The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Thoughts On This?

That’s confusing enough to have come out of one of the Church Councils! :laughing:

Ramelli’s tome has a couple footnotes re “the Letter to Diognetus”:

“248 According to C.E. Hill, From the Lost Teaching of Polycarp: Identifying Irenaeus’ Apostolic
Presbyter and the Author of Ad Diognetum (Tübingen, 2006), material from Polycarp is to be
found in Irenaeus AH 4,27–32, and the Letter to Diognetus may be ascribable to Polycarp. I
observe that in this connection it is interesting that this Letter (ch. 10) presents the αἰώνιον
fire as working “until an end” or “until the end,” μέχρι τέλους. This is noted by D. Scott Reichard
in Beauchemin, Hope Beyond Hell, 205. This indicates that there will come an end to the fire’s
action.”( p.90)

"497 “The divine Logos declares that It will eliminate evilness—called “stony heart”—from
those who approach It, not against their will though, but only if the sick come to the
Physician. …] And the action of restoring sight to the blind [Matt 11:5] in respect to the
request of those who were confident that they could be healed, is the work of these who
obtain to be healed; but in respect to the restoring of sight, it is the work of Our Saviour.” See
also Comm. in Io. 1,20 (22); CC 2,67; 3,62; Hom. in Lev. 8,1; in these passages the Physician is
Christ; in others, God (Hom. in Ier. 12,5; in Ez. 1,2). The notion of Christus medicus was already
developed by Clement, by the author of the Letter to Diognetus, 9,6 (identified by some with
Pantaenus, well known to Origen: see Th. Baumeister, “Zur Datierung der Schrift an Diognet,”
Vigiliae Christianae 42 [1988] 105–111) and Ignatius of Antioch, also known to Origen (Hom.
in Luc. 6) in Eph. 7,2, where Christ is styled “bodily and spiritual physician.” " (p.186)

Ilaria Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp.) … &q&f=false

Scholars directory, with list of publications:

Good stuff.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) believed that “Christianity” taught everlasting punishment, and therefore hoped that Christianity was not true.

Apparently the Athanasian creed also includes in its damnation to everlasting punishment all who deny Christ descended into “hell” or deny that at Christ’s coming “all men will rise again with their bodies”:

That page quotes “Justin Martyr (A.D. 150)” as saying:

“He endured the sufferings for those men whose souls are [actually] purified from all iniquity…As Jacob served Laban for the cattle that were spotted, and of carious forms, so Christ served even to the cross for men of every kind, of many and various shapes, procuring them by His blood and the mystery of the cross.”

The following website responds:

“The first thing you’ll notice is the brackets. Horton has inserted the word “actually” into the text. This is from Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho. In the original text the portions separated by the “…” are actually from two different chapters. The first part of the quote comes from chapter XLI where Justin Martyr is teaching that the offering of fine flour in the Old Testament was a figure of the Lord’s Supper. He writes:”

" “And the offering of fine flour, sirs,” I said, “which was prescribed to be presented on behalf of those purified from leprosy, was a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed, in remembrance of the suffering which He endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity, in order that we may at the same time thank God for having created the world, with all things therein, for the sake of man, and for delivering us from the evil in which we were, and for utterly overthrowing principalities and powers by Him who suffered according to His will. Hence God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: ‘I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord: but ye profane it.’ He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us, who in every place offer sacrifices to Him, i.e., the bread of the Eucharist, and also the cup of the Eucharist, affirming both that we glorify His name, and that you profane . The command of circumcision, again, bidding [them] always circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision, by which we are circumcised from deceit and iniquity through Him who rose from the dead on the first day after the Sabbath, [namely through] our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first day after the Sabbath, remaining the first of all the days, is called, however, the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, and [yet] remains the first.” "

“So the point is that Jesus suffered for those who partake of the Eucharist. There’s nothing to suggest that these people could not fall away and nothing that teaches that Jesus did not suffer for others. The second part of the quotation is from chapter CXXXIV. For those who need to brush up on their Roman numerals, Horton is taking a quotation from part of chapter 41 and combining it with a quotation from part of chapter 134. The end of Chapter CXXXIV says:”

