Im not a universalist.But recently after seing a video about a syrian dad making his daughter laughing at the bombs falling from the sky i really struggle with the idea.From the one hand i hold to the concept that God will not save everybody due to their decision to choose either to be with him or not.But from the other hand seing people who lived a just life according to their decisions which resembles a life of a christian somewhat but not accepting God can go to hell really bothers me.Now i know that salvation cannot be achived by works but by grace and faith which resembles to our works as christians.But this cannnot be the only case.God loves everybody.I know i have been debating about this against universalism in another post but this really troubles me now.Any thoughts would be helpfull.Thanks!.Also anyone who can provide biblical verses for or against this will be helpfull
The universalist argument imo is best treated as two themes; (1) will God create a hell where sinners are tortured for eternity? and (2) did God created everything/everyone to be saved, so that those who reject Him do so out of ignorance and not a truly free choice?
I do not think (1) is correct, and on (2) the debate revolves about true, free choice to be united with God, or contrarily to reject God and choose spiritual existence with Satan.
Eternal life is given to those who are disciples of Christ. Those who are not saved, receives the promised penalty of sin. The wages of sin is death and you are destroyed. God destroys both the body and soul. The second death is just that. A second and final death where there is no more coming back.
The righteous and unrighteous both get resurrected. One to eternal life and one to eternal death. Even heaven and hades is cast into the lake of fire and destroyed.
The Bible is pretty clear that the wages of sin is death. It’s what we all deserve. However, God provided a way just like he always has. He made a new covenant available to those who want to follow Jesus Christ. If someone becomes a Christian and don’t fall away and continually pursued fruit of the spirit , despite never being perfect, God will give us grace and mercy. We will be resurrected and given eternal life. Those that reject a Jesus are rejecting eternal life and that means that they receive the judgement God told us. Death of both the body and soul. The enteral consequence of sin is the second death. Hades is destroyed, death is destroyed, the unrighteous are destroyed, and Satan and his angels are destroyed.
Is the abyss destroyed?
Guess it depends on what the abyss is to you. I think it’s simply just the underworld at best and most likely nothing more than a term.
In general, I don’t believe that heaven is actually up above us and I don’t believe that he’ll is actually down below us. Revelation is full of fantastic visual descriptions.
The abyss is not only in Revelation.
Of course not.
I agree but i refuse to believe that good people that have lived a good life (have families ,living to provide for their children etc) go straight down to hell. I believe God is merciful to them
Just saying if the abyss is part of the grave or hades then it’s destroyed. Since it’s not literally part of earth or the cosmos I would say it’s destroyed.
Yes, God would not condemn anyone if they were truly righteous. The challenge is that none of us are “good enough” to earn our own way into heaven. “there is no one righteous” (Romans 3:12, Psalms 14:3; Psalms 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Thus, faith and repentance are required to receive salvation:
For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded.
Of course, this brings the challenging question, "What about those who have not heard the gospel?"
While we cannot know how God reaches those who have not have not had access to the Gospel, we do know that our God is completely loving and completely just. Thus, we can assume that God must judge people based on the knowledge that they do have, what little knowledge that might be.
Since God is all knowing, and works outside of our earthly time/space continuum, one solution to the problem could be that God knows who would choose to repent and believe, if they had heard the Gospel. So those who are willing to follow God, and who have a repentant and penitent nature would also be saved, even if they had not heard the Gospel. It is also possible that God speaks to us in ways that we are not yet aware of as we are are dying and passing from this life into the next. Admittedly, this is all speculation. However, because I believe in an all loving God, I also believe that God would give each person all possible opportunities to know Him and to choose to come to Him, so that would include opportunities in their last dying moments.
I also believe that children in the womb are innocent and go directly to heaven when they die, as do newborn babies. This is why David expected to see his deceased child again in heaven:
2 Samuel 12
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
By the way, I have a strong preference for believers baptism, rather than infant baptism, because I believe that Faith saves, not any type of Work.
I have also read about and heard testimonies from people who have been saved through dreams and visions in places where they are isolated from the Gospel. Thus, God is completely able to draw to Himself all people who would call on His name and believe in Him.
Hebrews 11 also talks about how people who knew God before Jesus came to earth were also saved by their faith in God. They believed that God had a future heavenly city prepared for them:
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
I hope some of that might help address your questions.
I agree about all you said mischelle. To better put it i refuse to believe that God codemns people who dont believe in him either for traditional reasons (ie in a middle eastern traditional country) or for their own reasons and still trying to live a life with love and compassion on their behalf and caring for their families.
In 1 Peter 4 we read that God stands ready to judge both the living and the dead … “For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.”
[my own emphasis added at the end of v.6]
To me, that speaks pretty conclusively about populations from other eras or geographies that had no chance to encounter the good news while they lived. And though verses such as the above are not many, this one is by no means isolated. Both Peter and Paul thought this way.
I would caution against attempting to “resolve issues” by simple verse counts - turning any decision into a contest of which column (‘pro’ or ‘con’) has the longer list of references. That treats the bible as some sort of flat book of factoids - many paradoxical or contradictory when read as such - that needs to be resolved by a verse count. A much more faithful way to read the Bible as a Christian is to read it as a whole - giving special attention and privilege to the New Testament, and even the highest privilege of all to the life and teachings of Christ presented in the four gospels, letting His spirit guide you toward faithful obedience. Obedience to the guidance of that Spirit as known through the gospels is our highest need - the one thing that will direct us to all necessary truth and that is our salvation. After that, you are able to “set aside” or not be disturbed by apparently contradictory verses that put some in a tizzy, caricaturing God as a moral monster or a tyrant that makes the average person
look [actually be] more righteous in comparison. Anyone or any thing that would have you believing evil of God you can reject out of hand as something that, at best, simply awaits clarifying understanding, or at worst, needs to be scorned and rejected as a devilish doctrine. Whatever verses call us toward (and these are by no means isolated only to the New Testament) … things like gentleness, tenderness, mutual affection, mercy, yes - even ‘tough love judgement’ sometimes - but always with the object of restoring your brother - all these things we are called to do … God does them even better. Perfectly in fact. The more I read scriptures, the more God’s saving character, God’s passion for redemption comes to the foreground, and the more his alleged austerity, his alleged eternal hate toward many fades away as a tottering doctrine based more on us trying to fashion a god patterned after our own vengeful sentiments rather than us seeking to be fashioned after God - to be perfect as He is perfect. Even though plenty of passages can be found to fill the ‘vengeful god’ side of the ledger, seek instead the Spirit revealed in the gospels, and the truly good news brought by that Spirit. Only then do we begin to read the bible aright.
[It needs to be added that the above is not a simplistic formula such as “anything found in a gospel always ‘wins’.” There are plenty of words straight from Jesus’ mouth that, taken in isolation (or with no recourse to deeper understanding or contextual or literary considerations), would add to the ‘moral monster’ side of the ledger, and conversely there are plenty of necessary and clarifying understandings to be gleaned from Paul, other apostles, and even from the old testament. All I’m saying is that, we should be steeped in all of the recorded words of Jesus and his followers to help shape that same spirit within us as an overall guiding principle for who God is. And that Spirit is what guides us toward a loving and righteous God that reaches out to all of us, and to reject the moral monster god who would in no way be worthy of any worship whatsoever.]
In point of fact, or refusal to believe something does not make what we disbelieve wrong. I have often said that If God is a Klingon War God, then we must deal with him AS a Klingon War God. Our beliefs about this or that do not change the nature of God anymore than one’s beliefs about me change who I am.
In my mind, the above is a bit of wishful thinking, as if the universe really cared what we refuse to believe. A Christian Scientist acquaintance in college refused to believe that disease was anything but an illusion. He was welcome to that belief if that was what he wanted, but his refusal said nothing about reality.
Edited to add. sorry about the typos. I am still very week after the worst reaction to my chemo drugs I have ever had. and I am still weak
Thanks for the response gbob.I am sad that you have to go through this.I really hope that you recover from this.I will pray for your recovery.May God strenghten you both in spirit and body .
Thanks Nick, My healing will come from the next world. I have had this for 17 years and have outlived 3 prognostications of my death-working on my fourth. I am content. God has shown my more stuff in the last 3 years than I think I ever learned in my 50 years as a Christian.
Hi Nick. Here are some scriptures and backstory.
What you’re struggling with is epistemology. How you know what you know. It’s simplest to assume the worst, most conservative, most literal, most negative interpretation as the majority here do.
I assume the best.
Hi Klax. Thanks for your story. What im in though its somewhat like a middle ground. I dont think all people will be saved especially those who will not repent. But it troubles me that good people that are unbelievers will be codemned. Thanks for the verses as well.
I feel for you Nick. I presume you come from a Greek Orthodox background? That you’re still in that culture? In Greece itself? If I may ask?
I actually come from an pantheistic background. Over the years then it evolved to atheism. Only recently im a christian. Not a full orthodox. Im half protestant half orthodox