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
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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.
“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.
Well, I’m proud to be a hopeful universalist. Just as I am proud to be an Okie from muskogee.
If you’re going to hope for universalism you must think it’s more glorious. God is most glorified if His glory is rejoiced in. It tells us:
This sounds like it’s saying mercy is more glorious.
This is what “Got questions” says:
This brings us to the final statement of James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” The idea is that mercy “glories” or “boasts” against judgment, knowing that, where mercy and judgment seem to conflict, mercy wins. The good news for every child of God in Christ is that God’s mercy toward us will triumph over His judgment of us (see Romans 8:1). Our sins may argue against us, but Christ is our loving Advocate who argues for us and prevents us from receiving the judgment we deserve. We, in turn, display God’s type of mercy toward others.
I found an article on NT Wright’s view of hell. He’s not a universalist but It could also be that the remains of the old self are left behind. The Devil will be tormented forever but lucifer is reborn. The same with resurrected wicked. They receive a new self and new incorruptible body after being reborn in hell. Their remains are left behind along with their old identity (old self). God gives them a new name and identity after being reborn. Both body and soul are punished forever. Thus, the glory of God’s infinite justice would be manifested. God would be most glorified and mercy would triumph over judgment. All would glorify God for His mercy and justice.
Here’s Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on the word “Triumph” in the passage “mercy triumphs over judgment”.
To glory against, to exult over…Mercy boasts itself superior to judgment
So, Mercy is more glorious than judgment. Whichever view gives God the most glory is the True view. The Universalism outlined above gives God the most glory.
God is glorified not only by his glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. God made the world that he might communicate, and the creature receive, his glory . . . both with the mind and the heart. He that testifies his having an idea of God’s glory doesn’t glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation i.e., his heartfelt commendation or praise of it and his delight in it. ~~ Jonathan Edwards
‘The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.’
‘For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.’
About God’s infinite justice. To God a ‘Day" is as a “Thousand years” and a “Thousand years” are as a “Day.” A “Thousand Years” and “Day” aren’t literal here. This is why the Bible tells us that Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days yet the text says He was there forever. Likewise Christs atonement is eternal yet He was resurrected. The justice can be eternal yet come to an end. It’s relative. Either way we have infinite justice manifested. The sum total remains the same if those in hell suffer an infinite degree for a finite period of time rather than a finite degree for infinite time. Again a thousand years to God is like a day. So, it could be infinite degree of suffering for finite time. Given those in hell have new bodies in a transdimensional reality they are able to experience an infinite degree of suffering for a finite time. God’s justice would indeed be awful making His mercy shine all the brighter. Moreover justice would come to an end and therefore, justice would be served. It’s never served if people suffer an infinite stretch of time.
I’m a hopeful universalist because the evidence for annihilation & universalism is close to equal so there may be a hybrid between both. In the end it is God’s will that everyone s/b saved & you can hang your hat on this considering God is sovereign. Some can argue about man’s will but Paul is a good example & when he saw the risen Christ it took under a minute for him to change his will 180 degrees.
A person who hybrids universalism and annihilation is found here. Very good article, IMHO:
I came across this interesting video on Christian Science. While I acknowledge its healing potential…I don’t see it substituting for modern medicine nor ancient healing modalities (i.e. homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda) - but complimenting them. And rather than a theology, I see it as a contemplation - which can be helpful.
Emmet Fox has a similar contemplation, I find useful.
I assume the s/b is a w/b, and I think all indicators are pointing in that direction.
I believe Paul used the phrase s/b in the NT but he was quoting or referencing an OT verse that read “will be.”
We must understand that man’s system isn’t God’s system. God is holy. Holiness when applied to God not only refers to moral purity but to everything that separates Him from His creation and His creatures. He’s distinct. He alone is God. Therefore, His justice is a holy justice. There’s an infinite distance between us and God. There are ways we are like God and ways we are not. We see this justice in Rev.:
It goes on to say:
God punishes them DOUBLE for their sins. This seems unjust according to human standards of justice. But we are finite. God is Holy. His justice is Holy.
According to Norman Geisler
To the objection that there is no redemptive value in the damning of souls to hell, it can be pointed out that hell satisfies God’s justice and glorifies it by showing how great and fearful a standard it is. “The vindictive justice of God will appear strict, exact, awful, and terrible, and therefore glorious” (Edwards, 2.87). The more horrible and fearful the judgment, the brighter the sheen on the sword of God’s justice. Awful punishment fits the nature of an awe-inspiring God. By a majestic display of wrath, God gets back the majesty he has been refused. ~~ Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (online)
To God a ‘Day" is as a “Thousand years” and a “Thousand years” are as a “Day.” A “Thousand Years” and “Day” aren’t literal here. This is why the Bible tells us that Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days yet the text says He was there forever. Likewise Christs atonement is eternal yet He was resurrected. The justice can be eternal yet come to an end. It’s relative. Either way we have infinite justice manifested. The sum total remains the same if those in hell suffer an infinite degree for a finite period of time rather than a finite degree for infinite time. Again a thousand years to God is like a day. So, it could be infinite degree of suffering for finite time. Given those in hell have new bodies in a transdimensional reality they are able to experience an infinite degree of suffering for a finite time. God’s justice would indeed be awful making His mercy shine all the brighter. Moreover justice would come to an end and therefore, justice would be served. It’s never served if people suffer an infinite stretch of time.
I believe the glory of God is the going public of his infinite worth. I define the holiness of God as the infinite value of God, the infinite intrinsic worth of God. And when that goes public in creation, the heavens are telling the glory of God ~~ John Piper
The public display of the infinite beauty and worth of God is what I mean by “glory,” and I base that partly on Isaiah 6, where the seraphim say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—” and you would expect them to say “holiness” and they say “glory.” They’re ascribing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—” and when that goes public in the earth and fills it, you call it “glory.”
So God’s glory is the radiance of his holiness, the radiance of his manifold, infinitely worthy and valuable perfections. ~~ John Piper
God is perfect in holiness. He’s infinite in value and worth. Torturing and murdering Him is the worst evil imaginable and therefore deserved the worst penalty imaginable. This will make no sense where God is small and man is big. It will only make sense where people see God as great, as He really is, and see man, see ourselves, and see our outrageous God-belittling self-centeredness for what they are. Because of the infinite degree of torment over a finite time people in hell would be transformed “In a Twinkling of an Eye”
in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. ~~ 1 Cor. 15:52
There are actually many different sizes or levels of infinity; some infinite sets are vastly larger than other infinite sets.
Thus each person is punished with different levels of infinity. But they all transform instantly.
This makes sense of the ages upon ages passage. It’s literally describing multiple levels of infinity. But to God a “Day” is as a “thousand years” and a “thousand years” as a “Day”. Day and 1000 years aren’t literal here. Multiple levels of infinity could be a twinkling of an eye to God. He’s a paradoxical Deity.