" “Attend therefore to what I say. The marriages of Jacob were types of that which Christ was about to accomplish. For it was not lawful for Jacob to marry two sisters at once. And he serves Laban for [one of] the daughters; and being deceived in [the obtaining of] the younger, he again served seven years. Now Leah is your people and synagogue; but Rachel is our Church. And for these, and for the servants in both, Christ even now serves. For while Noah gave to the two sons the seed of the third as servants, now on the other hand Christ has come to restore both the free sons and the servants amongst them, conferring the same honour on all of them who keep His commandments; even as the children of the free women and the children of the bond women born to Jacob were all sons, and equal in dignity. And it was foretold what each should be according to rank and according to fore-knowledge. Jacob served Laban for speckled and many-spotted sheep; and Christ served, even to the slavery of the cross, for the various and many-formed races of mankind, acquiring them by the blood and mystery of the cross. Leah was weak-eyed; for the eyes of your souls are excessively weak. Rachel stole the gods of Laban, and has hid them to this day; and we have lost our paternal and material gods. Jacob was hated for all time by his brother; and we now, and our Lord Himself, are hated by you and by all men, though we are brothers by nature. Jacob was called Israel; and Israel has been demonstrated to be the Christ, who is, and is called, Jesus.” "

“In the actual passage, Justin is saying that Jesus served for both Jew and Gentile. Trypho was not a Christian but in this passage Justin describes him as one of the Jews for whom Christ “served.” In reality the passage speaks against a limited atonement.” … thers.html

The same site claims Calvinists have also misunderstood a number of other Church Father quotes regarding the atonement of Christ. As with the above example the site’s author details why he thinks that is true.

Ha, I wish I was an expert in Greek! – but coming from Paidion that’s a great compliment. :sunglasses:

{hotan} at the start of that quote, is part of the family of the complex conjunction {hote} based on the special pronoun {hostis} (from the general pronoun usage of the direct article {ho}, the one, plus the questioning pronoun {tis} (Who as a question).

As {hote} or {hoti}, the word can mean “if” or a demonstrable causal “that” (e.g. “I swear that I did this”, or “so-that I did the verb”).

As {hotan}, it’s combining with the primary particle of uncertainty {an}. In that mode it can mean a hypothetical like “when-if-ever”, or a conjectural cause: “so long as” or “as long as” or “as soon as” or “while” or “whensoever” the verb is still happening or eventually happens.

So it would mean “if ever something verbs” or “as long as something is verbing”.

(The term has some relation to the causal intention conjunction {hina}, too, where X happens {hina} so that Y happens.)

This of course signals a dependent clause: a set of words that could make up a sentence (with a subject and a verb), but which depends on a more independent clause nearby to form a full sentence. (In Biblical Greek, I suppose borrowing back from Aramaic, a dependent clause by itself can sometimes be used for emphasis that something will happen later but hasn’t completed yet. GosMark and GosJohn like to use this form; Paul quotes God’s vow about rebel Israel in Romans, “If ever they shall be entering into My resting–!”)

The problem is that there might not be an independent clause to fill out the dependent clause here, which is why after translating "whenever’ at first Paidion went on to suggest “always verb the noun” instead. (That’s my guess anyway, I’m sure he can clarify that.)

I’m afraid I’m fuzzy on the morphology of the fear verb there, {phobêthês}. I’m guessing the “you-fear” is correct, although there may be nuances I’m missing.

Testing the first part as a dependent clause, then, it would read “so long as” or “if ever” (or maybe even “until”) “you fear the existing death…”

The next clause might be the independent clause, or an explanatory extension of the initial dependent clause. “This is kept to the giving-judgment-against.” Or “…which is kept to the giving-judgement-against”. (“to the giving-judgment-against” is definitely one phrase of itself.) Does this/which refer to fearing the existing death? Or to the existing death? I dunno, could be either way, although I might suppose that if {hos} referred back to {ton thanaton} (ignoring the adjective for clarity) it would take the accusative form of that noun set? Or is that noun set in nominative form neutral? (I can never quite remember. See, I’m not an expert. :laughing: )

{eis to pur to aiônion} is the classical statement from GosMatt 18 (the main Gehenna warning scene) and 25 (the sheep and the goats), “into the fire the eonian”. Obviously whatever Christ meant contextually there, should be meant here, but the epistle’s author might have misunderstood.

{ho tous praradothethtas autô(i)} “the of-him delivered to it/him”. Isn’t {tous} genitive? It doesn’t mean “all”, it means “of him” or “his”.

