• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

Biblical Universalism

humbolt

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
27,161
Reaction score
18,115
Location
SW Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
I'd suggest that if you live well, what happens after you die will take care of itself.
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Incidentally, I don’t see anywhere in those verses you cited where it says what you say it “specifically says”. Not that I don’t understand how you came to that conclusion. It seems much clearer in the next chapter when God specifically says he makes all things new (Rev 21:5) and those words are declared true and stedfast. It is also interesting that the kings of the earth (enemies in Revelation) bring glory and honour (Rev 21:24).
Take a look at Revelation 21:8 as well, like Logicman cited, because that verse goes right in line with the verses that I cited. These people, since they are unbelievers, will be judged solely by their works, and Revelation 21:8 makes clear that those works will lead them to eternal torture in the "lake of fire", along with Satan, his ilk, the beast, and the false prophet. It seems as if you don't want to accept the full picture. Revelation 21 does talk about a new heaven and a new earth, as you say, but that will only be for true believers in Christ, as evidenced by Revelation 21:27 (And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.) which makes clear that only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life will enter into it. Also, Revelation 21:8 says that the people mentioned in that verse will end up in the "lake of fire", which if you refer back to the verses I quoted, the "lake of fire" is the 2nd death, where all who take part it in will be tormented day and night, forever and ever.

So why does which way you interpret mean heresy? As the article states, you must feel that the biblical warrant for 3 is stronger than that for 1 or 2. Basically it leads back to the question I asked for thoughts on in the article, “So why do so many regard it as heretical to reject a doctrine of everlasting punishment, but not heretical to limit God's love or to limit his power? Which view does more, in the end, to undermine the glory and the majesty of God?”
I regard rejecting point #3 as heretical because it specifically goes against what the Bible teaches in the last few books of Revelation, among other places. My "rejection" of point #2 (depending on how you look at it) does not go against Biblical doctrine. I am not in any way saying that God's sovereignty has limits (he willed for a pathway to save all people from their sin, and that will became so when Jesus was crucified in our place, so he still has full sovereignty), but rather my "rejection" of point #2 is saying that his choice to create mankind with free will was a self-imposed logical limitation upon his power to "force" all mankind to freely choose salvation.

"Rejecting" point #2 is simply accepting how our situation of being "dead in sin" came to be, given that God chose to create mankind with free will. Rejecting point #3 is to directly oppose what the Bible says concerning who will/won't be saved. Rejecting point #1 is to directly oppose what the Bible says concerning God's love for us and his willingness to do what was necessary to save us (John 3:16, among many others).
 

Elora

whole-souled...
DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
37,943
Reaction score
10,388
Location
Down South
Gender
Female
"Lake of fire" is a symbolic term, as much of Revelations is, since it is a vision...unrepentant sinners, the Devil, and even death and the Grave or Hades...are thrown into it...the inclusion of a spirit creature and also of death and Hades, all of which cannot be affected by fire, indicates that this lake is a symbol, not of everlasting torment, but of everlasting destruction...Rev 19:20; 20:14, 15; 21:8....
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
I’m sure how to respond but feel like I should. I agree with most of what was said. To the question, it seems odd to me because all the same point is there without most of humanity tormented forever and I don’t see any point gained by having most of humanity tormented forever. Beyond that I don’t know if you want to get into a universalist interpretation of specific passages or not.
So you are uncomfortable with the idea of many people being tormented forever and ever because there's nothing to gain by it, thus you don't want to believe it? I guess I'm clearly not understanding your view here... And you could definitely get into a universalist interpretation of certain scriptures if you would like, although I'm not sure how fruitful that discussion would be...

