The order of things


#1

Tom,

I am a believer in Universal Reconciliation. It seems that those of us who believe in UR see the same ulitmate outcome for the entirety of mankind; however, there are some nuances regarding the order of things. For example, some believe that God’s punishment (correction) upon the unrighteous will occur after the resurrection. This is similar to traditional teaching in which Christ will return, all are resurrected, judged, and then punished or rewarded appropriately. However, it seems to me that some scriptures seem to point to a different order of things. Here are a couple of examples…

1 Cor 15:26
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

Here we are told that when death is destroyed (the resurrection), Christ has no more enemies. If so, who would need to be punished or corrected? Also, in this entire chapter it seems that Paul is attempting to tell us the order of things, yet there is no mention of a great assembly for judgment and punishment following the resurrection. It seems odd that if such was to be the case Paul didn’t list it here.

Another example…

Rom 8:18-23
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Here Paul says that the creation (mankind) must wait their resurrection until after the Sons of God (those led by God’s Spirit) are revealed (resurrected). So Paul again is giving us the order of things. But here also there is no mention of a great assembly or punishment for the disobedient. It says that the creation will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption” (ressurected) and share the same glorious liberty with the Sons of God.

Based on these things, it seems to me that the destruction, punishment, correction which awaits the unrepentant must find its fulfillment prior to the resurrection. Any thoughts?

Todd


#2

Don’t feel bad if it takes Tom some time to respond, Todd. He’s only just recently come back to the forum from a long trip and is swamped with work.

If he hasn’t attempted an answer in a couple of weeks, I’ll give it a shot myself. :slight_smile:


#3

Jason-

Curious to know if you’ve ever considered writing a book on UR? I certainly think you’re qualified. Or do you need to be a professor of theology, philosophy, etc or a pastor? Sorry to get sidetracked here, but you always do a good job of responding when the “Big 2” are unavailable.


#4

As a matter of practical publishing purposes, yes I would need to be a “professional”: someone in teaching (or related) authority somewhere, already recognized by some group or other as being officially such. No official publisher could be expected to touch me (at this time) without that.

Sure, I could self-publish a book–I have my own licensed publication company after all, and I publish my own novels. And I’ll likely get around to doing that someday. I wouldn’t mind polishing up and printing my SttH material (which leads to orthodox trinitarian theism and thence lays the groundwork for universalism as a logical corollary); and my KoS material (which, as a Gospel harmonization, I tried not to make too obviously only-universalistic-and-not-possibly-anything-else, but still. :wink: ) And I certainly have plans for an extensive (multi-volume) analytical look at all the canonical material across the OT and NT, with an eye to evaluating each piece of testimony in regard to how it relates to one or more soteriology types (Calv, Arm or Kath.)

But the novels, in my heart, have priority for now. Print-publishing (and in some cases composing) the theological books have to come later. (I pray about this pretty frequently, but the answer still seems to be: do the fictional series first, or get it well-established first anyway.)

On the other hand, a friend of mine has recently become aware of AnthologyBuilder (I think it’s called) for which she has begun submitting short stories and novellas that she either has already had published (but the magazine’s copyrights have expired) or doesn’t intend to submit for publication otherwise, so that fans of her novels and short stories can eventually build and print a story collection. I may consider submitting (with perhaps some revision for better general application) articles I’ve written over the years as comments, private and public, many of which in recent years would overtly concern universalism. It wouldn’t be anything like a systematic work (which I would much prefer to write). But it would be better than nothing. :slight_smile:

(And the friend I’m thinking of would probably love having access to that, too. :smiley: I hope so anyway…)

Now off to try to work on editing those novels… :laughing: (Which I haven’t succeeded in doing any of yet this morning. :unamused: )


#5

Hi Todd,

Thanks for your question, and sorry for the delay in replying. I somehow seem to have missed the fact that you had posted your question.

In any event, based on I Corinthians 15:26 and Romans 8:18-23, you wonder whether “the destruction, punishment, correction which awaits the unrepentant must find its fulfillment prior to the resurrection.” As for my own thoughts on the matter, I suspect that Paul’s timeline leaves plenty of wiggle room for a lot of different views. Take I Corinthians 15:26. In the prior verses it is as if Paul had in mind a procession. At the head of the procession is Christ, the first fruits; after that comes those who belong to Christ at his coming; then “comes the end” (i.e., the end of the procession). Although many Bible scholars would disagree, I think there are good reasons to translate the final expression as, “Then comes the rest or the remainder,” which would be the third stage of resurrections.” But let that pass for now. So long as we understand “the end” to be the final scene in a cosmic drama, then there seems to be plenty of room for additional resurrections after the resurrection of those who belong to Christ at his coming and before the final scene is completed. For Christ must continue to “reign,” so we are told, “until he has put all of his enemies [including those who do not yet belong to him at his coming] under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Offhand that does seem to me consistent with a series of resurrections. But I really have no settled view on the matter.

Does that help at all? Thanks again for your query.

-Tom


#6

Tom,

Thank you for your reply. I also see this as you have explained. When Paul says, “then comes the end” he means the rest or remainder are resurrected. This would be consistent with Romans 8:18-23 in which the creation awaits their turn to be resurrected following the sons of God. What I find interesting is that there is no mention of any judgement or correction following the resurrection, so I suspect that it must be completed before that event.

Here you have mentioned a verse that may point to the correcting of those who are not yet followers (his enemies). During this correction period Chirst still has enemies; however, when death [the last enemy] is destroyed, He has no more enemies…so I conclude here that the resurrection awaits the completion of the correction period. I’m not sure how this all works since we have so little detail, or as you have said, there is wiggle room for various views.

I may be reading too much into this, but it just doesn’t seem to jive with traditionally taught timelines.

Todd