The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Re: Misused Proof Texts For Universalism?

As Jason suggested, [tag]chrisiacovetti[/tag] I’ve made a separate thread (in case Talbott gets time to respond to your original post) to attempt to offer some reply to your post :slight_smile:

Why not everyone? Does the Bible tell us not prayer for some people? Just because it mentions kings (a subcategory of everyone) doesn’t mean he’s only thinking of kings. I think the he mentions kings to reinforce that he really means everyone i.e. they might have been tempted to exclude kings who often lorded it over them. I think passages like Matt 5:44 also support this i.e. even “pray for those insult & persecute you”!

I know historically some have used this to directly support UR, however personally I think it just sets up a precedent for being saved through fire i.e. if God does that for Christians, then maybe He does that for others when we look at other passages about fire.

I’ll try to look at the other two passages you mentioned soon.

I added a link to his original post to your comment, Alex. :slight_smile:

The immediate practical result expected from praying for kings and all those in a superior place, is “that we may be leading a mild and quiet life in every devoutness and gravity”: so as a practical matter Paul was exhorting them to pray for those particular individuals reigning over them at the moment (who, as tyrant pagan oppressors, would be in a position to make their lives much less mild and quiet!), not only for “kings” as an abstract group.

Since there might be resentment about the idea of praying for kings and superiors, Paul adds the greater rationale that “our Savior, God, wills all persons be saved and come into a realization of the truth”. To this Paul appends a brief kerygma (presumably well-known to the church already) about Christ being the mediator of God and man, the One giving Himself as a correspondent ransom over the same all. (English translations tend to render that “for all”, which is also true, but the Greek is “over all”, which connects to the authority and position of God over all, including over those kings and superiors.)

So the all persons are inclusive as a group, and also particular: even all kings (whoever they are), including the particular ones who can make our lives miserable or quiet and peaceful. The concept of both all kinds and all particulars is embedded in the phraseology “over all”, which is actually plural in Greek “over alls”, in a statement of the superiority of Christ: Christ is not superior only over all kinds of people, but over all persons individually (save the Father alone of course).

Moreover, most non-universalistic soteriologies, whether Calv or Arm variants, acknowledge that God’s will shall certainly be done here in regard to half of this prayer: all persons (not only all kinds of persons, and not even only all human persons!) shall come to realize the truth. But then, if this realization of the truth (which Paul connects directly to salvation from sin) shall be certainly accomplished, and if God also wills that salvation shall be accomplished, and if (as Paul continues immediately afterward by saying) Christ is a ransom over all (plural) for the accomplishment of salvation–then it seems like a very broken theology to deny that God will surely succeed in one such important deed while failing (or never even trying) on the other!

I agree that St. Paul has Christian workers immediately in view, but he also says in verse 11 that no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid which is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the foundation of all things, and whenever we sin we are abusing His grace by building that which is worthless upon His foundation. That isn’t only true about Christians, that’s true about anyone.

That particular verse may only be about bodily resurrection, but Paul doesn’t stop there: he goes on to talk in detail about what the bodily resurrection of the wicked as well as the good will progressively involve.

Both. :wink: Paul also writes in Romans 10 that just as no one has to go up into the heavens to bring Christ down, neither does anyone have to go down into the abyss (the swirling depths of water, which in Jewish poetic typology is one of the images of prison for rebel spirits, connected to the punishment of the Flood) to bring Christ up out from among the dead ones.

I’ll have lots more to say about Ephesians 4 over the coming week in my article replying to JP Holding’s arguments against post-mortem salvation. (The whole article starts here, but I’ll try to remember to add a more specific link to comments on Eph 4 when I get to them. :slight_smile: )

Makes sense, thank you.

As far as 1 Corinthians 15 though, yes, I could see how the verses about God being all in all and everything being subject under him make sense to me as supportive of universal reconciliation, but 15:22 just seems unrelated to me. Romans 5:17 seems to say what Universalists often seem to cite 1 Cor 15:22 as saying. Either way, Christ brought justification and life to all men (Rom 5:17), and that’s the big point.

I’ll look at your link now, Jason. Thanks so much!