The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP vs TurretinFan Oct 2011 debate (official thread+YouTube)

Sure roof, here are some:

Lamentations 3:31
New International Version (NIV)
31** For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever. **

Psalm 103:9
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
9He will not always accuse us of wrong
or be angry with us forever.

Jeremiah 3:5
5He won’t hold a grudge forever.
He won’t always be angry.’

Psalms 30:5
5His anger lasts only a moment.
His favor lasts a lifetime.

Weeping may last for the night,
but there is a song of joy in the morning.

Micah 7:18.19
18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.

19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

There are tons of verses that say that his lovingkindness is everlasting, he gets done what he wants and he is mighty to save. There are tons of verses that emphasize his grace and mercy, including the N.T. verse that says mercy triumphs over justice. There are many verses where God says that he is a God “who relents concerning calamity” such as in Jonah 4 and Joel, I think chapter 2. The theme is powerful that God is a God who forgives and does not maintain his anger forever, in his own words. YES he hates sin, and YES he demands repentance, but scripture gives no indication that God hates forever, wraths forever, is angry forever and says many times just the opposite. With this in mind I simply can’t accept that “aionios” would be translated “eternal” especially since it doesn’t have to be. It contradicts scores of bible verses and contradicts what God says explicitly about himself.


Don’t the Arminians say that the door to hell shuts from the inside- that God still loves them, but they refuse His love? Could it mean that God is not angry forever but people are unrepentant forever?

Rev 1:18
"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Jason, just finished listening to first episode. I agree that unfortunately having 5 passages meant you couldn’t go into aionios as much as we’d have liked, however, I think you did actually made a very good start at addressing it in your rebuttal (1:27:00-1:41:00), enough I think to put the common translation/reasoning into question.

I assume you invited TFan over here (remembering he could have the “Non Universalist” title next to his name if he wished)?

I can’t seem to find any commentary on the debate from his fans or himself? :confused:

Cool you addressed aionios again in the 2nd episode (19:29 - 21:50) :sunglasses:

I think Chris should’ve been more aggressive with the editing of the cross examination :wink: (btw, I realise you probably don’t want to be seen as tampering & also have a limited time to do the editing) Also we should’ve paid to get everyone into one studio, as I think body language, facial expressions, etc. might’ve helped the communication at some semi-awkward/confusing points (like the “salt” dialogue - argh painful :stuck_out_tongue: ).

In regards to TFan’s question (38:55), “Is there anywhere aionios doesn’t have something to do with duration?” How about 2 Tim 1:9? That gets translated in all manner of bizarre ways, many of which have aionios having nothing to do with duration…

Or John 17:3 “Now this is eternal (aionios) life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (thanks for pointing that out Carrots!)

Since “before” is part of the verse (the Timothy verse), Tfan would be justified in saying that it related to duration.
But it would be an example of limited vs unlimited duration, so he would have to deal with that aspect of the situation.

But that wouldn’t necessarily obviate Christian universalism, which (at bottom) isn’t primarily about what sinners do or don’t do, but about what God does. As long as God is continuing to act toward saving everyone from sin, universal salvation is still technically true, even if it happens that some sinners never repent.

Which is why practically every Arminian I’ve ever read or heard (including my teacher Lewis) go out of their way to try to explain that God eventually gives up on sinners (so in fact becomes angry forever, completely regardless of whether the sinners are unrepentant forever); or else is defeated in His attempts (by those sinners or by other sinners in regard to those sinners, e.g. Satan permanently wins some sinners into hell despite God).

The concept that the door to hell shuts from the inside, at any rate, is very far from a Biblical one. No Arminian who comes up with that (even my teacher Lewis) has any excuse afterward to complain that Christian universalists preach unbiblical doctrines! The uniform Biblical testimony (so far as I recall) involves God directly punishing sinners, or God saving sinners after their destruction by God leads to repentance. The Son descends into hades to preach (so it’s hardly locked from the inside, regardless of what that testimony is supposed to mean); the gates of hades will not stand strong against the church of Christ; and as RHM pointed out Christ has the keys to death and hades.

I can recall some brief testimony to the effect that sinners in the grave aren’t happy to be there (welcomed by maggots etc.), which is very far from being the same thing as locking the doors to the grave from the inside; and I can recall some testimony to the effect that sinners wailing and gnashing their teeth outside, but each of those situations involves them being thrown outside by YHWH/Christ, so it isn’t a case of them locking the doors from the inside.

That concept tends not to fit well with supernaturalistic theism, either, in terms of coherent metaphysics. If sinners (or anything else) start to exist independently of God (whether self-existently so or in ultimate dependence on something else), then a metaphysic other than supernaturalistic theism is being proposed to be true. Anything that stays in existence, God actively keeps in existence; which involves omniscience, and omnipresence, and omnipotence.

That isn’t a problem for annihilationists of course (Arm or Calv either one); but it would be wildly contradictory to say that the reason God can’t save sinners He annihilates is because they refuse to repent and insist on locking the doors to hell from the inside. That’s an ECT defense, not an anni defense.

(An anni could try claiming that people annihilate themselves by locking the door to hell from the inside, but that isn’t quite the same thing. It also leaves aside the question of God’s authoritative intentions–they could only do such a thing by God’s direct permission, so in fact it is still God Who is choosing to withdraw His action to keep them in existence. Or else the anni proponent is denying supernaturalistic theism by claiming that people can annihilate themselves regardless of the action of God to keep them in existence.)

