Wow! Wonderful visual. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Wow! Wonderful visual. Thanks so much for sharing this!
I am a firm believer in UR, but I just don’t think the statement “all Israel will be saved” provides evidence for UR. I consider it a mistake to presume that this has reference to national Israel, or ethnic Israel, or religious Israel. Indeed, concerning ethnic Israel, Paul stated that though the sons of Israel be as the sands of the sea, only a remnant of them shall be saved — and there has always been a remnant, true Israel, whom Paul calls “the Israel of God” in Galatians. When the Messiah appeared, his disciples or followers were the Israel of God.
In Romans 11 Paul compares the Israel of God to an olive tree. Branches that did not belong were broken off. These seem to refer to Jews who did not become disciples of the Messiah. But Paul say that if they don’t persist in their unbelief they will be grafted in again. Gentiles who become disciples of the Messiah are grafted into the olive tree. They become as much a part of true Israel as the Jews who remain in the tree because they have become disciples of their Messiah. “IN THIS MANNER, all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26) In what manner is that? By the process of breaking off branches which do not belong in the Olive tree, and grafting in branches that do, even if they are wild branches (Gentiles).
If every individual in the Israel of God is a disciple of the Messiah, then ALL Israel will be saved.
By the way, translating the Greek word “οὑτος” as “so” is pretty weak. Greek lexicons state that the meaning is “in this manner.”
Amen Great thoughts bro
…Paul speaks of this very same remnant in Romans 11… he then speaks about the “other” part of Israel. Which cannot be this remnant. Galantians is not relevant here, IMO, and is speaking in a different mode.
If Paul is not referring to all Israel in that sense, what on Earth is he referring to? We will be forced to run into the elected-among-non-elect situation, which I think is silly.
Well, this is what I am beginning to call redundancy-exegis. When you say “Paul is stating the obvious”. I do not believe he does. I believe he’s actually stating something really bewildering, hence the “unsearchable” God.
Treating this argument (that UR synthesizes potential biblical tensions) as purely evidentiary, I can see now what a bias I read the Bible with as I grew up! I had never even considered things like judgment and wrath being seasonal.
The lesson, I suppose, is that the translation of certain words can have a tremendous impact. Richard, you were the one who first introduced me to the idea that ‘eternal’ is more quality than quantity (how very Hebrew, I suppose). Given that distinction and the obvious fact that for a great many Christians the only potential meaning is ‘forever’ do we think this equation of ‘eternal’ exclusively as ‘forever’ was primarily done by the institutional church to manufacture hegemony?
I think it was definitely given that spin. Here is an excellent article that another member pointed out in his introduction thread:
Augustinian thinking has had a huge influence on Western Christian thought, and not just when it comes to UR vs. ECT.
Constantine and Jerome also had a hand in the hegemony.
i think you’re right, Bob.
when i read that God only chastises those He loves…to what purpose does He chastise forever? and if those He chastises forever are not loved…again, why does He chastise?
a father chastises his children to teach them right from wrong and raise them up as responsible, capable adults. he does it for their good and so that they can BE good.
and we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children
how much more so God!
and if some are not His children…i ask again: why does He chastise them?
i really always felt this strange dichotomy in the Bible long before i knew of UR as an option. it made no sense to me, and seemed like God was changing character from loving but at times harsh Father in the OT to simply hardcore hanging judge in the NT. it didn’t make sense to me. eventually i learned why! because i was trying to force a square peg (the Bible) into a round hole (standard dogma).
i always felt this wild hope and joy when i read that God did not purpose for anyone to perish… i dared not say everyone would be saved, but i’d say that Heaven would be vastly populated and hell practically empty.
thankfully i know how to tie it all together now…UR makes that theological dissonance go away.
Thanks, here’s a snippet from the article you linked about Jerome’s influence:
Jerome removed the understanding held by all early Christians for three centuries that God’s judgment in Hades, the place the dead are held, was for an age, for a season, for redemption. He took the word “an age” found all through the New Testament and turned it into “eternal,” forever and ever. By doing so, he created the conviction that rules all through what is called Christianity today that God tortures forever those whom He refuses to save in a place named after, of all things, the Germanic corpse goddess, and that whatever any of the great torturers of history did, they were only copying God.
And concerning Augustin:
The truth is, it is not Christ-ianity, it is Augustin-ianity. When people read the Bible, they read it through Augustine, when they read Aristotle, they read him through Augustine. When they looked at life and this world and God and eternity, they saw all of it only through Augustine.
It was this open disgust of his own humanity, a feeling never shown by Jesus, that sorrowed me.
And, finally, hegemony!:
We are to read the Bible ONLY through the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed and Augustine’s explanation of it comes first; the New Testament comes second, regardless of what God might actually say in it. That is, Augustine’s explanation of the Nicene Creed is the lens through which we MUST look regardless of what we think God actually says.
That took forever, and I have a very hard time reading in Texan.
A very interesting point in Romans is the following:
Ro 11:28* As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
This very interesting verse says that those who rejected Christ, are ENEMIES “as touching ELECTION,” are still BELOVED for the fathers’ sakes.
Even with a misunderstanding of God’s love, that HE loves absolutely ALL, it still is very enlightening, that while they were “hardened,” etc., they remain “beloved.”
The revelation that God loves absolutely ALL and actually will continue to love them all, and that hell has a purpose, redemptive, is soooo wonderful.
When I believed ECT for 23 years, my problems wasn’t that I didn’t read my bible. My problem was I didn’t think about how ECT was compatible with love , patience, compassion, kindness , mercy and grace.
