The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Post Mortem Reconciliation?

Two friends and colleagues (one is, coincidentally, my wife!) have homed in on what I agree is the weakest part of the EU case. Where is the biblical evidence for the possibility of post mortem reconciliation? Here is my initial response:-

What do others on the EU forum think? Can you help us out?

This might be helpful. :slight_smile:

The key word is “Never” and that should surely include “not even in the face of Death/Hades/Hell/Sheol”.

Similar to how “Never will the gates of Death/Hades/Hell/Sheol prevail against…” emphasises “never”.

Never means Never. And there is no qualifying statement of “except for when a person dies” in the ‘gifts never revoked’ verse. Gifts like the gift of the call to salvation, eternal life, grace, mercy, etc.

Let’s see…
Jonah, died, cried out in Affliction to God from Sheol, the realm of the dead, cast from the sight of the Lord, with the bars of the earth closed in around him forever. And the Lord heard his cry and brought him up from the pit.
Paul speaks affirmatively of baptism for the dead in 1 Cor. 15:29.
Peter speaks of Jesus preaching the Gospel to the spirits in prison, those who rejected the word and salvation of God during the ministry of Noah, resulting in them “now live forever with God in the Spirit” (1 Pet. 4:6).
Jesus warned of Gehenna, which to the Pharisee at least, would have spoken primarily of something similar to Purgatory for unrighteous Jew and Gentile alike.
Jesus also warned of Chastizement, remedial punishment, kolasis in Mat. 25:46.
Paul also warns of believers facing the fire of judgment where their good works are purified and their worthless works are burnt up.
Paul speaks of turning a brother over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit might be saved.
And Revelations Lake of Fire and brimstone also has remedial punishment connotations to it.
. Brimstone, theon, divine fire, sulfur was burnt as incense by the Greeks and Romans for spiritual purification and physical healings.
. Basanizo, torment, is the testing of precious metals in the fiery refining process.

So for me, there is more than enough evidence that suggests that any chastizement/punishment that we (any/all of us) might receive in the life to come is remedial in nature, not vindictive. But of course, scripture is focused on the here and now, not the here after! Even the focus of the Gospel is not “Repent so that you can go to heaven some day.” It is “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand - within reach TODAY!” It’s about living right today, right relationships with God today and with each other.

I know a lot of people stumble at the fact there is nothing that says flat out: “After people die, they will repent and be saved.”

But for me, the point is that God has already said that He loves and wants to save everyone. Jesus came to save the world. Jesus says the good shepherd brings home the lost sheep.

Why should we think death changes any of this?

I am convinced with Paul, that nothing–not even death can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ.

Resurrection is proof that death is no barrier to God.

I find sufficent scriptural proof in all the statements of God’s desire and intention to save–combined with the scriptural testimony that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Revdrew61, in writing the letter to my pastor and explaining the difference between us mainly being that I believe God can work past the grave, I realized that this is what would be problematical since he’d feel there wasn’t sufficient reason for hope. I enjoyed everyone’s responses and find them helpful too. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone - these responses are really helpful. Lefein, I wonder where you copied and pasted that from - is it your own work or from a book? Sherman, Sonia, Amy - thanks! Its not me you need to convince, but you’ve given me some good leads here. God bless!

My own thoughts/work.

The only thing I’d add, is that, as far I can tell, up until Calvin, belief in postmortem salvation (for at least a few) was mainstream (see Even Augustine taught post-mortem salvation). One of the reasons given was:

Which implies there are some things that can be forgiven in the age to come.

It came to me one day in study/prayer time. :slight_smile: So it is from my own study. I hope it proves useful!

Hey guys, I feel like a lot of the quotes you use are taken quite out of context. Now I don’t deny that God could not save anyone after their death, but I have found, through thorough reading and studying of the scripture that he is quite clear that without faith in him, there is death. Never are there any examples of people being saved after death.

In the end it is quite clear that all will be judged. Those whom are in the book of life will be ushered into everlasting life with God. Those who are not will be thrown into the lake of fire, along with hell and such. I do not understand where you can then jump to the conclusion that somehow people will be saved from that when it is clear that people’s choices on EARTH DO MATTER.

John 5:28-29: “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out — those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

This is clearly referring to what we DID in our lives, is it not?

Grace and Love,


Hi Johnny,

I agree with you that we all need to avoid quoting scripture out of context and hope I have not been guilty of that on this page.

Would you also agree with me that we should avoid reading our presuppositions into scripture? I am not sure where you are coming from but, for example, you quote John 5.28-29 “…those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” are you assuming that this word “condemned” is shorthand for “punished with everlasting conscious torment in hell”? This is certainly an assumption a lot of people make, so whenever Jesus says anything to do with judgement, condemnation, punishment or whatever - they assume he is affirming their doctrine of hell. Many of us would argue that this is a highly dubious assumption.

I would also argue that “condemned” may not be the best translation of “kriseos”, which according to the lexicon means a decision or judgement. Why should we assume that this decision, judgement (or even punishment for that matter) must be everlasting conscious torment with no hope of reprieve?

I and most people on this forum agree with you that people’s choices on earth matter and we do not deny the reality of hell. We do claim that the Bible clearly teaches that hell will not be the final destination of any human being. A good article which responds to common misunderstandings about Christian Universalist views on hell is this short article by Robin Parry. [Robin: “Bell’s Hells: seven myths about universalism”)

Anyway welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy the discussions.

Peace, Andrew

Interesting to find this thread. I’ve been on my own journey of seeking the Lord and though I have been tilting universal, my thoughts on it do not involve any “second chances” after death. I was surprised to find that the people here believe that people can die, go to hell, then make a decision to respond favorably to God’s love post mortem.

I believe that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”.
I think “hell” is on earth similar to how the Kingdom of God/heaven/light is in our midst.
Perhaps the very experience of death is a baptism of fire for those who wait that long and have not bowed the knee?

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matt 20, the ones hired in the last hour got the same reward as those who had come on the team earlier. In 1 John 2-3 excerpts

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the* lake which burns with fire and brimstone**, which is the second death. Rev 21:18

Perhaps this is a “baptismal pool” where the carnal man/sinful flesh finally perishes for good?
The spiritual man rises up out of the pool, leaving the carnal man behind forever, and enters the New Jerusalem

I have one more on this. I was floating this idea to my ladies Bible Study: how I see the Lake of Fire as a place of baptism where antichrist/carnal man goes to his final destruction and one of my friends said she read something that fits this theory Luke 8:26-39

A man has a legion of demons in him. Jesus is speaking to the demons,* “And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.” Luke 8:31*

He doesn’t send them into the abyss but into a herd of swine (which run straight for the water), the man goes from completely wild, naked, cutting himself to: “the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.” (8:35)

Could the abyss the Legion feared be the same as the “lake of fire” where all “antichrists” wind up in the last hour?

*18 Dear children, this is the last hour; **and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. ***

Hi Gem,
I would not equate the abyss and the Lake of Fire, because in Revelation, beings are released from imprisonment in the abyss and later thrown into the Lake of Fire.

I take John to be simply referring to people who have corrupted the message of Christ and left the fellowship.


Good stuff revdrew!
But a minor (maybe not so minor?) point is that according to Colosians 1 reconciliation has already happened!
In Robin Parry’s great summary of Evangelical Universalism – see it here:

he puts it this way…

So since it seems pretty obvious that this reconciliation isn’t actually experienced by all before their deaths, the promised experience of reconciliation can logically happen later – after death – it seems to me…

For me then the Phil 2 idea of every knee bowing and every tongue confessing,
along with the idea of the kings of the earth entering the city,
along with the idea so wonderfully expressed above by Lefein that God’s gift and call are NEVER revoked
=====> all add up to postmortem not reconciliation which is already a reality, but the experience of reconciliation.

But maybe that’s just being nitpicky…???..


PS – adding to what Lefein says above: would it makes sense at all for God to continue calling and extending His gift if there was NO chance of it’s being accepted? I think not.
(by the way Lefein and revdrew, this goes along very well with the idea we talked about over in a thread titled “Filthy Still??” regarding the words in Revelation where God says let the filthy be filthy still… It was pointed out on that thread that this comment is made in the context of concurrent evangelism! Why would God be bothering with evangelizing if there was no hope of a response??!!!

Thanks for your thoughts Bob :slight_smile:

Driscoll’s resent response to Is There a Second Chance for Salvation After Death? :frowning:

There is so much wrong with this I don’t know where to begin…