude 6.

(I don’t recall it being used to describe punishment in the Greek New Testament, but Dr. Konstans’ book would be helpful to check for that.)

This is another one of those topics I worked on for my debate with TFan, and you can get more details in the first part of my rebuttal. It’s also one of those topics I really should have added to my Exegetical Compilation before now, but haven’t done so yet, so although I’ve written about it before here on the forum I don’t recall where offhand.

Cindy’s reply was more along the line of my previous “what saves us isn’t doctrine” comment, which has a bearing on what the actual risks at stake are.

So I’ll take a shot at this; but I think I’ve mentioned it already in one of my previous comments to which you’re working up a reply: annihilating someone DOES NOT RESPECT THEIR FREE WILL!

Now, Limbo as thought of by some (not all) Roman Catholics, including Dante in the Inferno (and some Protestants like C. S. Lewis though he didn’t go so far as Dante) is an interesting attempt at solving the problem of righteous pagans, perhaps even those who want to repent when they learn the truth and become righteous with the righteousness of God (setting aside what that should mean).

The idea, for readers who haven’t heard of this yet, is that Limbo (on this theory – there are others) is equivalent to pagan heaven (a peaceful version not a combat-heavy version :wink: ), and has all the blessings of the saved EXCEPT FOR fellowship with God.

But then, their free will isn’t being respected, unless they’re allowed to choose to have fellowship with God; and if they’re allowed to choose this but don’t receive it, then we’re really back in principle to the notion of God denying salvation to people in hell even if they repent.

More to the point, righteousness has to involve fair-togetherness with God and with other persons (that’s what the term literally means in Greek), and there can be no righteousness apart from the righteousness of God (as per 1 John among other scriptural examples), meaning the Holy Spirit must be operating with those in Limbo on this theory – which means they both do and do not have fellowship with God, in a very contradictory fashion. (This is one reason why other theologians regard Limbo as having nothing at all to do with righteous non-Christians living out righteous lives or any other kind of personal life, but rather barely existing as failed souls. Lewis, despite not going as far toward heaven as Dante, was all over the map otherwise in his notion of Limbo, including in this direction btw.)

I suppose it is conceivably possible that a soul in Limbo could be an extension of a person’s life pre-resurrection, ideally perfected as far as it can be short of being in conscious fellowship with God, in that they live as righteously as possible in perfect contentment according to their lights, remaining eternally ignorant of that which they do not and cannot ever have. But then, how do they learn righteousness and to repent of their sins? Ultimately it must still be by the empowerment and leading (even if the leading is second or thirdhand) from the Holy Spirit. And this leads to the spectacle of the Truth Himself, Who leads people to truth even in judgment, refusing to lead people to truth – and not only not to this or that subordinate truth, but not to truth about Himself, nor to fellowship with Himself The Truth.

That just seems a very broken theology to me. At the very least, no one can coherently claim there is the slightest amount of truth in it, since by its own details it amounts to a propagation and defense of un-truth or at best agnosticism. I appreciate the charity involved in the notion of a heavenly Limbo short of actual heaven, but a proposition of Truth finally choosing to stop leading people to Truth, cannot be true. :slight_smile: Regardless of how pleasant the lack of truth might otherwise be.

Now for the chewier replies, supporting CL and Dr. Bob:

CL answered that succinctly: it’s only a possible interpretation if there are arguably clear reasons why we should be treating “all” as meaning two different things in close topical contexts. Everyone on every side of the aisle agrees that Paul means all without exception have sinned (or at the very least all who need salvation in Christ have sinned. Unfallen angels would be a commonly accepted exception.) Everyone also typically agrees that Paul is talking about salvation by bring brought to life in Christ (and those who dispute this can be easily refuted by appeal to local contexts.) I don’t think it’s even coherently possible to argue from local contexts that “all” doesn’t go on to mean all without exception in Christ’s salvation.

