Thanks Roger for all your time putting these resources (snippets) together. Very encouraging.
My pleasure kenanada
#16 – A SNIPPET FROM THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL TORMENTS OVERTHROWN – by Samuel Richardson, edited by Thomas Whittemore, and published by Thomas Whittemore in 1833. On page 85, Whittemore says that Richardson wrote his book nearly 200 years before 1833.
First of all, there is what Richardson wrote nearly 200 years before 1833: “The doctrine of endless hell torments hath caused many to murder themselves, taking away their own lives by poison, stabbing, drowning, hanging, strangling, and shooting themselves, casting themselves out of windows, and from high places, to break their necks and by other kinds of death, that they might not live to increase their sin, and increase their torments in hell.”
Now here is what Whittemore the editor, wrote at the bottom of the page nearly 200 years later in 1833:
“Here we see the same dreadful effects attended the doctrine of endless misery nearly 200 years ago which attend it now. It was then the cause of anxiety, despair, and suicide, as we suppose it always was before, where fully believed, and as we know it has been of late years. Let posterity know, that within the last ten years, there have been a large number of suicides, which must be attributed to the doctrine of endless torment. That doctrine makes men melancholy; it drives them to despair; they know not what to do; and they sever the brittle thread, Fathers and Mothers, in repeated instances in the United States, have murdered their children, lest they should grow up, and commit sin, and be damned. Can a doctrine which produces such dreadful consequences be the doctrine of God?” End of Quote.
#17 – A SNIPPET FROM THE GREEK WORD AION – AIONIOS TRANSLATED EVERLASTING – ETERNAL IN THE HOLY BIBLE SHOWN TO DENOTE LIMITED DURATION – JOHN WESLEY HANSON
“The word aidios (not aionios) was in universal use among the non-Christian Greek Jews of our Savior’s day, to convey the idea of eternal duration, and was used by them to teach endless punishment.
Jesus never allowed himself to use it in connection with punishment, nor did any of His disciples but one, and he but once, and then carefully and expressly limited its meaning. Can demonstration go further than this to show that Jesus carefully avoided the phraseology by which His contemporaries described the doctrine of endless punishment? Jesus never adopted the language of His day on this subject. Their language was aidios timoria, endless torment. His language was aionion kolasin, age-lasting correction. They described unending ruin, He, discipline, resulting in reformation.”
AIÓN – AIÓNIOS
See the first item under APPENDIX
AIDIOS – AN IMPORTANT WORD CONSIDERED
#18 - A LETTER OF THE CELEBRATED JOHN FOSTER TO A YOUNG MINISTER ON THE DURATION OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT AND AN EARNEST APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY IN REGARDS TO THE CHARACTER OF ITS PUBLICATIONS – JOHN FOSTER
“The original terms translated everlasting, eternal, forever, are often employed in the Bible, as well as other writings under various limitations of import and are thus withdrawn from the predicament of meaning endless duration.
Since the terms do not necessarily signify an interminable duration, and since there is in the present instance to be pleaded for admitting a limited interpretation, a reason in the moral estimate of things of stupendous infinite urgency involving our perceptions of the divine goodness, and leaving those conceptions overwhelmed in darkness and horror if it be rejected, I therefore conclude that a limited interpretation is authorized.”
#19 - IS HELL ETERNAL OR WILL GOD’S PLAN FAIL - CHARLES H. PRIDGEON
“The plan of God, or as it literally reads ‘according to the plan of the ages’ (Eph.3:11) will work out as God purposed; It will not fail. God shall be All in all (1Cor.15:28). The saving work of Christ will continue throughout the ages, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for the ages (Heb.13:8). God’s purpose and plan in creation, redemption, and new creation will then be clearly apprehended by all, and His character will be unveiled and vindicated.”
#20 - THE GOSPEL FROM OUTER SPACE – ROBERT SHORT
“The gospel of love heard from the churches is at bottom a gospel at gunpoint. This gospel claims to speak of a great love, but only one step behind this “love” is an unspoken, or often very vocal great threat – the threat of eternity in “hell” if we refuse this love. What a travesty of love, even human love, not to mention God’s! For one would think that God’s love ought to be at least as great as what human beings are capable of. It is precisely the implied or expressed threat of eternal perdition that compromises the churches’ ‘gospel of love,’ and gives this ‘gospel’ the lie to ordinary people, and is in fact behind by far, most of atheism.