It doesn’t matter what the “literal reading” is. The whole point is that there are some passages that you are going to need to deny the plain reading of to harmonize with others.
I wouldn't say "deny the plain reading of"... I'd maybe say to "better understand the surrounding context and other relative scriptures"... but I guess I agree with you here to an extent.
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
"Lake of fire" is a symbolic term, as much of Revelations is, since it is a vision...unrepentant sinners, the Devil, and even death and the Grave or Hades...are thrown into it...the inclusion of a spirit creature and also of death and Hades, all of which cannot be affected by fire, indicates that this lake is a symbol, not of everlasting torment, but of everlasting destruction...Rev 19:20; 20:14, 15; 21:8....

Could be referring to both torment and destruction... I would think "weeping and gnashing of teeth" would be describing a tormenting experience... But when it all comes down to it, I think the main point of the "lake of fire" visual is that it will be a place worse than we could ever imagine...
 

thatguymd

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
368
Reaction score
93
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Take a look at Revelation 21:8 as well, like Logicman cited, because that verse goes right in line with the verses that I cited. These people, since they are unbelievers, will be judged solely by their works, and Revelation 21:8 makes clear that those works will lead them to eternal torture in the "lake of fire", along with Satan, his ilk, the beast, and the false prophet. It seems as if you don't want to accept the full picture. Revelation 21 does talk about a new heaven and a new earth, as you say, but that will only be for true believers in Christ, as evidenced by Revelation 21:27 (And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.) which makes clear that only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life will enter into it. Also, Revelation 21:8 says that the people mentioned in that verse will end up in the "lake of fire", which if you refer back to the verses I quoted, the "lake of fire" is the 2nd death, where all who take part it in will be tormented day and night, forever and ever.


I regard rejecting point #3 as heretical because it specifically goes against what the Bible teaches in the last few books of Revelation, among other places. My "rejection" of point #2 (depending on how you look at it) does not go against Biblical doctrine. I am not in any way saying that God's sovereignty has limits (he willed for a pathway to save all people from their sin, and that will became so when Jesus was crucified in our place, so he still has full sovereignty), but rather my "rejection" of point #2 is saying that his choice to create mankind with free will was a self-imposed logical limitation upon his power to "force" all mankind to freely choose salvation.

"Rejecting" point #2 is simply accepting how our situation of being "dead in sin" came to be, given that God chose to create mankind with free will. Rejecting point #3 is to directly oppose what the Bible says concerning who will/won't be saved. Rejecting point #1 is to directly oppose what the Bible says concerning God's love for us and his willingness to do what was necessary to save us (John 3:16, among many others).

I like how the end of Isaiah puts it (66:22-24) “22 For, as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making, Are standing before Me, An affirmation of Jehovah! So remain doth your seed and your name. And it hath been from month to month, And from sabbath to sabbath, Come do all flesh to bow themselves before Me, Said Jehovah. And they have gone forth, And looked on the carcases of the men Who are transgressing against me, For their worm dieth not, And their fire is not quenched, And they have been an abhorrence to all flesh!”

All flesh (all mankind) will look on all the transgressors. Everyone is looking on everyone. The old self and the new self (and God makes all things new). The only ones actually mentioned as tormented forever are the unholy trinity. They are evil and evil is not a thing, it is an absence of a thing. Their torment is that they cannot exist when the all is in all.

Denying any of the points could be said to be denying clear teachings of the Bible. And saying that God doesn’t have the power to freely save all mankind does limit his power. Yes, it wouldn’t be limiting to say he can’t force someone’s free choice (because that is a logical impossibility). But it is not logically impossible to bring everyone freely to himself. Especially considering that he created everyone. As a Calvinist might complain, having man’s freedom control the outcome gives man reason to boast. For there must be some characteristic about that man that was better than other men that allowed him to make such a wise choice.
 

Elora

whole-souled...
DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
37,943
Reaction score
10,388
Location
Down South
Gender
Female
Could be referring to both torment and destruction... I would think "weeping and gnashing of teeth" would be describing a tormenting experience... But when it all comes down to it, I think the main point of the "lake of fire" visual is that it will be a place worse than we could ever imagine...

