Pull up a chair, BA


#1

BA, let me suggest a few passages that you check out. I don’t think we’ll agree on these passages, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll help you understand how I do UR in my own head.

There are a set of passages that at first glance promote irrevocable eternal torment of the wicked. No universalist denies this. But there other passages which even some supporters of ECT admit do, at first glance, appear to be universalist. You, I’m guessing, think the ECT passages are crystal clear and thus you interpret the universalist passages accordingly. And that CAN be done I admit (though not without some violence to the universalist passages in my opinion). On the other hand, in my view the scales tip in favor of the universalist passages, so I feel obliged to harmonize the ECT passages accordingly. I’m sure you think I do violence to these ECT passages in interpreting them universalistically. I get all that.

If you’re with me so far, then we sort of have a draw. Why don’t we forget trying to convince one another of our views and aim for something a bit more modest—understanding. Why don’t you REALLY try to enter into how it is I see this or that passage? If you’re game, I’ll suggest my top 3 or 4 UR passages and offer a few comments on them. You can offer your top 3 or 4 ECT passages and offer a few comments. What I need you to do is be able to state MY position back to me in terms I’d agree to. And I’ll do the same with you. I need to be able to say, “Wow, BA really does see the arguments for UR, he just disagrees. I can respect that.” (Of course, you might be a few years away from being able to get me to say that, but why not start?)

You good to go?

Tom


#2

Tom.

Good to go. Ready when you are. Maybe you can show me scriptural support of people coming to faith after they die in their sins. That would really do it for me. That is where the rubber hits the road. :wink:


#3

Here are a couple of interesting passages/verses that ground my universalism:

Col. 1.16-20
Phil. 2.11
Eph. 3.10-11
Rev. 5.13; 21.22-27; 22.14

There are, of course, others. But these are usually where I start with people because they’re pretty clear. If someone can see it here, then we move on. If not, we don’t. I’m sure you’re familiar with them.

Now, don’t start picking them apart. Just read them. Just sit with them and reflect on ‘em, then tell me what you really see. Can you at least appreciate how somebody could conclude all are eventually won based on these verses? Or can you not even see the possibility?

Tom


#4

Tom.
Ok. Col 1:20, Rev 5:13 and maybe Phil 2:11…I can see at first look you can come to UR. I appreciate you sharing them with me.


#5

Tom.

Here are a few of my passages that I believe refute UR.

2 Thess 1:8-9
Revelation 14:11
Revelation 17:8; 20:14-15
Revelation 22:11. This scripture is very powerful because its happening after the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers and is happening during eternal glory in Heaven.

There are, of course, others. But these are sufficient.


#6

I’m shaking my head. The verses you shared are pretty easily fit to eventually reconciliation. I’m not sure how Rev. 17.8 relates at all since it speaks only of the beast. But anyhow. Just from where I’m sitting, the implication of the passages I shared are on the surface of it more clearly universalistic than your verses are examples of ECT and more difficultly made to fit ECT than are your verses made to fit UR.

But I’m sure you feel the same way in the opposite direction.

Oh well. It was a good idea. But it will probably just spiral down to each side claiming that his verses are more properly understood this way rather than that way. It’s like beginning a chess game with only the two Kings on the board.

Tom


#7

Don’t give up too soon on this thread guys as I reckon it’ll take a bit of time to bed in and I think it is an excellent idea.


#8

BA: Revelation 22:11. This scripture is very powerful because its happening after the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers and is happening during eternal glory in Heaven.

Tom: That’s not how I read it at all.

Then he [the angel] told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who…"

As I read it, BA, with v. 10 we step back into the context of John’s present day, the actual granting of the vision. Here the phrase “let him who…” follows & qualifies the instructions to John that he not seal up the words of the prophecy but get the word out. So whatever the phrase means (and I have an idea), it applies to John’s own day.

