From this thread
My apologies for my tardiness. I also thought it best to start a new thread. Before I continue, I would like to provide some background that allowed me to arrive at the most comforting revelation that despite the foibles and ignorance of myself and my loved ones and the rest of humanity, that I do not have to fear that I’ll have to watch my children be tormented forever or be burdened by their eternal oblivion as a result of my laxity in their Christian education.
I was raised in an extremely devout Dutch-Canadian Calvinist reformed church. All extended family get togethers inevitably resulted in hours of discussion regarding religious matters. I wasn’t allowed to go to dances, movies, purchase anything on Sunday let alone do anything on Sunday that couldn’t be done on Saturday. Employment opportunities were limited to non-union companies. There was no outreach, but a clear sense that the one and only truth resided at this particular church and that somehow the Dutch were extrordinarily blessed because all I ever saw at church were Dutch Canadians , a distinct minority from my point of view. Truly, I believed that we were special and I believed all other churches and their members were insincere in their Christianity. We separated ourselves from the world best as we could.
At the age of 14 my mother died, and six months later my father broke away from this church and led all eight of his children into a Baptist style church which did not believe in pastors or instrumental music. At this point, my faith in churches was broken although my belief in God was not, yet I pushed Him into the far recesses of my mind as I pursued all the pleasures of the flesh with abandon. Although I still had empathy, I hurt many people, and it is safe to say that I became a disgustingly selfish human being.
When the knowledge came that I was about to become a father, I was involved in a DUI accident and the two events inspired me to seek out the Lord once again. I tried various churches, but the inconsistencies of each of their messages prevented me from feeling comfortable in their presence. Meantime my father who also had tried various churches that quite likely did not appreciate his outspokeness gave up on them and devoted his retirement to studying the scriptures on his own. Then one day he came to me with pamphlets from J. Preston Eby and declared his relief with the newly acquired belief in universal salvation. This doctrine captured me immediately, allowing me to read scripture in a totally new light.
I present the case for universalism because I feel so good and relieved with this knowledge that I wish to share with those who are burdened with the charges that their God is hateful and spiteful.
I present the above passages which suggest that the entire universe was created by God for Christ and it is the will of God (which we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer) that Christ should lose none of it.
Now I am clearly aware that the standard response to the claim that it is the will of God that all men be saved can be stymied by a man’s rejection. In other words there is only an offer of salvation to everyone, that it isn’t a done deal. God would like us all to be saved but alas, But let’s read further:
That speaks powerfully to me. It reminds me also of
But I am well aware that seemingly direct contradictions do occur in the bible. for example
Truly disturbing images. The greek word from which we get “torment” in the above passage is basanizo. Interestingly this word is used in a completely inanimate sense and translated as “tossed” without suggesting torture as follows
One can also translate “eternal punishment” from the original Greek words * aionion* and * kolasin* to “permanent corrective punishment”, which of course suggests a successful correction that will stand permanently. Such an interpretation is in keeping with the previous verses cited.
*most translation read incorruptible
This passage supports the interpretation I advanced for the previous verse
To me, this is one of the most powerfully clear and reassuring passage in the bible. I could paraphrase as follows:
“If only people who are like me have hope in Christ, then that hope is useless. But as we were all condemned with the death penalty by Adam, we are all reprieved by Christ, but in a particular order, first Christ himself, then those who have “accepted Him” at the second coming, and finally, when Christ has subdued everything in the universe, exacting voluntary obedience to His will, then he will present us all to God that God may be all in all.”
Not sure exactly what “all in all” means, other than a sense of universality is evident here.
I have the sense that I could go on and on, but if you or anyone else is interested, the main source that I’ve drawn on to present this post comes from the Christianworld Church site. A far more comprehensive presentation can be found here.
Finally I wish to present the words of one of the most famous and prolific theologins of the early Christian church, Origen as he represents the Christian belief during the 3rd century CE to a Greek Stoic philosopher named Celsus.
How different is the public Christian message today! How did Christianity evolve from this view to the pessimistic message of Fred Phelps and Jack Chick?