Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation

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3 years 7 months ago #3038 by Singalphile

giles wrote: Well, the Isaiah passage from which the quote first came talks of Gods enemies kneeling and being put to shame, while Israel is vindicated so the forced obedience reading seems quite strong to me.


I didn't even realize it was from Isaiah (45:23ff). Good point. That does strengthen that reading significantly, I think.

"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.
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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #3284 by Readheart

webb wrote: God is not being unjust or unloving in creating beings that he foreknows will ultimately spit out the gift of life. He is being loving and just in freely offering the gift of life to them, and giving them the freedom either to take hold of it or throw it away (Isa. 55:1--56:8; 57:15-21; Jn 6:35-41; 7:37-38 || Jer. 2:13; Rev. 22:17).


Good thoughts, going to try to keep this short by focusing on your last sentiment.

It is true God is a life giver, but we must also keep in mind that :


-He sets no dead line. (Romans 8:38-39)
-He is Merciful, ( James 2:13)
-He understand our weakness, ( Hebrew 4:15)
-He is not willing any perish. ( Matthew 18:14)

Imho...it is beyond human comprehension just how much God is determined to save us, and lead us to our recovery. So that , we will transform into His complete likeness, and therefore to complete restoration.

However, we may also have an inability here and now to be complete, given that we are in a fallen condition (1 Corinthians 13:12). But this is not the final result, Christ won victory in order that the process will be made complete!

How He completes this miracle is going to manifest itself on the final resurrection, where all confess, and every creature will sing to Him All The Glory. ( Revelation 5:13)

Let everyone enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself:... — John Wesley
Last edit: 3 years 2 months ago by Readheart.
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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #3287 by webb
Webb:

He is being loving and just in freely offering the gift of life to them, and giving them the freedom either to take hold of it or throw it away (Isa. 55:1--56:8; 57:15-21; Jn 6:35-41; 7:37-38 || Jer. 2:13; Rev. 22:17).

Redheart:

...we must also keep in mind that :

-He sets no dead line. (Romans 8:38-39)

In the context of the chapter as a whole, this statement specifically applies to those who do (or will) love God. It does not apply to those who do not (and will not) love God. I don't disagree with your view of the character of God, but what you need to prove in order to make a case for universal salvation is either (1) that God would never create a being that he knew would ultimately persist in rebellion and harmfulness, or (2) that no being, created by a loving and just God and treated with love and justice by that God, would ultimately persist in rebellion and harmfulness. I can't prove either one of these by scripture, experience, or general theological principles. And scripture seems quite definitely to contradict (2). In particular, Isa. 57:15-21, along with my reading of Isa. 26:10-11 || Heb. 10:27 || Isa. 27:1-5 || Rev. 20:7-10, seems to warn that there are beings--both human and angelic--that God cannot--in love for the community of his creation--continue to support in life.

-He is Merciful, ( James 2:13)
-He understand our weakness, ( Hebrew 4:15)
-He is not willing any perish. ( Matthew 18:14)

Imho...it is beyond human comprehension just how much God is determined to save us, and lead us to our recovery. So that , we will transform into His complete likeness, and therefore to complete restoration.

No argument. the question is, who is "we"?

However, we may also have an inability here and now to be complete, given that we are in a fallen condition (1 Corinthians 13:12). But this is not the final result, Christ won victory in order that the process will be made complete!

I don't have any beef in principle with this, but I'd need a specific, and clear, testimony from scripture (Jesus especially) to have confidence in believing that beings who have hated God and their fellow beings in this mortal life will change their minds and love God and their fellow beings in some future life. That's not the story I read in those passages in Isaiah, Hebrews (which quotes Isa. 26:10-11), and Revelation.

How He completes this miracle is going to manifest itself on the final resurrection, where all confess, and every creature will sing to Him All The Glory. ( Revelation 5:13)

Rev. 5:13 is suggestive and evocative of the desire many of us have for all of creation to join in the celebration of God and all of God's goodnesses. I don't think it is a broad enough base upon which to build an entire universal salvation interpretation program, though. In my reading of Zech. 12:10, Phil. 2:10-11, and Rev. 1:7, there will come a day, the day on which Jesus comes in glory to judge the living and the dead, when every being--in heaven and on earth--will realize what God has done for them by creating them and by paying for their sins in Jesus Christ, and they will face the truth of God's love and justice in all of its awesome majesty. They will bow the knee not by force of raw power, but by the force of God's unveiled glory and truth. The question is, will they forget all over again, when they have the ability to fool themselves if they wish? The scriptures I cited from Isaiah, Hebrews, and Revelation tell me that they will succumb all over again to the voice of cynicism, envy, and hate, but the cycle of revelation, (self-)deception, and sin does not end in a final and durable turning towards God, but in a final and fatal rebellion.

I don't like this story, but I don't get to write the story, and I can't find a reasonable basis for contradicting it.
Last edit: 3 years 2 months ago by webb. Reason: needed a last line.
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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #3290 by Readheart

webb wrote: Webb:

-He sets no dead line. (Romans 8:38-39)

In the context of the chapter as a whole, this statement specifically applies to those who do (or will) love God. It does not apply to those who do not (and will not) love God. I don't disagree with your view of the character of God, but what you need to prove in order to make a case for universal salvation is either (1) that God would never create a being that he knew would ultimately persist in rebellion and harmfulness, or (2) that no being, created by a loving and just God and treated with love and justice by that God, would ultimately persist in rebellion and harmfulness. I can't prove either one of these by scripture, experience, or general theological principles. And scripture seems quite definitely to contradict (2). In particular, Isa. 57:15-21, along with my reading of Isa. 26:10-11 || Heb. 10:27 || Isa. 27:1-5 || Rev. 20:7-10, seems to warn that there are beings--both human and angelic--that God
cannot--in love for the community of his creation--continue to support in life. I don't like this story, but I don't get to write the story, and I can't find a reasonable basis for contradicting it.


