Christian Universalism

  • Since when does any human behavior in this world not have consequences. Just because none of us has a "God’s eye view of the consequences of anything we say and do or fail to say and do when we could said or done something doesn’t mean we get off “scott free”, in this world and the next.
  • If you knew, in this world or in the next, you would get to watch a video of your life, with someone standing by your side, drawing your attention to the dots and the connections between the dots, with no chance of undoing what you said or did or saying and doing what you could have or should have, what “purgatory” or hell could be worse?
  • Any philosophy or theory of universalism that says there are no consequences may be Dawkins’, Hitchens,’ or Harris’s atheism, but it certainly ain’t any Christian universalism that I can swallow.
  • “Scott free universalism” is never having to see the consequences of what we do or fail to do and never having to say we’re sorry, … i.e. repent.
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(Thanks, Phil.)

After the thread locked, I tripped over an old piece by Mike Heiser relevant to it that I’d like to point to. I’d also like to remind of the skeptical theism idea.

A couple of pertinent points:

I actually think it is easier to defend annihilationism than universal salvation…

I believe in free will. To be imagers of God, freedom is necessary since it is a communicable attribute. One cannot image God and not have true free will. Therefore, to remove it as the author discusses at certain points is, to me, impossible in that it would mean a reversal of God’s own decreed choice to make humans as his imagers.

I question whether God needs to be omnibenevolent for him to be perfect. I think God’s attributes are self-defined by him. If he chooses to not save everyone, I can’t call him imperfect. Parry’s view seems to suggest that God cannot be perfect and allow anyone to be lost. That seems to be a human-centered view. But we’re humans, so that’s kind of understandable — and so his view is appealing–but I’m not convinced it’s correct.

That last ties in well with the idea of skeptical theism, that maybe it is presumptuous of us to prescribe some of God’s attributes and say what he must do or be, especially when we have contrary evidence. After all, why did Jesus say it would have been better for Judas not to have been born? Even the lowest place in heaven would be good!


The problem with any exclusive route to God or salvation is that it turns it into a global postcode Lottery. Religion is mostly derived from the place or culture you are in. Even if they come into contact with Christianity there is no reason to think that it will supersede what their family or local culture has taught them.
Christ’s Passion was at a particular time and place, which is all very well with modern communications but there are literally millions for who the story was either not yet passed, or who never got the chance to hear, let alone believe it.
Exclusivity limits both God and access to Him. It would be denying any genuine believer who was just born in the wrong time and place.



God is just. That means he is fair. But approaching him with humility is kind of important.

By whose definition? Yours or His?

And how does that help?

Universalism would seem to be the only just answer. Exclusivity would seem to be unjust for any who are automatically excluded through ignorance or loyalty to family and/or culture.


This might be a little more accessible:

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Basically, God’s ways are higher than our ways.


I doubt if too many have seen this, and it’s appropriate here, a little piece by C.H. Spurgeon on election:

An important excerpt:

There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

I think this is important:

if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may arraign him at their bar.

It totally misses the point that those who despise double predestination do so not at their own bar but at God’s: the arraignment is not for violating human standards but His own.

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I am sure that we can all find reputable preachers to back up our doctrinal beliefs.

At the end of the day we are trying to second-guess God which is never a good idea. If Scripture was obvious and clear there would be no discussion, but sadly this is not the case. Jesus spent hours discussing the scriptures of His day and we are not a party to what He said on the matter.
We have to accept that there is not a single viewpoint or a certainty of which one is “true”. All we can do is rationalise it to our own understanding of both God and morality and justice and so on while remembering that God claims to be above our understanding on these matters.

We can and should discuss.

We cannot dictate.


This still is too:

And I think God’s omnitemporality gives a different perspective on predestination, double or any other, at least enough that I’m not going to blame him for anything like those in the Arminian camp say they would have to, to accept God’s sovereignty.

And therefore the arraignment is theirs, not God’s.

You both seem to think you know what God is doing in respect to time after death.

As you obviously do not, the whole discussion is academic.

Nothing is important.

Richard There are a few CU there.

Cue some vaguely sinister background music … then the narrator ominously drones “They walk among us … undetected … they’re coming for your children, your families, your churches … for you!”

  • I’d love to watch an anti-intellectual hack their way through this forest. :laughing:

Screenshot 2024-01-12 at 16-50-46 Rethinking Life After Death (NT Wright)

It’s a gift to be simple.

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.
Matthew 7:13-14

IIRC Rahner got chastised by the Vatican for his affirmation of salvation in other religions. I found that out when reading his work on the Trinity, some of which was pretty radical. But he also had a long chapter on the application of the doctrine of the Trinity to ordinary spiritual life, with some rather scathing remarks about ‘Protestants’ who apparently have no clue Who they’re praying to, their prayers are so sloppy (I had to agree with him; I’d heard altogether too many prayers that effectively called Jesus “Father” or had the Father dying on the Cross, or even the Holy Spirit dying on the Cross – I even corrected a pastor or two on occasion). He argued quite well for all prayer having a standard Trinitarian framework that should be learned by all Christians so they pray well, not for just the sake of being doctrinally correct but because screwing up prayer screws up a person’s spiritual life. He shared with Francis Schaeffer the idea that how we pray affects how we believe, something the Orthodox are very firm on.

Anyway, once upon a time I would have been filling in slots between Pinnock and Rahner.

edit: after watching the video I decided his chart is a mess; there’s no logical progression in it that I can see! at the very least he could have used binary ranking to order them, so 1 - 1 - 1 would be at the top, 1 - 1 - .5 next, then 1 - 1 - 0, etc.

Then there are those who get distracted in examining the gates. :laughing:

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That stone you stepped on the second time – did you stumble over it or did it stumble you? :face_with_monocle: