The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP guest speaker on Wondering Pilgrim show 8/2/15

It’ll be tonight at 5pm Central Standard time (6pm Eastern Standard, 4pm Mountain Standard, 3pm Pacific Standard), for maybe two hours.

The live feed on Youtube will be here:

Or you can watch it live on Google, and maybe even participate if you have a Google+ account (although if you don’t I can hardly blame you. :wink: ) … ee3lvf3l4s

In theory there should be links available to join the chat directly, once the pre-show starts.

Once the video (or videos if there’s a glitch and two or more parts) finishes on YT, I’ll post the code for the video here.

Thank you for posting this, Jason. I didn’t see it in time to watch the whole thing, but I caught the last half hour of it, and appreciated your words. By watching you speak, it seemed almost as good as meeting you. I now have a different perception of you as a person.

Thanks! :smiley: (I thought you especially might appreciate some of what I said there. :sunglasses: )

Here’s the whole talk (though I’m out around the 2 hour mark).

Am enjoying getting caught up with the show over on the other thread (on Ep 2 now). Thanks for taking the time to walk through all of that material – and the various rabbit trails along the way are all fun and intriguing as well. :slight_smile: It’s helping crystallize for me your perspective on how universalism naturally follows from trinitarianism.

I badly want to go back and do another show on the latter material there, since I ran out of time and energy just when I was getting to the ethical implications in Episode 1. (This is more like Ep 0.)

For anyone wondering, the main thread (which isn’t here) for the series that spun off this episode, currently features a two-hour (and ten-ish minute) summary of the material from Eps 2 through 5: JRP brings Evangelical Universalism to Youtube

Which sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s less than the umpteen hours of eps 2 through 5. :wink:

Hope you can do the additional episode there!

Wondering – and maybe this is discussed elsewhere already on this site or on the Facebook page – is universalism less compelling if you start off without any reference to the Trinity, and just start with God is Love, Love is highest Law (per Christ), etc. I’m a trinitarian, too; but it seems like if Love is the desire for another’s well-being, for them to become the person they’re meant to be, this automatically affirms that God does indeed desire to save all. And then if you couple this with God always achieving His will in the end, universalism follows, regardless of whether the Trinity is the correct view?

I appreciate the concept of eternal Love among the Godhead, independent of external Creation – but even if it was just a unitarian God having the idea of every single person in His mind from the beginning as an object of His Love, desiring that each grows to voluntarily participate in Love themselves – is universalism any less compelling from that theoretical standpoint?

Again, feel free to direct me to another thread if appropriate. :slight_smile:


There’s a big conceptual difference between God being essentially love, and God only doing love. A lot of trinitarians inadvertently (and against our own theology) reduce God’s love down to the level of God’s wrath (or worse, put God’s wrath on the level of God’s love as though God is essentially wrath – they may say God is essentially justice, but the way they go about it means only that God is also essentially wrath).

So, not being essentially wrath at the level of His own self-existence, God can choose to do wrath to some creature, and to stop doing wrath to some creature, and to always do wrath to some creature, and to never do wrath to some creature. If God is not essentially love, God could choose to do love to some creature, and to stop doing love etc. Love is as optional for God as wrath, it’s only a question of whether He does it or not. And He might change His mind later.

Non-trinitarians try to get around this by claiming God can still be essentially love on their theologies, but the closest I’ve ever seen someone actually get to that, is the idea that God’s self-existence necessarily requires loving some equally eternal not-God creation; and that isn’t even supernaturalistic theism any more. (Both God and not-God exist distinctly within a shared overarching reality that is neither God nor not-God!) Otherwise the claims I’ve seen along this line amount to some static assertion, or amount to some feeling God happens to always have, or reduces back to God merely choosing to love whatever He creates and maybe to love only Himself in what amounts to selfishness if there was no creation. None of that is the same as God being essentially love in God’s own self-existence.

However, universal salvation could still be possible under any of those ideas. And I think a solid scriptural argument could be made apart from the metaphysics of the question, which would work just as well for a unitarian Christianity (maybe also for a modalistic one, depending on what scriptures are used), to the effect that God reveals His intentions to save all sinners and also reveals He shall surely accomplish those intentions.

If for example we accept Peter as being sufficiently inspired for this kind of data, and if we accept the Petrine epistles as coming legitimately from Peter, and if Peter says there that God has makrothumia toward all sinners, and shortly afterward in the same context warns that we had better regard God’s makrothumia as salvation (i.e. as an assurance of salvation) on pain of being false teachers, then we don’t have to bring in questions of Christology and/or Pneumatology. Modalist, unitarian, and bi-or-trinitarian Christians could all in principle agree to what the revelational math about salvation adds up to there, and so agree that however else we interpret Peter’s strong warnings of coming punishment to false teachers in those same epistles (and in Jude’s related one) we ought not to interpret them so as to falsify either of those gospel assurances on pain of being false teachers ourselves.

That being said, I know somewhere around here I made a formal propositional argument that, metaphysically speaking, trinitarian theism if true provides the highest assurance of salvation (up to universal salvation); and also a formal propositional argument the other way around that if universal salvation is true we should regard trinitarian theism as true. (Or maybe at least binitarian theism either way.)

Unfortunately, I can’t find it. :angry: I know it’s here somewhere, but there aren’t enough unique keywords to locate the relevant thread.

Fortunately, I archived one side of the argument over at the Cadre back in 2011. It may even be a combination of the two arguments, but it’s the version that starts with considering the proposition of salvation, and then pares through philosophical options to deduce which philosophy would give the most assurance of salvation if true. … ation.html

Thanks, Jason – lots of good points there.

Just some ramblings here in reply … If the idea of you and the idea of me are eternally present in the mind of God, it seems we could have been the objects of His Love even before we were physically/spritually generated from the idea into live persons (i.e. He knew us from before the foundation of the world, etc.) So just as there was always Love among the Godhead, there was always Love for us, from the stage of the eternal idea, through the progression of actual Creation and the never-ending journey of fulfilling our telos (always 'further in, further up! :slight_smile: ). Even when we were merely ideas, God by His nature stood in right relation to us and Truth (1 + 1 = 2; non-Love brings decay; etc.), acting for our own ultimate well-being (also standing in right relation to all else, to Truth). It seems universalism can be affirmed from a trinitarian or unitarian or binitarian or x-itarian perspective, if God is eternally Love towards all objects, even ones that are only in the idea stage??

Also – hmm… is God loving Himself really selfishness? If Love is desiring the object of it to be in right relation to all else, to Truth (and acting in accordance with that desire), then surely we can and should love ourselves? Ambition that tramples relationships – a God or creature that cares about their own glory more than having Love be all in all – that would be selfishness, and not even Love at all??

Doing love to objects of love, isn’t the same as being essentially love at the level of God’s own self-existence. An omnipresent and omniscient God can ‘always’ be merely be doing love to (at least some) creatures without such a God being essentially love at the level of God’s own self-existence.

“Always [actively] loving among the Godhead”, on the other hand, could involve God essentially being love at the level of God’s own self existence. Or not, if that active love isn’t the action by which God inherently self-exists. That gets into some subtle but important discussions about whether a bi-or-trinitarian God (with multiple persons of one and only one foundationally ultimate God) actively or statically self-exists, and whether it can make any sense at all to say that such a God only statically self-exists. (Which is also closely related to the topic of whether it can make any sense at all to claim God exists but only with a static self-existence.)