Why is Universal Salvation not Explicit?


Ok qaz I surrender to your simplistic rationale, but on these terms…

I believe 100% in election, just NOT according to Calvinism. I believe some form of unpleasant reckoning may occur for some postmortem; but not in terms of torture or torment or fiery flames, nor any thought of exclusion from God. I believe in annihilation as pertaining solely to the physicality of man alone, no more and no less, and THIS predominately in terms of divine judgement as typically meted out against disobedient Israel or her enemies in the basic loss of one’s physical life. I believe in the universal i.e., comprehensive scope of God’s grace as encapsulating all.


Election is not an exclusively calvinist concept.

So do a lot of other universalists.

Universalism has no singular position on the nature of postmortem punishment, or whether or not there even is postmortem punishment. Universalists are united by our belief about the final state of creatures (salvation), not how they/we get there.

You’re making an equivocation. Annihilationism, as a soteriology, is the idea that God chooses to wipe creatures out of existence. If a creature biologically dies, but God preserves the creature’s spirit/soul so that he/she continues to exist, that creature has not been annihilated.

Hence you’re a univeresalist. :slight_smile:


The teaching of universal salvation is made very explicit by Romans 5:18:19. This includes a comparison between the effect of Adam’s sin with that of Christ’s sacrificial death, as follows:

So therefore, just as through one offence condemnation came to all men[1], so also through one righteous act justification of life comes to all men[2]. For as through the disobedience of one man the many[1] were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one righteous man the many[2] will be made righteous.

The first point to note is that the reasoning of both verses are linked, as indicated by the word ‘for’ at the beginning of verse 19. Verse 19 explains verse 18. It is also worth noting that verse 19 does not say that ‘many will be made righteous’; it says ‘the many will be made righteous’. The definite article here clearly refers back to a previous, indefinite noun as it does in other passages where the phrase ‘the many’ is used (c.f. Mark 6:2; 9:25, 26; Romans 5:12-16; 12:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10, 17 & 33; 2 Corinthians 2:17). In this case, verse 19 refers back to the phrase ‘all men’ in verse 18.

The first group of ‘the many’ [1] is ‘all men’, as this is the corresponding phrase to which it is linked in the first sentence. We also know that the phrase, ‘all men’ in that sentence must mean literally every single human being on the planet, because of the Bible’s clear teaching regarding the universality of sin.

For the same reasons, the second group that is described as ‘the many’ [2] must also refer back to the ‘all men’ in the previous verse. Unless we can show that this does not literally mean ‘all men’ as in the first clause, then the normal rules of exegesis require us to interpret this phrase in exactly the same way. We would otherwise have to conclude that ‘all men’ had two completely different meanings in the very same sentence, even though there was absolutely no evidence that this was the case!

The only conclusion that we can draw from all of this, therefore, is that verse 19 is telling us in a very direct way that in the end ‘all men will be made righteous’. Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that ‘the righteous’ are God’s sheep, who will never perish (John 10:28), as nothing now or in the future can separate them from the love of God (Roman’s 8:39). This must, then, be the joyful fate of ‘all men’, as all of us will eventually be ‘made righteous’.

Yours in Christ



Well qaz it’s clearly meeting some need of yours to tag me specifically as a universalist, despite my numerous clarifying explanations given to you over some time now. I have no aversion to the moniker but just find it so inadequate and inaccurate of my oft-stated position which can better be described as an inclusive prêterism aka pantelism which is actually beyond universalism and prêterism i.e., universalism is inadequate and comes up short on the understanding of quite a number of biblical texts (as does prêterism but to a lesser degree) which pantelism “IMO” handles much better.

I suspect qaz you will probably read right over that… you’re not the first, and that’s ok if it’s meeting a need. :astonished:


For myself, the Isaiah text (and subsequent NT passages that allude to it) that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is a clincher. As has been discussed in this forum, the question for many is what is God going to do with the sinner after he she does the confessing? Or can we really think that this means we will confess without truly understanding? Of maybe some will confess in this physical life and some after physical death?

I tend to like the image of an unending sea of humanity coming to the realization of who God truly is. :smiley:

qaz said

The interesting twist is how God does deal with those he has destroyed. Will he destroy them in this physical life and then they will bow but God will somehow continue to punish/correct them?

And some will say that the Isaiah passages only deal with Israel. :open_mouth:

A mystery.