Thank you for your reply, I enjoy your dedication to scripture.

I see your point, and the testimony of Paul clears up the issue. For example : Paul was on the road to Damascus. At the time Paul was not ' willing' to come to Christ, Paul is not a ' willing ' participant, and certainly not  accepting any part of the Risen Christ. In fact, Paul is deceived, but this does not limit God's ability to totally transform Paul in the blink of a eye.Paul shares his account as a testimony and witness.

Isaiah 45:23: Romans14:11  Philippians 2:10 are foretelling the final conclusion when the ( fallen ) creation is reconciled to the creator of the universe.  We know this is not forced as God never accepts  false worship.   Christ changes the will and heart when many are blinded -and deceived ( like Paul ). 

If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny himself.-2 Timothy 2:13


I agree with your point also that while it is impossible as limited beings on earth to have any source of knowledge of the intermediate state, it is really difficult to be 100% certain of any of the three views. However, based on scripture, it isn't out of the question that if Adam can cause the "death" of all without our consent, that Christ could bring all back from that "death" without our consent.

Let everyone enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself:... — John Wesley
Last edit: 3 years 2 months ago by Readheart. Reason: spelling
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3 years 2 months ago #3291 by humblemissionary
I just wanna encourage you guys. Good discussion. Keep praying and posting your insights. The Lord will guide! ;)
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3 years 2 months ago - 3 years 2 months ago #3292 by webb
Vance [Edit: This should read, "Redheart"],

You've opened the door to a deep topic by referring to the role of Adam in human mortality. I bring a strong theological posture to the question as I encounter it in Romans, and that is that humanity was brought into existence as offspring of God, i.e. Adam and Eve were created as God's children. This I gather by interpreting Gen. 1:26-27 in the light of Gen. 5:1-3:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26-27)

This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” (=Heb. adam, earth) when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. (Gen. 5:1-3)

If some human beings do not now enjoy the rights, privileges, joys, and blessings of those having been created to be God's children, it cannot be because God created them to be something other than his children, or because he created them to be someone else's children (e.g. the devil's). It must be because they have divorced their Creator-Parent and, metaphorically speaking, have attached themselves to some other personage--a created being, such as the devil, and/or a human leader--as their surrogate parent figure. In other words, they have turned from worshiping God their Father to serving idols. John speaks in Jn 1:12 as though you are not a child of God unless and until you become a Christian, but he later (in Jn 11:52) speaks about "the scattered children of God," who have not yet heard the message of the gospel because Jesus has not yet given his life up for the life of the world. They are children of God now, but they will be gathered together later, when they hear the news of what Jesus has done. The parable of the Lost Son is another passage that trains us to look upon even those who utterly ruin their lives through sin as lost children, rather than beings of a different order altogether from the children of God, beings brought into being without a family pedigree and condemned to hopeless and wretched existence followed by destruction--or even, in the minds of those who follow Augustine, exquisite and everlasting torture. But I digress.

My point is this. You have referred to the involuntary nature of the "death" that all human beings inherit from Adam. The death that is inherited is not an involuntary inability to know and worship God as God's children, but the literal death of mortality, which Paul says all inherited because all sinned. Paul says in so many words, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned..." The idea that there is something hereditary, involuntary, and inescapable about human alienation from God is a catastrophic (if typical) over-reading of Paul's argument in Romans. Each of us has to take responsibility for our own self-alienation from God, which, to whatever extent we have experienced it, stems from ourselves, and not from Adam or anyone else.

Now, our tendency to act in ways that are not good for ourselves or one another is indeed subject to the influences--quite literally--of nature (i.e. inheritance) and nurture (i.e. environment). For example, I get a hair-trigger temper both from the hormonal configuration I inherited in my DNA and from the experience of that hair-trigger temper that I came to see as normal when I grew up in the presence of my father. There could be ten dozen sins that people acquire in those ways, and the seemingly built-in and automatic nature of them is, it seems to me, what Paul is exasperated about in Rom. 7:14-25. But there is a solution (Rom. 7:24 + Rom. 8:1-17)! God provides reconciliation through Christ, which deals with the alienation, God provides a ransom from the penalties and other consequences of our sins in the sacrificial death of Christ, and God provides both power for change and training in right behavior through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in us, to progressively bring us into line with the will of God in our actual, practical, bodily lives. Old habits are, phenomenologically speaking (i.e. in terms of how we subjectively experience them), often beyond our ability to change. In other words, habits erode our experience of free will. But the Holy Spirit is able to form in us new habits that freeze out, or squeeze out, or starve out (a number of metaphors will do here) the old habits that had us "enslaved to sin."

All of that is to say, I do not regard our alienation from God as something that is thrust on us by God in terms of the condition into which God brings each of us into the world--as though God is our enemy from the moment of our conception. That--no matter how common it is to believe--is a grotesque idea, and even theologically pernicious upon examination. If I am correct (and I would have thought that a person in your position would be particularly inclined to agree), then the basis is removed from your attempt to pose a kind of balance--on the one hand, involuntarily spiritually dead in Adam, thus, on the other side of the balance, perhaps also involuntarily brought alive in Christ. God never did shove anyone away who did not themselves first shove him away.
Last edit: 3 years 2 months ago by webb. Reason: Forgot which person I was in dialogue with
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