The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Objections to Univeralism

Hi, I would like to believe in Univerarlism, but ultimately I can’t just believe what I want, and while Univeralists have many, MANY good points, I feel that there is a few things they can’t explain.
When I understand things that Univeralists say and agree, I fear that I am doing what is prophesied in 2 Timothy 4:4:

1 TIMOTHY 4:3-4:
-3: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
-4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I am not accusing anyone of anything, but I sometimes fear that when things sound good, that’s what I’m doing.
Since I have heard many Christians teach that anything that involves fun, pleasure or entertainment is a sin and quote 1 John 2:15-17 do support their claim so much to the point that I get anxiety every time I hear those verses quoted that sometimes univeralism feels like my only hope if eternal security is false:

1 JOHN 2:15-17:
-15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
-16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
-17: And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Of course I don’t want to sin even if grace much more abounds or doesn’t (Romans 6:1-4), but the ‘thou shalt not have fun’ lifestyle is something I don’t feel I could ever live up to.
I know that The Lord Jesus Christ said that “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30) but still, I hear 1 John 2:15-17 and feel anxious because it was been spiritually hammered into this mind that 1 John 2:15-17 = Thou Shalt Not Have Fun.

Anyway, on to the main reasons I am posting this topic,
firstly, the following Bible verses suggest Annilationism, how does a Univeralist explain these:

PSALM 164:4:
-4: His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

-5: For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

ISAIAH 41:12:
-12: Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

ISAIAH 66:24:
-24: And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

-1: For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

Another things is a question regarding the controversial and difficult Greek word ‘aiōnios’ (Strong’s Reference G166),
many univeralists claim that this word means an age, however I have hit a major brick wall with that:
the word ‘aiōn’ (Strong’s Reference G165) is the word translated when it is something that most certainly comes to an end, whereas ‘aiōnios’ (Strong’s Reference G166) is used for things that are either literally eternal or have the potential to be, in this case, life and punishment.

It was recently brought to my attention that ‘aiōn’ is not a word and would never be found alone in the New Testament or the Greek Septuagint, this appears true, but the person who brought this to my attention was unable to explain why ‘aiōn’ and ‘aiōnios’ have different Strong’s Reference numbers.

There is another Greek word, ‘aïdios’ (Strong’s Reference G126) apparently means literally eternity whereas ‘aiōnios’ means age-something, (the question is age-what?),
‘aïdios’ is only used in the following verses:

ROMANS 1:20:
-20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

JUDE 1:6:
-6: And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

God Bless
Christ Be With You All

Welcome to the forum! I’ve moved this thread to the Discussion Negative category for now; but I left a shadow-topic back in the main EU discussion forum so people can still find it there. (STT’s introduction can be found in the Introductions category here, by the way. I made a quick answer there to the concern about 1 John 2:15-17.)

1 Tim 4:3-4 gets thrown at everyone for anything, including at us, but it topically has nothing against universalism: even if Christian universal salvation is wrong, it isn’t a profane and old-womanish myth (4:7), nor is it “giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons in the hypocrisy of false expectations thanks to a cauterized conscience” (4:1-2), much less doing that by somehow involving abstaining from foods or forbidding marriage (4:3)! – as though affirming God can and will save all creatures from sin, does not thank God for every creature of God and as though we are thus denying the truth that every creature of God is ideal and nothing is to be cast away but rather (where necessary due to sin) made holy through the Logos of God (Who is Christ) and by {enteuxis} or “pleading” (4:4-5) – the same word used by Paul back in 1 Tim 2 to refer to evangelising and praying for the salvation of even hyper-ogres, and which is never used elsewhere in the New Testament except for seeking the salvation of someone.

On the contrary, Paul emphasizes in 1 Tim 4:10 (the very same chapter a few verses later) that the living God is the savior of all persons and especially of those who believe, using a term in Greek ({malista}) which everywhere else in the NT, including everywhere else Paul uses it, including elsewhere in the Timothy epistles, including several times elsewhere in 1 Tim, indicates a how-much-moreso emphasis, not ever a denial of the first affirmation being provided as a basis for the how-much-moreso. This is why Christian universalists actually appeal to 1 Tim 4 for part of our exegetical case; just like Arminianistic Christians rightly appeal to it as part of their gospel assurance case (for the scope of God’s intention to save sinners from sin), and just like Calvinistic Christians rightly appeal to it as part of their gospel assurance case (for the certainty of God’s success in saving whomever He intends to save from sin). :slight_smile: :sunglasses:

I’ll add before continuing, since you mentioned this concern in a third thread elsewhere, that I’m not only a hyper-orthodox trinitarian Christian theologian and apologist, who has written a ton of material in favor of ortho-trin in various ways; and I’m not only strongly in favor of the reality and importance of creaturely free will, and against denying its existence; I also arrived at Christian universalism originally as a logical consequence of working out trinitarian theology and its implications from human free will being a key piece of evidence for deciding for or against various theological and philosophical ideas. (See my link to Sword to the Heart in my sig, if you need help being bored to sleep on the topic or have some printer ink cartridges you need to sacrifice for some reason. :laughing: )

Anyway, on to your objections – and other members may have somewhat different replies of course.

You flipped a couple of numbers; you meant Psalm 146. (There is no Psalm 164, even by Hebrew or LXX numbering. :wink:

Annis have a bad habit of appealing to things like this as though they count toward annihilation, but they’re only statements about people dying in this life. Unless annis are denying the resurrection of the good and the evil and/or post-mortem judgment (which most don’t), this verse isn’t talking about annihilation in the sense they need. It just means what it says: don’t trust in a mere son of man for your salvation, for he’s mortal and will die someday. Hope and trust in YHWH Elohim instead, Who made the heavens and earth and all that is in them, Who keeps faith to-the-horizon (forever in this case), Who executes justice for the oppressed, and Who frees the prisoners, opening the eyes of the blind. OH WAIT THOSE ARE DESCRIPTIONS ELSEWHERE IN THE OT (and the NT) FOR GOD SAVING PEOPLE FROM SIN WHOM HE PUNISHES EVEN TO DEATH! :mrgreen:

So, yeah, the various Psalmists including David aren’t always big on the idea of God saving sinners from sin, sinners who aren’t the psalmists themselves anyway :wink: , but this is one of those Psalms actually in favor of post-mortem salvation – not at all in favor of annihilation. The spirits of the sons of men depart, but they’ll be back, thanks be to God.

