The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Thru the UR lens; Why DOES God wait?

I do not recall reading about this question as it relates to UR, nor discussing it here on this site. From your perspective, does UR (and or should UR) have anything unique to say about the Question: Why Does God Delay His Return??

Perhaps I should know better than to write on something like this when in a semi-depressed state of melancholy like I am right now. Up all night last night working in the OR trying to salvage some very desperate circumstances. And I’m sad to report we largely failed. Deep tragedy, suffering, loss; all the lot of several families and communities today. And all I got was a tiny glimpse into this world of private anguish and suffering in this condensed version last night.

The enormity of the cumulative pain and suffering and anguish and misery the world over is almost too much to bear sometimes it seems. Seemingly endless wars; conflicts of all stripes constantly flaring; hunger and starvation and abuse; sickness and disease; crime and depravity; the helpless crushed and victimized again and again by spirit crushing tyranny; violence and death at every turn. Enough, it seems, to make a heart weep for an eternity.

So I step back and wonder, Why O God do you delay your return? Is there a single soul in this universe who hasn’t seen enough of this flawed and tragic existence to have decided they’d love for it all to be over?

I’m familiar of course with some of the traditional answers: but they don’t really seem to convince right now. Yes, I do trust Him, and will struggle to remain faithful. (so Help me God!) In the Cross of Christ I find my only glimmers of hope; for surely, the Cross shows that we do not suffer alone. And it is not hard at all for me to envision God weeping great tears of sorrow with us as He watches what has become of those He created in His own image.

But when is enough enough? Universal Reconciliation offers a bright future for every one of God’s creation; why not just get on with it?? Universalists, believing much remediation and learning and reorienting happens in the future, surely should be most chagrined of all Christians at God’s “delay”. Just how much context do we need for that future education to be effective??

If you’ve ever wondered these sorts of things, I’m curious to know what you have come up with??


I have no idea Bob but he does promise to personally wipe away EVERY tear…

OF course, any intellectual answer won’t take away the pain of such an inquiry, but it is safe to say that God’s Mind is higher than ours and we just can’t understand it from our perspective. In a way, the emotions involved are what make it so tough. At least so it seems to me…

From Romans 8:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that* the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Heaven must be a huge and wonderful place, especially for UR-oriented believers like ourselves.

I hear your heart Bob, and I know that sufferring is great – it touches each of us, some more than others I know.

I think that the longer God waits, the more people will eventually populate his kingdom. Our universe is incomprehensably vast, and I believe it is only a taste of the new heavens that God promises. I imagine that God’s kingdom would have to be large enough to hold every angelic and human being ever created. And then I imagine, that for Paul to boldly proclaim that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed in us and through us, heaven must not only be big, but it must also be amazing, beautiful beyond description, where every tongue confesses the Lordship of Christ.

To believe ECT, I would think, significantly downsizes heaven and its glories.

There’s so much more that could be said regarding the verses above, but my prayer is that they give you comfort today Bob, as together we all wait patiently for our blessed Hope.


Up now from a nap and I find this in my email box from my friend buddyb4

He noted that this is what UR is – and should be – about. I agree! You might enjoy it too…

And HSMom – thanks for driving Romans 8 into my mind more vividly; it was there, but had faded into the background… Whole creation groaning is very powerful imagery for me right now. There is joy and beauty of course, but I got a very heavy dose of the groaning last night…

But what jumped out at me immediately HSMom was verse 18 – never noticed this before…
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

I had always read that verse as “revealed TO us” – and that is in fact what my NASB reads. But you quoted NIV wherein the glory is “revealed IN us”. Wow!

That is a huge difference in my mind – don’t you think? In one, my version, I am the bewildered looking for answers and awaiting the grand revealing. And yes, feeling very bewildered at God’s ways right now for sure. Hence my post…

But YOU suggest, via the NIV, that the revealed glory of God happens right INSIDE of us and our response to this pain and suffering is all about revealing God’s glory! So it’s not so much about ME getting the answers, as it is about “me” – well, “us” all of course – BEING part of that revelation of what God is about!

So how might this work?
Ha! like this… My own friend buddyb4, going through a tragedy and personal hell of his own right now, has the energy, and vision of God, and the hope of UR, so sends me this video. He thus BECOMES part of the revelation, to me, of God’s glory. A glimpse of God’s glory IN him!!!

(wonder what our resident scholars might have to say about the choice of “glory revealed TO us vs. IN us”… Bob Wilson? Jason? TGB? Student…? AaronW?)

Anyway. I’m hoping this sort of inner anguish makes me, somehow, a better doctor, and a better conduit for the revelation of the Good News to our world…

Blessings all


I’m still in the grip of this question just now…

With roofus and HSMom and buddyb4 – I really do think it’s possible to press ahead via faith and trust.

… it seems to me that the general consensus is that what we are gaining here, in this vale of tears and suffering, is a context. A context in which to process the greater revelations of God yet to come. The revelations that are now only seen as through a glass darkly sort of thing.

… I can step back and say something like “I guess this all continues because God waits for our context (individual and corporate) to become more full.”
No, not terribly satisfying I’ll grant. And still leaves me the complete need for faith to press on.

But it’s something isn’t it???


It seems like eternal hell or annihilation has an advantage in answering this question. A friend of mine (not UR) works with the idea of an “amnestic theodicy” (he calls it)… The gist of it is that God withholds bringing the end becuase he wants people to come to repentance. It’s His love for the wicked that keeps us waiting. UR says everyone repents, so this sort of theodicy doesn’t seem to work with UR in the background… Unless… X time in hell is worse than a lifetime of misery in this life. I don’t know!? What do y’all think??

sidenote: OT violence seems to make MORE sense with UR in the background… I looked for a thread on this… Anyone?

Hi kkj:

I’ve been interested in these questions about violence for quite awhile myself… Here are a couple discussions on this site (there are a few others too; I’ll try to find them as well)

The first is on Talbotts page in a question I posed to him. Unfortunately he chose not to engage this particular question…
Problem: Universalism “shrugs” at God’s violence

Also, there is another thread called:
Can UR “trump” the Myth of Redemptive Violence?


On “why does God wait?”…

Here is a crude theory that popped into my head while I was in the shower today… What if God waits for the same reason that He chose to create in the first place? The longer He allows us to procreate the more people there will be in the end to enjoy a relationship with. Even though we do really jacked up stuff to each other, God knows He is going to straighten things out in the end - make the wrong things right. Wouldn’t God rather have 60 billion people (made up #) in the end rather than just 30? Or just 20?