Beautiful thought :slight_smile:

Rev 5:13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

I tend to look at this verse as the fulfillment of Phil 2:9-11


Following is an article re the same word kolazein and kolasis, & i quote:

"114. Punishment (kolasis, kolazein) – Eternal or Otherwise (Matthew 25:46; Acts 4:21; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 John 4:18)
Posted on 30 May, 2011

Rob Bell in his recent book Love Wins refers to the use of the noun kolasis in Matthew 25:46. He argues that the cognate verb kolazo “is a term from horticulture. It refers to the pruning and trimming of the branches of a plant so that it can flourish” (91). He then interprets the phrase eis kolasin aiōnion to “mean ‘a period of pruning’ or ‘a time of trimming,’ or an intense experience of correction” (91). He offers this as the preferred alternative to the more usual translation “eternal punishment” and goes on to suggest that in this context Jesus “isn’t talking about forever as we think of forever” (92). Rather “because ‘forever’ is not really a category the biblical writers used” (92), this phrase in Matthew 25:46 does not refer “eternal punishment” people experience because they have not served Jesus.1

Is Bell’s exegesis and lexical interpretation of the noun kolasis in the context of Matthew 25:46 possible? Is it probable? Does it fit what we know of the meaning and use of this noun and its cognate verb? Although the question of the fate of the unsaved does not hinge on the solution to this question, this text does have significant implications because of its location in the teaching of Jesus.

Both the noun and verb occur in Classical Greek material as well as in the materials produced within the Hellenistic Jewish community. The basic sense of the word describes the action of cutting off, maiming. The Greek Classical Dictionary edited by Liddell and Scott lists one usage in several writings of the 4th-3rd Century BC Greek author Theophrastus in which these terms describe “a drastic method of checking the growth of the almond-tree.”2 While other authors may employ this verb and noun similarly, the writings of Theophrastus are the only example cited for this application of the word. So it would seem that Bell is correct in saying that the noun can mean pruning. However, the fact that the noun and verb can be used in horticultural contexts to describe various methods of pruning does not determine the meaning of the noun in Matthew 25:46. Context has a large say in discerning the significance of a particular word. Nothing in Jesus’ teaching about the final judgment in Mathew 25:31-46 as far as I can see makes any comparison with pruning. Rather the context has to do with a shepherd’s action of separating sheep from goats, as a metaphor of judgment. Once segregated, the “goats” are required to “depart into eternal punishment” (apeleusontai eis kolasin aiōnion), in contrast to the “sheep” who depart “into eternal life” (zōēn aiōnion).

The noun and verb far more frequently have the sense of chastise, punish, or suffer the loss of something.3 It may be as J. Schneider suggests4 that the maiming of slaves as a punishment is the connection between the action of cutting off and punishment. Whatever the explanation, the verb and noun in their figurative sense, i.e. non-literal meaning, come to signify the activity of punishment and chastisement. In Classical Greek usage the noun kolasis describes punishment that may be to the benefit of the one being punished.5 However, a few centuries later the sense that such punishment is temporary and corrective is no longer dominant. For example, Josephus speaks about Herod’s experience of being on trial and in danger of being sentenced to death, but through the intervention of Hyrcanus, the high priest, he was saved “from that danger and punishment (kolaseōs),”6 certainly not a reference to a temporary kind of punishment.

The nature of the punishment depends upon who is the subject, the reason for the action, and who is the recipient. Context then determines these elements. When applied to a tree, the action of cutting expressed in this verb becomes pruning, as an extended meaning. However, for the meaning of “pruning” to be considered the primary sense in Matthew 25:46, in my view, the context would have to indicate this clearly in some fashion. Otherwise the more usual idea of punishment or chastisement would prevail. Given the prior directive by the Son of Man in v.41, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire (eis to pur to aiōnion) prepared for the devil and his angels,” the context certainly suggests the idea of punishment with lasting consequences and administered by a divine agent.