Ecclesiastes should be taken with a pretty big grain of salt in any case, since the context of the literary work is a fallen servant of God grudgingly accepting the ruin he has made of his own life and gathering up the pieces (that’s what the book’s title means in Greek). He thinks wisdom means not doing too much good and reaching out to do both evil and good in equal measure – and actually recommends this, not just sarcastically notes what worldly wisdom amounts to! It’s a pretty nihilistic book for the most part (until he pulls things together in an epilogue evidently tagged on after he recovered from his depression.) He isn’t talking about the annihilation of the wicked per se here, notice, but about everyone the righteous and Godly as well as those who do evil (one fate for all men etc.)

The annihilation of the righteous and Godly out of existence, with a consequential recommendation that you should have as much fun as you can with your food and your wife as all the reward you’re ever going to get from God, and not worry too much about the final death coming for everyone, is not exactly what Christian annihilationism is supposed to be about. :wink: It only counts contextually against Christian universalism by counting (as far as it goes) against Christianity, and even Judaism, altogether.

God eventually kills those who go to war against Israel – the same Israel God has slain for her freakish level of sinning back in chapter 40 (and elsewhere)! That isn’t annihilation in the sense annis need, regardless of the level of poetic emphasis here. I can point to chapters 40 and 42 for evidence that God’s fatal punishments aren’t hopeless, for post-mortem salvation, and both the total scope and the totally victorious persistence of God’s evangelism. The whole connected prophecy, especially in the subsequent chapter (which wasn’t a separate “chapter” originally), may be summed up as a prophecy that God will eventually go to war against Jewish and Gentile rebels to imprison them in darkness where no one can free them (suggesting sheol/hades), except for God Himself Who shall heal and free them once they repent, which was His peaceful goal for them all along – nor will He lose heart or give up short of reaching the goal of total justice on the earth. That’s pretty much the total reverse of annihilationism.

That doesn’t happen after the general resurrection but before it. So not the slightest real evidence for annihilation.

Moreover, when Jesus quotes the verse later (reported in GosMark 9), He explains the purpose of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna, “the fire the eonian”, in a way completely antithetical to annihliation: everyone gets salted by this fire, this salting being the best of things, which leads to peace in our hearts toward each other. (Matthew leaves that out of his report of the scene, but GosMatt 18 isn’t exactly missing evidence of post-mortem or even universal salvation. The whole scene put together from the Synoptics, including GosLuke, essentially amounts to Jesus warning the chief apostles, up to and including Peter, that if they insist on finally hopeless punishments, they’re the ones who are going to be zorched until they damn well learn better. :wink: )

Yes, and God describes that burning through Malachi a few verses earlier as a purgative cleaning which will bring forth the ultra-sinners He’s denouncing here (rebel priests of His own) as properly loyal and obedient priests at last. Not at all what annihilationists think is going to happen to them!

As for eon and eonian, the potential to be eternal is not the same as definitely and always being eternal: the provision has to be made in Strongs, because the editors know very well there are many things (especially in the OT) described with the adjective form of eon (translating two Hebrew terms of course) which do not eternally last after all.

Eon and eonian, {aiôn} and {aiônios}, have different Strong’s numbers because the first word is a noun and the second word is an adjective. Eon is definitely a word, and is definitely found alone in the New Testament (although not alone in the sense of just sitting there by itself in a sentence, no more than any other word). It’s even found in prepositional phrases that can refer to never-ending situations or characteristics like “into the eon” and “into the eons of the eons” (which actually translate the underlying Hebrew more literally than the adjective form of eon). Maybe whoever you were talking to meant, or foggily recollected, that {aiônios} isn’t a word in Hebrew?

{aidios} is another word that can be used for everlasting eternity, and subsequent Greek Patristic writers tended to use it as such – sometimes in contrast to {aiônios}! They even had a habit, though not when quoting scripture directly, of replacing {aiônios} with {aidios} when talking about life and God and other positive things, but leaving {aiônios} as it was when talking about fire and punishment and judgment.

Anyway, {aidios} is actually one of two words, the other being one of the words for “invisible”. They’re spelled exactly the same as each other, the difference being in where we would now put an inflection to indicate a compound vowel or two separate ones at the beginning. In both the NT cases, the concept of invisibility is definitely a strong connection to the topic at hand; and I’d argue from comparing Jude 1:6 with its Petrine parallels and its own contexts that the author meant a-idios not ai-dios.

Thanks for the in-depth response.

My point with 1 Timothy 4:3-4 is that I am scared that I am ‘heaping myself teachers after my own lusts’ because I would like people to be saved, almost like I’m scared of good news, when I hear someone saying that God is going to punish, yet save everyone and doesn’t prohibit fun under the penalty of eternal torture, and makes a very, VERY convincing biblical argument for it, I can’t help to question, is it really a convincing biblical argument? or is it my ‘itching ears’.

I have started listening to your ‘Wondering Pilgrims’ YouTube channel which led to me signing up here, before I found your channel, I had only found ONE other YouTube Christian that taught Christian univeralism (and also that fun, pleasure and entertainment were not sins) and believed in the trinity (which means he believes that Jesus is God) and in free will, however, that YouTube Christian does not post many videos on Christian unilateralism (or videos against the idea that fun is a sin) anymore, although they still do occasionally.

How is Christian univeralsim the logical consequence of trinitarian theology, I’m curious. Since you mentioned it, something I am very, VERY against is Calvinsim (both deterministic and what I call ‘free will Calvinism’, with is basically the idea that many is responsible for their sin, but God only saves some), and it’s interesting that I feel Calvinism and Christian Univeralism are actually closely related, despite the fact that one makes God into a monster and the other emphasizes God’s love,
the reaosn they are closely related is because both say that God saves exactly the amount of people he desires to save, Calvinism will say that God only ever wanted to save a select amount of people and God saves all who he desries, Christian Univeralism says that God want to save all, and God will save all who he desires, which is all.

