The Evangelical Universalist Forum

In a nutshell, universalism has...?

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:

Ok, there is more that I want to get to but I’ve been pretty busy lately. Pretty soon I’ll be able to respond more though. But two questions.

First, why think that the lake of fire was not some horrible, permanent punishment? Maybe it was just annihilation, or ‘separation from God’ or something, but is there some other prophetic or metaphorical verses that suggest it is ** not** a permanent, awful punishment? And which verses are they?

Also, are there any verses that give some inspiration about the possibility of post-mortem salvation?

Hi, Blue :slight_smile:

First, I’ll point you to Sherman’s thread on post-mortem salvation: I thought it was a great thread, and if you still have questions or comments after reading it, do post them. If you post on an old thread, that bumps it up to the top of the “active” list, so people will see it. Also, those of us who are subscribed to it will also see that way.

I know the LOF question has been covered too, at great length, but just let me say that AFTER the baddies are flung into the LOF, we have the kings of the earth leading their people into the holy city, bringing in their tribute and their treasures. We have the Spirit and the bride saying “Come drink of the water of life freely!” We have leaves from the Tree of Life for the healing of the nations. The nations, the kings of the earth – in Revelation these are always the bad guys. Think on this; if you drink from the water that Jesus gives, will you ever thirst again? (John 4) To whom are the Spirit and the bride offering this water then? “If anyone is thirsty . . .” Who in the renewed heaven and the renewed earth, the home of the Father, who is dwelling with His people, needs the leaves of the Tree of Life which are for the healing of the nations? Who will come and wash their robes if not those currently in the LoF outside the city (or in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb – in the very throne room of God)?

Love and blessings, Cindy

Hi Blue :wink:

The whole Book of Revelation talks about beasts with horns and serpents and …
Do you really think lake of fire is a lake with fire?

Even mistranslation of being tormented day and night forever and ever is a symbol, it is not forever, Although temporary hell is horrible!

Some universalists believe lake of fire is the OLD Earth that will melt one day, which is true in revelation but
sometimes I believe lake of fire is a spiritual fire, out of our understanding and we should interpret it spiritually not literally,

John saw the DEAD in 2nd resurrection, I believe he saw the ones who were DEAD in Christ and in mortal bodies too.

John wrote the Revelation in this way in order to Hide the Mystery about the Kingdom of God from the Unbelievers just like
Jesus said to his Disciples about the Parables!

I think you’re right about this, Eric. Last first: John most likely did write apocalyptically in order to hide his meanings from possible interception by Roman officials. Some people think he didn’t write all this down until after he was released from his exile, but others believe the cryptic writing enabled him to get his letter past the authorities and out to the church, at least some of whom would understand his symbolism and be able to explain to the others. To the Romans it would seem the most insane gobbledygook ever!

And I also agree with you that the LoF is not a literal lake. Sometimes I forget that not everyone sees it that way, even though I myself used to believe it was a literal lake of fire (and the thought tormented me, as you might expect). You call it a spiritual lake, and I would elaborate on that. My feeling is that the LoF IS God’s presence as experienced by those who stubbornly cling to their sin – burning away that dear, cherished sin from their (metaphorical) bosoms.

The “forever and ever” is literally “to the ages of the ages” or something like that. Because of Jesus parable in which some of the disobedient servants (who didn’t know better) are beaten with few stripes and others (who did know better) are beaten with many stripes, I truly believe that each person will receive exactly and only the chastisement she NEEDS in order to be healed from the sinful nature, understand the suffering she has caused, and NEVER want to do THAT again.

Great responses Cindy & Eric, and I’ll definately dwell on them. But a thought just occured: is there a version of the new testament out there that has accents? Much of ancient language is difficult to understand without accents of various kinds that it was written in. I’ve searched for an online version of the Bible that has one but only find lexicons / dictionaries, NOT an actual translation.

BTW, Cindy, are you holding a bow & arrow in your photo ? :slight_smile:

:laughing: No – that’s my husband holding his guitar and the tan thing is the strap. But I see what you mean. It could be. I don’t have very many pictures of myself and generally I don’t like them. So I just cut out a little square around my head.

I’m scratching my head over the “accents” thing, though. I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about?

