The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Misused Proof Texts For Universalism?


I have a few brief questions for you if you wouldn’t mind, but please feel no obligation to answer unless you’d like to. I can see you’re very busy as is.

There’s a few verses that I’ve heard you or other Universalists cite, or even that I’ve found in the past, that seem now like they’re pulled out of their context to me. I was hoping to get some clarification on a couple of these:

1 Timothy 2:4 - “…who wants all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.” In the context of the sentence before this (about praying for Kings), wouldn’t this verse be describing all “kinds” of people, rather than “every single” individual?

1 Corinthians 3:15 - “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Isn’t this only describing those who have already “built on the foundation” of Jesus Christ (v 12)? wouldn’t this just describe a sort of immediate judgment upon those already saved?"

1 Corinthians 15:22 - “…in Christ all shall be made alive.” - Isn’t this passage referring only to bodily resurrection?

Ephesians 4:12 - “…he ascended on high with the captives…” - Did he ascend from hell or from earth?

Thanks so much for all you do,

I doubt it.

How do you explain away this “proof text”:

The Lord knows how to rescue the devout out of trials but to reserve the unrighteous for a day of judgment to be corrected. (2 Peter 2:9)

I know most translations render the Greek word “κολαζομενους” differently from “to be corrected”.

One group translates it as “to be punished”: AV, Darby, Rotherham, Revised Webster
Another group translates it as “under punishment”: ASV, EMTV, ESV, NKJV, RSV, Webster, Wey, Williams

However, the word is a present passive participle, and properly means “being corrected.”
It comes from the lexical form (the present active indicative) which is “κολαζω”, which means “I correct”. This verb was originally used to mean “to prune” as in pruning plants to correct their growth. Later it came to be used figuratively in reference to correcting the behaviour of people.

So the judgment of the unrighteous will result in their correction.

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Last time I corresponded with him he was busy writing a 12,000 word entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Heaven and Hell, writing a reply to articleThe Topography of Divine Love, and working on finishing the second edition of The Inescapable Love of God before Christmas! :astonished:

If no one beats me to it, I’ll try to help tomorrow (I have a meeting tonight)…

Maybe we should create a parallel thread at “Discussion Negative”, so that we can keep Tom’s thread clear for any replies he wants to make eventually?

I think it’s a good topic, and Lord knows I want to take some shots at it. (Although I recently commented on several of these verses in my JRP vs JPH vs Christian Universalism thread, as brought up by JP Holding, so I’d probably hold off even in a parallel thread and let other members try their turns. :slight_smile: )

Well, I didn’t hold off altogether, but I did leave room for other people to go into detail about things like 1 Cor 15. The parallel thread (set up by Alex) is now here.