Yes, I meant Pslam 146, oops, my bad.
I want from Eternal Concious Torment to Annilationism, my conversion to Annilationism lead me to believe basically this:
So no, this is not a denial of the resurrections or post-mortem judgement, but rather a belief that the state between physical death and judgement (sheol/hades) is an unconscious state, thus repentance would be impossible in this state.

Can you please quote me the verses in Malachi (assuming chapter 3) that describe purgative cleaning.

Onto ‘aiōn’ and ‘aiōnios’, my biggest concern is that ‘aiōnios’ always translated as something that can potentially be literally eternal (in this case life and punishment) whereas ‘aiōn’ is always translated as things that can come to end (for example, this present age).
Interesting thing regarding ‘aïdios’ is that it is translated as something that appears to be a temporal amount of time in Jude 1:6, “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”.

Something that came to mind today is Hosea 9:15:

HOSEA 9:15:
-15: All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.

In this verse, God says “I will love them no more”, how does this fit in with Christian Univeralism, because also today I put two verses together:

-8: Charity (agapē) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

1 JOHN 4:8:
-8: He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

And put two and two together and thought, God loved (the word ‘loved’ in John 3:16 is a diffrent greek word ‘agapaō’) the world, and love never fails, so that must mean God saves all right? well I thought I had it until Hosea 9:15 came into my mind shortly after.

God Bless
Christ Be With You All

Me, too. I’m so orthodox you have to use a capital “O”. :slight_smile:

Wanting people to be saved from their sins and to come to properly love God and their neighbor and to honor and glorify God, could not even possibly be a “lust”. Despite what some Calvinists might try to claim, using reverse-bizzaro ethical appeals (along the line that our ethical understanding is so totally broken that we think it would be good for people to be good and to love and honor God but really that would be bad and we should just accept the Bible about that. :unamused: Not that they make the argument in such detail, since that would expose its obvious problem, but that’s what such rebuttals amount to vs Christian universalism.) So, again, don’t worry about that.

I’m sorry I’ve been delayed on working up more videos there, btw. We were going to start up again this month, but Youtube radically altered or maybe dropped the engine my host was using for live-stream recording and he and his crew haven’t come up with a way to make it work again or to use an alternative. (I could do what they want on my computer, but then I’d be working from my bedroom which wouldn’t look as good as from my office: the computer I would use to solve the problem is not even slightly portable. It might as well be nailed to the floor! :laughing: )

It would take a long time to explain why. I do try to summarize it over several eps on that YT series, namely episode 1.1 and all of Season 2. (Season 3 will get back to exegetics.) Putting it over-simply, if trinitarian (or even binitarian) theism is true, then the one and only ground of all reality is an actively interpersonal relationship which fulfills love between persons in justice even at the level of this ultimate grounding Fact’s own ongoing choice to self-exist. This also serves as the ground and standard of all ethical behavior. This serves as an ontological guarantee, rooted in God’s own active self-existence, that God shall neither choose for His creatures to do final injustice, nor shall fail to bring His creatures (nor change His mind about bringing them) to finally do love and justice forever more.

There are more details, but that’s the gist.

That isn’t just a feeling: Christian universalism shares the gospel assurance of Calvinism, just like we share the gospel assurance of Arminianism (broadly speaking). This, of course, is why both sides sometimes criticize each other by nagging about how each side is only one step away from universal salvation! :laughing:

I know, most annis don’t deny the final resurrection of the wicked. But a lot of their prooftexts talk about death before then, so don’t count as any evidence toward annihilation – unless they’re denying the resurrection of the wicked (which they rarely ever do, though I’ve run across a few).

An anni might or might not believe in soul sleep, just like ECT or Kath (katholic, universalistic, CU if you prefer.) True, soul sleep would preclude repentance before the resurrection, but not in a pernicious way.

An anni might or might not go with that eschatological schedule, too, just like ECT or Kath. Personally, while I tend to deny soul sleep (while acknowledging there’s a case for it, too), I do go with that schedule. But there are as many possible differences (pretering, amillennialism, etc, differing trib/rapture combinations) for Kath as for Anni or ECT.

From the NASB translation: “Behold [says the God of justice], I am going to send My messenger and he will clear (or prepare) the way before Me. And the Lord (ADNY), Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; even the messenger of the covenant in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord (ADNY) of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like laundrymen’s soap. And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord (YHWH) offerings in righteousness. Then the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord (YHWH) as in the days of old and as in former years. Then I will draw near to you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien (traveler, sojourner), and do not fear Me,” says the Lord (YHWH) of hosts. “For I AM THE LORD (YHWH)! I do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed (have not come to an end).” (Malachi 3:1-6)

The word for messenger here is Malach, by the way, and is applied to both Jesus as the Lord coming and to JohnBapt as the messenger of the coming Lord. John alludes to Malachi 4, also, where the sun of righteousness brings healing to those who fear God and they shall trod down the wicked like ashes under their feet and the Day of YHWH is coming like a burning furnace so that every evildoer shall be set ablaze like chaff, leaving them neither root nor branch. But as the purpose of the refiner’s furnace was like laundry soap to clean the rebel sons of Levi in chapter 3, so the purpose of the fire is the same here for everyone. (But this really comes out better when connected via Matt 3:10-12 to the main Gehenna argument for Matt 18 / Mark 9.)

The coming age of the Lord never ends, so I’d be leery about trying to press {aiôn} as always ending. But as for {aiônios}, so what if it can potentially and sometimes does carry a meaning of unending continuance? The question is whether it necessarily always involves that meaning for punishment and some other things of that sort, not whether it only potentially involves that meaning. There are plenty of ways to argue that it doesn’t have to necessarily be forever; but there are even ways to allow for it to mean a punishment forever and still have universal salvation from sin, for example the punishment being a loss of reward that shall never be given. Similarly, there is one and only one {aiônios} fire, namely God the Holy Spirit, Who definitely continues forever: but so what? Being salted with the Holy Spirit and baptized with the Holy Spirit are the best of things! That the Holy Spirit goes on forever is no argument for eternal torment at all.

