What is the best evidence (chapter and verse) for UR?
I’m sure there are many good answers, I wonder if we could create a poll?
One of my personal favourites is replacing “love” with “God” (because God is love) in 1 Cor 13, and asking how could a God like this, torment people forever?
I wouldn’t say there are any ‘done and dusted’ proof texts more a general sweep across both testaments as to God’s mercy trumping evil entirely.
Actually, I’d say Romans 5 is pretty solid. It’s the default that I refer to as a proof of universalism because it says it outright, although not quite as distinctly as I’d like it to, since the statements that say all people interpret as choice, and that which implies destiny uses the word ‘many’ even if the same word ‘many’ refers to those who fell. But other than those minor issues which can be expounded upon it’s perfect in my opinion.
1 Timothy 4:10
I like Rom. 5:18, 1 Tim. 4:10, and Phil. 2:10-11 the best. But there are so many I’m continually amazed I never “saw” them before though I had read them literally 100’s, possibly 1000’s of times. All just cannot mean all if you assume the certainty of damnation for most/some of humanity.
I like Romans 8:19=23.
for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject – not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] – in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now. And not only [so], but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting – the redemption of our body (Young’s Translation.)
And Romans 11:36.
…of Him, and through Him, and to Him [are] the all things…
Yes. Everything that came from God through Christ will return to God through Christ. That nails it for me.
I also like Paul’s “If I do what I don’t want to do, it is no longer I who does it, but sin living in me. etc.” He makes the distinction between Paul (who is good, and will be saved) and Saul (who is evil and will be destroyed forever.) I think the same is true of everyone.
I have a favorite analogy (I’ve said this before, so forgive the repetition.) When you blow into a trumpet, your lips make all sorts of random vibrations, but the few specific frequencies that resonate in the tube are amplified. In the same way, when we find ourselves in God’s presence, the life that is born of God in each of us will resonate and be amplified. All the other stuff will wither and die. “Who shall rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Paul is “in Christ”; Saul is “in Adam”. In Adam dwells no good thing. Death is Adam’s gift to all, whereas Christ’s gift is life to all.
I think we are the superposition of two natures: Adam and Christ, old and new, flesh and spirit, law and grace, darkness and light, death and life. There is nothing light about darkness, or dark about light. (A kingdom divided against itself will fall.) Every part of my person can be resolved into two components at spiritual right-angles. Like north and east, good and evil are mutually exclusive dimensions, and one day, God will separate them forever. The narrow gate is like a polarizing filter. The part of me that oscillates in God’s plane will pass, but the bulk of my personality (I suspect) will go down to destruction where the evil eye will be gouged out, the evil hand amputated. (Everyone will be salted with fire.)
Solid preachin’, sir.
Although, I would add that though the development of goodness is usually gradual (“add to your faith…” 2 Peter 1:5-7 and “until the morning star rises in your hearts” vs. 19) just as is the dawning of a new day. But light has substance whereas darkness does not. Therefore, true goodness is absolute and comes down from above and can’t be compromised. Dim light isn’t a balance between dark and light it’s just not enough light - even though light is an absolutely real substance that can’t be diluted.
Also, perhaps good and evil are more like north and south - after all, you CAN have a northeast direction.
Actually, I forgot there’s a parallel in Corinthians but just now reading one of Jason’s many comments on Justin Taylor’s blog, I think this is by far the most compelling:
“For as in Adam all do die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then the end [literally the ‘goal’ or ‘target’ to be reached] when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For [quoting Ps 8:6] He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when he says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor 15:22-28)
Some interpret the above reference to ‘…each in its own order’ as ‘…each in its own squadron’. The firstfruits are one squadron, those that are Christ’s at his coming are the second squadron and the end means the last squadron.
Here’s a link to one - I know Jason isn’t convinced by this interpretation but it’s worth a read (the reference doesn’t appear until quite a way down the page but I would read the whole thing to get the context).
The whole book is free online at this site.
Michael – good question and hard to pick just one! (And why would one want to limit himself to just one anyway!!)
For me, far and away the best evidence is the utter incoherence of a loving God committing ECT or annihilation. If language means anything at all, and is not infinitely flexible (if it is, there can be no real meaning) then love by it’s very nature excludes ECT/annihilation ===> therefore UR…
That works for me, but not for everyone I admit.
But maybe the next best is the whole idea of Death being swallowed up in Victory (1Cor 15:54,55) – death where is YOUR victory and where is YOUR sting??
Could it be more obvious that any lingering dead would completely refute this text? Bob over there, in the grave is deaths victory and it’s sting…
It’s this VISION of how things are NOW related to God, in Christ, that grounded my earliest suspicions that UR might be true. I can’t account for ECT metaphysically (Walls comes the closest, but doesn’t succeed in the end). This was the patristic (those who were universalists) approach too–because of how created things exist at all in Christ, the notion that a created thing could reach a place where it was incapable of Godward movement (toward its telos) was a contradiction of what it meant to exist ‘as created’.
To ‘be’, to ‘exist’ at all, is to be open on some level to Godward movement, since one’s existence is grounded in a divine invitation. So to ‘be’ is be ‘a possibility of relating’ to God. To ‘exist’ is to be ‘invited’ Godward. Forgive me for repeating it so much, it’s just exhilarating to hear. Absolute ‘hopeLESSness’ is a metaphysical impossibility.
Once things are viewed “in Christ” in this way, it’s a matter of just seeing the implications of it.
Beautiful. So beautiful—
Where 'ere I look
I choose to see
the beauty that exists
in spite of evil that resists
like shadows ‘gainst the rising Son;
they are not real, no substance have,
are no thing
and nothing mean.
All that is real on thee depends
from thy breath of love extends,
With thee infused all is,
To thee alone all sends
its praise back.
Beautiful. You are so beautiful,
in all things. I see you in their eyes
and deep within their depths I find
eternal surprise after surprise.
Who can have a fear, fully rested here?
Where endless fields are laid before
and all I love with me above,
each one by name in thee restored;
no dream can touch
nor can song match
nor craft enshrine
the beauty that is thine
The problem with making good and evil like north and south, or like positive and negative numbers, is that you give evil an equal (but opposite) power to good. But one good deed doesn’t cancel one bad deed, nor does a photon of light annul an antiphoton of darkness.
When you head northeast, you are moving both north and east simultaneously, but even so, there is absolutely no north in the eastward movement, or east in northward. Similarly, every human act and thought is the “vector sum” of both good and evil impulses. A part of me moves towards God (east) while another part moves away (north), and both these movements occur simultaneously. The net result is a rather confused and conflicted “me”.
A lovely poem, Tom.
Jesus sends the wicked away saying, “I never knew you”. But how can God not know them? Because “they are not real, no substance have, are no thing and nothing mean.”
God commands us to love even our enemies, which means there is something in even the worst of us that is actually worth loving “deep within their depths”. It is our task to find the “eternal surprise after surprise” and blow it into brighter flame.
I conclude then that the wicked man in every person is unreal, uncreated, unknown by God and unknowable, and will be destroyed. The good man in every person is real, created, known by God, worthy of love, deeply loved, and will be saved.