The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Divine Fire Of Theos

Our God is a consuming Fire

Fire Is A Beneficent Agent

How shallow is the common view of “fire” as only or chiefly a penal agent. Fire, in Scripture, is the element of…

“Life”…Isa. 4:5

“Purification”…Matt. 3:3

“Atonement”…Lev. 16:27

“Transformation”…2 Pet. 3:10

And never ever of preservation alive for purposes of anguish.

And the popular view selects precisely this latter use, never found in Scripture, and represents it as the sole end of God’s fiery judgments! If we take either the teaching of Scripture or of nature, we see that the dominant conception of fire is of a beneficent agent. Nature tells us that fire is a necessary condition of life; its mission is to sustain life; and to purify, even when it dissolves.

Extinguish the stores of fire in the universe, and you extinguish all being; universal death reigns. Most strikingly is this connection of fire and life shown in the facts of nutrition. For we actually burn in order to live; our food is the fuel; our bodies are furnaces; our nutrition is a process of combustion; we are, in fact, “aflame to the very tips of our fingers.” And so it is that round the fireside of life and work gather: when we think of home we speak of the family hearth.

Fire Is The Sign Of God’s Being

And what Nature teaches, Scripture enforces in no doubtful tone. It is significant to find the Great Source of life constantly associated with fire in the Bible.

Fire is the sign, not of God’s wrath, but of His being.

When God comes to Ezekiel there is a “fire unfolding itself” (Ezek. 1:4, 27) and “the appearance of fire.” (Ezek. 8:2)

Christ’s eyes are a flame of “fire” (Rev. 1:14).

The seven lamps of “fire” are the seven Spirits of God (Rev. 4:5). So a fiery stream is said “to go before God,” His throne is fiery flame, its wheels are burning fire (Daniel 7:9,10). His eyes are lamps of fire (Dan. 10:6); He is a wall of fire (Zeph. 2:5). At His touch the mountains smoke (Psl. 104:32). And God’s ministers are a flame of fire (Psl. 104:4…Heb. 1:7). It is not meant to deny that the Divine Fire chastises and destroys.

Purification, Not Ruin Is The Final Outcome

It is meant that purification, not ruin, is the final outcome of that fire from above, which consumes–call it, if you please, a paradox–in order that it may save. For if God is Love, then by what but by love can His fires be kindled? They are, in fact, the very flame of love; and so we have the key to the words, “Thy God is a consuming Fire,” and “Thy God is a merciful God” (Deut. 4:24-31). So God devours the earth with fire, in order that finally all may call upon the name of the Lord (Zeph. 3:8,9)–words full of significance.

So Isaiah tells us of God’s cleansing the daughters of Zion by the spirit of burning (Isa. 4:4)–suggestive words. And, so again, “By fire will the Lord plead with all flesh.” (Isa. 66:16) And Christ coming to save, comes to purify by “fire.” (Mal. 3:2).

Fire A Sign Of Favourable Response?

Let us note, also, how often “fire” is the sign of a favourable answer from God; when God appears to Moses at the Bush it is in “fire:” God answers Gideon by “fire;” and David by “fire.” (1 Chron. 21:26) Again, when He answers Elijah on Carmel, it is by “fire;” and in “fire” Elijah himself ascends to God. So God sends to Elisha, for aid, chariots and horses of “fire.” So when the Psalmist calls, God answers by “fire.” (Psl. 18:6-8)

And by the pillar of “fire” God gave His law. And in “fire” the great gift of the Holy Ghost descends at Pentecost."

Fire Is The Portion Of All

These words bring us to the New Testament. There we find that “fire,” like judgment, so far from being the sinner’s portion ONLY, is the portion of all. Like God’s judgment again, it is not future merely, but present; it is “already kindled,” always kindled: its object is not torment, but cleansing. The proof comes from the lips of our Lord Himself. “I am come to send fire on the earth,” for it is certain that He came as a Saviour. Thus, coming to save, Christ comes with fire, nay, with fire already kindled. He comes to baptize with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.

Therefore, it is that Christ teaches in solemn passage (usually misunderstood, Mark 9:43) that everyone shall be salted with fire. And so the “fire is to try every man’s work.” He whose work fails is saved (mark the word saved), not damned “so as by fire,” by consuming what is evil, saves and refines.