True, although someone could say they aren’t set free from those chains on the judgment of the great day. Except there are verses basically saying so. :wink: Even many ECT and Annis believe they won’t be eternally in those chains (annis couldn’t believe that at all), on the eschatological plan of Satan and his angels being set free at least once maybe twice for tribulations before the lake of fire judgment. To me that adds more weight toward the term in this case not being ai-dios at all but a-idios.

God is saying this about “Ephraim”, typifying rebel Israel (probably using David’s son Absalom as a model, slain in the forests of Ephraim during his rebellion); but God says a lot about Ephraim, including in Hosea, and including that even though He’s going to slay Ephraim He still loves Ephraim and will restore Eph eventually after Eph repents of his evil. God goes on directly in the next chapter, still complaining about rebel Isarel, His son Ephraim, saved out of Egypt, as an ungrateful and treacherous oppressor and killer of innocents; therefore God promises to send Assyria in to slay Ephraim. And yet in the same chapter God also promises to have mercy on Ephraim and restore ‘him’ somehow after punishment. Jeremiah 31 (cited by Matthew as well as here in midrashing for the GosMatt infancy narrative, where God’s Son fulfills perfectly what Ephraim imperfectly fulfilled) goes waaaaaaaaay far in God promising righteous Rachel, weeping for slain rebel Ephraim because Ephraim doesn’t even exist anymore, that He hasn’t forgotten Ephraim, and still loves Ephraim, and promises Rachel that once slain Ephraim repents God will restore him to Rachel again. Hosea chapter 13 and 14 have a bearing on all this, too; and on much the same theme back in Hosea 2, with Israel compared to an unfaithful adulterous bride, whom God promises dreadful destruction on, He goes on in famous words to promise in the same chapter amazing mercy to the same rebel people after all, using the figure of a rejected wife received again after a long time (and after going back to her husband once she realizes how worthless her adultery is), and betrothed anew forever in righteousness and in justice (or in judgment) and in lovingkindness and in compassion and in faithfulness! – and God will have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion and will say to those who are not His people “you are My people”, and they shall no longer call God “my Baal” but “my Husband”. (St. Paul takes these promises and applies them similarly to the Gentiles.)

From all that, you should be able to easily reconcile with the love passages you put together. :sunglasses: God only ceases to love Ephraim in a protective way and in a fellowship way; and even that cessation is only temporary! God does not cease loving Ephraim in a saving way ultimately: God still loves slain Ephraim so much He says His bowels are troubled over him!

Thanks for the welcome,
regarding your thread, does the call for Israel’s repentance include Gilgal? people may not know.
This is a big issue that completely changes who God is so it will be difficult for me to take such a leap of faith and later find out I’m wrong.

For me, univeralism is more than just the desire to all to be saved and repent, it is comfort that if I myself stuff up somewhere and lose faith, I won’t be annihilated, I fear that may be a ‘lust’.
Universalism also somewhat answers my 1 John 2:15-17 concerns, if God’s judgement involve purification rather than hopeless punishment, would one need to be purified for listening to a catchy song? (this is is particularly are hot issue among Christians, especially since Satan was supposedly in charge of music in Heaven) or playing a fun game? or watching a good movie? I also fear that it is a ‘lust’ for having fun to not be a sin.
I think this issue regarding 1 Timothy 4:3-4 is a personal issue due to anxiety problems I have.

No need to apologize about the lack of videos, I only just started listening to the YouTube channel, and there are plenty of long videos to go through.

Another verse game into my mind:

JAMES 2:13:
-13: For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

What is this “judgement without mercy”?, in univeralism, mercy is shown in judgement.

Technically, lust would be seeking a proper good the wrong way (gluttony would be seeking it beyond an ethical measure). Maybe in that sense you could lust for salvation? :confused: If you have a desire to just get away with doing things wrong and to keep doing them without inconvenience, then that would be a lust, and some people regard salvation like that – but Christian universalism, one way or another, isn’t about that, so looking to CU for consolation of that perverted desire won’t be of any real help anyway.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of comfort you’re looking for, fortunately. But we’re all expected to properly order our desires, and while I don’t think a simple desire for God to never give up on you is wrong (at all), therefore isn’t a lust either, your growth would sooner or later require contemplating and directing that simple desire more helpfully and concretely in relation to truth, love, and justice (all of which God essentially is, in and at the level of God’s own self-existence).

I’ve been a Christian a long time, and have read across a lot of Christian history, from before the West/East schism, through Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, into various shades of Protestantism, and the idea that Satan was supposedly in charge of music in Heaven before his fall is not exactly a hot belief among Christendom. :wink: More to the point, Christians have always tried to make beautiful (and so also fun) music since back when we were Jews!

As to how much we’d have to be purified for accepting anything we enjoy in a wrong way, different Christians have different expectations about that regardless of whether we believe in universal salvation or not. I could point to some stern universalists who would make your hair stand on end! But in my experience most CUs expect God to simply make curative adjustments to us (perhaps during the resurrection), and/or that any disciplinary training (however inconvenient that is) would only apply to any insistence of ours to continue fondling the evil way we’re appreciating beauty – no good will be lost or chastised, though our mere mistakes will be corrected through instruction (perhaps over some extended time as God sees fit). Personally I find most music to be great even when the lyrics are dross; but why would you or anyone insist on demanding to cling to perverted lyrics?! If Ke$ha’s glitterpuking “Take It Off” lyrics are that important to you, you kind of deserve some laps up and down some mountains pushing a boulder. :wink:

Well, whatever Jesus was doing at all those parties with the prostitutes and tax-collectors, they kept inviting Him back, so I doubt He was waterboarding them with wet blankets and cold soup. :laughing:

That said, I do feel convicted that we ought to focus early and throughout our lives on training ourselves to have fun doing productive things. How much money and time have I spent on frivolous books and games and videos that I could have been better spending elsewhere? Too damn much, I know, not least because I have even spent foolish amounts of my resources on things I will never, with practical certainly, ever even get around to enjoying as properly as I can (however much or little that might be)! I’m not mature enough yet in that regard for sure; some disciplinary action wouldn’t hurt me at all.