{meri telous kalasei} “until the end to be corrected”. I’m rather unsure of {meri}. It seems like a preposition (of the sort that generates what would usually be a genitive ending but isn’t, thus {telous}), but it doesn’t seem like “until”. It’s like a prepositional form of the root for sharing, dividing to give. :question: :question:

The {telos} (in whatever prepositional phase {meri} signifies) can be the end in the sense of stopping, but it usually means completion or finishing in a positive goal sense, which is a point we universalists like to lean on. :mrgreen: Could be an annihliationist meaning, but either way it would refer to the completion of some goal of the {kolasis} as a verb here, and the form of the verb signifies the {telos} definitely doesn’t mean simply stopping. So it wouldn’t mean the punishment stops in an annihliationistic way. And for eternal conscious torment there wouldn’t ever be a completion of the goal of punishment.

More thoughts later maybe. Let me bounce those off Paidion and others.

Note that I haven’t yet looked at the narrative and thematic contexts of chapter 10 (and the Ad Diogn generally) at all, but I sure mean to!

Here’s another quote from the site above:

From the articles i read, scholars place the time of writing of the Epistle of Barnabas at various dates between 70 AD & 135 AD.

The Greek word for “eternal” is αἰωνίου which is transliterated as eonian. With that understanding i see no reason to think the quote proves the author believed in endless punishment. He may have been a universalist.

Many articles consider the Epistle of Barnabas to be of the Alexandrian school of Scriptural interpretation. Notable Church Fathers Clement & Origen of Alexandria were universalists. They quote from the epistle & regard it highly. OTOH the epistle is not known in ancient writings of other areas till significantly later than those two. All of this lends weight against the epistle supporting endless punishment.

“There are then three doctrines of the Lord: The hope of life is the beginning and end of our faith. Righteousness is the beginning and end of judgment. Love of joy and of gladness is the testimony of the works of righteousness.” (1:6)

“Behold this is the fast which I chose,” saith the Lord, “loose every bond of wickedness, set loose the fastenings of harsh agreements, send away the bruised in forgiveness, and tear up every unjust contract, give to the hungry thy bread, and if thou seest a naked man clothe him…” (3:3)

That quote of the OP link is from chapter 20 verse 1 of the Epistle of Barnabas. The following site gives four English translations:

1 But the way of the Black One is crooked and full of a curse. For it is a way of eternal death with punishment wherein are the things that destroy men’s souls–idolatry, boldness, exhalation of power,…(J.B. Lightfoot)

1 But the path of darkness is crooked and full of cursing, for it is the path of eternal death and punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul. Idolatry, boldness, the pride of power,…(Charles Hoole)

1 But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power,…(Kirsopp Lake)

1 But the Way of the Black One is crooked and full of cursing, for it is the way of death eternal with punishment, and in it are the things that destroy their soul: idolatry, frowardness, arrogance of power,…(Roberts-Donaldson)

This following site gives some footnotes:

But the way of darkness 1713 is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal 1714 death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, [etc]

1713 Literally, “of the Black One.”
1714 Cod. Sin. joins “eternal” with way, instead of death.

Here are two different Greek texts from 3 websites:

  1. Ἧ δὲ τοῦ μέλαος ὁδός ἐστιν σκολιὰ καὶ κατάρας μεστή. ὁδὸς ἐστιν θανάτου αἰωνίου μετὰ τιμωρίας, ἐν ᾗ ἐστιν τὰ ἀπολλύντα τὴ ψυχὴν αὐτῶν· εἰδωλολατρεία, θρασύτης, ὕψος δυνάμεως, ὑπόκρισις, διπλοκαρδία, μοιχεία, φόνος, ἁρπαγή, ὑπερηφανία, μαγεία, πλεονεξία, ἀφοβία θεοῦ·

1.Η δε του μελανος οδος εστιν σκολια και καταρας μεστη. οδος γαρ εστιν θανατου αιωνιου μετα τιμωριας, εν η εστιν τα απολλυντα την ψυχην αυτων· ειδωλολατρεια, θρασυτης, υψος δυναμεως, υποκρισις, διπλοκαρδια, μοιχεια, φονος, αρπαγη, υπερηφανια, παραβασις, δολος, κακια, αυθαδεια, φαρμακεια, μαγεια, πλεονεξια, αφοβια θεου·

  1. Ἧ δὲ τοῦ μέλαος ὁδός ἐστιν σκολιὰ καὶ κατάρας μεστή. ὁδὸς ἐστιν θανάτου αἰωνίου μετὰ τιμωρίας, ἐν ᾗ ἐστιν τὰ ἀπολλύντα τὴ ψυχὴν αὐτῶν· εἰδωλολατρεία, θρασύτης, ὕψος δυνάμεως, ὑπόκρισις, διπλοκαρδία, μοιχεία, φόνος, ἁρπαγή, ὑπερηφανία, μαγεία, πλεονεξία, ἀφοβία θεοῦ·

The words “θανάτου αἰωνίου μετὰ τιμωρίας” seem to translate as “death eonian with punishment”.