Tom


#9

Tom.
Revelation 17:8 is very powerful. Hear me out. When does God write your name in the Lambs book of Life? According to Revelation 17:8 before the foundation of the world. So, At the Great White Throne Judgment the unbelievers are thrown into the lake of fire. Why? Because their names were not found in the Lamb’s book of life that was recorded before the foundation of the world. You do not get your name written in the Lamb’s book of life anytime you want or at the time of your conversion. God looked down the corridor of time and saw who would come to faith in Jesus and recorded their names in the Lamb’s book of life before the world was. Do you see it? :wink:

Revelation 22:11. This scripture is very powerful because its happening after the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers and is happening during eternal glory in Heaven. :wink:


#10

Tom.

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

In my theology these happen in order. The rapture of the church, The marriage supper of the Lamb, The judgment seat of Christ( Bema seat) for all believers, The 7 year tribulation,The millennium reign of Christ, The Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers, The New Heaven and New Earth ( Eternal Glory in Heaven) :wink:

Now. Revelation 22:11 is happening after the Great White throne judgment of unbelievers…during eternal glory in Heaven. Once your in Eternal Glory all who are going to be in heaven are already there. There is no more left to do except enjoy eternity with the Godhead. Hint… Rev 21:27. :wink:


#11

OK, so in 17.8 your proof of ECT is just the fact that that the names of some are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, right?

The problem with this whole book thing, BA, is that apparently its contents aren’t eternally set. One’s name might be blotted out (Rev. 3.5). True, one could argue 3.5 is just a litotes (a figure of speech that makes a point by stating the opposite, so that the point of 3.5 is just to promise eternal life to him who overcomes). But it’s more difficult to dismiss the implications later. For example, in 20.15 everybody whose name is not in the book is tossed into the Lake of Fire. But later in Rev. 21.27 with regard to the city’s open gates (which are never shut and through which the nations enter into the city—post 20.15), only those whose names are written in the book may enter. But in 21.27 these who enter can only be those whose names in 20.15 were not in the book. A chapter later they are in the book.

Besides, in 20.15 it may be “the book” itself (i.e., the noun) which is “from the foundation of the world,” and not the verb “written.” In other words, it doesn’t follow that the names of everybody who has, does and who ever will live is “written” from the foundation of the world in the book. The writing/recording of names is, in my view, temporally concurrent with the real state of peoples’ hearts. It’s not some pre-recorded account of the end-state of each person’s soul.


BA: [Re: Rev. 22:11’s “He that is unjust, let him….”] In my theology these happen in order. The rapture of the church, The marriage supper of the Lamb, The judgment seat of Christ (Bema seat) for all believers, The 7 year tribulation, The millennium reign of Christ, The Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers, The New Heaven and New Earth ( Eternal Glory in Heaven).

Tom: Oh. Sorry. I thought we were dealing with TEXTS. My bad.

Tom


#12

Tom.

Revelation 13:8 ties in nicely with Revelation 17:8. Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of)the Lamb who has been slain.

Revelation 17:8 "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

When are your names written in the Lambs book of life? Before the foundation of the world or before the world was. How? God looks down the corridor of time and sees all who will put their faith in Jesus from the beginning to the end.( Romans 8:29). I do not believe people can be blotted out of the lambs book of life. If they can that totally refutes UR because that is how you enter heaven. If your not found in the Lamb’s book of life you are sent to the lake of fire.


#13

BA,

I get the 17.8 deal. Everything rides on the contents of the book of life. For you the contents are eternally engraved in stone and so unchangeable AND based on divine foreknowledge. And since the book obviously doesn’t have everybody’s name written in it in 17.8 and 20.15, UR loses by implication.

But you walked right by my comments as if they weren’t even made. It’s not necessary that the names of the book be eternally (or from the foundation of the world) written/recorded in the book. It’s only necessary that there be a book of life (whatever this stands for/represents) from the foundation of the world. It’s contents may be constantly changing.

What of 21.27’s open gates and the prospect held out that people stream in from outside the city?