The Wondering Pilgrim crew looked like they may have fixed the hosting problem this afternoon, by the way, so hopefully more videos soon. :sunglasses:

It’s a temporary lack of mercy, or else the judgment would fall foul of its own principle of judgment against merciless judgment! – for mercy rejoices over judgment. Jesus says much the same things, a lot more than most Christians recognize. ECT and anni both involve judgment without mercy; those who insist on ECT or annihilation are insisting on judgment without mercy, and are in danger of being judged without mercy (as they would see it) themselves! The parable spoken against Simon Peter and the apostles at the end of Matt 18, when Peter whines to Christ about having to forgive his brother up to seven times, follows this line precisely: the embezzling chief steward is shown ludicrous amounts of mercy (especially by the standards of the ancient Near-Middle Eastern cultures), but refuses to show mercy to people who have sinned against him even though their sin is much less than his sin against his king. “YOU WICKED SLAVE!! – WAS IT NOT REQUIRED OF YOU TO SHOW THEM MERCY AS I HAVE SHOWN MERCY TO YOU!?!” So the chief steward is thrown to the tormentors in prison after all, the king’s mercy having been withdrawn – but only until he learns to pay the final cent of what he owes for which he was actually thrown in prison: to be merciful to other people. “So My Father in the heavens will be doing to you, each one of you, if you are not forgiving your own brother in your heart.”

Don’t insist on an unmerciful soteriology, though, and you don’t have to worry about that threat of judgment. :slight_smile:

The Greek word for lust is actually the same Greek word for desire:

MATTHEW 5:27-28:
-27: Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
-28: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust [epithumEsai]after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

1 TIMOTHY 3:1:
-1: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth [epithumei] a good work.

Strong’s Reference Number G1937

Anyway, my desire is not to obtain a licence to sin, but assurance that God will save me even if I fall away (I don’t intend, nor desire to fall away), especially since I’m struggling with my faith now because of Calvinists saying that God has predestined every single action that anyone will ever do just so he can send them to eternal torture for his apparent glory, and others telling me that God will torture me forever because I listened to a catchy song with non-sinful lyrics.

I don’t just needs God’s mercy and favor in the next life, I need it for this life, I am a weak person.
One example is I need God’s mercy is finding work, an article in the newspaper listed my city (Newcastle) as the hardest place in my country (Australia) to find work.

It’s also worth mentioning that I see things like Abraham offering up his son or even Christ’s disciples forsaking all,
and while I do ask God to take away all that is not of him and destroy all idols, I struggle to see myself having that kind of faith, even if I don’t want a licence to sin.

The belief that Satan was in charge of music in Heaven is not the hot issue, music itself is the hot issue, even contemporary Christian music is condemned by some Christians under 1 John 2:15-17.
It’s not lyrics that people are condemning (I agree with what you said about lyrics though, that was never a problem for me), it’s genres and styles of msuic, that is why even non-hymnal Christian music is subject to condemnation with 1 John 2:15-17, and also James 4:4 for that matter:

JAMES 4:4:
-4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

If possible, can the wondering Pilgrim do a video on the place of fun in the life of a Christian, and also and more importantly, how to evangelize, I have never sadly been able to do it (I became a Christian in June 2014), I do mention my faith to almost everyone, but I have never been actually able to evangelize yet.

That leads to another question, how does one evangelize, Traditionalists (believers in Eternal Conscious Torment) and Annihilationists can both use literal eternal punishment as a basis for evangelism, universalists can’t use this, how would they evangelize.

Interesting I mention this, there is an apocryphal book (is the apocrypha scripture? I don’t know, I never never researched the topic) called the Apocalypse of Peter and it mentions Jesus saying people will be saved from Hell, but to keep it a secret so people don’t sin more.
HOWEVER, I have little to no faith in this book for several reasons:

   1: It comes from a source which we don't even know is scripture or not
   2: Certain Muslims appeal to this book claiming that it teaches that Christ was never crucified
   3: Some versions of it don't have the Universalist passage
   4: There is a Gnostic version.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant does talk about judgement without mercy, as well as a judgement that comes to an end (Verse 34, “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him”)

The million dollar question is are the last 2 verses symbolic, or is ‘judgement without mercy’ literally temporary like you said?

I once quoted Matthew 13:30 (“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”) in support of Annilationism and opposed to eternal torment, and was met with a response saying that it was a parable and not literal about punishment for the unsaved.

God Bless
Christ Be With You

Thank you for your patience and detailed response to my posts. I tend to be annoying when discussing topics that give me anxiety.

I forgot to mention this earlier, but this verse is probably the cream of the crop for support of Eternal Conscious Torment, probably more so than the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and Revelation 14:11/20:10.

And that verse is the words of The Lord Jesus Christ to Judas Iscariot:

MATTHEW 26:24:
-24: The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

How would a univeralist explain these harsh and strong words>

God Bless
Christ Be With You All

qaz said:

I agree :exclamation: :exclamation:

True, but obviously there’s a contextual distinction. :wink: I don’t think your desire could be construed as lust.

No one’s faith (aside from Christ’s) amounts to even a mustard seed, so don’t feel too bad about that.

As I noted, across Christianity broadly, music itself is not a hot issue either. One sect among Calvs does not a hot issue make in Christendom.

They’re prooftexting out of context again.

I’ll ask; I’m only responsible for ginning up my material. :slight_smile:

The best way to evangelize is to make friends with people. (Yeah, I can already hear them quoting James 4:4 out of context again. :stuck_out_tongue:) Historically they wouldn’t even be good Puritans!) But there are lots of ways to evangelize, and some people have more of a specific gift for it than others. Love other people justly as children of God, and if they want to know why let them know why.