Well, I suppose its more “context” than “accents”. The original greek of the Bible, just like english, can have its meaning changed depending on how it is said. For instance, when Jesus says to the Thief on the Cross; “Truly I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise”, where the comma is placed can change the entire meaning. “Truly I say to you**,** today you will be with me in Paradise”. Means he’ll be in “Paradise” -The good side of the underworld - that day i.e. right after he dies. “Truly I say to you today**,** you will be with me in Paradise”. This is ambiguous, but could easily mean he’ll be in the paradise that comes at the end of days, but who knows where he will be until then. Perhaps unconscious until the end of the world, or maybe even in Hades (bad side of the underworld) as a kind of purgatory, until being forgiven on judgement day. One comma makes a big difference, but you can debate where precisely it belongs.

And the rest of the greek in the bible has such context issues. How its said can change a lot of the meaning.

Good example Blue and Cindy I believe lake of fire is 60% a spiritual fire, 40% literal :unamused:

About the word to thief I can say the original one is like this:

he meant God can forgive anyone by simply asking for forgiveness!

because after his resurrection he told Mary don’t cling to me for I’m not ascended up yet!

so ECTers cannot boast for the commas,

as Bible mentions hades/sheol is the abode of the dead’s Spirits and surely Judgement is not after death BECAUSE of the Day of Resurrection!
and because Dead knows nothing, can’t praise God AND again, body without the Spirit is DEAD (Spirit needs body in order to be conscious)
he will give us the body in 1st and 2nd resurrection! not after death, why?

because Satan deceived many that:

Genesis 3:4
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die”.

check this out, i want your opinion:

It’s one of my sources to preach :laughing:
I’m in harmony with them 95%


Hi Blue Raja

Just a couple of quick thoughts on post mortem salvation.

The common assumption is that we must believe and repent before we die, and there is no ‘second chance’ after death. But this is purely an assumption. It has no basis in scripture whatsoever. I challenge anyone to find a single passage or verse which actually says that.

The one - the only - passage infernalists cite as precluding post mortem salvation is Hebrews 9:27-28: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (NIV)

There are two massive - insurmountable - problems with the infernalist view of these verses, IMHO:

  1. In context, they are the summation of a wider argument in which the sacrificial actions of earthly high priests, who like all humans only die once, are contrasted with the eternally efficacious sacrifice of Jesus. The Greek scholars here will be able to confirm this, but I have read that the correct translation of v27 is “just as those men (ie the priests) are destined to die once …”

Hence this is nothing to do with the eternal fate of ‘all people’. Jason has written about this subject in his Exegetical Compilation series. You can check out his post here: JRP’s Exegetical Compilation: Hebrews 9:27. ([tag]JasonPratt[/tag] - you might want to comment on this Jason :slight_smile: ?)

  1. Even if - which is a massive if, which I refute anyway (for the reasons cited above) - this verse does actually say exactly what the infernalists want it to say, it says only that after death all people will face judgement. And I for one, along with most Universalists, would agree!

Yes, after death we will face judgement. What the verse emphatically does not say - no matter how much infernalists might wish it did - is “after death comes judgement with no further possibility of repentance or salvation for those not already saved”. The words in red are pure, total, wishful thinking eisegesis on the part of infernalism!

Seriously, Blue Raja, this is such a huge hole in the leaky ship of Arminian infernalism, I’m amazed it doesn’t get put under the spotlight more often.

All the best



The accent/diacritic question isn’t as clear-cut as it seems. Originally the Greek texts didn’t have them – they didn’t even have spaces between the words (or small along with large letters for that matter), nor even punctuation (aside from very simple clues about where to stop for a breath, or whether a cluster of letters was meant as a divine-respect abbreviation.)

Those were invented a few centuries later, and standardized somewhat after that.

On the other hand, the vast majority of accents make no difference to the meaning of the word. Every Greek word (eventually) has at least one accent somewhere, maybe more than one, and most of them are just reminders of how to read the word aloud. (Which we have to make guesses about, too.)

Some accents are always important, like the little sub-iota under a final vowel which always indicates a dative form and so changes what the word would mean (and which words it would connect with in a phrase, and maybe how). Or… crap, I don’t recall its technical name, in German it would be an umlaut like thïs. :wink: In Greek it distinguishes whether a pair of vowels are supposed to be said together as a dipthong, or separately in different syllables, and that can change a word. The most important example of that I can think of offhand is {aidios}, which without the umlaut would refer to a divine quality, but with the umlaut {aïdios} or a-idios would be invisible (and closely related to {hades}).

Again, every word that begins with a vowel has a little apostrophe in front of it, like this {'agapê} (we don’t have a letter in English to properly represent the eta letter at the end, so I’m following one convention of adding a little ‘hat’ diacritic above it). That apostrophe was invented to help readers figure out where one word ended and another began, but its only function now is to clarify when a preceding word has been abbreviated into a sort of contraction (as often happens with the preposition {dia}). Practically every regular apostrophe can be otherwise safely ignored. BUT a reverse apostrophe is ultra-super-important, because it’s effectively the English letter h, and indicates adding that sound to the word, which always changes the meaning.