The antient tradition that represents Christ as saying, “He that is near Me is near fire,” expresses a vital truth. So Malachi, describes Christ as being in His saving work “like a refiner’s fire.” And so, echoing Deut 4:24-31, we are told that “our God is a consuming Fire,” i.e., God in His closest relation to us; God is Love; God is Spirit: but “Our God is a consuming Fire”–a consuming Fire, “by which the whole material substance of sin is destroyed.”

When, then, we read (Psl. 18:12) that “coals of fire” go before God, we think of the deeds of love which are “coals of fire” to our enemies. (Rom. 12:20) Thus, we who teach hope for all men, do not shrink from but accept, in their fullest meaning, these mysterious “fires” of gehenna, of which Christ speaks (kindled for purification), as in a special sense the sinner’s doom in the coming ages. But taught by the clearest statements of Scripture (confirmed as they are by many analogies of Nature), we see in these “fires” not a denial of, but a mode of fulfilling, the promise–

"Behold, I make all things new."

-Christ Triumphant-

Are our broadest hopes broad enough? Shall there be a nook or abyss, in all the universe of God, finally unlightened by the Cross? Shall there be a sin, or sorrow, or pain unhealed? Is the very universe, is creation in all its extent, a field wide enough for the Son of God?

The 2nd Death

“Orthodox theology holds the second death to be a state of endless torment in which the sufferers are held forever in conscious being by a continuous act of Divine preservation, with the soul object of a punishment without end. This however would in no sense be death. The second death does not perpetuate the hopeless condition of the sinner to all eternity.

What the Holy Spirit means by ‘fire and brimstone’ is ‘divine purification,’ or a judgment fire which consumes all that is antagonistic to divine law and love.

Before the Great White Throne, that vast throng, their naked spirits conscious now of the blazing holiness of God, will be subjected to the process of the second death. What those processes are, their intensity and their duration, we are not told. They will suffice, however, not in themselves to perfect, but to bring those who suffer them to that agreement with the judgment upon sin which they effect, and through the cross finally to reconcile them to God (Col. 1:20), in a subjection where He will be ‘All in all.’ When that acquiescence in judgment upon sin is reached, and applied in soul and spirit, then will be possible the final victory over death. Hence it is written that when this subjection is reached, then and only then, ‘the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed.’ ” -A. E. Saxby

The Lake Of Fire

Brimstone= theion

Root of theion= Theos

Theion= the breath of Jehovah/ Theos

The Lake of Divine Fire

Are our broadest hopes broad enough? Shall there be a nook or abyss, in all the universe of God, finally unlightened by the Cross? Shall there be a sin, or sorrow, or pain unhealed? Is the very universe, is creation in all its extent, a field wide enough for the Son of God?

The Divine Fire

Is it not strange the long seasons that can elapse on the back-side of the desert?

Year by year falls into the great abyss, and at the juncture where we can no longer speak, and the great struggle to do the will of God vanishes into weakness and death, the Bush appears pulsating with Deity. It is there at the asamuth of death and weakness the Living One speaks.

“Take off your shoes from off your feet”

Holy ground!

The place where dust and Divinity meet! It is there in absolute weakness and inability, the Lord manifests Himself as the God who raises the dead. The road into the Tree of Life is by way of the flaming swords swirling in every direction. Those who reach for the Tree will suffer the loss of the hand, the fingers, the grasp of all they are! And as the process of the swirling swords rage upon these ones, great loss is inflicted, for nothing, no one, comes to the other side the same as it enters…NOTHING!..NOTHING!..NOTHING!

The great stages of the Living One’s glory must be in degrees of doxa. We are changed from one degree of glory to another and another! It requires a thought beginning in the mind of the caterpillar that ultimately leads to the building of a cocoon from which caterpillars become butterflies, and dust moves from the road of life into the Divine One, described as “the Living”, the “I am”, not the I was, the I AM.

It is this Heavenly Road that grasps us, the Heavenly One, the Source leading to the Road, the sustaining Guide of the Road, and the Goal of the Road. All things lead to Him, through Him and for Him! And by Him all things consist.