When I write or otherwise do evangelical material, I focus on the gospel assurances (and their relation to the importance of trinitarian Christianity being true). I also tend to put in somewhere that this doesn’t mean people can just do whatever they want and get away with it: God will make things hot for us when we insist on holding to the thorns and thistles of our sin, until we drop them, however long that takes, even into the eons of the eons! It doesn’t have to be that extreme, but it will where God sees fit.

Christian universalists who aren’t purgatorialists wouldn’t give that kind of warning of course; but they might still warn that the curative process itself won’t be pleasant so better to work on the discipline now of rejecting evil in our lives. The double gospel assurances are good material in any case: what else is there to gospel-ize, evangel-ize, about, than the gospel assurances under God?!

It isn’t canonical, and evidently isn’t genuine, so no you shouldn’t pay much attention to it (although various high-rankers allowed that one could read it for profit as long as one kept in mind it wasn’t scripture.) It does show an early proto-orthodox position on the topic though.

I haven’t heard of it being antithetical to the crucifixion, or even that Muslims would bother appealing to it; it may not happen to mention the crucifixion. There could be late rescensions of it importing anti-crucifixion material from elsewhere. As you note there’s a Gnostic version, too – they wouldn’t much like the crucifixion either, and that might be what the Muslims are appealing to. The few times I’ve seen it discussed were concerning the proto-orthodox version, and that does have the universalistic passages.

Rather, it’s judgment without mercy in one limited way, but ultimately with and FOR mercy in another way.

Well, yes, it’s a parable, and not literally about some things, but it’s figuratively about punishment for someone. Whether it should be read in light of other evidence (obviously so for many of the details), or other evidences read in light of it, and on what grounds either way, is a whole other question that has to be answered to make proper use of the parable.

Iscariot is also among the all things given by the Father to the Son to have authority over, so that the Son may authoritatively be giving eonian life (which is explicitly salvational) to everything that has been given to Him, and the Son will lose none of the all which has been given to Him. By those explicit terms (from GosJohn 17:1-2), the only way that the Son and the Father may glorify each other is if the Father gives all authority to the Son so that the Son may give eonian life to everything over which He has authority. That’s the context in which Jesus says (a few verses later) He isn’t praying for the world but for His immediate disciples: He’s asking that they should be preserved as witnesses to the world – about this promise even! – but it’s still the same principle because everything the Father gives the Son belongs to both Persons and must not be finally lost: God would be dishonoring God if that happened. (This is especially a main point against a Calv reading, since that isn’t even only failure of God to honor God; they’re talking about an intentional choice by God to ultimately dishonor God as though that somehow honors God!)

This means that although the “son of perdition” given to the Son to be guarded will perish, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled, he still was also given to the Son for the Son to have authority over, and so shall not be finally lost. Judas isn’t among those whom Christ is praying will stay true for evangelizing the world, but he is among all those over whom the Son has been given authority for the purpose of giving them eonian life.

Aside from that, the Synoptic saying from earlier in the Lord’s Supper scene is elsewhere in the Bible (two or three times in the OT) used as a cry for pity and salvation on the one who would have been better off not born. So even though I agree (including on the Greek linguistics) that Jesus is talking about Iscariot, that doesn’t mean Jesus is talking about some kind of finally hopeless punishment or fate.

George MacDonald has some things to say about Iscariot, too, along that line. You should get his three volumes of Unspoken Sermons plus The Hope of the Gospel (which in all regards is essentially volume 4). They’re available for free in various places, or in good print editions.

I think it is about post-mortem punishment in the unquenchable fire of Gehenna, the fire the eonian, but it’s really necessary to interpret it in line with how Jesus and/or Luke connects it (in several ways) to the main Gehenna warnings reported in GosMatt 18 and GosMark 9.

And that’s a huge discussion of its own first (and also a major section of evidence supposedly in favor of hopeless punishment or fate for some sinners). Anyway, I don’t discuss Dives and Lazarus outside that context.

(You can watch a discussion on it on Episode 1.4, STT.)

Edited to add: of course if someone thinks the main Gehenna warnings are not about post-mortem punishment, then the same would follow for the Rich Man and Lazarus – its interpretation depends on the connections to the main Gehenna block either way. :slight_smile:

I think its important to realize that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees. John the Baptist, when speaking of Jesus, had used the term “unquenchable fire” or “where the fire is not quenched” regarding the “threshing floor”

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Each seed of wheat has chaff around the seed. Wheat gathered in the harvest to be used for baking is beaten on the threshing floor to separate the chaff off the grain, and only the grain is “gathered”. The treshing floor represents a few things I think. Life, for one thing.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” 1 Pet 4:12

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you. 6For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” Heb 12:6

His word for another…

12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb 4:12

His eyes are as flames of fire and His face shines like the sun shining in His strength. The word divides soul from spirit, bone from marrow…making manifest the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Everyman will be salted with fire, the fire divides, purges

12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1Cor 3:12

The Day will bring it to light(thoughts and intentions behind deeds

I think this refers both to the actions of Jesus in preparing a temple, “For judgment must begin at the house of God with the elders at Jerusalem” (Peter somewhere)- that which is revealed by the Day of His appearing/presence/countenance- in lfe and also, IMO, “Their thoughts either excusing them or excusing them on the Day when God judges the secrets of men;s hearts by Jesus Christ”(Rom 2)

This is what Gehenna and the Lake of Fire and “the fire prepared for the devil and his angels” all represent to me… a process that has already begun(in the treshing floor of life) and will continue in aionian kolassis for those who need it in whatever measure their hardness of heart requires.

Everymans work will be revealed with fire for the Day shall reveal it.

You might be his only Christian influence so don’t cut ties with him unless he is leading you to sin.
Otherwise, stick with him to be a good influence.

Jesus stuck with the prostitutes and tax collectors.

When you say that “1 John 2 is definitely troubling, though it’s not prima facie incompatible with universalism. Regardless, I’d like to hear others’ thoughts on it. It does seem like it burdens Christians to a life of misery…”,
what verses are you referring to? 15-17 like I talk about?
Obviously when it comes down to it and you have the world or the Father, you choose the father.