Actually, "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is only mentioned in Matthew and Luke, where Jesus was giving parables about the kingdom...

And again...the mention of the grave being thrown into the lake of fire simply means death will be destroyed, as will Satan and his demons, along with all unrepentant ones...
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Actually, "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is only mentioned in Matthew and Luke, where Jesus was giving parables about the kingdom...
True. And those parables are parallels to what will happen on judgement day when the believers are separated from the unbelievers (wheat separated from the tares) and thrown into the "lake of fire".

And again...the mention of the grave being thrown into the lake of fire simply means death will be destroyed, as will Satan and his demons, along with all unrepentant ones...
Yes death will be destroyed, but the lake of fire is the place of eternal punishment for all who oppose God.
 

Elora

whole-souled...
DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
37,943
Reaction score
10,388
Location
Down South
Gender
Female
True. And those parables are parallels to what will happen on judgement day when the believers are separated from the unbelievers (wheat separated from the tares) and thrown into the "lake of fire".


Yes death will be destroyed, but the lake of fire is the place of eternal punishment for all who oppose God.

But the scripture says they ALL will be thrown into the lake of fire...so what is it that distinguishes what/who will be eternally tormented from what/who will be eternally destroyed? From my study of the Scriptures, I have learned there is no distinction...they ALL will be eternally destroyed...nevermore to exist...
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
The only ones actually mentioned as tormented forever are the unholy trinity.
This is where I hold a differing view than you do.

Denying any of the points could be said to be denying clear teachings of the Bible. And saying that God doesn’t have the power to freely save all mankind does limit his power. Yes, it wouldn’t be limiting to say he can’t force someone’s free choice (because that is a logical impossibility). But it is not logically impossible to bring everyone freely to himself. Especially considering that he created everyone. As a Calvinist might complain, having man’s freedom control the outcome gives man reason to boast. For there must be some characteristic about that man that was better than other men that allowed him to make such a wise choice.
I personally feel like this is becoming a circling discussion that has run it's course, but it was a very good and interesting discussion nonetheless, and I'm thankful for it and what was brought up because of it. Interesting things to ponder about...
 

CrabCake

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 6, 2014
Messages
1,925
Reaction score
694
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Progressive
Here's a short article by Tom Talbott. Any thoughts on the questions at the end? I was initially looking at arguments against universalism, but I always try to look and see how those arguments are typically responded to. I try to generally know both sides well enough to argue pro or con if I'm looking into it. I really don't see why universalism isn't at least considered a valid conclusion from the Bible - where Christians have reached many differing conclusions.

What's interesting is that if you study early Christianity, you discover that the earliest debates the church fathers and patriarchs were having weren't about whether there are people who will not be reconciled to God in the end, but whether salvation extends even to Satan and the demons as well (a view referred to as apocatastasis).
 
Last edited:

tosca1

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
26,392
Reaction score
3,381
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
And the part you highlighted in red – you seem to have done that as showing a condition of being saved, but it ends with every knee bowing and every tongue swearing. The part you highlighted actually helps to show that the bowing/swearing isn’t forced upon anyone as some claim.

You have to read Isaiah within the context:



Isaiah 45
18
For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.

20
“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21
Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22
“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.

23
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.



God is rebuking those who commit idolatry.

There is no other god except Him. He is the only God. We bow to only Him.
"The word has gone out of my mouth," might be referring to the first Commandment - and He's explaining why it is demanded of us to have only Him as God.

We saw how He'd punished Israel for committing idolatry - nothing has changed, even today.
He's not going to take that back. It's still expected from us.
 
Last edited:

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
But the scripture says they ALL will be thrown into the lake of fire...so what is it that distinguishes what/who will be eternally tormented from what/who will be eternally destroyed? From my study of the Scriptures, I have learned there is no distinction...they ALL will be eternally destroyed...nevermore to exist...

Interesting. I'll have to ponder on that some more. My study has always led me to believe that the unholy trinity and all the "tares" (unbelievers) will eventually be thrown into the lake of fire for all of eternity (final place of eternal torment, 2nd Death, Gehenna, separation from God, etc...).
 

Goshin

Burned Out Ex-Mod
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Messages
46,572
Reaction score
51,814
Location
Dixie
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I don't know. I just trust in Jesus' grace, and try to live right as best I can.



I hope everyone goes to heaven, but I doubt it will be so.
 

Elora

whole-souled...
DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
37,943
Reaction score
10,388
Location
Down South
Gender
Female
What's interesting is that if you study early Christianity, you discover that the earliest debates the church fathers and patriarchs were having weren't about whether there are people who will not be reconciled to God in the end, but whether salvation extends even to Satan and the demons as well (a view referred to as apocatastasis).

I think Jesus pretty much answered that question...John 9:39-41...Satan and his demons knew the truth and yet they sinned so there is no salvation left for them...Matt. 12:31,32; Mark 3:28-30

And then there is Heb. 10:26,27...
 

thatguymd

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
368
Reaction score
93
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
This is where I hold a differing view than you do.


I personally feel like this is becoming a circling discussion that has run it's course, but it was a very good and interesting discussion nonetheless, and I'm thankful for it and what was brought up because of it. Interesting things to ponder about...

Alrighty then. Hopefully Biblical Universalism has at least inched closer to only being mistaken and not heretical in your mind. I certainly don’t think it is heresy and I’m on the verge of considering myself one.
 

thatguymd

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
368
Reaction score
93
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
You have to read Isaiah within the context:



Isaiah 45
18
For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.

20
“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21
Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22
“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.

23
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.



God is rebuking those who commit idolatry.

There is no other god except Him. He is the only God. We bow to only Him.
"The word has gone out of my mouth," might be referring to the first Commandment - and He's explaining why it is demanded of us to have only Him as God.

We saw how He'd punished Israel for committing idolatry - nothing has changed, even today.
He's not going to take that back. It's still expected from us.

I don’t see how that changes anything. It doesn’t seem like much of a rebuke yet. Just that idols don’t save, God does so he tells everyone to turn to him and be saved, and every knee shall bow and tongue swear. Also, you still seem to be viewing Biblical Universalism as punishment free, everyone goes straight to eternal bliss.
 

Elora

whole-souled...
DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
37,943
Reaction score
10,388
Location
Down South
Gender
Female
I don’t see how that changes anything. It doesn’t seem like much of a rebuke yet. Just that idols don’t save, God does so he tells everyone to turn to him and be saved, and every knee shall bow and tongue swear. Also, you still seem to be viewing Biblical Universalism as punishment free, everyone goes straight to eternal bliss.

But in context of other scriptures, such as Psalm 37:10,11,29...that only happens because the wicked will no longer be here, so yes, in that sense, "every knee shall bow and tongue swear" because the righteous will be the only ones living on the earth at that time...the wicked will indeed be gone...
 

gfm7175

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
5,695
Reaction score
1,805
Location
Madison, WI
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Alrighty then. Hopefully Biblical Universalism has at least inched closer to only being mistaken and not heretical in your mind. I certainly don’t think it is heresy and I’m on the verge of considering myself one.

I just don't see it that way when I read through the Bible... I currently feel very confident in the way that I see it. I do appreciate your thought and discussion of the matter, and hope the Holy Spirit guides you in your Biblical study. Peace!
 

thatguymd

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
368
Reaction score
93
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
But in context of other scriptures, such as Psalm 37:10,11,29...that only happens because the wicked will no longer be here, so yes, in that sense, "every knee shall bow and tongue swear" because the righteous will be the only ones living on the earth at that time...the wicked will indeed be gone...

Yes the wicked will be no more…..because God makes all things new. I am/was (I’m kind of in the middle of changing my mind) an annihilationist, but I’m starting to think that’s only half the story.
 
Top Bottom