Within the Greek translation of the Hebrew canon, the noun kolasis only occurs in Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the cognate verb occurs once in Daniel 6:12(13). Jeremiah (18:20) complains to God about the plots being made against him. “Is evil a recompense for good that together they spoke utterances against my soul and hid their punishment (kolasin) for me?”7 In Ezekiel this noun represents the Hebrew noun mikshol, which means a stumbling block generated in most cases by idolatry and leading to punishment for such iniquity (14:3,4,7; 18:30; 44:12). In the Supplement to Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon the use of this noun in Greek Ezekiel is rendered as “that which brings about punishment, stumbling block.”8 In Ezekiel 14 and 18 the punishment that Yahweh brings upon Israel for its idolatry is death; in 44:12 Yahweh punishes the Levites for their participation in idolatry by never allowing them to act as priests in the new temple. It also occurs in Ezekiel 43:11 with the sense “receive their punishment” applied to Israel and describing Yahweh’s response to their sin. The prophet describes such punishment in 43:8 as “I wiped them out in my fury and by murder.” The emphasis seems to be upon a punishment that is fatal or results in permanent change, and administered by Yahweh, as divine agent, because of sinful action. The use of the verb in LXX Daniel 6:12a describes the punishment Daniel receives for praying to Yahweh, rather than to Darius, and his punishment is to be executed by confinement in a den of lions.

Schneider notes that “the idea of divine punishment and chastisement is widespread in antiquity” and that kolazein and kolasis “were fixed terms in sacral jurisprudence.”9 He notes in this regard inscriptions found on Phrygian and Lydian monuments dated to the imperial period (beginning with Augustus) in which god is the subject who punishes various individuals for impious acts. This perspective is similar to the sense found in other literature contemporary with the New Testament. In 2 Maccabees 4:38 the author recounts how Antiochus, the Seleucid emperor executed Andronicus, his deputy who had murdered Onias, the Jewish high priest. He concludes that “the Lord thus repaid him with the punishment (kolasin) he deserved.” According to the story in 3 Maccabees 7:10 the Jews, upon their miraculous rescue from attempts to by Ptolemy Philopator to annihilate them, were granted permission “that those from the race of the Judeans who had freely disobeyed the holy God and God’s law should obtain their deserved punishment (kolaseōs) through them,…” The result is that three hundred Jewish men are slain.

The verb and noun were used extensively in Wisdom of Solomon. The consistent theme is that Yahweh punishes those who commit idolatry by using the very animals that they worship in their idolatry as the means of their punishment. For example, in 16:1 the writer claims that “they were deservedly punished (ekolasthēsan) through similar creatures” because “they worship the most detestable animals” (15:18). God uses his creation “for punishment (kolasin) against the unrighteous” (16:24). In the case of “the impious and their impiety” the writer is sure that “what was done will be punished (kolasthēsetai) together with the one who did it” (14:10) and this is said in relationship to idolatry. He is also concerned that such punishments might lead people to accuse God of being unjust and so states that no king or prince can “look you in the face concerning those whom you have punished (ekolasas). But being righteous, you manage all things righteously considering it alien to your power to condemn anyone who does not deserve to be punished (kolasthēnai)” (12:14-15). Note in particular that God exercises appropriate judgment using such punishments and often they are fatal or extremely catastrophic (i.e. plagues in Egypt, including the killing of the firstborn).

Josephus, when commenting upon the various beliefs of the Pharisees, notes that they teach that “the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishments (aidiōi timōriai10 kolazesthai).”11 The term aidios means “eternal, everlasting.” Josephus himself was a Pharisee and so knew intimately their religious perspective.

Finally, a few examples from Philo, the Jewish expositor of the Pentateuch and a contemporary of Jesus. His usage of this terminology is too frequent for me to cite every case and so I focus on some of his usage in De Vita Mosis I & II. When commenting upon the plague of gnats, he describes it as “a chastisement (kolazontos) sent by God” (I.108). When God applies the plagues solely to the Egyptians, Philo observes in the case of the frogs, that it was as “though it knew how to distinguish who should be punished (kolazesthai) and who should not” (I.144). When commenting on the story of the Edomites and their refusal to allow the Israelites to pass through their territory (Numbers 20:14ff), Philo has Moses address Israel and dissuade them from seeking vengeance, because even though “some particular persons deserve to be punished (kolasteoi)” Israel may not be the right party to exact such punishment” (I.244). Philo comments on the contents of the books that Moses wrote and says that in these writings he describes how “the impious were chastised (kolazesthai) with the said punishments (timōriais)12” (II.57), as part of a larger motif which demonstrates “the punishment (kolaseōs) of the impious” and “the honouring of the just” (II.47). One other example occurs in Philo’s commentary on the story of the man who violates the Sabbath command (Numbers 15:32-36). Some Israelites arrested the man but did not execute him on the spot lest they take “upon themselves the ruler’s duty of punishment (kolazein).” So they arraigned him before Moses who, after consulting Yahweh, declared that the man should die. This becomes another example of the “punishment (timōrias) of the impious” (II. 214-29). These examples define punishment that results from sinful action and originating primarily with a divine agent. The punishments often are drastic and deadly. The punishment of evildoers is the responsibility of rulers who act for justice under God’s direction.

