The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Biblical Basis For Purgatory And An Infinitely Heinous Punishment



Chesterton’s a blast even when he’s a nut ball. But if you concede that your own logic presents a “clash of contradictions,” and ignores the basic law of contradiction in presenting a case, I’m satisfied.


The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid. The determinist makes the theory of causation quite clear, and then finds that he cannot say “if you please” to the housemaid. The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery; but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness. He puts the seed of dogma in a central darkness; but it branches forth in all directions with abounding natural health. As we have taken the circle as the symbol of reason and madness, we may very well take the cross as the symbol at once of mystery and of health. Buddhism is centripetal, but Christianity is centrifugal: it breaks out. For the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature; but it is fixed for ever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms for ever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its centre it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travellers. ~~ G.K. Chesterton


Thanks, the admission that one’s reasoning relies on “fairyland” says it beautifully!


Holly Tree. Please respond via your Catholic position, to the following Catholic statements:

Pope John Paul II the following are three quotes from him.

Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it. (General Audience of July 28, 1999)

Christ, Redeemer of man, now for ever ‘clad in a robe dipped in blood’ (Apoc, 19,13), the everlasting, invincible guarantee of universal salvation. (Message of John Paul II to the Abbess General of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget)

If the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, is to convince the world precisely of this ‘judgment,’ undoubtedly he does so to continue Christ’s work aimed at universal salvation. We can therefore conclude that in bearing witness to Christ, the Paraclete is an assiduous (though invisible) advocate and defender of the work of salvation, and of all those engaged in this work. He is also the guarantor of the definitive triumph over sin and over the world subjected to sin, in order to free it from sin and introduce it into the way of salvation. (General Audience of May 24, 1989)

The new, post-Vatican II Catechism of the Catholic Church also gives us to hope that all will be saved.

    1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: ‘Lord, let me never be parted from you.’ If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God ‘desires all men to be saved’ (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him ‘all things are possible’ (Mt 19:26).

    1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’ and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for ‘all men to be saved.’



They weren’t speaking infallibly. Moreover, we can hope that nobody commits the eternal sin in rejecting Christ. But the Bible tells us that those who commit the eternal sin by finally rejecting the eternal Christ (thereby forever separating themselves from God’s mercy) are crucifying the Son of God all over again thereby committing the eternal sin:

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age— and then have fallen away—to be restored again to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame.

We don’t know which individuals are involved but we know that there are some. It makes no sense to pray for those in heaven. And it makes no sense to pray for those in hell who hate God out of a hardened heart. Their fate is sealed. Rather we pray for the dead because there’s a purgatory.


These are interesting assertions. But this is an evangelical site, and almost no Protestants find that the Bible says that unbelievers are in purgatory and can be prayed out of it, the Catholic tradition also has not read it that purgatory is for unsaved unbelievers, and of course a central contention of this site and evangelical universalists is that a fate of damnation is not “sealed” for any of God’s offspring that he seeks to reconcile.

I think this means that the burden falls on those who claim dogmas that most participants here have found lacking in support, need to start with explaining step by step why they reject the exegesis embraced by most of us and by the Christian traditions that I cited in paragraph one.



I found this article by Bishop Barron written in 2012. Here’s the conclusion:

It seems to me that Pope Benedict’s position – affirming the reality of Hell but seriously questioning whether that the vast majority of human beings end up there – is the most tenable and actually the most evangelically promising.

Here’s Pope Benedicts position earlier in the paper:

Pope’s 2007 encyclical “Spe Salvi,” which can be summarized as follows: There are a relative handful of truly wicked people in whom the love of God and neighbor has been totally extinguished through sin, and there are a relative handful of people whose lives are utterly pure, completely given over to the demands of love. Those latter few will proceed, upon death, directly to heaven, and those former few will, upon death, enter the state that the Church calls Hell. But the Pope concludes that “the great majority of people” who, though sinners, still retain a fundamental ordering to God, can and will be brought to heaven after the necessary purification of Purgatory


Yes, indeed. I posted this before, but I think it fits well here, so I will repost it.

Thomas Talbott has written ( a simple argument for Universalism based on the power of love, as described in the Bible, to link the emotional state of each of us to that of others. This love means one’s emotional state, e.g., happiness or sadness, is inextricably tied to the emotional state of others, both friends and enemies, all of whom we are told to love by Jesus. Here is a syllogism of the argument.

Premise 1: If not all people get to Heaven, Heaven would be a place of sadness.

Premise 2: Heaven is not a place of sadness.

Conclusion: All people get to Heaven.

This argument can also be used to establish that nobody has been forced to get there. The conclusion of the argument establishes that all people are in Heaven. And because Heaven is not a place of sadness, i.e., Premise 2, all people there have freely chosen to be there, for if any of them had freely chosen not to be there, Heaven would be a place of sadness for them. Consequently, nobody in Heaven has been forced to be there against his or her free will. All people have freely chosen, in this life or the next, to be there.


Here’s an eye-opener: a Reformed Presbyterian minister writing a book on the Bible’s POSITIVE message of universal reconciliation!! And the book being praised by such reformed luminaries as John Frame.
This is an amazing turn of events.

An Amazon reviewer wrote:
I’ve read several books on Christian Universalism, and although they were emotionally satisfying (in other words, I agreed with their conclusions), they weren’t scholarly enough to satisfy the nagging biblical questions still left over. Bonda’s book is entirely different. First, he tackles this issue as a reformed Presybetarian pastor, which rachets up his credibility enormously. Second, he looks at this from a scriptural standpoint, starting with the Old Testament and going through the New Testament to put his argument in context. Finally, he wraps all this up with church history, where we come to see that never-ending punishment was NOT a prevailing view of the early church, nor was the theology of election, or predestination. Instead, Bonda argues rather elequently that the idea of “the restoration of all things” is very biblical, and that questioning the doctrines our current churches hold dear is not blasphemous, but rather is something the Reformation itself encouraged us to do.



Universalism has been examined and studied by the early church and was condemned as heterodox. Not quite heresy but heterodox. I don’t hold to it because it’s followers call the Holy God of the Bible evil and that’s blasphemy. Thinking that the unique author of life taking a life is unjust is wrong and blasphemous.


The scripture teaches Universalism and I’m satisfied - and extremely happy - to have a larger hope, the largest hope, based on the word of God.
Nothing a church tells me will override what I consider to be the teaching of God. That’s my choice, and I can justify it.


Jerry Walls dismantles Talbotts reasoning here:


If you want to believe that, go right ahead. I don’t.


Perhaps we should let, this hot topic rest - until after New Years! I need to attend a party, with some of my zombie friends! :smile:



Talk about heinous punishment…


Back to your trolling ways I see.


Which of the early church father universalists ever called " the Holy God of the Bible evil"? Which of them ever said “the unique author of life taking a life is unjust”? Did Origen ever say such a thing? Did Gregory Nyssa ever say anything like that?


Not very helpful. Please succinctly present the dismantling, so we can all evaluate it.


You repeatedly assert that others say things that sound unrecognizable and bizarre. I find many of your characterization of people we both dig inccorect. But especially, I’ve never seen a universalist “call” God evil. Its’ central theme is that we affirm that the God of the Bible is good and is love. And many of us do not see all of the Bible’s viewpoints as identical.

Heavens, the reality is that your opponents try to avoid expressing their actual perception that your own position is the one that portrays and implies that God is evil, even though we know you would never perceive that you are “calling” God one who sponsors evil. But when those you debate find that you turn their own convictions upside down, your case will lose all credibility and room for clarity.