David Bentley Hart on Universal Salvation

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    It's certainly making plenty of controversy. Particularly in Continuing Anglican circles since his brother Robert is an ACC priest and is defending the text.
     
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  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    I think the councils say it is ok to hope for but not ok to declare as true doctrine. I want to read the book to see the arguments.
     
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  4. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Isn’t he a famous guy in Orthodox circles?
     
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  6. Oliver Sanderson

    Oliver Sanderson Member

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    II Thessalonians 1:9, 'Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power'

    Matthew 25:46, 'And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.'

    In order for a universalist to uphold their views, they would have to proof that it is impossible for an all-powerful and all-loving God to punish people eternally. Similar to how an atheist would have to proof that it is impossible for an all-powerful and all-loving God to exist, while evil also exists. Philosophically, this burden of proof leaves their views to be very weak indeed.

    Those in Hell will have a physical life, but will remain dead in the spiritual sense forever. I haven't read his book, but it seems people like Hart fail to realise the simple difference between everlasting life and everlasting existence. Those in Hell will have everlasting existence, but won't have everlasting life.
     
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  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    I did order the book but I just got in On the Incarnation by Anthanasius of Alexandria and it is going to be read first.
     
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  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Universalism is a heresy, called origenism from its champions in the early Church. Its ancient greek name was 'apokatastasis'. It was condemned by the 2nd Council of Constantinople, iirc.

    Wikipedia (I know, don't hate me):
    A local Synod of Constantinople (543) condemned a form of apocatastasis as being Anathema, and the Anathema was formally submitted to the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (553). Since apocatastasis had been used earlier in writers commenting on Peter's use in the New Testament, the form of apocatastasis condemned in 543 and 553 was a later development.

    The Second Council of Nicea explicitly affirmed in its sentence that the Second Council of Constantinople condemned Origen, as well as taught the existence of eternal damnation and explicitly rejected "the restoration of all things," which in Latin is a reference to apocatastasis
     
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  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    From my reading about things is that it does not reject all universal salvation but that it can't be taught dogmatically but can be hoped for. It was a development of Origenist thought that was specifically condemned I thought.
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The idea that universalism is to be "hoped for" is promulgated in Western Christian circles by a Roman Catholic bishop, Robert Barron. And in recent decades it was a thesis of another RC. theologian, Hans Urs von Balthazar. So just from the get go, we know that this is a modern RC innovation without any roots in Christian history.

    Secondarily, if universalism is indeed a heresy, then "hoping for" universalism is just like, "hoping for" Donatism, or "hoping for" Aerianism (the heresy that priests can ordain priests). Hoping for a heresy makes no sense. There's a reason that universalism is wrong, and it's not just that some Council said so as if there was no objective reason behind it. The basic reason why universalism is wrong is, it goes against the teaching of our Lord in Scripture, and it goes against the concept of Justice.
     
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  11. Oliver Sanderson

    Oliver Sanderson Member

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    Yes I remember Barron saying that he hopes 'all people are saved', I think himself quoting Karl Barth. He then said something like 'we have to keep open the possibility of the existence of hell'; he obviously doesn't trust the Bible too much. Its amusing how so called 'Thomists' can reject Aquinas' teaching so quickly.
     
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  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    The heresy that was declared, after doing a bit more looking was a very specific Originist thought of the pre-existence of souls and restoration of all things is what was condemned not universalism per say. I am not a universalist so I feel odd defending it.

    This is from the Orthodox Wiki-https://orthodoxwiki.org/Apocatastasis#The_Church_reaction_to_Origenism
    The Church reaction to Origenism
    The anathemas of the local Council of Constantinople in 453, which is understood by most commentators to be confirmed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, posthumously excommunicated Origen and anyone following specific points of his teachings. These anathemas condemned his protology of pre-existent souls and his eschatology of universal restoration of all things "which follows from" his protology1:

    • If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. (First anathema against Origen)
    • If anyone shall say that all reasonable beings will one day be united in one, when the hypostases as well as the numbers and the bodies shall have disappeared, and that the knowledge of the world to come will carry with it the ruin of the worlds, and the rejection of bodies as also the abolition of [all] names, and that there shall be finally an identity of the γνῶσις and of the hypostasis; moreover, that in this pretended apocatastasis, spirits only will continue to exist, as it was in the feigned pre-existence: let him be anathema. (Fourteenth anathema against Origen)2
    The decisions of ecumenical councils have universal authority in the Orthodox Church. Only

    Also it is not a Catholic idea as it is much more prevalent in Orthodox circles.
     
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Just for reference, here is the famous video where the RC bishop Robert Barron defends a modified version of universalism/apokatastasis, not that it IS true, but that we should HOPE for it to be true:

     
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  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Those who think all people will, or even might be saved are wishful thinkers who prefer to ignore the many passages of scripture and the many statements of Jesus Christ in support of eternal damnation for those who refuse God's gracious gift in this life.

    Some of us have viewed a recently posted video in another thread (regarding ordination of women) in which it was stated that the marriage relationship was designed by God as a type and reflection of the relationship God desires, and is bringing about, with His people (the Church, the Christians). Consider how a man woos a woman and wins her over to say "yes" to him, and (in a proper, Biblical marriage) the two "become one". The man enters the woman physically in the most intimate of acts. The man loves the woman unconditionally. The woman is obedient to the man. (1 Cor. 11). This is a type of Christ and His bride, the Church. When a person says "yes" in faith to Christ, that person commits to becoming one with Him; the Holy Spirit enters the person in the most intimate spiritual relationship possible. God loves the person unconditionally, and the person is obedient to God his Lord (Master) and Savior.

    Now, suppose there is a person who refuses to believe in Christ's redemption (or perhaps refuses even to believe that God exists!). That person is like one who is wooed continually by a suitor but who always and forever answers "no." Can there be any marriage, any unity, any intimate relationship between the suitor and the woman who spurns him unto death? No, of course not. Nor can there ever be a relationship between God and the person who spurns Him; for God to do otherwise would be like rape, forcing Himself on and into the person against his will. Such a person can never be a partaker of the marriage "bed" with our Lord; he or she can never be made welcome at the marriage supper of the Lamb. All those who reject God's grace in this life can never feel comfortable having God's intimate presence with and in them during the next life; they would flee in horror, because God's holy Presence would create such a feeling of sinfulness and unworthiness in them and they would be unable to stand or remain in God's Presence.
    ...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? ... for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them... (2 Cor. 6).
    Heb 9:27 ...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
     
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  15. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    You put things so very well.
     
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  16. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That said, Origen himself was in my opinion unfairly anathematized along with Theodore of Mopsuestia (who was blamed for Nestorianism). Origen died in the peace of the church, as did Mar Theodore, and I think its wrong to retroactively anathematize some people who put forward a particular theology which was later rejected, without anathematizing the others, and also post-mortem. St. Clement of Alexandria advocated apokatastasis before Origen, so too did St. Gregory of Nyssa, and also St. Isaac the Syrian. Origen simply got blamed for heresies which were not his fault, a raw deal. I say this by the way as being a huge fan of Origen’s main fourth century detractor, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, whose Panarion is the definitive Patristic heresiological catalogue. Speaking of which I am sending you a note @Stalwart
     
  17. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Indeed so! This post represents some spectacular apologetic eloquence on the part of @Stalwart

    Now, personally, here I must admit that I am sympathetic towards the view expressed on the Anglican and Orthodox sides by CS Lewis, and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, respectively, in that I feel that it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved, as opposed to hoping that all are saved; universalism is the heresy of insisting that all must be saved and there is also the related idea we find in Nestorian writers that Hell is temporary, rather like purgatory except presumably with more fire.

    Now the keyword may in this context is in other words an expression that any who may repent are able to receive salvation in some manner, perhaps including those who would otherwise not have access to ordinary means of sacramental grace, but who are still repentant, and that at the last judgement our Lord will condemn into fiery Gehenna only the reprobates who are unrepentant and have therefore committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    On the other hand, hoping that everyone will be saved regardless of their repentance, or lack thereof, is, in my opinion, to use your interesting and eloquent phrase which I greatly admire @Stalwart, “hoping for a heresy.” :tiphat:

    I think I shall follow up your example of someone hoping for Aerianism by saying hoping for universal salvation is akin to hoping for Arianism, in other words, it is equivalent to nominally accepting the Nicene Creed while hoping that it actually turns out our Lord was created after all. And to hope for a heresy is, I would argue, to endorse it on moral grounds and a form of belief into it. Would you concur on this point?

    Because if one hopes that everyone is saved, even those who are unrepentant evil-doers, even the devil, then one is hoping that God will opt to act in an injust manner and neglect the pain such persons would inflict by virtue of their lack of repentance. On the other hand, hoping that everyone chooses to repent in a general sense, while admitting that there will be those according to scripture who are incapable of it, seems to me to be philanthropic, in that, ideally, we want everyone to repent; the lamentable fact that some will not is not something to rejoice over. Sin is extremely depressing and distressing; it is not a creation of God, as some people blasphemously allege, because sin is destruction; it is therefore uncreatable.

    I really greatly admire the contribution you have made to this discussion, @Stalwart, in that I have not before encountered the phrase “hoping for a heresy” but it sums up the modern Universalist delusion of people like DBH in a very apt manner. In coining that phrase, my friend, you have attained a level of contemporary heresiological eloquence that equals or exceeds that of many Orthodox apologists who are very well known, such as Cyril Jenkins, or Fr. Andrew S. Damick; indeed I expect someone like Fr. John Whiteford, a staunch critic of Dr. Hart, would be impressed by it. It really is spectacularly good writing on your part. :clap::clap::clap:
     
  18. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Good. You know by the way most of the books I mentioned are freely available online.

    By the way, any member who needs help either finding out where to buy or where to read one of the books I have referred to, in any of my posts, is welcome to PM me.
     
  19. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Universalism is biblical and was embraced by the early church fathers, therefore it is true. Origenism is not the same as Universalism and it is disingenuous to say so. The ultimate end for all God's children is Heaven. The good news that St Paul declared to the Corinthians bears it out: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Adam's sin is not greater than Christ's salvation. It is an insult to the Christ's finished work on the cross to say otherwise. Our Lord said it himself, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me."
    That is a promise Our Lord is sure to keep!
     
  20. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is clearly not Biblical; you are confusing the General Resurrection and the invitation to baptism and the Eucharist with the Last Judgement. John 3:16 makes it clear that believing in Christ is required for salvation; we also have the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, John 6, in which our Lord states that those who refuse to partake of his flesh and blood will not be saved, and a vast array of other scripture.

    Universalism was declared heretical at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. I could quote so many verses that refute Universalism that frankly I don’t even feel the need. It is a subspecies of monergism, also declared heretical at the same council. And you yourself stated the Book of Homilies endorses the first six ecumenical councils; unless they reckon them differently, this would make a rejection of Universalism part of the formularies. Regardless of the standing of the Fifth Ecumenical Council in Anglicanism, there is no question that traditional Anglicanism is not Universalist; Universalism in Anglicanism, like Pelagianism and Soccinianism, is a recent corruption introduced by extreme liberal bishops.

    Indeed, insofar as the Formula of Subscription includes the 1662 BCP, which includes the three historic creeds of Anglicanism, it contains Quincunque Vult, also known as the Athanasian, although St. Athanasius probably did not write it, which states those who do not accept the Catholic, Apostolic will not be saved. Controversy over the so-called “damnatory clauses” has raged in recent years, and the prayer was deprecated in the 1979 American BCP. But for us, the 1662 is the standard. Also, the 1928 Deposited Book intended to replace the 1662, and which is generally speaking very compatible with it, adds in an Appendix a supplemental office of Prime, the primary function of which being to facilitate the singing or recitation of Quincunque Vult, since this historically was the creed recited at Prime in the Sarum Rite and most other Latin Rites. Later, for different reasons related to pastoral care, the Province of Melanesia included Prime in the 1938 BCP published on Guadalcanal.

    Also, I would note that the views of Origen do not constitute the heresy of Origenism; furthermore, in my opinion, even those things which Origen was personally accused of, aside from the weird doctrines of Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari and other opponents of Sts. Jerome and Epiphanius, he was generally innocent of; there is no reason to suppose he caused Arianism, for example. Rather, Arius was the disciple of a creepy chap named Lucien, and the political client of the scheming Eusebius of Nicomedia, not to be confused with the obsequious historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who was also an Arian.

    The most compelling endorsement of Origen comes in the form of the Philocalia compiled by the Cappadocians (Sts. Basil, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and his best friend Gregory Nazianzus). This work was an anthology of the best writings of Origen, which also excised potentially misleading or erroneous speculative digressions of the sort Origen was known for.
     
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