Robin: Could a universalist believe in hell as ECT?

#1 … ll-as.html

Predestination: Mark Driscoll's forked tongue - part 1

I’m beginning to think you like a bit of controversy like my dad :wink:

I think there’s at least one person on the forum who holds view 2.

For what it’s worth, although view 1 may theoretically be possible (e.g. the “worst of sinner” and dedicated enemy of Jesus, Saul, was converted as soon as he actually met Jesus), it seems a little odd to talk about Hell, if no one even gets there. Also what about the devil and his angels, they have seen God and, at least for a time, reject God and are in, or going to, Hell?

Mentioning people paying money (even if you don’t see it as analogous) will almost guarantee some people with miss read it (especially people who only ever skim read things)!


I think it is important for opponents as well as proponents to realize that there is nothing about UR that requires us to deny the eternality of Hell or the deservedness of eternal hell for all. Hell can still be what hell is under any other traditional system… except for either the idea that
1.) all will avoid eternality hell, by way of the cross, OR
2.) all may exit Hell, by way of the cross.

And just as the idea that some people on Earth may avoid eternal hell, by way of the cross, does not compromise God’s justice (since justice was satisfied on the cross), that all people on Earth may avoid eternal hell, by way of the cross, does not compromise God’s justice either (since justice was satisfied on the cross).

And just as the idea that people on Earth today may avoid eternal hell, by way of the cross, does not compromise God’s justice (since justice was satisfied on the cross) … that people may ‘escape’ eternal hell once there does not compromise God’s justice either (since justice was satisfied on the cross).

Any way you look at it (some or all, pre or post mortem) faith and repentance are required to receive the gift of God so that the debt is paid.

I comment here because opponents are usually so quick to jump to the idea that UR necessarily denies the need for the cross, faith, and repentance … which is clearly not the case.

Of course the above does not mean UR is true, but it at least renders UR a logical possibility.


There is something else to consider. Even if it may be granted that ECT is not warranted for a finite lifetime of sins, no matter how grievous; even if it were possible for one to “pay off” the debt for all sins committed in their finite earthly life, hell would still be eternal because while a person is paying it off their previous debt they are still committing more sins and thus accruing more debt. No doubt they are acquiring it faster than they could pay it off. (Given the magnitude of a sin against God, certainly an hour of sin means more than an hour of debt payment.) Therefore, once they theoretically finally paid for the sins of earth they would be faced with a mountain more of debt for the sins committed while attempting to pay off the original earthly debt.

It would be like trying to pay off a credit card bill every month by paying less than the interest accumulated in that month. The payoff lasts forever even though the original debt was finite.


Hello Fire,
That’s an interesting way to look at it. That scenario works if each sin a person commits earns them a certain amount of “time” in hell–like our jail sentences.

But I’m inclined to think of the Lake of Fire as God’s cleansing action/presence towards the person, rather than merely a jail term which will be done in a certain amount of time regardless of the state of our hearts. I think of God’s judgment as being primarily against the inner ‘wrongness’ in us that makes it possible for us to sin. If the purpose of hell is to lead us to repentance, then when we confess our sin, he will be faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.



I like the fact that Robin keeps thinking about these things and exploring new ways to bring different insights together. I don’t think this particular arrangment helps. That is, I wouldn’t call either arrangment of hell he describes (a or b) as ECT since ECT (as I grew up with it and encounter it) entails the irrevocability of suffering. It’s called “eternal” because one is irrevocably locked into a state of suffering. It can’t be “eternal” because an actual infinite number of moments spent suffering is ever actually accomplished. So in terms of temporality, it can only be “eternal” because ‘that’ it shall forever continue is a sealed fact of one’s fate. As soon as one posits a possible end to the suffering (by annihilation or salvation) one no longer has “ECT” strictly speaking. One could construe “eternal” in non-temporal categories as say it just describes the quality of suffering, but that’s not the sense ECT proponents traditionally ascribe to it. So once one does away with the ‘irrevocability’ of hell (by positing annihilation or salvation or the redefines ‘eternal’ in qualitative terms so that ECT becomes consistent with annihilation or salvation) one has something other than ECT as understood traditionally by those who believe in it.



I understand your point Sonia.

Please note that I am merely taking Robin’s proposition (of hell as a place of payment for sin) and running with it.

So if we view hell as a place of payment for sin :
1.) We are free to believe that it would take forever to pay off our debt, without denying EU (since EU affirms that Christ can save us out of hell, that otherwise would be everlasting)

2.) even if we were to believe it is possible to pay off the sins of earth in a finite period of time, unless Christ redeems us from hell, hell would still be everlasting because of ongoing sin once in hell.