Anyway. Blue Letter Bible has some good interlinear tools. Here’s John 3:19 for example. … nc_1000019 (I thought that might be more daring as a topic than the fairly safe 3:16. :wink: ) Unfortunately, it isn’t very good at explaining, for example, why {houtos} is in the form {hautê}; and sometimes they just outright forget to include words they don’t think are important, which can be confusing: where is {de} in their accounting of that verse? They leave it out because {de} is a generic minor conjunction, which can mean several somewhat different things (and which is sometimes put in a post-positive position, after the first word of a sentence or clause, as in this example), but which meanings can only be guessed at by context (is it supposed to mean a contrasting “but” here? “And” connecting the idea to the previous idea as a set? “Now” moving along to the next topic?)

The interlinear tools at Bible Hub are much nicer, in my opinion (although BLB has been upgrading a bit). Here’s their version of 3:19, with lots of nifty rollover tooltips and links to explanations of what various grammar terms and forms do (or might) mean.

Katabiblion has some even more extensive interlinear tools. Here’s John 3 (the whole chapter, since I can’t point to one verse specifically on this site, or I don’t know how at least). … nterlin=on

All three sites are totally free (although they’ll also accept donations if you want :slight_smile: ), and I’m pretty sure the first one has no universalistic ideology (probably not the other two either.)

Followup: textual history is sometimes important – I mean textual variations which require trying to figure out what the original wording was – and none of those three sites seem to cover that. As far as I know, Metzger’s 2nd edition to the textual commentary on why the United Bible Society (and Nestle-Aland) editors decided to go with one variant instead of another, is still the most recent such work on the market. (The UBS/NA is the Greek New Testament text standard used by scholars worldwide.) I wish I knew of a similar textual transmission commentary created by defenders of the so-called Textus Receptus edition (which lies behind the King James English and some related versions), since sometimes there are variations between the two texts that I cannot find history or commentary on anywhere.

[tag]Paidion[/tag] has a lot more experience with NT Greek (or any Greek at all :wink: ) than any other regular commenter on the forum that I know of, so I’ll tag him and maybe he’ll add some useful site/tools. :slight_smile:

I’m still checking out your posts in this thread, Jason, but I do hope to type a more detailed response and strike up an in depth dialogue. Hopefully I’ll get it done by monday evening or so, if not earlier. Thanks for the translation information though. Its definately helped.

Looking forward to the future of this thread. Good tidings to all until then!

If God is NOT going to save all mankind no matter what, why is there not one single verse where God, Himself or Jesus Himself clearly states that all mankind will NOT be saved?

In fact, why aren’t there dozens of verses - CLEARLY - stating, in unambiguous terms, that some will NEVER be saved? If such a monstrous, horrific thing were true, you’ld think Love Omnipotent Crucified would have warned us - clearly - not only once, but dozens of times. What else would be more important in all the Scriptures. Yet - nowhere - NOT ONCE - can such be found. Therefore, the teaching of endless tortures is clearly false.

“never” (Mt.7:23, etc)…this word appears to occur 16 times in the NT & it seems that it never means anything except “never”. It is used of “love never fails” (1 Cor.13:8). It also occurs in Mt.7:23 where Jesus says “I never knew you; depart you from Me, those working lawlessness.” Which is such an incredibly lame remark, if Love Omnipotent believed in endless torments. If He believed that such an unspeakably horrific final destiny awaits the wicked, including those He was referring to in Mt.7:23, why didn’t He make it clear by telling them that they would “never” be saved and/or He would “never” know them? Would that not have been clear & unambiguous, unlike the words He spoke, & unlike the ambiguous aion & aionios, which often refer to finite duration in ancient Koine Greek? OTOH consider re the use of the word “never”:

“Philo saith, “The punishment of the wicked person is, ζην αποθανοντα αει, to live for ever dying, and to be for ever in pains, and griefs, and calamities that never cease…”

If Jesus wished to express endless punishment, then He would have used expressions such as “endless”, “no end” & “never be saved” as per:

Jesus didn’t use the best words & expressions to describe endlessness in regards to punishment, because He didn’t believe in endless punishment.

Examples of aionios as a finite duration in Koine Greek:

“The simplest way to know if someone is preaching the gospel of grace is to evaluate whether the teaching glorifies our Lord Jesus.”