Jump to content
Nicene Nerd

Universalism: Shall All Be Saved?

Recommended Posts

That's a wonderful passage, which I believe is true, yet not for eternity. Because Revelation 21 tells us there will be a time when all suffering will be no more, a new Heaven and Earth will be created. Even hell was cast into the lake of fire, it's usefulness expired. But that's what Universalists have joy in, we don't believe our shortcomings will ever prevent God's power from saving us, from turning us back to Love and changing us to a glorified state. Nothing we do can forever separate us from God's Love, because Love perseveres in all things, not some or most. If there was but one sinner in need for salvation would God not have conquered death to save that one sinner? Of course! He could have had 99 sheep and still yet go and search for the one lost sheep and bring it home. We can't resist God's desire forever, we can't stop Love from its victory!

I used to get very upset over this, but I realized that it doesn't matter if others accept this message now. It won't change God's plan, it won't prevent Love from finishing what it set out to do. A friend who believes in eternal hell can motivate themselves to God's work just as well. But it is likewise sad to see such a humanistic view of God shadow a glorious loving one. I've seen how upset a loved one is, truly heart broken that one they loved the most they couldn't save in this life and how they believed they had lost forever. That's not God's victory, that's such a hollow view of God's love and power. I believe in a God who can and will save everyone. Nothing can stop it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it funny that you bring up the vision in Revelation 21, since at the end of that vision in 22 there is a vision of the unrepentant wandering in suffering outside of that heavenly city.

 

Also, how do you take the Biblical statements about people who "will not inherit the kingdom of God?" What do you believe they mean? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it funny that you bring up the vision in Revelation 21, since at the end of that vision in 22 there is a vision of the unrepentant wandering in suffering outside of that heavenly city.

 

Also, how do you take the Biblical statements about people who "will not inherit the kingdom of God?" What do you believe they mean?

I think there is a clear difference between the New Heavens and Earth which will have no trace of the former sinful state of existence and the passages referencing the Lake of Fire, which is the second death, before the New Heavens and Earth are in existence. You can't claim "all things new" and no pain, sorrow, and death and then say hell exists with all of that. Hell is no more, it's been thrown into the Lake of Fire at that point. There will be no one left in need of salvation, no one left with sin.

The Kingdom of Heaven is present, right now. Those who will not inherit it do not partake in that Kingdom. That Kingdom is not part of the New Heavens and Earth, which is "all things new." Like Jesus said, my Kingdom is not of this world, it's a spiritual world. The New Heavens and Earth is a physical world which we will live in. I'm on my mobile so sorry for the brief response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a clear difference between the New Heavens and Earth which will have no trace of the former sinful state of existence and the passages referencing the Lake of Fire, which is the second death, before the New Heavens and Earth are in existence.

I'm actually referring to Revelation 22:14-15. After describing the New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and Earth, Jesus says this:

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying."

The unrepentant are apparently cut off from the tree of life and the presence of God. Better interpretation?

You can't claim "all things new" and no pain, sorrow, and death and then say hell exists with all of that.

You can if you cast off hell as to a worthless nothingness, which exists in the least relevant way but nonetheless is in some sense "there," yet apart from and entirely relativized by the New Creation.

The Kingdom of Heaven is present, right now. Those who will not inherit it do not partake in that Kingdom. That Kingdom is not part of the New Heavens and Earth, which is "all things new." Like Jesus said, my Kingdom is not of this world, it's a spiritual world. The New Heavens and Earth is a physical world which we will live in.

I believe you are making a fundamental mistake in assuming the Kingdom of God is either spiritual or physical. It is both, and it encompasses everything which is under God's reign in Christ. The only way around this is to pretend that the Gospels and Jesus were never Jewish, with very physical, "worldly" expectations about God and His reign in His Kingdom. The New Creation is not the afterword to the Kingdom, or its sequel, but its consummation. The New Creation is the Kingdom come to full fruition over all the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I'm not on staff here, I can be more open about stuff. The universalism argument is one I have been struggling with for years now. Though I mostly let it stay buried in the back of my brain because I've had neither time nor motivation to work it through. 