What burdens me about 1 John 2:15-17 is that many, MANY Christians say that " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." is equal to something along the lines of ‘don’t have fun, because entertainment is of the world’

Because of this I get anxious every time I hear 1 John 2:15-17, but it is part of God’s word and it must be dealt with as such.

@Jason Pratt
Yes there is a contextual distinction but it’s worth mentioning.

Still, Abraham offered up his son, I can’t imagine myself having a son and be willing to sacrifice him, that this is coming from someone who is not a father, I imagine it would be even more difficult for a father.
Even giving away money is difficult right now, I ask God to take it by force is need be, I just hope he works that way.
And I can’t see myself actively selling all of my possessions, once again, I ask God to take things away if need be, and since I haven’t seen it happen, I worry.
Of course I want to live right, live for God and sin not but I can’t see myself having the faith of the people of God in the Bible

Well a lot of the pastors and preachers I have listened to on YouTube harp on about music and quote 1 John 2:15-17 to condemn it.
The ‘easy-believism’ preachers are actually some of the worst on this, people often accuse them of teaching a licence to sin but they teach that there is other penalties for sin that don’t relate to salvation (Hebrews 12:6).
There is even a few very extreme people who say you will go to hell for listening to rock music for example.

Anyway, I hope I don’t sound like I am repeating myself, I just want to crack this once and for all but my anxiety is preventing me, my biggest concerns are:

-Early Christians believed in Eternal Conscious Torment (
-Near death experience involving in hell, a lot of the ‘visions’ can be written off because of absurdities demons being in charge of torturing people in hell, but I’m talking about actual near death experiences.
-What if I’m wrong? If I believed in annihilationism as opposed to eternal torment and I was wrong, I was still believing in a literal eternal punishment, so it wouldn’t be as much of an issue evangelicalism-wise.
-I have heard someone say that univeralism is a pagan concept, while I take things like that as a grain of salt since I have heard Calvinists say that free will is pagan, but still, it hangs over my mind.
-The large number of universalists who deny both free will and the Trinity, two very important teachings as denial of the trinity denies Jesus being God and as for free will, one can’t be justly held responsible for something they were predestined to do.
-I fear that it may be something more that I want to believe in and I will believe in it for that and not the evidence. .
-The fact that ‘aiōn’ (G165) always describes temporary things and ‘aiōnios’ (G166) always describes life and punishment (apart from one times when it is translated ‘since the world began’).
-If Eternal Torment is false, who would want to believe in it, and thus invent it? same goes for the teaching that having fun is a sin, who would want to believe that, and thus invent it?

I know you have addressed these points but they are still on my mind, sorry for repeating myself.
The transition fro Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT) to Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality (CI) had a few similar road blocks but it wasn’t as difficult because ECT and CI are both literal eternal punishments.

God Bless
Christ Be With You
Sorry for being a nuisance.

Here’s some more objections - in pictures. All in keeping with the historical Christian, Holy Fools tradition. :laughing:

I like music (although I hate music with sinful lyrics, it really annoys me if the beat is catchy but they ruin it with bad lyrics), movies (although I cringe when the Lord’s name is taken in vain in movies :/), video games, not a sports fan but I know others who are, I go to the gym, but for exercise, not for a hobby.

But it is important to keep God above all and always be willing to make sacrifices for God, don’t want to be like the rich young ruler who Jesus told to sell of their possessions (Matthew 19:16-24), which brings up even more points regarding univeralism but that is another story.

Remember there is also:

1 TIMOTHY 6:17:
-17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

JAMES 1:17:
-17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Regarding 1 John 2:15-17, it’s clear context is lust and pride, however with all the abuse with that verse, I get anxious every time I hear it that it makes me wonder if there is something more.

I find it interesting you used the word ‘burden’ because:

1 JOHN 5:3:
-3: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

I went into more detail on the subject of ‘burdensome’ in my other topic ([Is everything fun a sin? 1 John 2:15-17)), basically I find the Lord’s commandments to not be burdensome, but I do find the commandment to ‘thou shalt not have fun’ to be burdensome.

It is very important that we pray over this.

God Bless
Christ Be With You

I think that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on various factors. Many of the greatest evangelism stories I’ve heard about involve friends who convert leading other people to convert by being their friends, no matter how long it takes. (The Nazi chief of police in Rome during its occupation eventually converted because his main opponent in the Catholic Church, who didn’t even like him at first, naturally, made an effort to make friends with him in prison, the only friend he had, visiting him once a month for the rest of his life.) I have plenty of friends who aren’t believers; I pray for them all the time and try to stand as a good example, although sometimes that means not cooperating in what they’re doing. It can be heartbreaking, too, as I well know from long experience, not to do X which the world might expect as the standard of behavior because X would be badly mistreating someone else. But hey, my heart needs pulverizing, too. I’m no better than anyone else in that regard.

If you find that your friend’s culture is leading you into sin, and you can’t drink the poison harmlessly in that case (to borrow a promise from Jesus), then yep you have to cut fellowship with him to that extent even if not cut ties exactly. Jesus allows some of us to drink some poison harmlessly, though, for sake of evangelism. (Heh, sometimes literally so! – some of those Appalachian snake handlers are Baptist universalists!)

There are also some intriguing things said in the OT (cited or alluded to in the NT) along the line of God giving us who are faithful our unbelieving loved ones as gifts in the Day of the Lord to come. That would include our friends, opening up the interesting evangelical strategy of making as many true friends as possible so that we may lead them into the New Jerusalem on the Day of the Lord to come. If the former pagan kings of the earth, the worst human rebels against God, can convert and lead their people in, how much moreso should we who are faithful be given our loved ones to lead in thanks to our friendship and love!

George MacDonald would say (paraphrasing), you should wait until God actually asks such things of you before you worry about them. What God is asking from you (not them) now is concern enough for the day. Don’t worry about trying to live up to their faith, but focus on walking according to what light you can see, looking for more light thereby. We have enough challenges already in asking God, “What would You have me to do?” – we can only grow in our faithfulness to God by doing those things which God puts within climbing reach of our hands. Often, that might just involve reaching down from wherever we are to lift up someone else from where they are to somewhere higher than ourselves. :slight_smile:

Fine. However many that is, very many more don’t. But the relative numbers either way don’t really matter (the minority could be more right after all). Pray to God for discernment in your own discipline, what to keep, what to put aside, and how best to use whatever you may keep.