Yes, although I don’t recall mentioning we could title him as non-uni if he wanted.

Me either yet (as of this morning), but after all it’s a huge debate and I’m pretty low on the radar. :slight_smile:

That reminds me, there is a similar statement a few scenes earlier in that Gospel (Thursday morning or early afternoon, harmonizationally speaking, the day after Christ left the Temple, during His meeting with the Greek God-fearers seeking Him from Bethsaida-Julius), where Christ says

"He who rejects Me and does not receive My declarations, does have something judging him: the word that I speak. That will be judging him in the last day, because I do not speak on My own authority. But the Father Who sends Me–He has given the command to Me what I may be saying and what I may speak.

"And I am aware what His command is: ‘Life eonian!’

"So what I speak, thus I do speak;
“just as the Father has told Me.”

(Christ’s whole declaration there can be found at John 12:44-50, although I started at v.48.)

There are several ways to translate all that, in minor variations; but mere duration doesn’t seem to be in view in any case.

On the other hand, to be fair, neither is duration simply foreign to the notion there.

By the way, Alex: I think I noticed that the pregame thread has been stickied, but this one hasn’t.

That made sense back before this thread, but could you reverse it now?–sticky this one and unsticky the other?

(I would do it but mod powers are limited for stickying things in various categories, and I don’t have admin capabilities.)

i can appreciate how the debate was phrased that the listed Scriptures taught eternal punishment, and that limits the scope of the debate to that subject. it must’ve been alot of work preparing for that, and so full credit to TFan and JRP for a really interesting discussion.

however, a better debate might have been what does the meta-narrative say? does it matter if we have the odd word that might mean “forever” in there if the meta-narrative dictates that we need to qualify that usage as hyperbole?
personally i feel the greatest evidence for universalism is how restorative the Old Testament is, inarguably so, as it discusses the judged rebel nations and how they are promised restoration. if the New Testament is a better covenant, than surely we can extend that restoration to encompass the whole of creation, as indeed Paul says?
i’d be curious how ECT and annihilationists would address that question…

Since that would require a lot more discussion than 5 verse sets, I thought it would be better to volunteer several verse sets where I could in fact discuss the meta-narrative by virtue of the details in the verse sets (such as the NT authors referencing OT topics).

As I noted in my comments for Jude 6, I could have appealed to the meta-narrative (and gave an example where I would start in Isaiah regarding rebel humans and rebel angels being imprisoned); but since I was trying to stay within direct contextual references as much as possible and Jude doesn’t cite that passage, I only gave an idea of how I would proceed and moved along.

Still, I thought I did pretty well addressing the shape of the overarching narrative; and I’m sure I mentioned the principle several times that if some scriptures indicate the story continues to Z, we shouldn’t constrain them in favor of testimony that only gets to T or W or whatever.

oh i’m not criticising your approach at all :slight_smile:

i think it was as you seem to say a limited scope, and that’s sort of what i mean…
and yes, where the story continues to Z, that’s a good way of putting it :slight_smile:

it’s really hard, i think, to bring that into the fray when so many want to focus on this verse or that verse…balancing them together somehow. it makes discussion difficult i think, but no individial part can contradict the overarching narrative as you say, and that to me is the proof of the pudding…
i can see that the Bible is so complicated, however, that you can to a degree treat it like a rorschach test in which it’s possible to see alot of what you want to see. that’s why i think it’d be interesting to see a debate on the meta-narrative…
maybe i will start a thread on that and see if our resident non-universalists have to say on the subject.

but yes please don’t think i was having a go at you! i think you handled it very well as did Tfan, and it is always interesting to hear different ideas as to what Scripture is saying. sometimes the tension between interpretations opens up new vistas in itself, and debating can bring that out.

I need to step in and clarify that I think Jason did an excellent job. I just don’t think that his opponent understood his argument. Most folks aren’t ready for an actual in depth biblical argument because they don’t think there is one, and this opponent was even less ready in that it seems that he was not really familiar with UR arguments. Jason, I think you went right over his head in many instances, and I don’t mean that as an insult to him as he is plenty smart enough. Anyhow, I didn’t want to come across as being only critical about the aionios issue, especially since I hadn’t listened to the whole debate.

I strongly expect that someone who knows Greek much better than I do (like Dr. White) would have given me a much more difficult time–even if I’m right, facility with the topic can carry a person a loonnnnng way.

It should be noted that this principle can be just as easily applied against me in the debate vs. TFan, too: even if TFan is ultimately correct, my greater familiarity with the topic would prevent him from making much of a good case by proportion to his unfamiliarity with it.

“even if TFan is ultimately correct”- so you think that he might be right and you wrong?

that’s a stretch…he’s just showing the limitations of debates.

Not even remotely. But I acknowledge I could be wrong about thinking I’m right and he’s wrong. :slight_smile: I try to be habitually self-critical, against myself and in favor of my opponent. You ought to have noticed this lonnnnng before now, really. (Including several times in the debate, btw. :wink: )

“But I acknowledge I could be wrong about thinking I’m right and he’s wrong. :slight_smile:
How is that distinguished from possibly being wrong?

I just got around to the part 1 so far, having been on vacation.

I thought your arguments were real real strong and compelling though it was a little hard to follow the first time around for me since you were moving rather quickly, being pressed for time I would assume. Based on his rebuttals it sounds like TF was a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to process and approach your arguements. I look forward to part 2 as soon as my head stops spinning too.