 

I believe your initial argument for universalism to be lacking. It's not as simple as "God loves us yet allows us to suffer." Granted the problem of evil is one that is major and has to be reconciled, but the Catholic view of suffering that Chris will be able to espouse covers that.  

 

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. 

 

 

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...

 

So I know I'm not adding anything to the debate, but I was just re-reading this and found that these posts resonated with me. While I hope for the salvation of all souls, I don't think I could ever be certain of it and in a way I think that uncertainty is important. Nevertheless, I want to be someone who hopes earnestly for the salvation of ALL souls. Even those who have done terrible terrible things are human. I think what Zabby expresses is why I'm pretty attached to the Catholic idea of purgatory or something similar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on my mobile and tried to respond then my phone somehow refreshed and the writing went away. I'll condense it.

Revelation 22:14-15 doesn't seem to be talking about after the New Heaven and Earth to me, the context seems to be prior to it, as Jesus says he will come soon in verse 12-13. It would also seem to contradict the clear writing of Revelation 21 which says all things will be new and there will be no more death, pain, and sorrow.

The Kingdom theology would take a lot to flesh out. In a nutshell, I believe Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom of God in reference to the authority of God- The {authority} of God is in your midst, and he tells Pilate my Kingdom (authority) is not OF this world, because if it was his followers would have fought against those who sought his capture. Indicating essentially that his message is not of a physical kingdom of God, not of a literal reign on earth and not to worry about a physical revolt but that his message is about a spiritual revival because the authority of God is here now. God with us. We can inherit this authority from Jesus. This can radically change the understanding of many passages about the kingdom of God as some understand it. Ine such understanding is how Jesus said that all this would come to pass within that generation's lifetime, and indeed the kingdom of God did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you believe in terms of God's will, God's plan, and God's sovereignty? How would you approach and reconcile the seemingly contradictory views of a God who desires for all to be saved, who doesn't wish for any to perish, and who will create a sinless existence with an eternal state of hopelessness and suffering within that existence? I think that would help us get to some level of understanding where we are at in our theology. it helps to see how one presents and views the problem of evil and suffering when there exists a seemingly all loving and powerful God who should be able to prevent it but appears not to. I'd be interested in reading your views on such matters.

Edited by Jordan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Revelation 22:14-15 doesn't seem to be talking about after the New Heaven and Earth to me, the context seems to be prior to it, as Jesus says he will come soon in verse 12-13.

What else would it mean by "the city" except for the city immediately which was just described as the New Jerusalem on the New Heavens and earth?

It would also seem to contradict the clear writing of Revelation 21 which says all things will be new and there will be no more death, pain, and sorrow.

It's not necessarily contradictory, but could well be qualifying. Yes, all things are become new, but some people are in a strange way even beyond this new "all things" and are left to rot in the old order which has passed away.

The Kingdom theology would take a lot to flesh out. In a nutshell, I believe Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom of God in reference to the authority of God- The {authority} of God is in your midst, and he tells Pilate my Kingdom (authority) is not OF this world, because if it was his followers would have fought against those who sought his capture. Indicating essentially that his message is not of a physical kingdom of God, not of a literal reign on earth and not to worry about a physical revolt but that his message is about a spiritual revival because the authority of God is here now. God with us. We can inherit this authority from Jesus. This can radically change the understanding of many passages about the kingdom of God as some understand it. Ine such understanding is how Jesus said that all this would come to pass within that generation's lifetime, and indeed the kingdom of God did.

Again, I don't think the spiritual/physical divide is necessary. Jesus' Kingdom was not of the world in the sense of arising from its nature and order, since it is supernatural and eschatological, but that does not mean it does that the Kingdom has no element which touches the world. Again, the authority of God is most fully established and expressed in the New Creation, which is the consummation of the Kingdom. The New Creation was always bound up with the New Covenant promised to Israel (see Isaiah, for example) and was considered a part of its fulfillment. The New Covenant and the New Creation are the two channels by which God exercises His Kingdom authority in Jesus Christ.

 

 

What do you believe in terms of God's will, God's plan, and God's sovereignty? How would you approach and reconcile the seemingly contradictory views of a God who desires for all to be saved, who doesn't wish for any to perish, and who will create a sinless existence with an eternal state of hopelessness and suffering within that existence? I think that would help us get to some level of understanding where we are at in our theology. it helps to see how one presents and views the problem of evil and suffering when there exists a seemingly all loving and powerful God who should be able to prevent it but appears not to. I'd be interested in reading your views on such matters.

I consider evil and sin to be a surd, a strange element of reality for which we do not and cannot have any conceptual categories. They do not make sense to us, nor can they rightly. I don't mean that they are actually logically contradictory to anything, only that we are and probably always will be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle which is reserved to the Divine Wisdom alone. Therefore both the entrance of sin and suffering along with its paradoxical eternal continuation on the forgotten periphery of existence I simply leave unanswered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Revelation 22:14-15 is speaking of those who have washed their robes, those who have died in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7). The City is that prior to the Second Death, before the new heavens and earth are created, when the city is besieged by the wicked and God rains fire on them. I truly don't understand why you could mistaken that it is speaking of after the New Heavens and Earth have come into existence, the verses before and after it references things before the creation of all things new.

When I read "all" I don't consider it to mean anything but that. You don't mix old wine with new wine and call it "new". The phrase "makes all things new" is the qualifier. The former things have passed away, they are gone, over, dealt with, and no more.

For me, sin, repentance, and what we can look forward to should be at the heart of our understanding and studying, because Christ is the center of that. How can we know what the Good News is without that understanding? God does not blind His children from the truth and in fact Jesus promises that if we ask we shall receive it in Matthew 7. We don't have to be left wondering- we can find out and know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmmm. I do not think all will be saved. However, I think God will save certain non-believers.

 

Number one, is the main point, which someone is moreless Baptized by their ignorance. They have never been able to seek the faith, or have been raised in an entirely different faith without ever knowing Christianity. God will save them because they did not have the chance to know him.

 

However, a personal view not many agree with, is I feel if you are living your life morally, as a good person, you may still be able to find God in your life. Jesus did not condemn Doubting Thomas, He simply said those who see without believing are more blessed. Plus, God does love all, and sometimes people have a hard time. However, I do not think an atheist can live his life being a major drug addict, hating God, and even murdering and find his way to 'heaven'.

 

     I know a preacher pretty well, and he has talked to me about this. If salvation can be gained by not ever hearing the Gospel, then all the churches should close their doors and burn all records of Christianity. By your reasoning, that should save everyone, as then no one has the chance to know him.

  

   In regards to your second point, let me refer to the Bible.

 

  John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 

  Ephesians 2:8-9 For by faith are ye saved through grace; not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

​Those verses there seem to sum up my point. While you can find God in your life, being good or bad does not change how God sees you. All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. While Christians are commanded to do good works, that doesn't mean we are saved by them. No one can enter Heaven unless in their hearts they truly believe in Christ dying for their sins.

 

And even the worst murdering, cheating, hating man can be saved, just look at Paul of Tarsus.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a preacher pretty well, and he has talked to me about this. If salvation can be gained by not ever hearing the Gospel, then all the churches should close their doors and burn all records of Christianity. By your reasoning, that should save everyone, as then no one has the chance to know him.

  

   In regards to your second point, let me refer to the Bible.

 

  John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 

  Ephesians 2:8-9 For by faith are ye saved through grace; not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

​Those verses there seem to sum up my point. While you can find God in your life, being good or bad does not change how God sees you. All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. While Christians are commanded to do good works, that doesn't mean we are saved by them. No one can enter Heaven unless in their hearts they truly believe in Christ dying for their sins.

 

And even the worst murdering, cheating, hating man can be saved, just look at Paul of Tarsus.

 

Interesting that you bring up Paul, who's encounter with Jesus immediately turned Him from a great persecutor of the faith to one greatly persecuted because of his joining the faith. It's telling how whenever we see a human, regardless of status, encounter God fully they leave from that encounter forever changed. It's a story that to me, alludes to the hope for all mankind that they will one day all have a similar encounter with the Lord and be forever changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If everyone is who is good but doesn't know Jesus is saved anyone it still makes sense to be a missionary because you can still be saving lots of people who aren't good in societies that don't know how to be and don't know Jesus. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×