Some appeal to a verse near the end which specifies that salvation only happens for those who accept the gift, but the weight of local context would indicate that God intends and makes possible for all to accept the gift (denied by Calvs) and that God will eventually succeed saving all whom He reconciles to Himself by giving them that gift (denied by Arms). Certainly there’s an already/not yet concept here (generally agreed by Calvs and Arms): from God’s perspective we’re already reconciled to Himself even though in our occasional rebellions we still aren’t reconciled to Him. But Paul distinguishes the difference: we’re already reconciled but shall be saved into His life. (Classically Christians would call this the distinction between justification first and sanctification afterward, although I have thoroughly analyzed the usages of those terms elsewhere and find no direct scriptural testimony for the Greek terms referring to that process per se. The NT authors rather tend to use them synonymously.)

CL’s reference to Dr. Konstans’ book is an excellent place to start for technical discussion on the usage of the term.

Some members on the board would argue that {aiôniôs} actually never does mean everlasting. (Strictly speaking it means “agey” – it doesn’t translate into English well :wink: – or “lasting”, which can apply to things which are everlasting or things which are not.) I’m okay with it able to have a secondary meaning of “everlasting”, or “pertaining to the age” (which might or might not involve the object of the adjective being everlasting). I think every usage in the NT can mean “uniquely from God” or “Godly”, in Jewish monotheistic parallel with popular philosophical Greek usage; and most but not all Septuagint (Greek Old Testament translation) uses will fit that, too. Which again is neutral from a definitional standpoint.

So everyone may agree, although it’s still a very important agreement (compared to other religions and philosophies), that the fire and the punishment the baby goats are put into in Matt 25, for example, come uniquely from God; and yet disagree on whether that means the punishment is supposed to be hopeless.

But I do argue at length that the local narrative and thematic contexts of Matt 25 show us we aren’t supposed to regard the eonian fire or the eonian punishment as hopeless, even if that means two uses of eonian in close topical context and contrast mean superficially similar but ultimately different things. (Eonian life lasts forever, eonian punishment doesn’t.)

Ditto for “eonian destruction” at 2 Thess (although I haven’t archived that handily here. See my debate with TFan referenced above.) The referential and linguistic context does show, in several different ways, that “eonian” here shouldn’t be translated “everlasting”.

Ditto again for “everlasting shame and contempt” (although I haven’t archived that handily here either yet; but again see my debate with TFan referenced above.) I often argue that Christ explains this verse from Isaiah in ways which cannot coherently square with hopeless punishment.

(Those two common citations are verses I’m pretty famous around here for actually appealing to for arguing toward universal salvation! I really ought to create entries for them in my Exegetical Compilation series already. :unamused: )

Eh, there are verses which could somewhat plausibly be read as pointing in that direction. I’m not so dissy about that as some other universalists: there are a ton of zorchy OT verses, and not all of them seem to point onward to a happy ending eventually for the zorched.

Annihilationists like to mine the OT a lot for that reason. Often I’d say they’re missing some important local narrative and thematic contexts; but in any case the question (from a scriptural standpoint) is whether there is ever any evidence at all that the story isn’t over with the zorching.

If there is (moreso if there’s a lot of such evidence), then appealing to evidence that only talks about the zorching is fallacious, like totally ignoring the last fifteen or twenty minutes of The Empire Strikes Back, much moreso The Return of the Jedi, in order to argue that the Star Wars series is an example of a hopeless tragedy of evil finally defeating good and where the best we can hope for is to fall to our deaths away from evil (and to hope evil is stupid enough to forget he can force lift us back up if we try to get away. :wink: CL should appreciate that comparison. :mrgreen: )

Weirdly, even annihilationists ACTUALLY AGREE (when they sit down to think about it) that the verses they commonly appeal to often point to a zorching that cannot possibly be annihilation, or even very feasibly analogies of annihilation, because the resurrection of the wicked hasn’t happened yet. Their common appeals to those final verses in Isaiah where you’re getting “eonian shame and contempt” are an example of that: one way or another, the story isn’t over for those dead people, even if they’re resurrected to be annihilated later!