T


#14

Tom.

you said: It’s not necessary that the names of the book be eternally (or from the foundation of the world) written/recorded in the book. It’s only necessary that there be a book of life (whatever this stands for/represents) from the foundation of the world. It’s contents may be constantly changing.

Born Again: It’s not necessary that the names be written in the book before from the foundation of the world? It’s only necessary that there be a book of life and it’s contents may be constantly changing? It’s not necessary? Huh? Says who? What does the word of God say when the names are written in the Lamb’s book of life? Lets look at it again:

Revelation 13:8 "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of)the Lamb who has been slain.

Revelation 17:8 "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Notice 13.8 “Everyone whose name HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD”
Notice 17.8 “'They that dwell on earth shall wonder, WHOSE NAMES WERE NOT WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD”

OK. By looking at these scriptures they both describe “WHEN” EVERYONE’S NAMES WERE RECORDED OR NOT RECORDED… FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD…meaning before the world was. I don’t see how you can deny that. I agree with you about the Lamb’s book of life being in existence before the foundation of the world, I also believe that either your name was written or not written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world. Why? God says so in Rev 13.8 and Rev 17.8.

Second, by reading the above scriptures how do you come to the conclusion that the Lamb’s book of life may be constantly changing? Another words, you are saying that names are constantly being added, correct? So, how can a person be added to the Lamb’s book of life after they die in their sins when scripture plainly indicates that everyone whose name is in the Lambs book of life were written or not written before the foundation of the world? Please provide scripture support for this and show me how my interpretation is wrong. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. :unamused:

Now. I think we both agree that scripture clearly indicates if your name is not written in the Lamb’s book of life you do not get into heaven. Agree? I hope I get a “Agree” there. If you can show me scripture support of the Lamb’s book of life being constantly updated with name additions I would accept defeat in this discussion. But, if you cannot provide scripture support will you ask yourself why your believing in something you can’t show from the word of God. :unamused:


#15

Tom.

you said: What of 21.27’s open gates and the prospect held out that people stream in from outside the city?

Born Again: I believe 21:24-27 teaches redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in heaven’s light. In the eternal city, there will be no more divisions, barriers, or exclusions because of race or politics. All kinds of peoples in eternity dissolve into the people of God, and they will move freely in and about the city.


#16

The body of this post has been removed as it seems this is a private thread :frowning:


#17

BA: It’s not necessary that the names be written in the book before from the foundation of the world?

Tom: No. It’s not necessary that the names of everyone who ever lives, be recorded in the book from the foundation of the world.

Stick to the text and grammar in front of you, BA. Don’t start injecting the full influence of your full-blown eschatology. Give the texts a chance to say something. What CAN the words of 13.8 mean?

BA: It’s only necessary that there be a book of life and it’s contents may be constantly changing? It’s not necessary? Huh? Says who?

Tom: Say grammar and logic.

BA: What does the word of God say when the names are written in the Lamb’s book of life? Let’s look at it again: Revelation 13:8 “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”

Tom: Actually the text lays out more like this I think:

“…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

What word or phrase does the clause “…from the foundation of the world” qualify? Well, it COULD qualify “written” and tell us WHEN the names were recorded. Or is could qualify “Lamb” and describe the origin and ownership of the book (e.g., this has always been the Lamb’s book, from the start). Or it could qualify “slain” and tell us something about the origin and original intentions and purposes of the pre-incarnate Christ/Lamb. I favor the last of these (without going into a lot about why). But the second (which I take to be the point in 17.8) is also probable.

Now, I may be wrong, but at least I’m HONEST and confront the possibilities. You pretend there are no possibilities BUT YOUR OWN and that’s why I have trouble taking you seriously. Your interpretation reduces to “quoting” the passage, as if your quoting it alone proves your understanding of it. You argue like this: “Why else could it mean but what I think?” That’s not an argument. And you poopoo’d 3.5 and made no comment on the “erasing of names” from the book.