Some did, other big names didn’t. I haven’t looked at that list, but from experience with previous lists I’d bet a Coke they’re citing at least some prooftexts from some authors which are translating “eonian” as “eternal” against the actual context of their work.

NDEs have a tendency to cancel each other out when it comes to soteriology (among other things!) I don’t appeal to NDEs which seem to point to universal salvation; I don’t worry about NDEs which seem to point to an inescapably final hell which the dead people then escaped from. :wink: If people actually die and go to an experience like that, then come back from it (like Jonah) repentant and with a huge life chance (unlike Jonah! :wink: ), then I’d have to conclude it’s a bad interpretation to expect that experience to count toward ECT (much less anni).

I still warn people they could easily be in trouble into eons of the eons for as long as they insist on holding to whatever the truth is exposing as injustice. C. S. Lewis went so far as to argue that such remedial punishment would be more brutal and inhuman in principle than hopelessly final punishment! :open_mouth: :unamused: That’s silly (and he was talking about human versions of it to be fair), but my point is that if someone thinks they can safely get away with murder or even the smallest sins, they didn’t get that from me. Learn to do good now; don’t wait until matters come down to judgment by the consuming fire.

Those people are ignorant: classical pagans did not have such ideas, and who cares what neo-pagans today think. What matters is whether some idea of universal salvation (not every such idea) is truly and faithfully Christian, not whether pagans may have similar ideas to Christians in this or that way (which actually helps in evangelism as a preparation!) That would be like complaining that most pagans have a hidden and respected monotheism behind their traditional paganism, therefore the idea of one and only one God Most High creator of everything not Himself must be pagan and so we should reject it as Christians. THOSE DAMNED PERSIANNNSSS!!! (The early ones, not the later dualistic ones.)

That’s their mistake (you and I would agree). It doesn’t have to be yours. There’s nothing intrinsically about universalism antithetical to trinitarian Christian theism; people come to think they’ve been sold a finally hopeless hell on poor and cheating grounds, and then having lost trust look around to see where else they may have been rooked and decide (maybe also because their preachers linked belief in the Trinity with escaping hell) that they were given poor and cheating grounds to believe the Trinity, too. Theoretically speaking, either or both of those cases could be possible, with both doctrines being nevertheless true! (I should also point out that modalists deny the Trinity but still agree that Jesus is the one and only God Most High. What they deny is that the Father and the Son are distinct persons. We’ve had a few modalists around here occasionally; I seem to recall LLC currently is one.) But anyway, it’s just a case of people looking for suspicion where they think they’ve found reason to be suspicious in other matters, and thinking they’ve found more reason to reject what was being thrust on them previously. That doesn’t mean there’s a logical connection between rejecting the two ideas.

Free will is a bit more problematic, because there are versions of Christian universalism which deny free will to almost any degree. But you don’t have to. Dr. Ramelli argues in depth that, up until around the time of the schism between the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, most of the key trinitarian and proto-trinitarian teachers were both Christian universalists and also strong advocates of human free will over-against the determinism of Greco-Roman philosophies including in Gnostic groups.

Anyway, if you think free will and the Trinity are true, and you see some point trying to argue incorrectly against them, then don’t accept that point. Easy. I typically find non-universalistic soteriologies implicitly or even explicitly denying some important doctrine of trinitarian Christian theism in order to be non-universalistic! That was a key factor in my own big turning point: rejecting the non-trinitarian lapses required me to accept what added up to Christian universalism.

Okay, good self-critical warning. So be self-critical in evaluation. Everyone should do that anyway, take advantage of the concern. :slight_smile:

Neither of those ‘facts’ are true, although you’ll actually have to study the matter for yourself in detail to realize it I guess. The fact that those two facts are demonstrably false, doesn’t in itself necessarily mean some kind of Christian universalism is true, either; but the situation is a lot more complicated than wherever you’re getting those ideas would have you believe.

There are people with morbid attitudes who don’t want other people having fun either; they would invent such an idea gladly. There are also people who would invent it to get power over other people while they themselves indulge in fun secretly – cult leaders throughout history have been, and still are, notorious for this hypocritical asceticism.

As for ECT, good God Almighty, there are plenty of people who would invent it if it wasn’t true, as a wishful hope for their enemies to be hopelessly tormented forever! – and they’d be willing, if not so much, to sacrifice some of their own loved ones to that fate if it meant their enemies definitely got it. That’s practically the default setting of human psychology throughout human history, and it manifests in other ways, too. One of the commonest complaints I get from religious non-universalists is that those-people-over-there will somehow stop being punished if universalism is true. I even see this complaint with some frequency from non-Christians! – and they aren’t even necessarily complaining about Christian universalism, but about ANY idea of certain evildoers ceasing to be punished!

Now, the demonstrably historical fact that plenty of people would gladly invent it if it wasn’t true, doesn’t even slightly mean that plenty of people (or even one person) did invent it. So I never call that in as evidence against it. But while I’m passing nearby the theory of invention, there are also (if fewer) people who would invent it as fear-fulfillment not wish-fulfillment because they have an emotionally fearful attitude of the worst being true. But I’m not going to lie, I’m the kind of person who would invent ECT because I emotionally want it to be true. I never had an emotional problem with ECT in principle at all. I happily march around even today humming doomy songs of doom and asskicking of the unrighteous. :laughing: I have to self-critically watch out for over-expecting purgative punishment simply because THOSE EVILDOERS OVER THERE HAVE GOTTA PAAAAAYYYY!

You evidently wouldn’t invent ECT – and thank God if not – but as a student of human cultural history, and in penitent examination of my own heart: I know full well, and generally why, lots of people would invent ECT whether or not ECT is true. Even if someone they loved got caught in it. Even if they got caught in it: “I’ll see you in hell” is a badass boast, but indicative of a normal and mutually destructive human attitude, too.