And now the grand finale, back to supporting Dr. W’s reply:

Note to Bob, my bad, he did try to outright say so, he wasn’t (in form) just asking about it.

Since that was your first reply to the group, TBR, I’ll… um… end my own set here (like in a chiasm! :mrgreen: ) by adding to Bob’s reply, and to my preliminary reply from the preceding comment: you didn’t give an actual example (which Bob was asking for in the quote to which you were replying) where reconciliation involves anything less or other than true re-tribution, coming back into loyal cooperation with a person previously sinned against, and back into loyal tribute to proper authority.

I don’t think you’re going to find such an example either. You might manage (perhaps, maybe :wink: ) to find an example of “reconcile” where (in the short term) the reconciliation fails, but the intention will still be more than mere dominion over continuing rebel persons. God has that already, and always did and always will, so there’s no situation to change in that regard. A “reconciliation” which only resulted in what God already always has, mere dominion, would be meaningless as a concept; and a “reconciliation” which aimed at leading rebels out of rebellion but which finally arrived at no result at all, would be a failed reconciliation, not a different kind of reconciliation.

This is what Dr. Bob was trying to get across, and I agree with him.

The terms translated “reconcile” or “atone”, and cognates, aren’t super-common in the New Testament, so it isn’t hard to hunt up and check all their occurrences – most are in the Pauline epistles, as it happens, and literally translate out to “down-reach” (or “down-up-reach” on rare occasion), symbolizing God reaching down to raise up those in rebellion against Him, making an action to bring those people to peace with Him. As Bob says, that’s an important point to the Col 1 statement in itself (“making peace through the blood of the cross”): that spells out as clearly as possible what God’s intention of reconciliation is. The term literally cannot mean only that God will eventually have complete dominion over the entire earth but not necessarily that everyone will be saved when it happens. If a rebel isn’t brought back to peace with God, then God’s reconciliation hasn’t been accomplished; just like if two enemies remain enemies their reconciliation hasn’t been accomplished yet even if that’s being aimed at. And if they always stay enemies, then either reconciliation was never aimed at, or it failed. (Broadly speaking Calv and Arm soteriology results, respectively.)

Anyway, here’s a handy article on the forum finding and analyzing (so far as I know) every NT occurrence for the term: Commentary on NT usage of "atone"/"reconcile" (JRP)

As to all persons eventually being made righteous: if God succeeds in reconciling all persons or bringing all persons to live in Christ instead of dying in Adam, or (as per Phil 2) bringing all persons to confess Jesus as Lord, then those are all the same as bringing everyone to be righteous. Any unrighteousness we do is rebellion against God, and any unrighteousness we’re still insisting on holding to is still rebellion, so we cannot in fact be fully reconciled to God or loyally serving and worshiping God yet until we no longer act unrighteously but only act righteously. As Isaiah 44 says (cited by Paul in Phil 2, and at Rom 14), “I have sworn by Myself! – the word has gone forth from My mount unto fair-togetherness [or ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’ in English] and will not turn back: that to Me every knee will bow and every tongue will swear allegiance! They will say of Me, ‘Only in YHWH are fair-togetherness and strength! Men will come to Him and all who are angry at Him shall be put to shame!’” The scope is total salvation from sin; none remain disloyal to God, Who (as mentioned many times in the scripture) does not accept false worship of lying lips and a disloyal heart.

God’s grace (per 2 Cor 6:1) will not be in vain after all, and the goal of that grace (per 5:21b locally prior), for which the Suffering Servant spent out His strength to the final extreme, was “so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” and not only some limited election of us but in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself (5:19) for which reason we are now the ambassadors of God exhorting people and begging them on behalf of Christ, “Be reconciled to God!” Similarly, the love of Christ compels us, who have concluded that One died for all, therefore all died (i.e. in sin and so needed the One to die for them), and He died for all that they who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him Who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor 2:14-15)

To preach less than Christ’s goal of reconciling all (as Calvs do), or to preach that Christ’s reconciliation of any to God shall be in vain (as Arms do), is to receive the grace of Christ in vain. (And, not incidentally, this routinely gives cause for offense, discrediting our ministry! – as you yourself may appreciate. :wink: )

Jason, really loved those posts :slight_smile:

Ditto :slight_smile:

and of course your posts too, me ol’ mucker!
this is such a good point…tBR has really brought into the open the sort of logic that follows from a religion of fear and avoidance. we might hope to save others, but really…our best bet is to sort ourselves out first (and this of course can be done by manipulating God by seemingly spreading His message out of altruistic lovingkindness…God is so easily fooled by this kind of thing :wink: )
i think many of my ECT believing friends, even those that have thought it through, know this sort of theology is no theology at all, and that really the selling point is God being altogether lovely here and now, and worth knowing for His own sake.

Thanks to everyone! I appreciate all the replies and they’ve been very informative. Especially Jason’s replies.

Moving forward, I’m curious; in regards to the New Testament usage of terms like “death” “perish” “destruction” for unbelievers, use of metaphors like burning up unwanted plants in a fire, or events such as the lake of fire burning people / beings “forever and ever”…I could understand how this would not necessarily mean “eternal torment”. The great majority of these terms, in fact, are what one uses for that which is annihilated, not kept intact and tormented. So compared to eternal hell, the annihilationists definately have the upper hand there. In fact, the sheer permanence of the terms, or the analogies of destroying unwanted crops/weeds etc., kind of makes me wonder how it can be reconciled with, well, universal reconciliation. It leads me to think that maybe annihilation really is what was meant.

Also, perhaps there is some post-mortem chance at salvation on judgement day or something. These verses don’t necessarily rule it out. Are there any that do? Or that point in the opposite direction? Where did the shunning of such a concept originate, and is it truly Biblical?

sorry Jason, i did notice your reference above…forgot to mention it :smiley:

you need to watch How The Empire Strikes Back Should Have Ended on Youtube :laughing:

i feel that the Scriptures about destruction are either in the same vein as the Old Testament, which most of the time sound permanent but quite often aren’t, leading me to think this is a hyperbolic statement.
the other possibility i can think of is that what is evil in us all will be annihilated. Adam dies, Christ raises what’s good back to life.

i think another real problem with reading these as Annihilationist proof texts is it still requires God to desire something (the salvation of all, which is spelled out unambiguously) and fail to get it (which contradicts what Paul says about love in 1 Corinthians 13). my belief is that you must approach the Bible with these unambiguous statements and moderate your interpretation of the verses that appear to contradict them - rather than moderating the approach to fit the apparent contradictory isolated verses. the approach is consistent with the Metanarrative, and is born up by many statements both ambiguous and nonambiguous…the other statements are usually isolated and prone to misinterpretation and taking out of context.
i feel the overall weight of the Scriptures leads to the idea that God made all for salvation, that God wills all for salvation, and that God is more than capable of bringing all to salvation (whether via freewill or kicking and screaming…as each individual needs it).

Yep, I had that HISHE episode in mind.

For those who don’t know what we’re talking about:


A lot of those so-called permanent destruction images refer to a death before the general resurrection, meaning that they would only count as perma-death analogies if the general resurrection to come is denied. Which most annihilationists don’t deny – but then they forget those images cannot really count as evidence for their position.

It doesn’t help that on occasion that kind of perma-death imagery comes along with a promise that those people will be back and reconciled to God! So not even counting independent evidence that all sinners will be reconciled eventually (though that would count against perma-death imagery referring to annihilation, too), those examples tell us how to regard perma-death language when future results happen not to be mentioned.

