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Author Topic: Will God Find a Way to Save All of Mankind?  (Read 4260 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« on: December 01, 2003, 10:52:15 PM »

Just curious.

God is love (1 John 4:Cool.

Can He find a way to get through to everyone?

Will He?

He never changes and always loves us.

Is it over when it's over?

What do you think?

Note: I think there is a right answer, but it must be expressed in a post.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2003, 11:06:46 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2003, 07:37:24 AM »

Just curious.

God is love (1 John 4:Cool.

Can He find a way to get through to everyone?

Will He?

He never changes and always loves us.

Is it over when it's over?

What do you think?

Note: I think there is a right answer, but it must be expressed in a post.
That is what some Jewish beliefs are. No hell just some kind of temporary state similar to purgatory then everyone gets their reward. Some say heaven some say in the New Jerusalem etc. This is why Jews pray for their dead but only for 11 months at which time they believe the soul has been prepared for the reward phase.
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2003, 04:59:29 PM »

Thanks for your post, Polycarp.

I am surprised that this poll has generated so little interest.

C'+¬st la vie.
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2003, 05:50:53 PM »

I answered the second option.  I believe that other than isolated church fathers here and there, the Church has never espoused universalism AFAIK.  And being a good "fundie", I've never seen how folks could explain away the passages which indicate that damnation is eternal.  (But of course, with sola scriptura anything is possible, I suppose.)

Yes, God is Love, but He is also Holy and Just and is a respecter of man's free will.  As C.S. Lewis once wrote (WTTE) at the Judgement there will be two kinds of people: those who have said to God "Thy will be done" and those to whom God will say "Thy will be done".
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2003, 10:37:54 PM »

Wow! That is a very deep question. I HOPE so, but according to Revelation, no.
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2003, 11:40:36 PM »

Quote
Doubting Thomas: Yes, God is Love, but He is also Holy and Just and is a respecter of man's free will.  As C.S. Lewis once wrote (WTTE) at the Judgement there will be two kinds of people: those who have said to God "Thy will be done" and those to whom God will say "Thy will be done".

I think you are on the right track.

If you look at my signature, you will notice it says pretty much the same thing.

I believe God always always always loves us, no matter what. But we refuse to be saved.

Nevertheless, I answered with the option that says, "I hope so, but I am not sure."

I think God can find a way to get through somehow, but He is certainly not obligated to do any more than He already has.

And He will not use "irresistible grace" to coerce the love of the unwilling.

While it is true that the Church has never as a whole advocated universalism - especially as an obligation on God - she has never denied the possibility as a possibility.

And many things that are said to be eternal in the Bible were eternal based upon certain conditions. When the conditions changed, so did the eternal consequences.

I think hell is something we make of ourselves. We are hell; but we can become heaven if we will just let God love us and transform us into the likeness of His Son.

Oh! I just remembered something regarding God's being "Just." According to Clark Carlton's book, The Life: the Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation, St. Isaac the Syrian said we are NOT to call God just. God is good and merciful and always acts with mercy and love toward his creation (p. 155).

If God were simply just, He would destroy us all without mercy.

BTW, if you have not read The Life, you should. It is a great book and a real eye-opener.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2003, 11:43:26 PM »

I think hell is something we make of ourselves. We are hell; but we can become heaven if we will just let God love us and transform us into the likeness of His Son.

Well said, my friend. Many Orthodox have said that Hell is the "total disconnection" from God. Maybe in His plan, there is a way that all can find the way, eventually?

We have also heard that there are "many rooms in my Fathers house". Could this be a reference to the level of Theosis that each soul reached at the time of death? If so, then I can assure you that I will be very far away from the Masters chambers!
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2003, 11:55:41 PM »

I think hell is something we make of ourselves. We are hell; but we can become heaven if we will just let God love us and transform us into the likeness of His Son.

Well said, my friend. Many Orthodox have said that Hell is the "total disconnection" from God. Maybe in His plan, there is a way that all can find the way, eventually?

I hope so, Brother Tom, I hope so.

My heart is certainly with the one person thus far who voted, "Yes. God is love. He will find a way to save everyone," and the one who voted,  "I suspect He will."

God is love (1 John 4:Cool, which is greater than anything ( 1 Cor. 13).

I think we forget that love is who God is; it is His primary defining characteristic.

The fact that God is love makes me happier than anything!

It gives me hope.


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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2003, 09:27:11 AM »

I think we forget that love is who God is; it is His primary defining characteristic.

The fact that God is love makes me happier than anything!

It gives me hope.


Well said.  It gives me much hope as well!

Also, how could one not return love to God?  He has done so much for us and is always with us.  So many in the world do not love God.  It is a cause for much sorrow.
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2003, 09:59:20 AM »

Unfortunately, I couldn't pick any of the poling options in good conscience, since even the most superficially agreeable one, I think, leaves too much out.

