"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

01 September 2006

Universalism

Since this “theology” is relatively new to me I thought I would share it.

From Wikipedia:

As noted above, in Christianity, Universalism, Universal reconciliation, or universal salvation, is the doctrine that all will be saved. Among theologians the doctrine is often referred to using the Greek word apocatastasis. The doctrine addresses the problem of Hell and notions of God's mercy and justice. Universalists contend that a loving God would not submit anyone, regardless of his or her sins or beliefs, to everlasting torment. Some also argue that eternal condemnation in Hell, an infinite punishment, is not proportionately just with any number of essentially finite sins.

This idea is obviously not biblical and a good example of extracting some verses out of the Bible and ignoring the rest. It separates salvation from faith in Jesus and denies that any will perish.

And yet we know:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:1-3

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matt 7:13-14

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:47-48

This idea of universal salvation is not all that much different that the home-brew God I described in The Gospel According to Me. The idea has just been reinforced with some out of context bible quoting making it in my mind more grievous than the home-brew God.

25 comments:

michele said...

You're making me thirsty.

e-Mom said...

It took me a long time to truly accept that Jesus really is the only way to salvation. I fought it because it just didn't seem "fair." Universalism seemed so logical. But when I finally understood what the Gospel message really is, and God's wondrous overarching plan for redemption, I saw how great a salvation it is--and how undeserving we are. God is so gracious. Thanks for "preaching" the truth!

BruceD said...

Does God only love those who believe "correctly"?

That seems very religious to me. I thought Christ came to set us free from the bondage of religion... to enable us to enter true relationship with our Creator... and enjoy life with God. I could be wrong.

Carrie said...

Does God only love those who believe "correctly"?

You'll have to define "correctly".

I thought Christ came to set us free from the bondage of religion

Christ came to free us from our bondage to sin. Our faith in him releases us from the penalty of our sin and reconciles us to God, but we must believe in Christ. The belief entails surrendering our life to him, trusting and obeying him. Without this we are still under God's wrath.

Ron said...

Would you agree with the statement that "we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works?" If this is true than saying that in order to be saved from hell we need to believe, i.e. do a work. But isn't the point of Matin Luther's saying is that our redemption and salvation is done by God and does not take a work on our part. Sure, following Jesus is a tough path like Jesus said in Matt 7:13-14 but didn't Jesus come to save us from destruction by his death? If you remember correctly, no one in the gospels got it right. Even Peter, the guy who said he'd die with Christ is need be left him and denied him three times before the rooster sounded. God knew the extent our our unbelief and so he decided to send Jesus to us so that he can take up all our failures onto himself so that we all may be redeemed by God. The "good news" of the gospel is that Jesus paid the price already for us and that by believing in him we can live life the way it was supposed to be lived.

You see, the gospel isn't "believe that this guy was sent from God to die for your sins so you can avoid hell when you die," but, "believe in Jesus and what he did because he saved us all from the destruction that was coming to us, and believing and trusting in him and his teachings will lead to a fuller life than what can be achieved when one is separated from God."

Until we Christians can see others the way we see Christ instead of writing some of them off as damned we will never understand the true meaning of the Bible.

You should look at the plain meaning of the quotes I posted on your other entry. I think you find that Paul has obvious universalistic tendencies. I don't think I am reading more into what he is saying but I'm just going back to what he meant originally. By ignoring those verses and than quoting harsher sounding verses, you miss the point that the Bible does not singularly adhere to your view and in fact the quotes you just pulled out prove eternal torment less than the quotes I brought up to show that universal reconciliation is biblical.

"You have heard it said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love you enemies and pray from those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the righteous and on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous...Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

Why would Jesus say this if all those "enemies" will go to hell forever? Doesn't he call us to love unconditionally as the Father loves unconditionally? Why do we need to love unconditionally of the Father does not? Notice the command to "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?" God's perfection is identified as having to do with his unconditional love which we are supposed to mirror if we are to be his children.

If you see any mistakes in this thinking let me know, I know that we look at the Bible quite differently.

BruceD said...

I hope that "surrendering, trusting, and obeying" thing works out for you...

As far as "correctly" goes, it sounds like you are saying that one must believe (and perform) correctly before God will love us. In other words, if we don't do "this" and "that", God's love will remain distant and removed from us. So, it is then "our actions" and "our responses" that win God's favor. And, without us taking responsibility for ourselves, God will not include us as his own.

The prophets of old said that God would send a messiah... a savior of the world. We who believe in universal reconciliation think that Jesus is that messiah. We believe that the prophets of old were correct when they foretold of the time that God would reconcile the world unto himself. Maybe we give God too much credit for loving us far beyond the views of traditional Christianity. Maybe we're "incorrect" that we can trust God completely, and that He redeemed us to himself whether we believe it or not.

I hope you won't reject me for what I believe. Most "christians" do. I don't reject anyone, because I know they are just as redeemed to God as I am. We are all united in the love revealed through the work of the cross.

By the way, which part of PA are you from? Maybe we're neighbors?

Carrie said...

Let me answer Bruce first.

it sounds like you are saying that one must believe (and perform) correctly before God will love us.

That is not what I am saying. I am saying that a genuine faith in Jesus is required for salvation. This type of genuine faith results in obedience (and works).

You are removing faith and obedience from the equation. You want to believe that Jesus died for all and all will be saved. This is not biblical and it is wrong.

Clearly you are aware of the differences in what you believe compared to Evangelical Christians. Hopefully you have read your Bible. Therefore, nothing that I say is going to change your mind and I have learned that debating these things goes nowhere fast.

I have gone over some of these ideas with Ron if you'd like to know some of my responses to your position.

BruceD said...

OK, I won't bother you any more. Based on your views, I guess it means we can't be friends, huh? That's OK, I understand. I once believed as you do. Well, great Life to you! God bless!

Carrie said...

Ron, here are the verses you asked about:

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim 4:10

In a sense, God is the savior of all because through him salvation has been offered (without him there would be none). However, all do not accept the gift of salvation. “Especially believers” distinguishes those who have chosen to believe in Christ and are therefore eternally saved.

and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3:15



He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

This doesn’t mean that Jesus was the propitiation for everyone literally, but that he died for the sins of not just the people to whom John was writing, but to the “world of believers”.

Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:10-12



For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Romans 11:32

Paul is talking of the Jews and the Gentiles. Both groups have been disobedient and both will receive mercy. This is not a universal all, it explains the shift (as much of Romans does) of God’s interaction with just Israel to the rest of the world. This doesn’t mean that all people will receive mercy.

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- Romans 9:22-23



who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:4

While God does not desire men to sin and turn away from him, that does not keep him from carrying out his salvation plan which includes condemnation for those who deny Christ. If you were a judge, you may not “desire” to condemn men to death, but it is necessary.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God



For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Col 1:19-20

I don’t think “all things” means all people. I would suggest you read on:

he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Col 1:22-23



or as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:21-22

I’ll admit, this verse on its own looks like a universal salvation. But as with all the verses, we must look at this verse in context with the rest of the Bible. Look back at the beginning of this letter:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Cor 1:18, 21


As I said before, you cannot pull out a few verses from the Bible and build your own theology. You have to look at the whole message of the Bible and the Gospel message is clear. Salvation comes through Jesus alone and is obtained through genuine faith.

And as I also said, if salvation were universal then why did the apostle’s risk so much, endure so many trials and die brutal deaths just to spread the message that Jesus died for all? What would be the point!

And how do you deal with all of the verses I gave you that talk of hell, condemnation, and belief in Jesus as a requirement for salvation? You don't need to answer that, just think about it.

Jathan said...

"This idea is obviously not biblical and a good example of extracting some verses out of the Bible and ignoring the rest. It separates salvation from faith in Jesus and denies that any will perish."

I would be careful with talking about this idea or that idea being "biblical." It could very well be the case that your way of reading the Bible is in need of drastic change.

Your talk of faith here sounds a lot like work, or at least the product of works. Yet Paul clearly taught that if salvation depends on works, then we have no hope or anything to be joyful about.

Be careful that you don't think yourself better than unbelievers because you have faith. That would be putting you pretty darn close to a Pharisee mentality.

As soon as you think that unbelievers should rot in hell, or perish, then you do not have the love of Jesus in you. Jesus saw the potential in everyone; he never wrote anyone off as beyond help.

If you do not have this conception of Jesus and his love, then I fail to see why your faith in Jesus is so special.

Those who rebel against God and do not believe need to be saved from rebellion and unbelief. Jesus knew this, why don't you? If their choice is against God, that is exactly what needs fixing. They need to be saved from their own choice.

But as long as you consider yourself better than others because you have faith and they don't -- as if your faith is to your credit -- then you will never see two plain, simple truths:

(1) God loves everyone so much that he will never give up on anyone.

(2) God can redeem anyone, because he is a powerful God.

The beginning of understanding what is "biblical" is understanding the spirit of Jesus, and to understand that, you need to open your heart some more to see what his heart was really like.

Jathan

phd4jesus said...

jathan, the debate among Ron, BruceD and Carrie was quite informative. I am trying to understand how you can come in and be so accusatory towards Carrie. If you are going to accuse someone, you need to back up what you say. I think what you have said about Carrie is completely incorrect.

1) I would be careful with talking about this idea or that idea being "biblical." It could very well be the case that your way of reading the Bible is in need of drastic change.

What did Carrie state that was unbiblical? It appears to me that she substantiated very well her arguements. Please give an example.

2) As soon as you think that unbelievers should rot in hell, or perish, then you do not have the love of Jesus in you.

Please give an example where Carrie said that nonbelievers should rot in hell.

3) Your talk of faith here sounds a lot like work, or at least the product of works.

Again, an example please.

4) Those who rebel against God and do not believe need to be saved from rebellion and unbelief. Jesus knew this, why don't you?

Where does Carrie demonstate that she doesn't know this?

5) Be careful that you don't think yourself better than unbelievers because you have faith.

Again, please give an example.

You've come in and talked the talk about God's love and yet you make unsubstantiated accusations against Carrie. Based on the five points I've just listed, it sounds like you have no substance to debate so instead you resort to attacking Carrie's character.

Ron said...

In a sense, God is the savior of all because through him salvation has been offered (without him there would be none). However, all do not accept the gift of salvation. “Especially believers” distinguishes those who have chosen to believe in Christ and are therefore eternally saved.

I disagree. The “especially believers” part would indicate just what the plain meaning of the text is, that God “who is savior of all people” and “especially those who believe.” This clearly means that Paul is saying that God saved “all people” and “especially those who believe.” It’s not that complicated. Paul is saying that Jesus died to redeem all, not to offer redemption for all but since only some will believe the rest are not redeemed. Remember the whole verse is, “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 1 Tim 4:10 If your interpretation is correct than Paul would have put it, “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope in the once living God, who offers salvation of all people, but grants it to only those who believe.” Do you see the difference between this wording and Paul’s? I think it makes quite a difference, and perhaps you should reexamine just what you think Paul is saying. I think this matters greatly since Paul states in verse 9 just before that, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance.”

I think another question of importance is what did the living God save us from exactly? Is it from an eternal torment in hell? I think you have to make quite a stretch for that. I think he saved us from death, and the punishment we deserved at judgment. Now, I am not being soft here, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the judgment and punishment are going to be a pleasant experience but it will be a life-altering one that we change lots of people in the hereafter. I think we have to be careful in how we interpret the Bible and not claim anything that’s clearly not what the author intended.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

This doesn’t mean that Jesus was the propitiation for everyone literally, but that he died for the sins of not just the people to whom John was writing, but to the “world of believers”.

If you look at the context of this quote, John goes into how it is needed for followers of Jesus to walk as he walked in love towards one another. I think this signifies that Jesus wants us to love one another (not just in the “world of believers” but our actual neighbors in the actual world). I think by just interpreting this quote from 1st John to contrast between whomever the letter is directly addressed to the wider world of believers is disingenuous. It wouldn’t be “good news” under that interpretation. Remember the world at that time was pretty much all pagan. Pagans were the people who were converting to Christianity. Do you think those people cared about all their unbelieving relatives past and present? If a work (in this case belief) was required to be saved than I don’t think Christianity would have gotten very far because the message would be, “God is pissed and if you don’t believe than he’ll put you in hell just like he did to all you unbelieving relatives and friends.” Who would want to serve such an uncompassionate God? I think they wanted to follow Jesus precisely because he sacrificed himself for all people and provided a way for us to be more like him, and thus more in line with the One who sent him. Notice how John just after this quote talks about the positive in the believing life rather than being saved from the negative. If Jesus was about anything it was about showing us that God is truly love.

who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:4

While God does not desire men to sin and turn away from him, that does not keep him from carrying out his salvation plan which includes condemnation for those who deny Christ. If you were a judge, you may not “desire” to condemn men to death, but it is necessary.

Sounds like God’s salvation plan abysmally failed if it works as you say. So God does not want to condemn people to hell but is forced to do it in order to follow the “salvation plan.” I think God was smart enough to realize after many years that “salvation plans” didn’t work too well. He did give a “salvation plan” to the Israelites already; it was called the Mosaic Law. That didn’t work too well if you look at the OT. Thus according to you, God wanted all people to be saved but atlas we stubborn humans thwarted his efforts yet again. The bottom line is that to believe that God will not eventually save all people; you have to deny either part of God’s sovereignty or his love. Most evangelical Christians will usually never deny the first part, but just qualify the second part to mean something that is a far cry different from anything I’d call true love.

And as I also said, if salvation were universal then why did the apostle’s risk so much, endure so many trials and die brutal deaths just to spread the message that Jesus died for all? What would be the point!

So only fear of eternal hell for all who don’t hear the gospel propelled the apostles to risk their lives to spread the word? Isn’t it possible that the spread the word about Jesus because people were generally lost and needed to believe that God really loves them? I think the point would be to serve God and to love their neighbors by spreading the news that God-incarnate preached the forgiveness of sins and a new life that was filled with joy and fulfillment knowing that God truly loves them. It’s fascinating that many find it difficult to believe that love could motivate people to do things that simple fear cannot.

I think I’ve said all I can to try and convince you to rethink your position on this. I know you mentioned the other quoted passages on hell and punishment but before I look at them can you concede that perhaps the typical evangelical Christian way of looking at things is false? Unless you admit the possibility than further debate wouldn’t really serve you any point. I don’t think anyone one person or group of people living today has a monopoly on the truth about God. While most Christian denominations proclaim support for the doctrine of hell it is pretty much not preached anymore except in evangelical circles. I guess that most Christians might even hold a loose universalist view (how could they really live if they really believed that their unbelieving relatives and friends were destined to spend an eternity apart from God. I mean, talk about depressing).

The threat of hell on one’s mind destroys the possibility of living for God as Jesus did. It refocuses life on the negative instead of the positive. Jesus didn’t want us to be constantly afraid of the eternal destinies of others and to look down on others because they are not like us. Jesus wanted us to love them, just as if they were him. If we are supposed to love them like that, how can you say that God doesn’t?

Carrie said...

Jathan

Your talk of faith here sounds a lot like work, or at least the product of works.

No, faith is not a work.

Be careful that you don't think yourself better than unbelievers because you have faith.

I don’t think that and never said that.

As soon as you think that unbelievers should rot in hell, or perish, then you do not have the love of Jesus in you.

It’s not that I personally think they should, I am communicated how God will deal with unbeliever’s based on his Word.

do not believe need to be saved from rebellion and unbelief.

Why? If they will go to heaven anyway, what is there to save them from.

But as long as you consider yourself better than others because you have faith

See answer #2.

The beginning of understanding what is "biblical" is understanding the spirit of Jesus

And cutting out half your Bible will not get you there.

I am not interesting in debating this further.

Carrie said...

but before I look at them can you concede that perhaps the typical evangelical Christian way of looking at things is false?

No.

I spent alot of time responding to the verses you provided and really don't appreciate you blowing off the verses I provided unless I will concede.

You are wrong, Ron. What you believe is a lie. I gave you verses that talk of hell (and there are more) and I gave you verses that talk about the requirement for faith in salvation. Choosing to ignore them doesn't make them untrue.

I am not interested in debating this with you. You have made your choice. From your standpoint this debate is useless as I will be saved depite what I believe. You better be sure that I am not correct.

Atlantic said...

Until we Christians can see others the way we see Christ instead of writing some of them off as damned

No one should ever be written off. Anyone can repent and be saved up until death.

Regarding the question of God’s love: yes, of course He loves everybody unconditionally, including those in Hell. All you universalists, you may be interested to know that there is a strain of thought on this topic found particularly in Orthodoxy that is very intriguing, i.e.: God’s love is Hell to those who reject Him. Here’s a quote from an essay on the subject:

“Paradise and hell are one and the same River of God, a loving fire which embraces and covers all with the same beneficial will, without any difference or discrimination. The same vivifying water is life eternal for the faithful and death eternal for the infidels; for the first it is their element of life, for the second it is the instrument of their eternal suffocation; paradise for the one is hell for the other. Do not consider this strange. The son who loves his father will feel happy in his father's arms, but if he does not love him, his father's loving embrace will be a torment to him. This also is why when we love the man who hates us, it is likened to pouring lighted coals and hot embers on his head.”

Ron, re: a remark of yours in the other thread, how many times does Jesus have to say a thing for it to be true?

“And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, ‘Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’” (Luke 13:23-24)

Also I don’t think that Hell is full of suffering repentant sinners who are nevertheless condemned because they didn’t repent before death (which is the image I think a lot of universalists are implying). Here’s what I think (this is AFAIK completely compatible with Scripture and Catholic doctrine, but this is my image that I hope you might find useful, that’s all):

I think that while we are on earth, we are changeable creatures, but we will be transformed to enter eternity – and eternity won’t be just like time as we know it, going on forever. Eternity is a different sort of time, even outside time in some sense. We can’t enter eternity without being transformed into beings fit for eternity. This process somehow takes the “seed” of what we are at the moment of death and makes it eternal. In that process, there are things about us that become unchangeable.

I would seriously recommend C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce for anyone who is having psychological trouble with the doctrine of Hell.

Ellen said...

Until we Christians can see others the way we see Christ instead of writing some of them off as damned

You cannot separate God's love from His justice. And it is not anybody beside the unbeliever who is writing them off. We are all sinners and none of us deserve heaven. Universalists are the other way - it appears that we all deserve heaven and God would be in error if He sent a person deserving of hell to hell.

Here's a question that must be answered:

If universalism is the right way and everybody is going to go to heaven, why the Biblical imperative to "preach the gospel to every living creature"?

If everybody is going to be "saved", here's another question that must be answered:

Saved from what?

Atlantic said...

Also:

and a new life that was filled with joy and fulfillment knowing that God truly loves them

Ron, how do you explain the preaching of the Apostles and conversions in environments where martyrdom was a real possibility?

eph2810 said...

Not sure where this is going, but salvation is not works. We can only believe and our eyes are opened through the gift of the Holy Spirit:
"Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment..." ~ John 16:6-8
Salvation is not universal, like a blanket thrown over the earth. Then there would be not the need for a Savior at all.
And I agree, NO ONE is lost, but you have to repent from your sin and you need to see that you need a Savior, because you can not pay for your sins. You are not righteous enough to enter heaven on your own. Again, if you could make it on your own, Jesus' death on the cross would have been in vain.

geo said...

SALVATION is of the soul! i.e. the mind, will and emotions

REDEMPTION is of the spirit

All are not saved but ALL are redeemed and will be with the Father in eternity regardless of there belief salvation comes to the mind when it becomes aware of the redeption of the spirt that man had nothing to do with. And ONLY those who are born again of the spirit can see the difference. The religious mind is at odds with God and seeks it's own righteousness. Our redemption was and is SCANDOULOS to the church the same as it was to the Pharisees

Peace
Geo

Carrie said...

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God...So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while,

"He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him."

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Hebrews 10:26-31, 35-39

Tony said...

Also I don’t think that Hell is full of suffering repentant sinners who are nevertheless condemned because they didn’t repent before death (which is the image I think a lot of universalists are implying). Here’s what I think (this is AFAIK completely compatible with Scripture and Catholic doctrine, but this is my image that I hope you might find useful, that’s all):

I think that while we are on earth, we are changeable creatures, but we will be transformed to enter eternity – and eternity won’t be just like time as we know it, going on forever. Eternity is a different sort of time, even outside time in some sense. We can’t enter eternity without being transformed into beings fit for eternity. This process somehow takes the “seed” of what we are at the moment of death and makes it eternal. In that process, there are things about us that become unchangeable.


That's pretty close. We believe at the moment of death, our opportunity for repentance is over. We go before God for our final judgement. God in addition to being eternally merciful, is eternally just.

The only addition I have as far as Catholic doctrine goes, is that no impure thing can reach heaven. We need to burn off our temporal debt in purgatory so that we can enter God's presence.

Atlantic said...

Of course, Tony, but the universalists are having problems with the existence of an eternal Hell, not a temporary state of Purgatory. Anyone going through Purgatory is already eternally destined for Heaven, so it doesn't really touch the universalist objections to Hell.

Tony said...

What I find confusing that that a God who died for our sins, and bestows unmerited grace on us is unable to mitigate our just punishment and save everyone.

I'm not saying that God will, or that He should. I'm just perplexed by the certainty (and in some cases apparent glee at the thought) that God will damn anyone to Hell.

Carrie said...

Gee Tony, have the Catholics backpeddled on hell now?

is unable to mitigate our just punishment and save everyone.

It is not that he is unable.

I'm just perplexed by the certainty (and in some cases apparent glee at the thought) that God will damn anyone to Hell.


The certainty comes from the many passages in the Bible that state such a fact. I'm not sure where you are hearing glee from, every evangelical I know is very tramautized by the thought of hell which is why we place so much effort in evangelizing.

Ellen said...

I'm just perplexed by the certainty (and in some cases apparent glee at the thought) that God will damn anyone to Hell.

I'll second Carrie's thought...our certainty is in God and His Word. If it is in Scripture, why would a Christian be perplexed by certainty?

Matthew 25:32 "Before him will be gathered all the nations...the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left...

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Christian Women Blogging

Articles for Christian Women