It has taken me over 70 years to go a journey that could be accomplished in 11 days, but dust and Divinity must meet; the goal is not all the story, the path is of equal value in the I AM! Each of us are on different stages of our Father’s drawing hand, some so wrapped up in themselves they cannot see the bush that is aflame and is not devoured. It is just a common bush for many, but>>>>>

"Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; and only he who sees takes off his shoes. - Eliz. Barrett Browning-

Are our broadest hopes broad enough? Shall there be a nook or abyss, in all the universe of God, finally unlightened by the Cross? Shall there be a sin, or sorrow, or pain unhealed? Is the very universe, is creation in all its extent, a field wide enough for the Son of God?

This reflection came today, from the CAC blog:

The Universal Christ

Who Is Christ?
Sunday, December 2, 2018
First Sunday of Advent

What if we’ve missed the point of who Christ is, what Christ is, and where Christ is? I believe that a Christian is simply one who has learned to see Christ everywhere. Understanding the Universal or Cosmic Christ can change the way we relate to creation, to other religions, to other people, to ourselves, and to God. Knowing and experiencing this Christ can bring about a major shift in consciousness. Like Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9), we won’t be the same after encountering the Risen Christ.

The Universal Christ is present in both Scripture and Tradition, and the concept has been understood by many mystics, though not as a focus of mainline Christianity. (See John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:9-12 if you think this is some new idea.) We just didn’t have the eyes to see it.

The Universal Christ is Divine Presence pervading all of creation since the very beginning. My father Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) intuited this presence and lived his life in awareness of it. Later, John Duns Scotus (1266–1308) put this intuition into philosophical form. For Duns Scotus, the Christ Mystery was the blueprint of reality from the very start (John 1:1). Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) brought this insight into our modern world.

God’s first “idea” was to become manifest—to pour out divine, infinite love into finite, visible forms. The “Big Bang” is now our scientific name for that first idea; and “Christ” is our Christian theological name. Both are about love and beauty exploding outward in all directions. Creation is indeed the Body of God!

In Jesus, this eternal omnipresence had a precise, concrete, and personal referent. God’s presence became more obvious and believable in the world. The formless took on form in someone we could “hear, see, and touch” (1 John 1:1), making God easier to love.

But it seems we so fell in love with this personal interface in Jesus that we forgot about the eternal Christ, the Body of God, which is all of creation, which is really the “First Bible.” Jesus and Christ are not exactly the same. In the early Christian era, only a few Eastern Fathers (such as Origen of Alexandria and Maximus the Confessor) noticed that the Christ was clearly historically older, larger, and different than Jesus himself. They mystically saw that Jesus is the union of human and divine in space and time; Christ is the eternal union of matter and Spirit from the beginning of time.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we’re believing in something much bigger than the historical incarnation that we call Jesus. Jesus is the visible map. The entire sweep of the meaning of the Anointed One, the Christ, includes us and includes all of creation since the beginning of time (see Romans 1:20). This Advent, let us wait in anticipation for the eternally coming Christ.

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”-- Albert Clarke

Dear qaz: all believers & all non believers are heading Home to our God who IS consuming fire! The word “physically” I fear falls a mite short!

The Second Death=

What is the “Second Death”?

First birth= physical

Second birth= spiritual

First death= physical

Second death= spiritual

There is a First Birth (physical) and a Second Birth (spiritual) - being BORN AGAIN!).

There is a First Death (physical) and a Second Death (spiritual) - which results in a “New creature in Christ.”

The “flesh” cannot be “converted;” it must be “destroyed,” disassembled, made new. The “Old man of Sin” must be buried. The carnal (fleshly) mind “is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are flesh can not please God.”

The “flesh” is “destroyed,” but the person is not. After all, Jesus said He came “to DESTROY the WORKS of the DEVIL.” (1 John 3:8)

We are the Works of Christ. He created us. We are NOT the works of the devil. Only the SIN in our lives is the work of the devil. It is the SIN ONLY that is permanently destroyed. Then we become “A NEW creature in Christ.”

Jesus said: “Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW!!”

Recently seven of us on the hell verses project team met in Denver at
Peter Hiett’s church, The Sanctuary Downtown (Denver) to discuss some
of the issues surrounding our understanding of the bible and the teaching
of hell.

David and Elaine Lubbers along with Michael Hanna recorded our discussions.

There will be eight 20-30 minute videos from this effort entitled The Successful
Savior Series on YouTube. This link will go to part one: “Is Hell Biblical?”

