Will Hitler be Saved?


#1

Will Hitler be saved? If I had money for every time this issue was raised I would be a rich person!

Let’s be unambiguous here:

  1. Hitler does not deserve to be saved so if he is saved it would have to be by grace alone.

  2. Hitler does not deserve to be saved so if he is to be saved then it would have to be through Christ’s mediatorial work

  3. If Hitler is to be saved it will only be through deep, heart-felt repentance, through Spirit-inspired faith in Christ and through a renewed mind and a transformed life in the Spirit.

  4. If Hitler is to be saved it will involve not merely reconciliation with God but also with his victims. And reconciliation will not be about saying, “Oh never mind! It didn’t really matter!”

  5. If this is to happen it has to happen in and through God. It is not humanly possible.

Will Hitler be saved? I think so. Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more.

What Christians would object to is the idea that God might treat Hitler as if what he did wasn’t really that bad. It was that bad! It was unspeakably dreadful! But suppose that 1-5 above were the case. What Christian grounds are there for objecting to God’s saving Hitler in those conditions? Isn’t divine grace wide enough? Isn’t the cross effective enough? Isn’t the Spirit powerful enough?


#2

I agree, and I consider the following hypothetical scenario. Suppose Hitler is sentenced to a minimum of 1,000 years in hell for everybody killed in WW II, which is estimated at 72 million people. That would mean that Hitler would be tormented in hell for a minimum of 72 billion years. If that were the case, would it be unjust for Christ to offer Hitler the gospel after 72 billion years? And if Hitler didn’t have heart-felt repentance after 72 billion years in hell, then he’d have to wait longer to get saved.

I’m not claiming that my hypothetic years of torment are accurate, but I’m merely demonstrating that Hitler could be justly punished without unconditional everlasting torment. And I also affirm that Hitler and anybody else needs to believe in Christ and get regenerated by the Holy Spirit in order to enter heaven.


#3

Good responses but I need a bit more clarification.

If Hitler will be saved it will be by grace & after a reconciliation with all his victims wrought through God; but there is also this idea that Hell is temporary – I’m a bit confused by this depiction. I understand that there is ample debate regarding the meaning of “eternal” (within the context of eternal torment) i.e. in the Koine eternal really refers to an age, a horizon of time, or a finite period rather than how we might understand its English translation.

I guess sometimes when we use words or phrases like: infinite, the foreseeable future, until the end of time, etc. – we might mean “forever” or we might mean something less (but it always means a time period that cannot be quantified).

On a separate note I had a JW come to my door my door today (Aug I know you can relate to this) and I engaged him in a conversation for around 45 minutes. He was pretty good but he seemed impressed with my knowledge of scriptures and Christian history. He promised to come back? I starting stumping him on the doctrine of soul sleep & the founder of his churches many flawed apocalyptic predictions (though he rang off the party line & of course hit me with the JW tap dance), then I attempted to broach the doctrine of the Trinity with him and he wound up leaving that for another day. He’s a bit older so I imagine he’s been at it for a while; but he did tell me he’s never meet someone who actually knows what they’re talking about – I resisted the urge to note the obvious, the only reason they have any luck at all is because most who call themselves Christians simply have no idea. Just a funny story I thought I’d share.


#4

I like how Jesus used the word “eternal” in John 17:3 (NIV), “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”


#5

under this dichotomy it’s harder to reconcile the references to “eternal” torment with the universalist perspective. The only other option becomes to assume the requirement of accepting Christ isn’t limited to our temporal lives (I find this latter view much more consistent with scripture).


#6

Your last sentence describes evangelical universalism.: )


#7

ET, (lol)
I’m not following…
Why is it harder to reconcile the ref. to eternal torment with the universalist perspective (in light of John 17:3)?

Aug


#8

I would say that if a man is so hard headed after that he would not repent after 72,000,000,000 years of torment then he should be mercifully annihilated from existence :open_mouth:

On the other hand we cannot see into another human’s conscience. We have no idea if Hitler had a glitch which kept him from comprehending how terrible his deeds were. On the other hand - if the consciences of you and I are enlightened by God then our lack of action to stop one atrocity could be deemed a greater moral evil than 10,000 atrocities committed by someone who lacked that light.


#9

Hey Aug:

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been busy with my reserve unit & I’ve been interviewing for a job in Wash DC (looks like I’m going to be a Wash legal bureaucrat … LOL). Anyway, as you know my own views have been shifting toward the reformed side for quite some time now … and I’ve finally come out of the closet (I left the Methodist church for the Presbyterian church). I just wound up finding Calvinism more compelling – but it’s not to say I reject the idea of hypothetical universalism (or something close to it) outright. However, for me it remains hypothetical since from a scriptural perspective it really is conjecture. I do think there are some predestined for glorification and others destined for wrath – however, I also acknowledge God has always showed more mercy than we’ve expected.