In the New Testament the verb occurs in Acts 4:21 and 2 Peter 2:9, while the noun is used in 1 John 4:18.13 In Acts 4 the Sanhedrin has held a trial for Peter and John because they are proclaiming Jesus as Messiah and doing miracles in his name. They cannot decide what to do so they threaten the apostles and do not punish (kolasōntai) them. What punishment might have been assigned is not stated, but it could have involved execution (as happened to Stephen a few chapters later in Acts 7). In 2 Peter 2:9 the writer declares that “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment (kolazomenous).” Between the present and the future day of judgment the impious experience God’s punishment, perhaps in the light of their final destiny. As the review of usage demonstrates, the use of this verb in 2 Peter conforms to what we have discerned. The more difficult text to fathom is John’s statement in 1 John 4:18 that “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (kolasin). The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” The previous verse assures that “we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.” Raymond Brown comments that “To be afraid of God is already to be suffering the punishment of a negative judgment.”14 Plainly John is describing a consequence of present behaviour that is serious and only avoidable in a proper love of God.

To conclude, the claim that Matthew’s use of kolasis in 25:46 describes a temporary punishment that is designed to be corrective, i.e. a kind of pruning to stimulate a more appropriate response, does not seem to be borne out by the evidence of usage in the century before and after Jesus, given the context of Jesus’ teaching in that section of Matthew’s Gospel. The noun and verb both are used to describe divine punishments meted in accord with God’s judicial sense and in response to human impiety, both in this life and in the life to come. The usage in Wisdom of Solomon, Philo and Josephus is particularly telling, along with the Phrygian and Lydian inscriptions, I would suggest. Further the context of Matthew 25:31-46 is a judgment scene in which a divine figure, the Son of Man, from his “throne of glory” delivers divine justice to the righteous and the sinful. This context suits well the employment of kolasis in v.46. Lastly, the event described by Jesus seems rather climactic. Once the judgment is rendered, the outcomes proceed without any sense of re-ordering in the future. This may be an argument from silence, but it does recognize that Jesus in this story gives us no hint at future reversal of the judgment once given.

In my view Bell’s attempt to exegete this phrase and its context in Matthew 25 do not take into account the evidence of current usage in Jesus’ or Matthew’s day, nor the sense of the context and thus does not convince. Jesus’ message is clear – those who live in the category of “goats” will “go away to eternal punishment,” as harsh and difficult as this teaching might be to our ears. Thanks be to God that “goats” can become “sheep” through the atonement, grace and hope displayed in the cross and resurrection, if they will accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

See also Dr. Perkins’ review of Rob Bells book, “Love Wins”.

We have only touched upon one small exegetical detail in the great debate about the meaning of Hell in the teaching of Jesus. While Jesus is not fixated on the topic, he does teach its reality and warn people that gaining the world is insufficient compensation for losing one’s life in eternity. It is a tough message to communicate with care, respect, and integrity, but the Gospel is incomplete without it. How do you deal with the urgency that Jesus’ teaching expresses about this reality?
There is mystery in the character and actions of God that we cannot grasp. How mercy and justice find resolution in the grotesqueness of the crucifixion is a wonder created by God’s love. Is the idea of eternal punishment inconsistent with God’s love and God’s justice? How can we say this when Jesus, the God-man himself affirms a Gospel in which eternal life and eternal death are fundamental principles?