The way for all is through the fires, for fire is the great uniter and reconciler of all things; and things which without fire can never be united, in and through the fire are changed and become one.

Therefore every coming of Christ, even in grace, is a day of judgment. Therefore there are fires even for the elect both now, (1 Pet. 1:7, and 4: 12) and in the coming day; (1 Cor. 3:. 13, 15.) for “our God is a consuming fire;” (Heb. 12: 29.) and to dwell in Him we must have a life, which, because it is of the fire, for fire burns not fire, can stand unhurt in it.

Therefore our Lord “came to cast fire into the earth,” and desired nothing more than “that it should be already kindled;” (S. Luke 12: 49) therefore He says,

Mark 9: 49-

For this is the very “baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire,” (Matt. 3: 11) that “spirit of judgment and burning,” promised by the prophet, "with which the Lord shall purge away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and cleanse the blood of Jerusalem; after which He will create on every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and on all her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day, and the brightness of flame of fire by night; and upon all, the glory shall be a defence; (Isa. 4: 4, 5) for “He is like a refiner’s fire, and like a fuller’s soap; and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi as gold and silver are purged, that they may offer to the Lord an offering of righteousness.” (Mal. 3: 3). And as by the hidden fire of this present life, shut up in these bodies of corruption, we are able by the wondrous chemistry of nature through corruption to change the fruits and flesh of the earth into our blood, and from blood again into our flesh and bone and sinew; so by the fire of God can we be changed, and made partakers of Christ’s flesh and blood. In and through Christ we have received this transmutation; (Rom. 5: 11) and through His Spirit, which is fire, is this same change accomplished in us.


Numbers 28: 6. By this double sense a veil covers the letter, veiling yet revealing God’s purpose; for His purpose to the creature is through destruction to perfect it, and by fire to make it a bride unto the Lord. For a kindred reason some of the angels are called Seraphim, that is burning ones; for like the Lord, whose throne is flames of fire, (Dan. 7: 9,10.) they also are as fire; as it is written, “He makes His angels spirits, His messengers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1: 7, and Psalm 104:4)

And as with the first-fruits, so with the harvest. The world to be saved must some day know the same baptism. For “the Lord will come with fire,” and “by fire and by His sword will He plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” (Isa. 66: 15, 16.) The promised baptism or outpouring of the Spirit must be judgment, for the Spirit cannot be poured on man without consuming this flesh to quicken a better life;


James 1: 20) works both righteousness and life, and is set forth in that “warfare of the service of the tabernacle” (See Numbers 4: 23, 30, and 8: 24, 25; margin: and compare 1 Tim. 1: eighteen) by which that which was of the earth was made to ascend to God through fire a sweet sacrifice.

-Andrew Jukes-

The Goal of Orthodoxy - via Theosis (1, 2) - is Union with God. This is the main thrust, in the writing of RC Father Richard Rohr in Meditation . And of Yoga (1, 2) and Sufism. Everything else, like

Is met to “stir things up”, in order to facilitate Union With God.

Dear Sun: The koine theion is the incense of Jehovah and is rooted in theioo which is Theos. The Lake of Fire is the incense of Jehovah rooted firmly in Theos. Make zero mistake: our God is consuming fire; the Limne of Theos is consuming fire in which every last element of sin and iniquity is consumed: every last rotten bit!

"He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it–the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in Heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him."

Are our broadest hopes broad enough? Shall there be a nook or abyss, in all the universe of God, finally unlightened by the Cross? Shall there be a sin, or sorrow, or pain unhealed? Is the very universe, is creation in all its extent, a field wide enough for the Son of God?

John R Gavazzoni

Editors Note:

(The following was written by John R Gavazzoni as one of several explanations by members of a Christian internet forum sent to a brother in Christ who had asked if anyone could help him understand the meaning of the lake of fire and brimstone.)

Hi Doug, Please consider the following very general attempt to answer your question. I believe the association of fire with purification in both old and new testaments is easily traceable. I won’t list proof texts, but they do abound, and probably others will take the time to present those in detail. In the old testament the prophetic analogy of silver being purified by fire is classically representative of the purification theme of the Bible.