On a perhaps "trancendent" level, it could be said quite plainly that God loves everyone, even the devil, and in a sense has "forgiven all" - when Christ was raised above the world upon the Cross, He said "father forgive them" even of those He must have known would never repent of their blasphemy...indeed, they'd only grow in it, and not simply remain His enemy, but also become the vicious enemies of His members (the Church.)

OTOH, we do know from revelation, that there will definately be unhappy souls who will find only misery in the world to come.  They will even be separated from the blessed, judged (which really means understood and declared by God, Whose judgement is perfect, for what they are - His judgement does not make them what they are), and dwell in a most horrible state.

I suppose it can be said that there is a sense in which it can be said that all will be saved - for none of us will pass into oblivion, we will all inherit eternity, and indeed, we will all experience God's presence for on the last day He will be "all in all".  Indeed, on the last day, all will acknowledge that indeed, Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, and every knee will bend to Him...all will be submitted to God the Son, and He will present this to His Father.

However, Gehenna (and in the meantime, misery in hades) can perhaps be said to be the "highest form of salvation" possible for these unhappy souls.  They are not capable/receptive to anything better.  And this is their own doing.

The Patristic source of this alludes me, but there is a teaching I once read regarding Adam and Eve, and Paradise which I think is illustrative of this.  According to what I read, Adam and Eve had to be expelled from Paradise, for had they stayed in the condition they were in, it would have ceased being Paradise; everything they touched would inherit the same misfortune they had brought upon themselves.  Thus, Paradise is both a place, and a condition.

This is the same rationale behind why there will be a seperation of the blessed from the damned - why there cannot be such unhappy souls in Heaven, for they would make it Hell.

There is a real mercy in our race's explusion from Paradise.  Just as St.Paul said that the ideal behind excommunication (besides the protection of the faithful who the excommunicated would drag down with them if they were not to be expelled from the Church) was to hope that when the person was outside of the Church, they would become miserable in their state and look back with penitence towards God and His Church, and repent, so too is our wandering in this valley of tears.  It is an opportunity, to see the emptiness of sin which begets death (granting that this death in turn begets sin), and look back towards God with favourable eyes when grace comes upon us and the opportunity to return is made available - had we not been made to taste such misery and futility, we may well have never looked back to God humbeled.

That is the point of this life - not worldly "progress", or whatever other idols and vanities the creativity of Godless minds can erect; but an opportunity to try to put our hearts in the right place.  But this opportunity does have a finite duration (as does this age/aeon in the "world without end").  What we will find for ourselves in the world to come, will depend entirely on what we made of this gift, and the opportunities God gave us in that time.  For some, that time will be long...for others it will be brief...all in accord with God's unerring foresight and penetrating knowledge of our souls.

So, from God's "half" of this equation (the process of salvation, whether in the case of those who will be called "blessed" or those who will be called "damned" by the great Judge and King of all, always being a synergy, for better or for worse), there can be no doubt that great mercy has been proclaimed, and His generosity and love (even if not easy for carnal eyes to see) is extended to everyone and everything.  Thus in this sense, all are in some way "being saved" or in a qualified sense, will be "saved."

The real question is, what are we doing?  What about "our end" of things?  That, unfortunately, will not universally be one which can be characterized as being universally "loving" or "humble" - where as God has most certainly been both, in our regard, without exception.

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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2003, 10:27:32 AM »

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Seraphim Reeves: Unfortunately, I couldn't pick any of the poling options in good conscience, since even the most superficially agreeable one, I think, leaves too much out.

Then pick what you regard as the best answer.

Obviously, poll questions and answers must be somewhat brief and cannot do justice to weighty matters like this one. Whole volumes could be devoted to this topic.

That is why we vote and then clarify our positions with an explanatory post.

Thanks for yours, BTW.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2003, 03:35:07 PM »

I read, though I don't know if this is an official an universally accepted Church doctrine, that hell is actually not an absence of God's love, but the sinner's negative experience of it. Because they don't love God, these sinners will supposedly feel horribly uncomfortable in its presence after the Second Coming, hence, in a state of hell.

I don't know if this is the official teaching of the Church or just one pious opinion. But it may be backed up by Patristic writing (I think it was St. Isaac the Syrian).
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2003, 08:44:54 PM »

Isn't this up to God, not men?  Why waste time speculating on this subject?  Any "conclusion" you come to will be the result of human "logic," which is fallen to begin with, so you can't trust your conclusions.  Waste of time.

"Never trust your thoughts" - Elder Paisios the New
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2003, 09:44:53 PM »

Isn't this up to God, not men?  Why waste time speculating on this subject?  Any "conclusion" you come to will be the result of human "logic," which is fallen to begin with, so you can't trust your conclusions.  Waste of time.

"Never trust your thoughts" - Elder Paisios the New

I don't think an important topic like this one is a waste of time.

Of course, if you want to argue that there are better things we could be doing other than posting on internet discussion boards, then I agree wholeheartedly.

This is not idle speculation. What one thinks on this issue says a lot about how he perceives the nature of God, of man, and of salvation.

We think about it, don't we?

Why not exchange ideas?

Think about the quote you supplied: "Never trust your thoughts."