On the other hand, this is not the quality of mercy I see in God. I get the strong feeling of an infinite, unconditional, no-strings-attached love for all people. At the same time this love is all-powerful and sovereign. It is not so flimsy and pitifully weak that it can be finally frustrated or defeated by mere human whim or by meagre man’s arrogant illusion called ‘free will.’ ”
#21 - THE GREAT REVELATION OR GOD’S LOVE, PURPOSE AND PLAN – JOHN H. PATON
“Some say that if it can be proved that the punishment of the wicked will have an end, the same argument will prove that the life of the righteous will also end. But this is too much to take for granted on such a premise. Aionios does not of itself indicate either the limited or unlimited duration of anything, but its duration in each case depends on the nature of that to which it is applied.
Colored glasses give color to whatever men look at, and it is difficult for many to divest themselves of the influence of former teaching so far as to be willing to look at a thing from the standpoint of another.
Some of us have done this however. Though trained in the old school of thought, we have been enabled, by a careful examination of the Scriptures, to throw off the old idea and to accept the larger and better hope. And we are assured that the plan of the ages with its progressive revelation, and the general scope and spirit of the gospel as a revelation of the infinite love and wisdom of God, are far stronger evidence of the final victory of Christ in saving all men, than the mere definition of any word could be.”
#22 - AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS – LOUIS ABBOTT
In the forward to his book AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS, Louis Abbott wrote, “One key area various denominations are divided over is the final destiny of the ungodly, the wicked, the unsaved, the unregenerate, or however one wishes to phrase it.
There are three views on this subject. Each position claims Scriptural support: (1) eternal torment; (2) eternal destruction; and (3) the ultimate salvation of all. It is obvious that all cannot be correct.
I pray this book will be a blessing to all who are struggling with this subject.” (unquote)
This book can be read online at this link
AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS
Gary Amirault interviews Greek scholar Louis Abbott about his belief that the Bible teaches universal salvation (in eight parts)
#23 - DARE WE HOPE THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED – HANS URS VON BALTHASAR
(These 254 pages are essentially an explanation of why he makes the following statement)
“The whole of scripture is full of the proclamation of a salvation that binds all men by a Redeemer Who gathers together and reconciles the whole universe. That is quite sufficient to enable us to hope for the salvation of all men without thereby coming into contradiction with the Word of God.”
#24 - GOD’S ULTIMATE – A.E. SAXBY
“We do not wish to belittle the awful judgments of God. They will be terrible enough. But we desire to get all the perspective of Scripture and look to the end God has in view.
We do not believe that orthodox theology has done this. It has stopped short in the ages themselves and has misnamed them eternity, and has therefore presented the vision of a heaven full of saints and a hell full of tortured sinners in endless existence. In such a survey of the ultimate there is no place for the vision that Paul gives when God shall be All in all (1Cor. 15:28).
We contend that nothing less than the reconciliation of all would satisfy the heart of God and be a fitting consummation to the shedding of the blood of His Son.”
#25 - A SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY – WILLIAM BARCLAY
“I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God. The only victory love can enjoy is the day when its offer of love is answered by the return of love. The only possible final triumph is a universe loved by and in love with God.”
[Quoted from William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1977.]
The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. There is no instance in Greek secular literature where kolasis does not mean remedial punishment. It is a simple fact that in Greek kolasis always means remedial punishment. God’s punishment is always for man’s cure." (unquote)
This is his comment regarding Matthew 25:46.
#26 - THE GOSPEL OF OUR SALVATION – ADLAI LOUDY
“The crowning glory of the ‘good news’ or evangel of the untraceable riches of Christ which Paul was granted the grace to bring to the ‘gentiles’ or nations, is the revelation that He will reconcile all to God.
What a marvellous outcome of God’s purpose! What a wonderful Christ Who can accomplish such a complete and glorious reconciliation! All creatures, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens, reconciled in perfect peace to the great love of God through the Son of His love.
More of these untraceable honours and glories of Christ which Paul was granted the grace to reveal, could be pointed out with delight, but these will suffice to increase our faith, enrich our joy and brighten our expectation ‘in Him in Whom our lot was cast also,’ Christ Jesus our Lord, Life, and Head!”
#27 - CHRIST TRIUMPHANT – THOMAS ALLIN
It is true that aionios may be applied as an epithet to things that are endless, but the idea of endlessness in all such cases comes not from the epithet, but only because it is inherent in the object to which the epithet is applied, as in the case of God.
‘This is life eternal’ should be ‘the life of the ages,’ i.e. peculiar to those ages in which the scheme of salvation is being worked out. The ‘eternal covenant’ is the ‘covenant of the ages,’ the covenant peculiar to the ages of redemption. The ‘eternal purpose’ is really the purpose of ‘the ages,’ i.e. developed and worked out in ‘the ages.’