**“The first thing that goes when you begin to think is your theology.”
My problem, Wendy, was the mistranslation of a few verses, lack of cultural context on others, and an already extant KNOWLEDGE that those who don’t know Jesus when they die end up in ECT. Because of this, the blinders/filters of my traditional doctrines kept me from seriously considering all the many, multitudinous, magnificent verses that talk about UR.
It’s not that I didn’t see them, or even that I skipped over without paying attention. I KNEW they couldn’t be saying what they seemed to be saying (because of my KNOWLEDGE of the fate of the unsaved, you know), so I figured I must not be understanding them correctly. Turns out they mean pretty much exactly what they seem to mean. Who knew?!
What a great point to make. It is true that many are not aware of the translation problems, not that we can’t trust scriptures, but that we have more access to tools to help us have a better understanding.
What helped you see or have knowledge of the problems with ECT ?
I’ve always, always had a problem with ECT. I think probably because I have a very good imagination and while no one could ever come close to imagining what ECT would truly mean, I came close enough to be hugely uncomfortable with the whole thing.
Lots of people do. That’s why we have doctrines that ECT is really just the absence of God – that He is all things good, and His absence would be the absence of all things good, leaving only the bad. This helped a little, but I had to ignore the little niggling voice that said, “But if He is omnipresent, and He is there if we make our bed in hell/sheol, and if all things will be summed up in Christ, how could there be a place where God is not?”
And how could any bad be allowed to remain? After a while, I wondered whether maybe our God, who is a consuming fire, is destruction to rebels by His very nature, and He really can’t help it. Maybe His very presence IS hell to those who hate Him. And it wasn’t very far from that to annihilation once I discovered that the Bible doesn’t actually teach the immortality of the human soul apart from the indwelling life of God.
I stopped in annihilation for about a year (it took the rest of my life to get to that point, and I’m 53!) and then one day I was just sitting down with a new book and I suddenly had this dumfounding thought: “What if the universalists are right?” It wasn’t a normal thought, if you know what I mean. I suddenly HAD to know. Right Now. So I did a search on Google to see if I could find some Christian universalists and see whether they had any answers for my (I thought) very difficult questions. I felt silly when I saw the answers. Actually, just ASKING the questions suggested several possible answers to me. My questions weren’t hard at all, turns out.
They suggested several books, which I immediately downloaded to my Kindle; I read them and more, got more answers – some to questions I hadn’t even thought about – and I’m still here. That’s been nearly a year ago, I guess. I’ll continue studying this until Abba says to move on, but as long as He has more for me to learn here, I’m happy to stick with this line of inquiry.
I’m delighted to learn that I no longer need to worry about God’s injustice. Why? Because contrary to popular theology, He really IS just. And because He is just He is merciful. And because He is just and merciful, He will not wink at inequity and the unforgiving servant will not go free until he has paid the uttermost farthing – but he WILL go free.
But as to what, specifically brought me to this point? I think that it was when I started asking Abba to show me more truths about Himself, and promised Him that I would receive from His hand ANY doctrine that He could show me from scripture was the truth, no matter how many cherished preconceptions had to fall. I didn’t think there was much more that I had wrong at that point. Boy was I wrong! Once I’ve learned this well enough to suit Him, I can’t wait to see what He might show me next!
Thank you for sharing your testimony, I really enjoyed reading. What books did you kind helpful in answering your questions, if you don’t mind me asking. I am 45 yrs. old and I related to the feeling you expressed about it taking most of your life to discover a treasure that lead to the refreshing River of life !
The first one I read was Robin Parry/Gregory MacDonald’s Evangelical Universalism, then Hope Beyond Hell (www.hopebeyondhell.net), and then The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. I’ve read quite a few others, but these three are, in my opinion, the “must reads.”
Many of the others are also very good, and you might relate to some of them better than to my favorites. IMO, they share a lot of material with the three I’ve mentioned, and the writing style isn’t always as smooth. Plus, of course, some (not nearly all) of the literature gets a long way off the beaten path of evangelicalism, and I just don’t want to go there. I’ve read them and asked Abba whether to change my beliefs on these things, but I don’t think He’s asking me to do that. Perhaps He will at some later time, but I don’t honestly think so.
So yeah – my big three.
I would include those as my top three as well. Carlton Pearson and Dr. Thornton , Progressive Christianity are a few others that I enjoyed. The progressive Christian organization has been very refreshing as well as Eu.
Funny, I’ve been on this forum for about a year now, and I still haven’t got around to reading Parry’s book
I will eventually though.
Do you have any top three so far ?
I’ve read The Inescapable Love Of God and Hope Beyond Hell, which were both excellent. I gave my copy of Hope Beyond Hell to a friend recently, and The Evangelical Universalist is still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read.
A thought just occurred to me as I’ve been reading, so I’ll mention it here. Maybe others have already made this point.
It seems that part of our desire for judgment and for a righteous and just God comes out of our own need for vindication and justice in this world: Someone hurt me; someone should pay. Hitler planned the murder of millions of people; he should suffer for all those murders.
But judgment is a day of revelation, right? It is when all our sins shall be revealed. What if, on that day, we see clearly that we are all guilty (even our good deeds are like filthy rags). Won’t we see that the mercy we have received is “rightly” extended to all? Won’t our sense of justice be satisfied when Jesus is merciful to all? As for God’s sense of justice, well, he already violates that by being merciful to even one person. And of course, one of his attributes can’t oppose another. As others here have already said, his mercy and justice are one and the same.
Maybe part of the justice of his mercy is in his knowledge of how small, finite, and powerless we are in this universe.