The Greek word for “punishment” is timoria.

“Aristotle, which distinguishes κόλασις from τιμωρία as that which (is disciplinary and) has reference to him who suffers, while the latter (is penal and) has reference to the satisfaction of him who inflicts, may be found in his rhet. 1, 10, 17; cf. Cope, Introduction to Aristotle, Rhet., p. 232. To much the same effect, Plato, Protag. 324 a. and following, also deff. 416.”

In the case of “the satisfaction of him who inflicts”, with men their “satisfaction” in punishing others is often sadistic & selfish. OTOH for the God Who - is - love - what satisfies Him? Humbled, corrected, saved and transformed beings that He created.

The Greek word - timoria - translated “punishment” is also used in Hebrews 10:28-29:

Heb.10:28 A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Stoning to death is not a very sore or longlasting punishment. People suffered far worse deaths via the torture methods of the eternal hell believing Medieval Inquisitionists and the German Nazis under Hitler.

Therefore, if the writer of Hebrews believed the wicked would be punished with something so monstrous as being endlessly annihilated or tormented, he would not have chosen to compare their punishment to something so lame as being stoned to death. Clearly he did not believe Love Omnipotent is an unfeeling terminator machine or sadist who abandons forever the beings He created in His own image & likeness so easily.

This alleged quote of Clement is from the OP website:

" Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195)
“All souls are immortal, even those of the wicked. Yet, it would be better for them if they were not deathless. For they are punished with the endless vengeance of the quenchless fire. Since they do not die, it is impossible for them to have an end put to their misery.”

And addressed here:

Here is a quote from Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) and Origen’s teacher. I have included the reference:

And how is He Saviour and Lord, if not the Saviour and Lord of all? But He is the Saviour of those who have believed, because of their wishing to know; and the Lord of those who have not believed, till, being enabled to confess him, they obtain the peculiar and appropriate boon which comes by Him. ( Stromata 7.2)

Clement also wrote referred to the fire of hell as a purifying fire, a

wise fire that penetrates the soul. ( Strom. 7.6).

So it is that the wrath of God is understood by Clement as remedial, even therapeutic:

God does not take vengeance, which is the requital of evil for evil, but he chastises for the benefit of the chastised. ( Strom. 7.16).

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I don’t believe that He did. Therefore I have no thoughts about it.

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Just a reminder that Jesus was a Jew for whom “gehennaa” was His preferred term for Hell. So the early rabbinic usage of “gehenna’” is more relevant to Jesus’ understanding of “Gehenna” than the early patristic understanding. In rabbinic thought “Gehenna” is often treated like the Catholic purgatory, I. e. as a place from which there can be ultimate release. Besides this, I invite readers to read my thread on Jesus’ universalism.

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Some pertinent examples of this claim would be interesting.

Clement of Rome (Paul’s fellow-worker) did not write the above. Why don’t you read his magnificent letter to the Corinthians for yourself?

I know it wasn’t Clement of Rome because I have read his letter to the Corinthians many times. Also, to make doubly sure, I did a search in that letter. It’s not there.

Though there are several other writings that were ascribed to him, they are now believed not to be his.
In all likelihood, his letter to the Corinthians, written in the late first century, is the genuine writing of Clement’s that has survived.

Quotes of church fathers in English are rather worthless since they might be mistranslated, I stumpled about this quote:

Letter to Diognetus (A.D. 125-200)

“You should fear what is truly death, which is reserved for those who will be condemned to the eternal fire. It will afflict those who are committed to it even to the end.”

How is this meant to be understood in the context of eternal fire?

Others like Jerome are said to have been secret universalists, single quotes prove nothing.

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English is not my native language, to me the quote is nonsensical which implies a mistranslation in the first place. I suppose you’re a native speaker yet you do not understand the quote which further supports my point of view that English quotes of church fathers are worthless altogether.

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First, one must understand that “eternal” is not a good translation of “αιωνιος.” The word is often used in reference to that which is temporary. It was used by the Jewish historian Josephus to describe the period in which Jonathan was in prison. It is said that he was there for three years. In any case he wasn’t imprisoned eternally. An appropriate translation of “αιωνιος” is “lasting.” Fire is a purifying agent. God’s “fire” is his purification of those who will be raised in the resurrection of judgment. This “fire” will afflict them until the end—that is until the end of their rebellion— until they repent (have a change of mind and heart).

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