The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Universalism Is To Be Prefered Over Hopeful Universalism


Hopeful universalism is the claim that we can’t know one way or the other whether or not all will enter the gates of the new city. The most we can do is pray and hope that all will be saved. But this isn’t the biblical definition of faith and hope. To have hope in the Biblical sense is to have a confident assurance. The Bible tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The definition of Biblical faith is to trust. We have hope. Not based on wishful thinking but God’s promise. Hence, Universalism is the better alternative to hopeful universalism.


Along those lines, I read somewhere yesterday a paragraph on hope.

Suppose, it went, that a man is courting a widow; the widow was left a nice home on a very nice piece of property with orchards, meadows, a hayfield, some livestock, a pond. Like that.

The man helps with tending the orchards, getting the hay cut, seeing to the animals and such, but the whole time, the work he does is infused with his love for the woman and the hope of making her his wife.
If something happened to her, he might well continue his labors on the property, but the work would lack the meaning, the ‘glow’, the satisfaction that it had when she was alive and his hope was alive.
Let the reader understand




The more I’ve pondered this the more I’m driven back to my previous conclusion based on my own studies. One of the main reasons I hold to the lake of fire being corrective punishment is because of the substitutionary death of Christ. Thomas Aquinas held that at the cross Jesus suffered and bore the punishment for our sins. But this punishment was medicinal punishment as well as penal. It’s not the same as John Calvin’s penal substitution. That theory holds that God’s wrath was penal only. The Bible tells us that Christ learned obedience through what He suffered. Moreover, we know it was disciplinary is because of Isaiah 53:5 -

The chastening for our well being fell upon Him.

The Hebrew word here is musar


discipline, chastening, correction

The NASB Strongest Exhaustive Concordance

It’s for disciplinary or corrective purposes. It’s a masculine noun meaning instruction, discipline. It also fits with that scripture in Hebrews:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He punishes everyone He receives as a son.” Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

Given Christ’s substitutionary death in our place at the cross the corrective discipline is for hell as well.

1). Hell cannot be eternal punishment for Christ didn’t suffer forever

2). Hell cannot be eternal death for Christ was resurrected

The pattern in scripture is judgment followed by restoration or resurrection. God’s justice isn’t only retributive but has a remedial, corrective, and disciplinary element to it. He kills but makes alive.


But there is no hell, like evangelicals want to believe. So your idea of hell and Christ may well be suspect.

To believe in the idea of the roman / Dante view of hell, we have to ask ourselves why no where in acts was hell /(gehenna) ever mentioned, and as well in all of Paul’s writings? Surly the apostles would warn people about the eternal torment, and Paul, having the incredible revelation from Christ himself, would time and time again tell people to repent or they where going to face eternal torment.

There is no evidence there.

  • List item

ionns torment t,


The evidence comes from a serious exegesis of the text like Robin Parry does in his work. Because of his view on God’s justice and hell (which is my view) it is no longer heresy to hold to Universalism. As it states here in:


I always think the notion of being a “hopeful universalist” rather odd. I’ve put it to a number of infernalists who have expressed their heart’s desire or wish for others… that universalism could be true, by simply asking… “what makes you think you have more love, care and concern in your heart for others THAN GOD!? — I usually get a blank look followed by mind-numbing silence.


hollytree Said;

“The evidence comes from a serious exegesis of the text like Robin Parry does in his work. Because of his view on God’s justice and hell (which is my view) it is no longer heresy to hold to Universalism.”

Well, I appreciate the view, but I asked a question about hell that I’m not sure you answered. I am asking YOU what YOU think about it. I appreciate your reference to Mr. Parry and such but what do YOU THINK?


I take my view of fire and sulfur from the example of Sodom and Gomorrah

if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly ~~ 2 Peter 2:6

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. ~~ Jude 1:7

The punishment of eternal fire and being condemned to ashes and extinction is the example of what is going to happen to the ungodly in the lake of fire and sulfur. Many people think these Old Testament examples are metaphors in the new testament without any warrant. The passages are clear. God is a consuming fire. The Old Testament judgment serves as an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly in the New Testament. Many times I’ve struggled with the harsh punishments in the Old Testament. In some instances sinners would die just by touching the ark of the covenant. But I think we can see why. The ark contained the presence and glory of God. The glory of God is the infinite beauty and worth of God. It’s the radiant outshining of His holiness. All sin is not only sin against others but the breaking of God’s eternal law. It’s a sin against God Himself. Indeed, sin grieves God as it belittles the infinite worth of His glory. The seriousness of a crime depends IN PART on not only the nature of the crime but the TYPE OF BEING sinned against. Different types of being have different value attached to them. For instance: slapping a tree isn’t as bad as slapping a frog. Slapping a frog isn’t as bad as slapping a human. This is true even if the types of being felt no pain. For instance: painlessly killing an ant isn’t as bad as painlessly killing a cat and painlessly killing a cat isn’t as bad as painlessly killing a human. The worst sin in History was the killing of the Son of God. This is because of the infinite worth of Christ. Because God is a TYPE OF BEING infinite in beauty and worth sin against Him is more serious than if it was just against another being. This is why God’s punishments were so harsh. People committed serious crimes against an infinitely holy God. The OT Israel was a Theocracy. Judgment Day from God now is reserved for the future. Just as creation undergoes a fiery destruction yet there will be a new creation. Sin defiles creation. This is why God would wipe out nations. The wickedness was severe. It spread and defiled not only the animals and progeny but the physical world as well. Parry shows in 4 Views on Hell, the pattern in scripture is destruction (judgment) followed by resurrection or restoration. This is what happened in the substitutionary atonement of Christ. Even Sodom is said to be restored after it’s fiery destruction. And remember, it serves as an example.


Metaphor! :grin:


Well, I’m proud to be a hopeful universalist. Just as I am proud to be an Okie from muskogee.