We who teach the larger hope believe that not in this brief life only, but through future ages, Christ’s work shall go on till the last straying sheep shall have been found by the Good Shepherd. Then, at the expiry of these ages ‘cometh the end’ when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, and God shall be All in all (1Cor. 15:28).
#28 - THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM – HOSEA BALLOU
From the time of the apostles to the era of the reformation 1498.
“I have been careful to state, in his own words, the opinion of every Christian author extant concerning future punishment and the eventual salvation of the world. This history contains an account of every individual of note whom we have now the means of knowing to have been a universalist.”
#29 - THE MODERN HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM – THOMAS WHITTEMORE
Contains the writings of several hundreds of Christian Universalists from 1498 to 1830.
A snippet from Thomas Whittemore reads, “I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without expressing my heart felt acknowledgements to that Being Who has preserved my health and enabled me to finish this work in the midst of other pressing and incessant duties. May my confidence in Him never be diminished.”
#30 – THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS – ANDREW JUKES
“It is argued that whatever be the meaning of the word aionios in the case of the lost, the same must be its meaning in the case of the saved; and our certainty of never-ending bliss for penitent believers is gone if the word bears not the same signification in the case of the impenitent and unbelieving. But the truth is that this word describes not the quantity or duration, but the quality of that which it is predicated.
The word which in Matt. 25:46 we translate punishment, in its primary sense means ‘pruning’ and is always used for corrective discipline which is for the improvement of him who suffers it. Even those who hold the common view of the endlessness of punishment are obliged to confess this; and this of itself proves that their doctrine is untenable; for any punishment, be it for a longer or shorter time would not be corrective discipline, but quite another thing if it left those who were so corrected unimproved and lost forever. But from the fall till now the changeless way of the Lord is to make even the curse a blessing.”
#31 - YOU SAID IT LORD – ALINE TALSMA
“Lord, did you really say in Your word what I used to believe You said? Is it actually ok with You that people will spend eternity in hell? No, no, a thousand times no! You do not say that - and I am so relieved. Because had You said that, it would follow that I would have to think of You as worse than a murderer, that is, as a tormentor. If a person is murdered at least the possibility of torture and torment is past. But if I were to believe that You have prepared an eternal hell for some, I would also have to believe that You can be happy while you are tormenting people eternally.”
#32 - THOUGHTS ON THE DIVINE GOODNESS RELATIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF MORAL AGENTS PARTICULARLY DISPLAYED IN FUTURE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS – FERDINAND OLIVER PETITPIERRE
“I am assured that goodness is the foundation, and happiness is the end of all the ways of God, to myself and every creature. Hope is the anchor of my soul, sure and steadfast; for though ‘His ways should be in the deep and His paths in the mighty waters;’ though I should experience every external evil; no affliction shall shake my confidence. Never will I dishonour by a moment’s distrust, a Being Who has in mercy commanded me to ‘cast all my care upon Him;’ because ‘He careth for me.’
I have in the whole of this treatise, in establishing the doctrine of perfect goodness, and following it in its consequences; constantly combated such erroneous opinions as represent the Creator of the human race as a Being Whose power will be employed in inflicting never ending torments on a portion of His creatures, and I have established the non-eternity of future torments.”
#33 - HOPE BEYOND HELL – GERRY BEAUCHEMIN
(recently published and can be downloaded FREE, and read online)
”Tradition has taught that God will not save a person against their will. I agree. However He has the power to orchestrate whatever circumstances are necessary to effect one’s will to change.
Once a full revelation of God is received in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7), men will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord just as Isaiah and Paul prophesied (Is. 45:21-25; Rom. 4:11; Ph. 2:9-11). Who would want to continue in active and persistent rebellion knowing God only wants what is best for them? Knowing the great goodness and love of God, along with the Holy Spirit working in their hearts, these hardened hearts must melt before His glorious being.
It is impossible that an omnipotent God can fail in His purpose so that some would forever resist unconditional love opting for everlasting pain. This would be totally irrational. And even if one were that irrational, such resistance would not arise out of a ‘free’ will, but an ‘enslaved’ will, a will in bondage to an enslaved mind.”
Believers in eternal torment will probably not want to have anything to do with this link, but others on this forum might.
Why not check it out?
Read the reviews first – just a suggestion.
HOPE BEYOND HELL - GERRY BEAUCHEMIN
It can be downloaded FREE and read online.
HOPE BEYOND HELL BOOK AUDIO - Gerry Beauchemin
In my opinion, this is the best book ever written in support of the belief that a literally (not interpretively) translated Bible teaches universal transformation, not eternal suffering, or even annihilation.
And I say that, after having read several dozens of them.