1Bell treats the noun phrase kolasin aiōnion in a rather unusual fashion, i.e. “an aion of kolazo” in which he combines the noun aion with the first person singular indicative verb form kolazo. He then wants to interpret the adjective aiōnion in the sense of “age” or “period of time” or some idea of “intensity of experience.” He says that “the phrase (sic) ‘aion of kolazo’ gets translated as ‘eternal punishment.’” Now Matthew did not use that un-Greek ‘phrase’ and so Bell’s criticism of this usual translation becomes suspect.
2Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1966), 971.
3J. Schneider, “κολάζω,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Volume III edited by Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1965), 814, indicates the verb essentially means “maiming, cutting off.”
5Richard Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973), 24-26.
6Josephus, Antiquities XV,16.
7This is the translation provided in A New English Translation of the Septuagint. The Greek text is somewhat different from the Hebrew text in this verse. However, the sense of “punishment” for this noun seems warranted from the context.
8H.Liddell and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, 2083.
9J. Schneider, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. III, 814.
10The noun timōria describes retribution or vengeance.
11Josephus, Bellum II.163.
12Note the same conjunction of terms here as in Josephus, Bellum II.163 cited above.
13There is a variant reading in 1 Peter 2:20 where in some manuscripts kolaphizomenoi (being beaten) is replaced by kolazomenoi (being punished). Both make sense in the passage. The advantage of the first is that it links back to Jesus’ experience of being beaten at his crucifixion. While supported by papyrus 72, the alternative reading is probably due to misreading, i.e. the omission of the two Greek letters ‘phi and iota’.
14Raymond Brown, The Epistles of John (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1982), 562."

(end quote)

moments.nbseminary.com/archives/ … -john-418/


You do know that the guy that runs the site you linked at the end of your post is a ECT proponent?


Why would it concern me what he believes?


Are you trying to make a case for Universialism by quoting his article?


No, i’m interested in the truth about the Greek words the article discusses, regardless of what source that truth comes from.


Ok but if you’re a Universalist which I have no clue if you are or not but if you are than why are you going to source materials that is against Universalism? The Traditionalists are going to interpret Scriptures based on their traditions and will reject anything coming from the Uni camp.


maintenanceman wrote:
I tend to like the image of an unending sea of humanity coming to the realization of who God truly is. :smiley:

Beautiful thought :slight_smile:

Rev 5:13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

I tend to look at this verse as the fulfillment of Phil 2:9-11

The “under the earth” quote which means the dead and exponentially increases the number of people and makes this universal was added unto the OT quote 3 separate times in the NT!


This article “IMO” demonstrates well the weakness of the universalist position in explanation of <κόλασιν> kolasin as per Mt 25:46. That <κόλασις> kolasis CAN equate to remedial punishment i.e., chastisement DOES NOT negate its predominant use and understanding as per the author’s stated… “punishments often are drastic and deadly” i.e., fully retributive with NO hint of restoration.** While I disagree 100% with the author’s conclusions** as to postmortem implications/applications I think he’s on the money as to its (<κόλασις> kolasis) basic overall use.

My approach is to understand this passage as applying NOT to postmortem destinies (as per tradition, and thus the author’s conclusion) BUT rather, covenantal realities and said consequences as was facing Israel AT THAT TIME in terms of the forthcoming conflict with Rome that Jesus had JUST been prophesying about in chapters 23-24 i.e., historical context. SOME in punishment <κόλασιν> kolasin would duly die (Jn 8:24; Lk 13:3-5), while others would survive into (<εἰς> eis) the fullness of the coming new age i.e., the new covenant age — aka age-lasting life ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

IOW… Mt 25:46 is NOT speaking to or of postmortem existence in terms of either Hell or Heaven; NO, Jesus is speaking of covenant realities AS THEY THEN WERE, and thus the consequences of following either. Understood this way negates textual gymnastics.


Yes, i go to ECT materials all the time to learn what they think & how to refute them. Many people posting on this forum refer to them or post them here asking how universalists answer them. As the saying goes, know your enemy.

I’ve believed in universalism for a few decades since reading Salvator Mundi. A few years before that i had a born again experience.


Sometimes, a site provides good general answers - to Biblical questions. Like the Calvinist site Got Questions. It has a lot of “Google juice”. So if someone asks a Biblical question, I usually share their answer. But I am NOT a Calvinist. And I have NEVER been one. If nothing else, it provides a starting point for discussion.

Now if I wanted to be “truly happy”… I would embrace Arthur Schopenhauer in philosophy…And John Calvin in theology. :wink:


A google type search re kolasis led, as it often does, to a thread on this site where Jason Pratt commented on the article re kolasis. The following is quoted from a couple posts there:

“The ForAnAnswer site is more ambiguous about the meaning of {kolasis} than they intend to be. “Punishment” and “correction” need not be mutually exclusive concepts; no one who appeals to the original pruning context of the usage in classical Greek thinks the baby goats are not being punished in Matt 25 (nor that punishment is not meant anywhere else {kolasis} or a cognate of it occurs in the NT or the LXX). The whole point to appealing to classical Greek usage is that they themselves were borrowing the meaning as a metaphor for a particular kind of punishment!”