It also doesn’t help their case when God occasionally stresses that He isn’t going to keep being angry at sinners because He realizes that would lead to their annihilation. Isaiah 57 is an example of that. Some non-universalists cite verse 21, “There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked,” as evidence against universal salvation (and against annihilation for that matter!), but this rather ignores the preceding context. After rebuking evil leaders in the strongest terms as spiritual adulteresses, YHWH reveals that His subsequent punishments are intended to lead people to repent, not to punish them with conscious torment forever nor to annihilate them. “For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be angry, for the spirit would grow faint before Me and the breath I have made.” The whole point in that verse (v.16) is that God refuses to do something that would result in the annihilation of sinners! It is true that God is angry with sinners because of their injustice, and that after striking them and turning away His face they still continue turning away in their hearts (v.17), and God does see this: but even so God will heal such a sinner and lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners (those who weep because God has slain the sinner), leading the penitent sinner to praise Him instead. It is true that there is no peace for the impenitent wicked, who toss like a sea bringing up refuse and mud; but there will be peace when God finally leads them to no longer be wicked, reviving the hearts (v.15) of those whom God has made contrite or (more literally) pulverized. St. Paul quotes verse 19, “Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near” when speaking of God bringing the pagan nations into citizenship of Israel’s kingdom of God (Eph 2:17 and contexts).

That’s really funny, Jason…i randomly watched that just the other day, so i instantly got your reference :laughing:

that’s some great logic against that sort of punishment being eternal annihilation! it more fits the idea that we simply die…and then the resurrection revives us to judgement, which ultimately restores fair-togetherness between us and our wonderful God.

I have notes on one of the OT prophets (somewhere, though I couldn’t find the note this morning) where God flat-out says there is no way He’s going to bring those slain evildoers back, they’re gone for good, the end – the language couldn’t be stronger, and was in fact cited by an annihilationist which is why I looked it up – but then later in the same chapter God says He’s going to bring those same evildoers back to life after all and lead them to repentance and reconciliation, yaaay happy ending for everyone because that’s just how awesome He is!

…the annihilationist kind of understandably missed that part. :laughing: (Why would they expect God to say something shortly afterward that seems to run completely opposite what He had said before? – no reason to look farther, after all, there it is, full annihilation right there.)

Blue, It’s fair to move from universal reconciliation promises to facing the meaning of the damnation terms that you list, which have often been argued herein as Biblically employed regularly for non-permanent and redemptive judgments. But I hope you’ll recognize Corpselight’s point that the strong “all men will be justified” type statements are not eliminated, even If one believed the ‘hell’ texts were strong. At best, one would have a stalemate, and need to ask Which texts are the most clear and literal, and what view makes the best sense of the overall nature of God and the Biblical story.

Thanks, Blue. Rafferty is great. I’ll post another pic soon. But for now I’m going incognito again, just to buck the general trend for self-revelation :laughing: .

I haven’t much to add to the excellent comments posted here by Jason, Bob, Cindy, James, Dick and others. (Except to say Jason you really ought to have given some serious thought to all this, rather than dashing off such slapdash replies. Seriously, mate, how on earth do you find time to write such comprehensive posts while simultaneously running a business and reading 1,000 page fantasy novels??!! :laughing: )

I won’t even start on what Calvinists believe, except to say that at heart their theology is horrifying, like you say, horrible - and wrong! A God who who is “only loving towards those who serve him, and hates everyone else” is not God by any sane person’s definition of the word. ‘He’ is simply a projection of fear-based religiosity. And as Jason reminds us, John does indeed tell us perfect love casts out fear.

I can tell you that I have no fear whatsoever that I might be ‘wrong’ about Universalism. I might be wrong to believe in God at all :slight_smile: , but if He does exist He is - as the Bible tells us - like Jesus, and also - like the Bible tells - love.

I think you’re a good egg for coming here and engaging with us all so openly. I wish you God speed in your search for the truth.



I think most of those refer to destruction unto death and not concerned with the afterlife. :mrgreen:

yes, i believe you are correct :mrgreen: