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Nicene Nerd

Universalism: Shall All Be Saved?

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Yeah, I'm asking you to quote the exact text for me.

It was stated by the pastor at a camp I was at two weeks ago. He is a black pastor so dont think anythin. God does indeed love the world. And you cant say that creation is proof to all people. Because not everyone in the world knows that there is a God and sadly they will go to hell if no one tells them about God. And they will look at us on the day of judgement and ask why we never told them about God. And God will tell them. Depart from me. For I never knew you

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He is a black pastor so dont think anythin.

 

 

I'm not sure I'm reading your implicature there. Could you spell out what you mean here a bit more clearly?

Edited by Chris-M

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It was stated by the pastor at a camp I was at two weeks ago. He is a black pastor so dont think anythin. God does indeed love the world. And you cant say that creation is proof to all people. Because not everyone in the world knows that there is a God and sadly they will go to hell if no one tells them about God. And they will look at us on the day of judgement and ask why we never told them about God. And God will tell them. Depart from me. For I never knew you

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:12–16, KJV).

 

I think it is our mission to reach those who don't have the gospel, and I do wonder if they are saved, I rely upon God's own will to decide who is saved and who isn't. We should just go and reach them. I suppose those who haven't heard the gospel will be judged by their hearts, but I honestly don't know. 

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This is a big part of the reason why I dislike the penal substitution view of atonement.

Where should the line be drawn between normal sinners and "unjust, cruel" ones? (Can sin not be unjust?) Something about the sick being the ones in need of a doctor. Why is punishment for sins desired, isn't it greater for the sinner to be changed than merely punished?

I also think it is harmful to diminish the role that a person's environment has on their behavior. It's easy to want revenge on those who hurt others, but it is far more beneficial to everyone to create an environment that promotes goodness. (And it is quite possible the a revenge based view of atonement actually fosters environments that perpetuate sin/harm.)

 

Along those lines is why I think some form of calvinism (that rejects/highly qualifies A), annihilationism, universalism (rejecting/qualifying C), or a non-omnipotent view of God (rejecting B  )are the only reasonable options. All attempts to synthesize A, B, and C are either invalid or covertly reject one of them.

 

I'm not sure how much of a role penal substitution plays as such here. Honestly, penal substitution held without limited atonement works in such a strict logical sense that it properly ought to imply universalism.

 

My major question that has me confused is: "Why is death the cut off point for salvation?"

 

Lemme try to explain...

 

Humans, all of them, are searching for truth. It's an innate part of being human. We try to figure out the rules of the universe and what it all means. I've always believed that this part of humanity is our souls reaching out for God. The reason why we come to alternative conclusions to one unified belief in God is a combination of a lack of information and the fact that God exists in a plane/area that we can not fully comprehend. Just like we can not fully understand a tesseract. 

 

Anyway, my point is that, humans are constantly searching for Truth/God. If they are programmed to do so, when they are actually, genuinely exposed to God at their death and enter into a place where they can experience His form of existence in a more full way (like Christ's Transfiguration), how could a human not believe/accept the Christian God has his/her lord and savior? And if a human was, by nature, forced to accept it, why would because they were dead be a reason why God would not grant them the same salvation they would have gotten moments before their passing? It simply seems arbitrary to me is what I'm saying I guess. 

 

And I know original sin and total depravity work in here, somehow, but I'm just not seeing it because I refuse to believe there is a human on this Earth that wouldn't believe in God if exposed to Him in a full, genuine way. 

 

In character as a universalist, I would simply need to "amen," though I also would add the possibility of human hard-heartedness taking time to be undone even in the presence of God's glory. It seems to me easier to suggest that no one could maintain the will to run from God's love forever, but doing so temporarily seems to fit within the weirdness that characterizes human sinfulness.

 

That said, as my real self I think this is precisely the event horizon on our understanding of sin. Sin has its own mysterious, inexplicable way. It's corruption even does what seems like should be impossible: leading people to never accept God's grace even when it confronts them face to face unveiled. It's a surd, totally unable to be fitted into a logically tight system. 

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It was stated by the pastor at a camp I was at two weeks ago. He is a black pastor so dont think anythin. God does indeed love the world. And you cant say that creation is proof to all people. Because not everyone in the world knows that there is a God and sadly they will go to hell if no one tells them about God. And they will look at us on the day of judgement and ask why we never told them about God. And God will tell them. Depart from me. For I never knew you

 

You're dancing around. I asked you what text, and you ignored me and gave me an answer of circles. It's okay to not know the answer, Bryce, but you're being silly.

 

Romans 1:20 says: For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

 

While l agree that people should speak of God verbally (most notably The Gospel), there is no justifiable excuse that anyone could have to avoid not knowing of God either via verbal exchange, reading, or plainly seeing. Most of the world has a copy of the Bible in their indigenous tongue. If not, it is most certainly being achieved as we speak.  Most of the world has some sort of Internet connection. Those that do not, are in the process of getting it. There is no justifiable excuse.

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They arent saved till they accept God and believe in him by confession of mouth or thought

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They arent saved till they accept God and believe in him by confession of mouth or thought

 

Are you going to use the Bible at some point, or just spout off opinions?

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They arent saved till they accept God and believe in him by confession of mouth or thought

 

I don't think anyone was disagreeing with this point. I think what Todd's point is that, going by the verse he quoted from Romans, the natural world is a testament to the existence of God. Psalm 19 demonstrates this idea:

 

"The heavens declare the glory of God;

​the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

​It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is deprived of its warmth."

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Are you going to use the Bible at some point, or just spout off opinions?

I am using the bible..

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I've read over this thread a couple of times, and I'm by-and-large ignoring the philosophical stuff (sorry/not sorry). From how the Bible seems to be when I read it, I hold the following position:

 

The only certain way to Heaven is through Christ, and God desires this of all people

  • "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" - Romans 10:13
  • "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - John 10:9-11
  • "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the saviour of all people, especially those who believe." - 1 Tim 4:10
  • "The Lord... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9
  • "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion." - Isaiah 30:18 (emphasis mine)
  • "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." Ezekiel 33:11

 

Therefore, the purpose of those in Christ is to fulfil the Great Commission 

  • "Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 28:19
  • "This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." - 1 Tim 2:3-4
  • "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." - Mark 16:15
  • "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." - Acts 1:8

Of course, God would also be able to save those outside His Church (and I personally think some might very well be), but there's no certainty in it. Zabby's point about nobody not believing in God when confronted with Him fully is making me question myself slightly, though...

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I've read over this thread a couple of times, and I'm by-and-large ignoring the philosophical stuff (sorry/not sorry). From how the Bible seems to be when I read it, I hold the following position:

 

The only certain way to Heaven is through Christ, and God desires this of all people

  • "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" - Romans 10:13
  • "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - John 10:9-11
  • "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the saviour of all people, especially those who believe." - 1 Tim 4:10
  • "The Lord... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9
  • "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion." - Isaiah 30:18 (emphasis mine)
  • "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." Ezekiel 33:11

 

Therefore, the purpose of those in Christ is to fulfil the Great Commission 

  • "Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 28:19
  • "This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." - 1 Tim 2:3-4
  • "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." - Mark 16:15
  • "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." - Acts 1:8

Of course, God would also be able to save those outside His Church (and I personally think some might very well be), but there's no certainty in it. Zabby's point about nobody not believing in God when confronted with Him fully is making me question myself slightly, though...

 

This is almost exactly my IRL position. I dub part of it the divine prerogative of surprise.

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This is almost exactly my IRL position. I dub part of it the divine prerogative of surprise.

 

"SURPRISE! You're going to Heaven!" is a lot more fun than "All aboard the Surprise Hell Bus, one way journey absolutely free" tho. 

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Source?

 

Oh how the cannons roared and the giants toppled/

Great hosts thrown into disarray/

By one little word/

The shards of poor ideas did spray

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God said even those that never heard of him will still go to hell sadly because no one told them about God. And it would be our fault

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.

 

Where did God say what you said He did?

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I'm going to try to revitalize this debate using a new approach, still playing Devil's advocate:

The traditional stronghold for the belief that people will actually end up going to Hell has been Jesus' teachings. Colloquially, this argument can be seen as, "Jesus talked more about Hell than about Heaven!" But from His original historical context, it seems very likely that Jesus' judgment warnings are oriented towards the coming judgment of Israel God would send through Rome unless they repented. This matches the pattern of OT prophets which Jesus clearly emulated, and indeed acted in continuity with.

 

Without this dominical stronghold, is not the overall argument for the final lostness of people much weaker?

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Psalm 9:17

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

 

Rev 20:10

 
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 

Rev 20:15

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

Yes, people will die, and go to hell, and no, they don't just burn up and disappear.  It will go on forever and ever, and cease not day or night.

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Psalm 9:17

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Rev 20:10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Rev 20:15

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Yes, people will die, and go to hell, and no, they don't just burn up and disappear. It will go on forever and ever, and cease not day or night.

You seem to be arguing against annihilationism, not specifically universalism. But either way, the word "hell" in the psalm literally means "grave," and Revelation is a highly figurative book talking about dragons and beasts and cities as whores. So what guarantees this description of judgment should be taken at face value?

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Source?

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

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Nicene: It seems in every single issue, be it creation or hell etc.   In order to defend your point you have to make sure that there is some allegorical, or symbolical meaning to every single passage in the Bible.  Is it just possible that maybe, when the Bible uses symbolism, that it is being symbolic, and that when the Bible uses literal speech predicting literal events, that it just might, just might be talking literally?

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Is it just possible that maybe, when the Bible uses symbolism, that it is being symbolic, and that when the Bible uses literal speech predicting literal events, that it just might, just might be talking literally?

You are begging the question as to what is symbolic or literal. All you are saying is "you should read it the same way I do".

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Nicene: It seems in every single issue, be it creation or hell etc.   In order to defend your point you have to make sure that there is some allegorical, or symbolical meaning to every single passage in the Bible.

What are you talking about? I never do that. Revelation, however, is one book which is built completely on symbol. Because it's an apocalypse. By definition it's made of symbolic visions.

Is it just possible that maybe, when the Bible uses symbolism, that it is being symbolic, and that when the Bible uses literal speech predicting literal events, that it just might, just might be talking literally?

Revelation does not use literal speech very much at all. Moreover, you seem to be assuming that there is some clear and constant difference between the symbolic and the literal. How do you know this?

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Zabby you warmed my heart with your response here! I recall the last time we discussed this topic a few years ago.

The Universal Salvation position is centered and focused on Love. One of the most powerful descriptions ever written of God is that God is Love. That infectious, irresistible, unquenchable love. The Love that Paul hopelessly tries to describe in human terms in Corinthians, the Love that sends the Son, only begotten, to die in a miserable suffering we don't and won't fully understand to conqueror every obstacle that could possibly separate Love and us. Love that we see but a glimpse of but see more fully as we walk in the presence of. The glorious Love no one will deny nor be denied of, because nothing can separate us from it nor take us out of its hand. All will confess to that Love and submit to it. That's the Good News, that is the gospel, that Love will reunite everyone to itself and we will be with Love forever more where all sadness, sorrow, impurities and death, everything that is contrary to Love is no more nor remembered of.

Sorry for resurrecting an old topic. Blessings to everyone!

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Zabby you warmed my heart with your response here! I recall the last time we discussed this topic a few years ago.

The Universal Salvation position is centered and focused on Love. One of the most powerful descriptions ever written of God is that God is Love. That infectious, irresistible, unquenchable love. The Love that Paul hopelessly tries to describe in human terms in Corinthians, the Love that sends the Son, only begotten, to die in a miserable suffering we don't and won't fully understand to conqueror every obstacle that could possibly separate Love and us. Love that we see but a glimpse of but see more fully as we walk in the presence of. The glorious Love no one will deny nor be denied of, because nothing can separate us from it nor take us out of its hand. All will confess to that Love and submit to it. That's the Good News, that is the gospel, that Love will reunite everyone to itself and we will be with Love forever more where all sadness, sorrow, impurities and death, everything that is contrary to Love is no more nor remembered of.

Sorry for resurrecting an old topic. Blessings to everyone!

 

To be sure, I like what you articulate here, but it doesn't ring entirely true. The actual Biblical textual evidence for many people suffering eternal punishment stands in the way. Instead, T. F. Torrance's approach sounds more Biblically likely:

 

 

If God in His love gives Himself to me, His love would burn up my self-love; His purity would attack my impurity; His truth would slay my falsehood and hypocrisy. The love of God would be my judgment. God’s love is wrath against all self-love. God’s love is a consuming fire against all that is unloving and selfish and sinful.

 

A good article with wore on Torrance and hell here.

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