I would say that, typically true of him, Paul, gets to the heart of the matter when he writes about every man’s work being tried by fire, yet the man, himself, being saved. John, whose theology parallels Paul’s more explicit style, with a more implicit style of his own, makes it a point to call the lake in question not only the lake of fire, but also of brimstone, which is an old word for sulfur. With sulfur being a common agent of ceremonial purification in temples of worship in ancient times, I think the association is obvious in the Book of Revelation.

Now, to specifically address the possibility that John means to convey destruction rather than purification, let me say that neither scripture nor science recognizes the destruction of anything in the sense of annihilation, that is, of anything being reduced to a state of absolute nothingness. Destruction does not render anything nonexistent, but rather incapable of carrying out its function, as in the destruction of a tank in warfare. The mass of metal is still there, but it can’t function as a tank any longer.

Even if you were to vaporize the tank completely, yet, it’s intrinsic elements would still exist in other forms. Contrary to conventional theology, all things were not created from nothing, and none of the things that have been created will ever face nonexistence, and by that I mean nonexistence in any form. All created things are subject to change, change in form, but not subject to losing their intrinsic existence.

So, what we have in the process of purification by fire is, first, a separation of the object of purification from all that defiles it, all that is foreign to it’s intrinsic constitution, and then the removal of the corrupting element(s). But, as all analogies and parables fall short, in some way, of fully representing the truth they are meant to convey, so is the case here. (I think Bible teachers speak of parables not walking on all fours).

In the case of death and Hades being cast into the lake of fire and a separating of these foreign elements of corruption from the persons who are subjected to the divine flame, it is clear that the persons are saved; they are delivered from the corruption to which they were subjected, but other scripture indicates that death, that last (ultimate) enemy is not merely discarded, but is swallowed up in victory.

I think the Holy Spirit very specifically inspired Paul to write of swallowing up and not mere discarding and certainly not annihilation. When something is swallowed it undergoes a quite remarkable process whereby it becomes, physically speaking, part and parcel of the swallower himself. It is transformed into blood, bone and tissue and has become integral to the person’s body. The Book of Hebrews uses the analogy of shaking. Everything that can be shaken will be removed by that shaking, but what then?

This brings us to the depth and extent of reconciliation in the economy of God. Certainly, God has reconciled the alienated person to Himself in Christ, that is undeniable in the scripture, but beyond that, God does not defeat death and the place/Hades [the capacity and potential] of death, by merely removing them. He takes alienation, enmity and hostility themselves and reconstitutes them back into the grace out of which they first proceeded. In a word, God defeats his enemies by transforming them into friends.

At the heart of the message of the Book of Revelation is majestic statement of Him who sits upon the throne, “Behold, I make ALL THINGS new.” God loses nothing. The loss of anything does not compute when it comes to God. He created good and evil, the prophet said, and in the end, all things return to God that “He might be all in all.”

What a God,

John R. Gavazzoni

It is amazing the things you can learn on Christian Boards!

F.L. has been in discussion with a wee lad who posts the Lord is not literally fire & suggests I know not what “literally” means.

My response=

“Our God is [a] fire.” He is literally in essence fire! He is LOVE literally. He is Spirit literally. He is Light literally. He is Fire literally. He is Saviour literally.


In a literal manner or sense; exactly.


Exactly, precisely, actually, really, truly;

Used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.

Dear lad:

Are you suggesting the essence of our God is not literal? Perhaps His amazing love is not literal? You think He is a potential Saviour, and certainly must not in essence be Saviour, oh no, our God the Saviour of all mankind is not literal!

Our God is literally in actuality, exactly & precisely in essence,>>>>>>>


The Consuming Fire

Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. For if at the voice of entreaty love conquers displeasure, it is love asserting itself, not love yielding its claims. It is not love that grants a boon unwillingly; still less is it love that answers a prayer to the wrong and hurt of him who prays. Love is one, and love is changeless.

For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected–not in itself, but in the object. As it was…

Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald: The Consuming Fire

Deut. 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deut. 9:3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

It is not the wicked that will be dwelling in the devouring fire:

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.

Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; We will be able to stand in the presence of a Holy God and not be destroyed:

Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.


What is the meaning of the word “pure”?

  1. Free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter: pure gold; pure water.

  2. Unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous.
    of unmixed descent or ancestry.

  3. Free from foreign or inappropriate elements.

  4. Clear/ free from blemishes.


Hagnos = pure from defilement.

From hagios = HOLY.

Katharos = cleansed by fire. Pure.