BA: Second, by reading the above scriptures how do you come to the conclusion that the Lamb’s book of life may be constantly changing? Another words, you are saying that names are constantly being added, correct?

Tom: Right. If who is and isn’t actually saved is a constantly changing fact (and it is), then why is it so incredible to suppose that the contents of the book constantly change? If the book reflects the reality of who is and isn’t known to God as his own, then it’s not a blueprint or crystal ball of the future. It simply represents God’s ongoing, intimate and providential knowledge and care of those who are his, not a pre-recorded print out of the final outcome.

BA: So, how can a person be added to the Lamb’s book of life after they die in their sins when scripture plainly indicates that everyone whose name is in the Lambs book of life were written or not written before the foundation of the world?

Tom: You’re assuming in your question your own understanding that the names are eternally recorded and thus begging the issue we’re debating. I don’t think my name is eternally recorded in the book, and I assume that anybody in the Lake of Fire gets their name recorded in the book by doing what they failed previously to do—repent and believe. THEN they’re known to God as his own and (per 21.26b-27 where 27a immediately qualifies 26b’s mention of those entering with the stipulation that only those whose are known to God as his own (viz., whose names are recorded) may enter. But the logic of v. 27, as I read it, assumes that such a thing will in fact happen. That’s WHY the gates are open, i.e., to receive those on the outside.


Tom: What of 21.27’s open gates and the prospect held out that people stream in from outside the city?

BA: I believe 21:24-27 teaches redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in heaven’s light. In the eternal city, there will be no more divisions, barriers, or exclusions because of race or politics. All kinds of peoples in eternity dissolve into the people of God, and they will move freely in and about the city.

Tom: “In and about”? You don’t particularly need “open gates” for that. The imagery’s meaning may be lost to us because of our distance, but surely it MEANS something that the gates remain open. But your explanation just ignores this.


BA: If you cannot provide scripture support will you ask yourself why your believing in something you can’t show from the word of God.

Tom: You obviously disagree with my understanding of 13.8. But I hope you can see that the grammar of 13.8 permits me to take “from the foundation of the world” as qualifying “slain” or “Lamb” and not “written.”

Tom


#18

Start with the end in mind—Revelation. If from where we presently stand you had a vision from God of a particular future state he assured you would come to pass, then does it really matter that you don’t understand all the mechanisms and ‘how to’ regarding everything in between the present moment and that future/final state? In other words, just because we can’t know everything about how somebody in hell would be at all able to perceive and respond in faith to Christ, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And if we have a vision of an end-state that says everybody makes it, then we have to assume that hell’s judgment can be traversed and gotten out of. You keep asking, “So how do the wicked in hell hear the gospel? Who tells them? Hmmm? Huh?” These are interesting questions I’m sure, but not knowing exactly how it all goes down (down there) is beside the point IF we have good reason to believe that in the end all creation—every creature—sings God’s praise.

If ten people load up in a boat to sail from Florida to the Bahamas and you’re given a vision from God of them in the future all safely enjoying themselves in the Bahamas, then what’s it matter when you later hear that a hurricane struck and sank their boat in the middle of the Gulf stream while they were en route leaving them all treading water? You keep asking, “But how were they rescued? Who could have sailed into the storm to pull them out? They MUST have drowned.” No, they mustn’t have drowned. And who cares, BA, precisely ‘how’ the rescue was effected? God already assured you that in the end it’ll be OK. Let God worry about how to communicate with people in hell. He’s God. He’s pretty capable. If he wants to, he’ll find a way. All we really need insist upon (to stay true to the gospel) is that they make it in on the same conditions we do—faith, trust, and repentance (and all based on Christ’s redeeming work).