The verse you cite is compelling. However, Jesus also points out that He might give eternal life only to those God has given Him. Also consider what Jesus states only five verses later:

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours

Jesus only prays for the elect. So again scripture itself seems to provide no direct evidence that all people will be saved (beyond a few isolated verses). However, the first chapter of Greg MacDonald’s book keeps ringing in my mind. How could heaven be bliss for me if I knew that my brother was burning in hell? Would I have access to this knowledge? Is my memory erased?

All in all we might draw out a universalist undertone in scripture – but IMO in order to do that we do have to infer a sort of hidden providence.

We know the heavenly realm is probably outside of time. We might arrive and see that God’s work is already completed – who can know really? I was just discussing the problem of homosexuality on another board & in all the chatter there was one point that was missed entirely. The thread focused on the fact that homosexuals are biologically predisposed to their condition. However, so are alcoholics right? I hear few arguing on the behalf of drunkards; but the point really is we are saved through faith & faith isn’t just believing God exists – it is believing God can actually save you from sin.

I noted that when Jesus healed people He would always say it was your faith that healed you. They believed He could heal them so He did. The inference is if they didn’t believe He could heal them then they wouldn’t have been healed. The point is God causes us to walk in His statutes, since we are all unable to either come to God or obey Him through our own volition. A blind man cannot make himself see – but God can. We simply have to believe God can do these things and will if we ask Him to.

When our first parents sinned they lacked knowledge of good and evil. However, rather than simply trust God they tried to define good and evil for themselves & were even tempted to believe that they could be their own God. Even though we know right from wrong – we are unable to do right. God commanded our first parents to not eat from the tree of knowledge, yet denied them knowledge of right and wrong. God exhorts us to choose between life and death – yet does not give us the ability to make the choice ourselves. God hardens some and has mercy on others; however, is this the perpetual state of mankind? Or is God trying to teach us something? I believe the latter to be true.

In a sense it’s like we’re still being created when you really think about it. This is why I think it’s perfectly possible that we will be surprised by God’s mercy. It’s always been this way. God has always had more mercy on mankind then we deserved. He had Christ go and preach to the spirits in prison – even though they were perhaps the most wicked among the entire human race.


#10

And all things have been given into the hand of the Son. From which they will never be taken out. :smiley:

But of course not everything is cooperating with the Son yet. If souls keep trying to jump out of His hand into death, and He squeezes hard to keep them from reaching the furthest end that they’re demanding to have… :bulb:

There is, however, another way to read that supplication; one that comports better with the Son being the only way to the Father.

Let us suppose I am one of the ‘elect’. Question: can I functionally bypass the Son (or even the Spirit) and pray to the Father directly without going through the other Persons? I don’t mean, can I try doing this in my ignorance and actually reach the Father while being ignorant that I am being mediated by the Spirit and the Son. I mean, if I reach the Father, have I ever done so outside or around the constant interpersonal relationship and communication between the Persons of the Trinity?

I’m thinking that if orthodox trinitarianism is true (and I’m a hyper-orthodox apologist, btw :ugeek: ), then the answer to this question is no. Consequently, those who (thanks to God’s grace at any given time) wish to seek the Father, one way or another, whether in ignorance or in knowledge, must be mediated by the Son, Who makes supplication for us.

Certainly the Son doesn’t make supplication against the will of the Father (despite some sloppy Christian theology sometimes :wink: ); but the verse you presented also fits cleanly into an orthodox situation where the Son does not pretend that those who are, at the moment, not seeking God are seeking God. Until they repent and seek the Father, the Son does not intercede for them. The Son and the Spirit do however persistently seek to bring the unrepentant to repentance, the first step of which must be the conviction of sin.

Notice that toward the end of the chapter, Jesus is praying that the “world” will know the Father does send the Son on mission; and the gathering language used in v 21 is applied to the widest possible scope elsewhere in the NT (1 Cor 15:24-28 for example) and the OT (Is 45:20-25 for example–a conclusion in favor of which earlier in the chapter God is remonstrating against those who would believe that God will abandon the punished to death and destruction, in words that are quoted by St. Paul in chp 9: who are you to answer back to God * concerning that which He has created, O man?! Is 45 is one of those many ‘few’ portions of scripture that state pretty much straight out what God’s intentions, scope and expectations are of salvation from sin. :smiley: )

Actually, it even says that straight out in a couple of places (GosMark being one of them, when Jesus is visiting His hometown and can do few works of power there due to their unbelief, which He marvels at.)

I think He wasn’t denying them knowledge of right and wrong at all. He was only forbidding them to get it by rebellion against Him. :imp: Had they chosen to trust Him, they would have gotten the knowledge the other, better way.

Quite agreed. :smiley:*


#11

ET,
good…
goooooodddd…
soon your journey to the darkside will be complete!
kidding,

I believe Jason is correct here. It is hard to define “world” when one thinks that when Jesus prays this prayer Saul is not a part of Christ. So at the time of Jesus’ prayer was
(A) Saul was a part of the elect, pending salvation and thus he IS NOT PART OF THE WORLD
(B) Saul is part of the world and Jesus is not praying for him in this prayer

Obviously leading the question, Is the prayer a prayer for all time or for the believer he’s about to send out into the world to save it?

But in context heres what Jesus prays,
6"I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name the name you gave me so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.**

For the calvinist line of reason to be true then Saul must be included.
So at the time this prayer was offered up was God made known to saul?
Did saul obey his word?
Did Saul believe everything Jesus had came from God?
Did Saul accept Jesus’ words at the time of this prayer?
Did Saul bellieve he came from God?

The point being Saul is not included in this prayer. It is a prayer for his disciples which he is about to send out to the world. Calvinists would like to expand this beyond such grounds but I find it utterly hopeless to argue in such a way.

With that said it brings us back to Jason’s point that while Saul was a part of the world it did not mean God was not going to give saul to him.

So I don’t accept the reformed logic of this prayer and I find that God’s love for his enemies is not declined by Jesus’ prayer at all.

Aug**


#12

Actually, I was making a somewhat different argument, Aug. But I like yours, too. :smiley:

As a connecting bridge between them topically, though, let us note that Jesus affirms in this prayer that everything that belongs to the Father is given to the Son by the Father. The Calvinist would have to push this to mean that the non-elect do not belong finally to the Father, too, just like the elect. That’s a pretty problematic ontological claim, though!–it treads hard on cosmological dualism (at the least).

Of course, I don’t want to deny that the NT texts talk quite a bit about election and some kind of apparent distinction between the elect and those who (in some way) are not elected. I think I can agree with the Calvs that this at least means God knows and chooses from His perspective above and outside time-and-space who will be Christian in this life.


#13

Jason,
I was referring to…

If I understand you right, I’m expanding that using paul.

Aug


#14

Aug,

Well, I was thinking in terms of the theological principles: why might Christ not pray for people in the world?

Sadly, I was so distracted by that, I forgot to look into the contextual argument :mrgreen: ; so I’m glad you covered that part.


#15

Someone put together a site with a bunch of Christian quotes by Hitler. He was a baptized Catholic and wrote that he wanted to be a priest at one point in his life.

So, he was baptized and confessed Christ as his Lord. (The two essentials of a Christian) Given those facts, isn’t this the proper question: Did he lose his salvation?

That puts us on the Path of Three Answers. Yes, No, or he never had it to lose in the first place. (The grist for 99% of web forum discussions.)

People are evil - they do evil things. NO one deserves to be saved from being what they are. Yet we are promised a great change is going to take place because of what God did as a human being. All that evil was heaped on Him. So, if I am to answer your question, I must first believe that work of God if I am to claim to understand His Justice.

We know what our justice looks like. Hitler’s father beat him into a two day coma when just a boy.


#16

RanRan

If Hitler ever was a genuine Christian then he did lose his salvation but will one day gain it again. I do believe that Christians can lose their salvation.

If Hitler was never a genuine Christian (which I suspect but do not know) then he never was saved but one day will be

GM


#17

Christians can certainly lose their reward by turning back, giving in, or losing faith in their Redeemer. But if one is to define salvation as being saved from death then, no, a Christian (or anyone else, for that matter) cannot lose that salvation - since all are resurrected from death - mankind’s last enemy.

I think too many define salvation as being saved from God’s justice - but that definition can easily be shown to spring from unbelief and is always egocentric, as though one’s faith propitiates God - an essentially cross-less and Christ-less definition. As Barth pointed out, when Christ took away the sins of the world, God declared Himself to be, unequivocally, FOR mankind. Paul, himself, spends a fair amount of ink explaining how superfluous discussions of salvation from the Law are and were…Paul seems much more amazed at the resurrection which transcends morality.


#18

RanRan

so what do you make about all those biblical texts directed to Christians that speak of the dangerous consequences of apostacy? Hebrews 6 is a classic but there are numerous others (on which I recommend I. Howard Marshall’s book “Kept by the Power of God”). They are not simply warning about the failure to receive a reward; they are about the danger of not receiving salvation.

Salvation is for those ‘in Christ’ but those Christians who reject Christ are not, so far as I can see from the NT, in Christ any longer.

I am very happy to go the route that you suggest but I would need to see how you handle the texts

GM


#19

That’s a little like saying - that those who reject Adam are no longer human. Paul talks of an ontological change of humanity who were ‘in Adam’ now being ‘in Christ.’ That change is universal in that all of humanity shares in it. As in Adam no one could escape death, in Christ, no one can stop being reborn in the resurrection. Everyone is ‘in Christ’ - the first born of the resurrection. To be born in the first place is to be created in the image of God - every human being is special in the sense of being the closest thing to be being like God without being God. At the resurrection, immortality is added to that likeness. The selfishness that flows from self-preservation will, of course, be gone. One has to ask if immortality, itself, will conquer the propensity to do evil. Paul seems to be answering, yes. IF that immortality is preceded by death.


#20

Ran, forgive me for not following you totally.

But what is it you are saying concerning “lose their reward”? Which reward? If Hitler in fact did as you say (all these christian ceremonies or sacraments) making him a christian, thus he will be saved…BUT can lose his reward by turning back then what does “lose his reward” mean to you?

Aug