The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What is grace if we don't all deserve eternal punishment?

My guess would be the verse in Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

Well… you have made it very clear where I stand in your eyes! I must admit I was rather shocked, for I do not see myself in that way, and neither do those who know me.

Notwithstanding, I wish you God’s best both now and in the future.


Oh dear… pot, kettle anyone? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

That is one verse. Also the reference to John the Baptist as Elijah and the man who was born blind question. But I don’t think there’ a lot to prove or disprove it either way and Origen, like me, never was dogmatic about it. BUT…
1). It answers other biblical questions no other view answers.
2) Allow a universalist to assert salvation as the exclusive province of the temporal realm like partialists do.
3) Compliments the preexistence view of the origin of the soul (spirit), which IMHO is the ONLY view of the origin of the soul that makes sense.

SO…without being dogmatic about it, there seems to be some warrant for the idea.

Everyone thinks they are smarter than Origen.

I addressed this a minute ago in reply to another post. This posting biz gets a bit confusing for me. Sorry. But I think Scripture is deliberately vague about the particulars regarding the fate of the lost. If we are universalists or Pantelists we believe that in the end all will be well.

They question is how the lost get there. Relly, Murray and H.Ballou, (probably most 19th century universalists) did not believe in any kind of post-mortem punishments. Elhanan Winchester and Robin Parry (if Im not mistaken) do. I feel there is too much particularist and eclusivist language in Scripture to ignore the necessity of faith in Jesus as a requirement for salvation.

What must I do to be saved?
Believe in Jesus and you shall be saved…

and not

"Nothing. You’re already saved. go in peace. Don’t worry about sin anymore if you don’t want to but if you do, it doesnt matter anyway. Oh, and you don’t need regeneration. Jesus was only kidding. Islam, Buddism and Satanism are also equally fine paths to salvation "

So, that’s why I feel the Relly/Murray view goes too far.

Preexistence seem unavoidable to me since the alternatives are Creationism and Traducianism.With Creationism there is no transmission of sin and with Traducianism there is no sinless Christ. Preexistentism resolves both problems. Origen was way ahead of everyone else I think. Probably still is.

If souls pre-existed the material creation then metempsychosis is not that hard to accept since God put our souls in the flesh once, why not put them there again when we fail at redemption until we get it right.This compliments both the more Arminian (Talbot) and the Calvinist flavors (myself) of universalism too.

Anyway these suggestions will probably seem too strange for most to consider, but they are the result of really wrestling with some of the more nuanced questions surrounding universalist sotereology and metaphysics. I appreciate this forum because I get the benefit of having others as a sounding board to help me clarify things.

Grace and peace in Christ

I have found that everything that can be soundly established in the scriptures comes in two forms. There are statements and then there are stories. We can argue and debate over what statements mean, but stories are hard to foul up. Nobody argues over what was going on in the stories of the bible. We argue over the doctrinal statements of the bible.
I can see Universalism in the narrative of Jonah. I cant find the preexistence of the soul anywhere. That is to say there are no stories that point to any kind of past life. If it were so I think it would be there.

Men actually deserve everlasting death i.e. annihilation.

Right. Nothing in the Bible about preēxistence of the “soul” (self).

That is true, but what if the information you have to work with IE(the bible) is not telling the whole story?

Just a thought.


It’s possible to see the notional thought of pre-existence—reincarnation reflected in the disciple’s question below, BUT THAT doesn’t mean the possible assumption reflected reality, just that that may have been a part of some mindsets… we are talking after all about ancient Jews who do reflect a broad range of thoughts and assumptions as per the likes of the Pharisees and Sadducees etc…

Jn 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

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In subsequent reading I have come across info that suggests that the Jews entertained notions about preexistence.

But they had all sorts of ideas, some of which were borrowed from pagans, Greeks philosophy, and so forth.

The quote from John 9:2 merely shows us the ideas of the inquirers not that of the Lord himself. He did not teach preexistence here. In fact he rejected their premise as is revealed by the fuller context.

“The Lord does not reward us according to what our sins deserve.”
Psalm 103:10

To me it’s not what the Jews may have considered (though interesting) or what you think the scriptures point to but what do you believe… What is your gut (GOD) telling you, if you look outside the box, there could be some interesting things.

Call it spirit, call it intuition, call it what you will, go for it.

Enough said. Thanks Mark.

We cant find the creation of the soul at conception nor the traducing of the soul from parents either, but one of them must be true. I think that the implications of the other two exclude them. Creationism - no transmission of sin and traducianism - a sinful humanity in Christ.

Or, the soul emerges from the brain. That’s William Hasker’s theory. It makes the most sense to me.

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Who the hell is the ‘we’?

The “we” means anyone. Neither creationism nor traducianism has any more biblical justification than preexistence. But creationism cannot account for the transmission of sin and traducianism cant account for the purity if Christ’s human soul.

To the original question: Some additional thoughts occurred to me.
Grace can be fully graceful without the judgement destination being forever. Grace is not defined by eternal hell but eternal love.
Grace supplies freedom and pardon from judgements of all sizes and durations both in this life and the life to come.

Now that is an interesting and loaded statement, do you care to elaborate?