Like Aaron said, any vision of an end-state presumes the fulfillment of conditions necessary to that end-state. So any vision of an end-state is as much a proof that those conditions are fulfilled as it is a proof of its own fulfillment. Rev. 5.13 would be such a vision. There IS historical progress throughout the overall book of Rev, movement from a fallen world to a redeemed one, from suffering righteous to glorified righteous, from unfilled to fulfilled. Certainly. But there are also moments early on (like 5.11-14) where John gets a snap-shot of the WHOLE fulfilled, end-state. He gets to see periodically where it’s all heading. So just because 5.13 is in ch. 5 and not 20 or 21 doesn’t mean it doesn’t concern later (i.e., final) events. Besides, at what time prior to a supposed end-state would “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them singing…” praise to God?

Tom


#19

Yes, and to think Christ doesn’t win all to His benevolent kingdom makes shallow the depth of His love, in which He descended to save the very lost of the lost. Read below the anointed words of Salvator Mundi and know how far the Shepherd will go to seek the poor lost souls and gather them to the verdant pastures of the Father’s fold.

In the first Epistle of St. Peter chapter 3: 18-20 we are distinctly told that, when Jesus was put to death in the flesh, and descended in the spirit to that dim Hadean world in which, as the Jews held, the spirits of men await the Resurrection, and preached his Gospel “to the spirits in prison,” to those who had been"disobedient" to the word of God, to that ungodly generation to which Noah had preached righteousness in vain, --a generation so disobedient and ungodly that it repented God He had made them, and compelled Him to sweep them off the face of the earth with a flood.

Do you ask. “For what purpose, and to what effect, did He preach to them?”

St. Peter replies in the same Epistle chapter 4:6:

*Quote
For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. *

Now we know how this strange revelation made to St. Peter was interpreted hy the primitive Church–and this is the point which those should mark who object to the late and modern date of the doctrine of Universal Redemption; for within a hundred years of the death of St. John there appeared a work of fiction, called the Gospel of Nicodemus, which professed to set forth all the details of Christ’s descent into Hades. Of course this Fiction speaks to us with an authority no greater than that of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” although, when it appeared, it was very widely received as an authoritative description of our Lord’s ministry in Hades. But just as from Bunyan’s great Allegory we might very safely infer what the Puritan conception of the Christian life was in the seventeenth century, so from this “Gospel of Nicodemus” we may very safely infer what conceptions the Christians of the second century formed of Christ’s descent into Hades. And in this Gospel it is expressly affirmed, that, when He arrived, the gates of the Hadean prison burst open before Him, and the King of Glory, taking our forefather Adam by the hand, and turning to the vast multitude of imprisoned spirits, said…

Quote
Come all with me, as many as have died through the tree which he touched; for, behold, I raise you all up through the tree of the cross.

…words which, after all, are but a paraphrase of St. Paul’s great saying, “As by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so the the obedience of One shall the many be made righteous.”

This then was the faith of the early Church, before it became corrupted by heathen philosophies and heathen superstitions–

viz., that the good news brought to earth by Christ was also preached by Him in Hades, preached even in Gehenna; that on the bridge of his Cross even the worst of the spirits in torment were able to pass over the “great gulf” and enter into the joys of Paradise; that even the disobedient generation of Noah, though still dead in the judgment and censures of men, live unto God.

Why should it not be our faith too?

St. Paul held it as well as St. Peter; for in all those passages (Phil. 2:9-11), in which he speaks of the redemption of Christ extending to all who are in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, by those who are “under the earth,” he signified the inhabitants of that vast subterranean kingdom in which, as he held, the spirits of the dead were reserved for the day of judgement. And St. John held it as well as St. Paul; for, in his Apocalyptic vision (Rev. 5:13) he too beheld “every creature in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth,” i.e, in Hades, giving glory and power unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

And if St. Peter held the faith that even the most disobedient spirits in prison were quickened into life by the preaching of Christ; if St. Paul held that every knee in the Hadean kingdom should bow to Christ, as well as every knee confess Him Lord, which yet no man can do but by the Holy Ghost: if St. John heard “every creature” in Hades as well as in heaven and on earth, singing the high praises of God and the Lamb,–why should not we also hold this faith?

Dr. Samuel Cox: Salvator Mundi


#20

Oh no John! what have you done! :astonished: