Universalism

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    "All forms of partial salvation are but so many different ways of saying, that evil is in the long run too strong for God. The popular creed has maintained itself on a Scriptural basis solely, I believe, by hardening into dogma mere figures of oriental imagery; by mistranslations and misconceptions of the sense of the original (to which our authorised Version largely contributes); and finally, by completely ignoring a vast body of evidence in favour of the salvation of all men, furnished, as will be shewn, by very numerous passages of the New Testament, no less than by the great principles that pervade the teaching of all Revelation. Again, I write, because persuaded, that however loudly asserted and widely held, the popular belief is at best a tradition—is not an Article of Faith in the catholic Church-is accepted by no general Council, nay, is distinctly opposed to the views of not a few of the holiest and wisest Fathers of the Church in primitive times; who, in so teaching, expressed the belief of very many, if not the majority, of christians in their days." - Rev. Thomas Allin, Anglican clergyman, in Universalism Asserted

    I am really enjoying this book:
    https://archive.org/download/universalismass04alligoog/universalismass04alligoog.pdf
     
  2. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    460
    Likes Received:
    216
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
     
  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    Nothing here compels one to accept that the majority of humans will burn in a lake of fire consciously for all eternity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    In the context of everything Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, of course it does. That is the plain meaning of the text. Universalism violates a fundamental exegetical rule by ignoring the plain sense.
     
    CRfromQld likes this.
  6. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    460
    Likes Received:
    216
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Then how about Matt 25:
    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    No, what's being ignored here is context. This parable is about false disciples and is nestled right between the parable discussing false prophets (wolves in sheep's clothing) and the wise and foolish builders (hearers versus doers of Our Lord's words). All of these are illustrations of a running theme of true faith versus false faith. These parables are concerned about the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the true Church of Christ.

    In fact, noticeably absent is any reference to hell, eternal punishment, everlasting fire, etc. The only person violating "a fundamental exegetical rule by ignoring the plain sense" is you who is ignoring what is actually written and inserting ideas and words that have no place there.
     
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Rubbish. The meaning of the passage quoted above -

    Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven”

    - is as clear as it can be. Diagram the sentence and convert it to a rough E-form categorical proposition, and remember that negations are adverbs, and modify the copula rather than the subject noun. Not everyone…will enter the kingdom of heaven = Everyone (subject) will not enter (copula) the kingdom of heaven (predicate). That’s what the passage actually says, grammatically and logically, and it’s not some obscure oddity; this type of language occurs throughout the Gospel of Matthew in general, and the NT in general. If you want to believe that all will be saved, that’s fine. Believe that. Claiming that is what the NT actually teaches, however, is simply dishonest. It is also poor historical and scholarly judgment. In the case of the text itself, the Universalist claim is not a matter of ‘interpretation’ or ‘context’; it is a deliberate lie, and needs to be called out as such. There is no other word for it. Christianity and Universalism are mutually exclusive and always have been. It is not possible to be both in good faith.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
    Rexlion likes this.
  9. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    I've discussed aionios which the KJV interprets as "eternal" at length already so I won't belabor that point again.

    But I will make 2 points on this passage.

    Point 1: This parable concerns the judgment of nations, not individuals (See verse 32, which you conveniently left out). The judgment here is not based on whether people were believers or unbelievers in Jesus but on how those nations treated the Lord's "brethren" (See verse 40, which you also conveniently left out).

    Point 2: The short piece by William Barcklay titled I am a Convinced Universalist, did a great job of addressing the Universalist understanding on parable of the Judgment of Nations (Matthew 25:31-46), when he wrote, "one of the key passages is Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. The word for eternal is aionios. It means more than everlasting, for Plato - who may have invented the word - plainly says that a thing may be everlasting and still not be aionios. The simplest way to out it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give."

    Again context is very important.


    BTW - Happy New Year everyone! May you all have a blessed and joyful 2022! :cheers:
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    True, and orthodox Christians don't want to minimize or understate the severity of the limitation on admission to God's Kingdom. The people who get locked out of heaven won't be just the "worst of the worst sinners" as some might imagine; among the "outsiders" will be many pious, churchgoing, righteous-appearing people who picked up some Christian-sounding lingo ("Lord, Lord! Look at all the good things I did!") but who never received spiritual regeneration by grace through genuine faith. Jesus' words are a stern, solemn warning, and He obviously knew that a warning was greatly needed or He wouldn't have bothered.

    "...only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven". As Jesus elsewhere identified the Father's will, The work God requires is to believe on the one He has sent. The time for believing is now, in this life: We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) --2Cor. 6:1-2. If people had 'all the time in the world' in the afterlife to receive saving grace, would there be any reason to beseech them to do it now (the "accepted time," before it's too late)? See also Heb. 4:6-7-- Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

    For universalism to be true, Jesus would have had to say something more like, 'Everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven, even the ones who don't do the will of my Father.' (If the Lord tarries another 50 years, I don't doubt that someone will publish a new 'Revised Universalist Bible' with all of the 'judgmental' verses rewritten to fit the heresy. Aye, there's the RUB.) ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
    Invictus likes this.
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    This isn't a rebuttal. It's a hissy fit.
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    When you stand before Jesus and He says to you, "Didn't you read in My book that 'not everyone will enter?'" I hope you won't accuse Jesus of a hissy fit.
     
    Invictus likes this.
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    That's not a rebuttal either.
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    John 9:39-41 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

    May your eyes be opened.
     
  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    2,489
    Friend, I pray that all our eyes are opened and that we see Our Lord for who He actually is not for who we wish Him to be.

    I see you emphasized "judgment" in the passage. Idon't know why you did that but it did get me wondering how this should be understood in light of John 3:17, where Our Lord emphatically stated "I come not to judge the world". The word krino is used in that passage and is an active verb. Whereas in John 9:39 krima is used and is passive. The use of judgment here does not refer to sending people to eternal happiness or sentencing them eternal punishment. It refers, according to Augustine, to spiritual discernment: "Such discerning therefore of one from another He called judgment, when He said, For judgment I have come into this world, whereby He distinguishes the cause of those who believe and make confession from the proud, who think they see, and are therefore the more grievously blinded: just as the sinner, making confession, and seeking the physician, said to Him, Judge me, O God, and discern my cause against the unholy nation, — namely, those who say, We see, and their sin remains. But it was not that judgment He now brought into the world, whereby in the end of the world He shall judge the living and the dead. For in respect to this He had said, I judge no man; seeing that He came the first time, not to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (Tractate 50, Tractates on the Gospel of John.)

    Again, it is not concerned with everlasting punishment and anyone who sees it there must read it into the meaning. It is not present in the words on the page.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    Let's return to the question of aionios and Matt. 25:46-- Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. How we define and use this word in English seems to lie at the heart of the defense of the universalist stance.

    The contention is that aionios means a never-ending eternity only when it refers to God, and that it otherwise means an "age" or "eon" with a definite end. As @Lowly Layman posted recently (with emphasis added by me):

    Point 2: The short piece by William Barcklay titled I am a Convinced Universalist, did a great job of addressing the Universalist understanding on parable of the Judgment of Nations (Matthew 25:31-46), when he wrote, "one of the key passages is Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. The word for eternal is aionios. It means more than everlasting, for Plato - who may have invented the word - plainly says that a thing may be everlasting and still not be aionios. The simplest way to out it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give."​

    First, let's observe that practically all English Bible translations do translate aionios as "eternal" or "everlasting" (words that indicate unlimited duration). We know what those words mean in English, and they are not indicative of an age that ends but of a never-ending forever. Let's further observe that all of these English translations were worked on by people who referred to the most capable and most well-respected Greek scholars; the translators had access to information we lack on today's internet (if you don't believe me, try googling "what Greek scholars say about aionios" and observe the cruddy results); moreover the translators themselves usually were very well-schooled in Greek and Hebrew. Are we to suppose that they all erred when they used the words "eternal" and "everlasting" instead of translating aionios in most cases as "age-lasting" (or some such)? Of all the translations I know of, only 'Young's Literal Translation' uses the latter term (Young was a self-educated Scotsman who was a publisher by trade). Is Robert Young the only one to get it right, while all the others got it wrong?

    Second, only a handful of times does aionios appear in the Bible in reference to God; the rest of the times it refers to such other things as the spiritual life expectancy of the righteous (51 times) and the punishment of the wicked (7 times). If aionios did not mean "eternal" and "everlasting" in those latter instances, why would the multiple writers of the NT use the word in reference to God's eternal nature? Wouldn't they try to draw a distinction?

    But in fact, Paul did draw a distinction.... only it wasn't quite the distinction that the universalists would hope for:

    2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
    2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
    2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal
    .

    Paul distinguishes between the outward (mortal, physical) and the inward (spiritual). The outward is seen, but the inward is unseen. The afflictions of this physical world are "but for a moment," while the glory awaiting believers in the next life are "far more exceeding and aionios." Verse 18 is the clincher, because the distinction is made between "things which are seen" which are temporal, and "things which are not seen" which are aionios (eternal). Do you see it? If aionios is supposed to mean "an age that ends," it is temporal (temporary, ruled by time). But the contrast being drawn shows us that aionios is timeless; its duration is without limit, unlike our present sufferings which are time-limited. Therefore, when man leaves this mortal life in this physical world, he will have an existence of unlimited duration. Aionios refers to unlimited duration in the 51 times it speaks of believers' "eternal life," and Barclay is proven wrong. Moreover, it approaches absurdity to suppose that aionios was used some 59 times to indicate unlimited duration (including when it speaks of the fate of the righteous), yet in the 7 times when it refers to the fate of the unrighteous, aionios supposedly means something else! This is selective interpretation based on little more than man's desire to make it so. The weight of scholarship is against this false interpretation.
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    The other thing that universalists lean heavily upon is the concept that "God is love" and that His perfect love would preclude anyone from ending up burning in fire that will never be quenched (even though the Bible says this is the eventual fate of many). For this, I suggest a study of the concept of compatibilism. Here's a basic explanation of compatibilism.

    To give some simple examples:
    God's will is that we all should live sinless lives, yet we sin of our own free will. The two are not incompatible.
    God's will is that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, yet not all do so because they are unwilling to believe the truth. No incompatibility.
    Christ's crucifixion occurred by the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God,” yet it was carried out by evil men who were held accountable for their actions. The two are not incompatible.
    Similarly, God's love knows no bounds, yet man may freely reject and refuse His love. In other words, God's sovereignty and power is not incompatible with man's free will choice to resist His love, because that is how God decreed it to be from before the earth was made.

    I really think this concept of compatibilism is the thing that universalists are stumbling over; they are subscribing to a form of absolutism. In the process they try to 'explain away' many scriptures, and they block from their minds and ignore the scriptures they can't explain (many of which have been cited in this thread).
     
    Invictus likes this.
  18. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    460
    Likes Received:
    216
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I don't think it does.
    32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,

    It means that everybody in the world will be gathered and every person will be judged.

    I am a goat but I trust in the promise that I will be counted among the sheep.
     
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,353
    Likes Received:
    2,586
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Compatibilism is a philosophical attemp to reconcile the apparently 'free-will' that we proclaim, and the notion that all is according to plan, and that our fate is determined by forces beyond ourselves. In theological terms this is generally seen in the discussion of Free Will and Predesitination. The Thirty Nine Articles deal with this quite well. Generally speaking this is a rabbit hole that is not worth going down.

    I think it is unhelpful to explain what the other person is arguing in a way that comes to your conclusion, and I don't think it is fair to suggest that others are ignoring scripture.

     
    Lowly Layman likes this.
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    Here's something from scripture that hasn't yet been mentioned in this thread, from Matthew, Chapter 3:

    Mat 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
    Mat 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
    Mat 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
    Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
    Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
    Mat 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    Mat 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
    Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire
    .

    The unrighteous were warned by John the Baptist (a true prophet of God) that they were in danger of receiving wrath (v. 7) and of being "burned up" with fire that will never be put out (quenched). :torch: This dovetails very well with Jesus words (in Matt. 25:41) where He said that the unrighteous would be burned with fire because they were cursed (God's own word for them).

    You see, it matters very little whether we have the Greek aionios associated with "fire" in v. 41 and with "punishment" in v. 46; we could dispense entirely with the word's existence and it would not change the orthodox doctrine concerning the fate of the damned, because the concept of the punishment having no end/never being extinguished is revealed in many other parts of scripture. (It's an unpleasant concept and prospect, for sure. Hey, none of us take pleasure or satisfaction in the fate of the unredeemed. But this is what the word of God says.)

    Jesus also was likening this after-death punishment to the nearby valley of Gehenna, a notorious place where child sacrifice had once been conducted but which had been repurposed as a stinking refuse heap with a fire that constantly smoldered, smoked, and burned. Not just trash was disposed of in that valley, but also the bodies of murderers and other heinous criminals; in Jesus' day it was generally understood that anyone who wound up in Gehenna was terrible, abhorrent, and cursed by God as they lay there stinking, smoldering, and eventually covered with garbage. Jesus actively associated the fate of the unrighteous with this nearby physical location so they could conceptualize how unpleasant and shameful that fate would be.

    When someone is cursed by God, the only bright spot in that person's future is whatever incidental light might be shed by the unquenchable flames.