“We know for a fact that there is at least one place directly in the NT canon where an agriculture metaphor for punishment identical to {kolasis} is used not only with hopeful intention but with a warning to people not being punished that they had better not despise the punishment of others lest they also be punished: Romans 11. God can graft branches into the vine, even if they are not natural to the vine, and graft branches out even if they are born natural to the vine; and if He grafts branches out He can graft them in again.”

“A few months ago we had a (not very apt) Arminian anti-universalist on the board who, probably following the uncredited lead of some author he had found (as was his wont) without paying enough attention, wanted to argue for hopeless punishment at Matt 25 on the ground that {kolasis} had to be used exactly the same way whenever it is used in the NT. In the process of attempting this argument and citing its usage in 1 John, he ended up denying that its occurrence in 1 John was either punishment by God or hopeless if it was punishment from God (one of the other, he couldn’t land on which). Well, okay, if you insist {kolasis} has to be used the exact same way every time…! :laughing:

“I’m not hardcore about this. It’s safe to say {kolasis} means punishment of some kind; and it’s valid to note the remedial usage in classical Greek as being evidence that the meaning could be the same among NT authors. Or, not: they might have changed the meaning. Similarly, subsequent post-canonical usage (where this can be clearly specified by contextual evidence) is good evidence of how those particular Christians, and so some group of Christians, were using and understanding the word, and even the scriptural references where applicable; but they might be misinterpreting it, too. Similarly, when {timoria} is used in the NT, it happens in contexts that indicate the punishment isn’t hopeless!”

“It really comes down to immediate and local narrative and thematic contexts. There is evidence in the NT, and even here in Matt 25, that {kolasis} doesn’t necessarily have to mean a hopeless punishment (I would go so far as to argue that the narrative and thematic contexts lock solidly as a Synoptic warning against expecting hopeless punishment!); and there is direct contextual evidence in both NT and LXX koine Greek that {eonian} doesn’t have to mean never-ending, even in cases where two things described as {eonian} in immediate close context are contrasted, one being only temporary after all and the other (God) being truly never-ending.”

“(Which is completely aside from the question of how much of the old pre-Platonic meaning of “eonian” for “living” or “spiritual” the LXX and the NT are importing in combination with Plato’s concept of “eonian” not of life per se but as what he understood to be God–for which there is some significant evidence, especially in the NT. I have found it is quite contextually safe to translate “eonian” as meaning “Godly” or “uniquely from God” throughout the NT. The punishment is uniquely from God, so is the life, but there is an obvious difference in that we are invited to partake of eonian life from the Living God Who Himself is the resurrection and the life! I don’t have to press this more consistent interpretation of eonian here, but I sure do note it’s an option. :wink: )”

Re: Kolasis- punishment or torment?
Postby JasonPratt » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:16 am

“I guess I should add that I don’t regard either “punishment” or “torment” as being necessarily ongoing or not-ongoing. But if your friends want to appeal to the concept of torment, you can point out that the word for this in the NT is borrowed from a term for refining and testing gold. :smiley: A concept that definitely has connections, acknowledged by everyone on all sides of the aisle, to salvation of sinners by God from their sins (including in punitive situations) in the OT and NT.”

“I should also add that charges of linguistic fallacy only hold up if the context fails the interpretative usage. We only know when meanings have changed thanks to the context in the first place. A better rebuttal to the interpretation of {kolasis} as remedial punishment via horticultural metaphor, rather than merely charging linguistic fallacy, would be to observe that most occasions when related horticultural metaphors are used for divine punishment in the NT look more hopeless than not! (But then of course if even one such metaphor is not only hopeful but directly warns against expecting the punishment to be hopeless, that would be a strong interpretative evidence that the other instances aren’t meant to show a final result but only “picture” the story up to a point. So since Romans 11 pretty clearly exists, maybe it’s better for non-universalists to simply charge “linguistic fallacy” without going into details about how identification for or against linguistic fallacy actually works. :mrgreen: )”

“So for example, a charge of linguistic fallacy against interpreting the meaning of torment in Biblical Greek along its usage of refining and testing of precious metal, would be itself rebutted in proportion as there is an established Biblical usage of that concept in connection to punishment.”


I’d say the reason it’s not explicit is because virtually nothing in scripture is. You’ve got to dig for stuff in there and read between the lines, as it were.


Fortunately translation error is not the heavy weight evidence for the salvation of all. There are a dozen verses that speak clearly enough of the salvation of all that when viewed together- throw a monkey wrench into the integrity of scripture if they are not to be regarded as true.

Ephesians 1:9-11
Colossians 1:15-20
1 John 2:2
Romans 11:32-36
Romans 8:18-22
1 Corinthians 15:23-28
John 12:32
1 Tim 2:4
Revelation 21:5
Phil 2:9-11

These verses provide context for the salvation of all and only after reading them together(along with many others that only become clear in context) and seeing the obvious conclusion did I begin to look into the language issues, along with the history of how the doctrine of eternal torment came into predominance, to determine the resolution between the two opposing interpretations of God’s plan.


Excellent post there, Eaglesway.

Further to Daniel 12:2-3, i propose the following:

Jesus Himself spoke of aionios life in the aion to come (Lk.18:30; Mk.10:30), thus limiting it, whereas Scripture speaks of multiple aions/eons/ages to come (Eph.2:7, Rev.11:15, etc). In Ephesians 1 & 2 Paul the former Pharisee spoke of both the coming age (Eph.1:21) and multiple future ages (2:7).

It is immortality that gives believers endless life, not obtaining life aionion in a future aion/age, e.g. the millennial age kingdom of Christ that last 1000 years.

From a review of a book by Ilaria Ramelli, namely The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp):

"…in a passage in Origen in which he speaks of “life after aionios life” (160). As a native speaker of Greek he does not see a contradiction in such phrasing; that is because aionios life does not mean “unending, eternal life,” but rather “life of the next age.”
journalofanalytictheology.com/ja … 30418a/271

Similarly, in support of the above, Daniel 12:2-3, in which i also see universal salvation:

The context supports the view that both the life & the punishment referred to in v.2 are of finite duration (OLAM), while v.3 speaks of those who will be for OLAM “and further”.

2 From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life
and these to reproach for eonian repulsion." 3 The intelligent shall warn as the warning
of the atmosphere, and those justifying many are as the stars for the eon and further."
(Dan.12:2-3, CLV)

The Hebrew word for eonian (v.2) & eon (v.3) above is OLAM which is used of limited durations in the OT. In verse 3 of Daniel 12 are the words “OLAM and further” showing an example of its finite duration in the very next words after Daniel 12:2. Thus, in context, the OLAM occurences in v.2 should both be understood as being of finite duration.

The early church accepted the following Greek OT translation of the Hebrew OT of Daniel 12:3:

καὶ οἱ συνιέντες ἐκλάμψουσιν ὡς ἡ λαμπρότης τοῦ στερεώματος καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν δικαίων τῶν πολλῶν ὡς οἱ ἀστέρες εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας καὶ ἔτι[and further]

Notice the words at the end saying KAI ETI, meaning “and further” or “and still” or “and yet” & other synonyms.

eti: “still, yet…Definition: (a) of time: still, yet, even now, (b) of degree: even, further, more, in addition.” Strong’s Greek: 2089. ἔτι (eti) – still, yet

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας καὶ ἔτι means “into the ages and further” as a translation of the Hebrew L’OLAM WA ED[5703, AD]

So this early church Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures agrees with the above translation (& those below) using the words “and further” & similarly.

3 and·the·ones-being-intelligent they-shall- warn as·warning-of the·atmosphere
and·ones-leading-to-righteousness-of the·many-ones as·the·stars for·eon and·futurity (Daniel 12:3, Hebrew-English Interlinear)
scripture4all.org/OnlineInte … /dan12.pdf

2 and, many of the sleepers in the dusty ground, shall awake,—these, [shall be] to age-abiding life, but, those, to reproach, and age-abiding abhorrence; 3 and, they who make wise, shall shine like the shining of the expanse,—and, they who bring the many to righteousness, like the stars to times age-abiding and beyond. (Daniel 12:2-3, Rotherham)

2 And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life age-during, and some to reproaches—to abhorrence age-during.
3 And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitude as stars to the age and for ever*. (Dan. 12:2-3, YLT)

Daniel 12:2-3 was the only Biblical reference to “life OLAM” Jesus listeners had to understand His meaning in John 3:16 & elsewhere.

Verse 3 speaks of those who bring “many” to righteousness. The “many” of verse 2, i.e. universal salvation.

One of the strongest passages against UR, is actually one of the strongest in favor of it.