Never?

Does that make sense?

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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2003, 05:57:38 PM »

Linus,
Yes, I do believe Father Paisios's recommendation.  Reasoning our way down certain "logical" paths can lead to severe problems......  how on earth can one reason whether God will "save everyone?"  Perhaps it's just personal, but I think this intellectual effort to be a waste of time.   I personally have lead myself "logically" to the wrong conclusion too many times to count - naturally I'm cautious on this sort of thing.
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2003, 06:11:18 PM »

I chose the first selection. I cannot conceive of everybody going to heaven, but I pray for it.

"And lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy."

It would take God's divine will, which seems less improbable, and it would also take the choice of every sinful man.

I would have chosen the last selection too, if I could choose both.  Tongue
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2003, 11:03:12 PM »

Caffeinator -

I was strongly tempted to choose the last option, too.  Cool
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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2003, 04:43:21 AM »

You know , though I am not big 'O'  "O" I have a bit of a theory about this.

God has a way to save all mankind - it's there for us quite plainly - but  and it's a very big but

will we follow His way ??
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2003, 12:11:36 AM »

You know , though I am not big 'O'  "O" I have a bit of a theory about this.

God has a way to save all mankind - it's there for us quite plainly - but  and it's a very big but

will we follow His way ??

Are you saying that having a big butt will keep someone out of heaven?  Wink

Sorry: I couldn't resist!  Grin

I know what you mean, Slave; I really do (seriously); and I agree.
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2003, 04:17:54 AM »

aaaaaaaargh

[size=10]MEN[/size]
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2003, 06:06:24 PM »

In order for God to save everyone he would have to become a despot and force Himself onto people who have chosen tio reject Him. InFor those people, heaven would be HELL.
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2003, 09:45:13 PM »

In order for God to save everyone he would have to become a despot and force Himself onto people who have chosen tio reject Him. InFor those people, heaven would be HELL.

Maybe.

But God is smarter than we are. Perhaps He can find a way without coercing anyone.

It may take eons, but God will never stop loving all of us.
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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2003, 09:54:38 PM »

Linus: and God loves us enough that he gives us the choice in this life to accept Him or reject Him.  Think about it - so many people wrongly believe (in my opinion) that God sends people to hell. I cannot concur.  They as individuals CHOOSE hell. According to scriptures sin is darkness.  And God is light.  These people have rejected the light. They live their lives immersed in darkness.  They revel in it!  

Have you ever gone from a very dark place into a brightly lit place?  It hurts the eyes and your first reaction is to shrink away from the light - to cover your eyes or retreat back into the darkness.  Now imagine that the darkness is all through a person.  In their  heart, in their mind, in their soul - all they know in life is darkness.  Imagine now that they die and they see the light of God shining from heaven.  What is that soul going to do?  It’s going to retreat from the light into the darkest place it can find - HELL.  God still loves that soul, but God’s love is such that He will allow that soul to be where it has chosen to be.
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2003, 10:11:31 PM »

Br. Max -

I understand all that. Read my prior posts on this thread. Read my signature. I BELIEVE free will is the key to understanding God's plan for us; that and God's love.

Just the same, I think it is just possible that God has something up His sleeve that will convince even the most hardened.

As I said, it may take nearly forever with the really stiffnecked.

Maybe I am wrong and there will be those who doom themselves forever.

But maybe not . . .

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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2003, 10:19:23 PM »

Linus: I think Scripture makes it clear in the apocalypse of John that there are those who will be damned forever.

I’m not saying that you deny free will that would just be far to Calvinistic for you to handle!!
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2003, 10:28:37 PM »

Linus: I think Scripture makes it clear in the apocalypse of John that there are those who will be damned forever.

I’m not saying that you deny free will that would just be far to Calvinistic for you to handle!!

The words in Scripture that are translated as "forever" sometimes mean simply a long long time.

Oftentimes things that are said to be "forever" are conditional: when the conditions change, so does the "forever" status.

Some of the Church Fathers, like St. Gregory of Nyssa, for example, believed that God would ultimately save everyone, including the devil.

I am not a Universalist. It is not an article of faith with me that God will or must save everyone.

I just think He might somehow, and that gives me hope.

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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2003, 04:32:08 AM »

I just think He might somehow, and that gives me hope.

That could easily become a reason not to share the Gospel. Methinks this kind of thinking is potentially dangerous.

John.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2003, 10:06:15 AM »

Linus: God might do alot of things - none of us being God can speculate on what God will or will not do except where He has revealed His mind to us.  I think that what is being overlooked here is justice.  If God ultimately redeams us all, how is justice satisfied?

ALSO - Satan has no redemption - redemption is what he was after in the temptations in the wildreness and Christ shut him down on that notion. Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2003, 11:08:47 AM »

I just think He might somehow, and that gives me hope.

That could easily become a reason not to share the Gospel. Methinks this kind of thinking is potentially dangerous.

John.

I disagree about that. For one thing, I said might. I am not preaching Universalism, nor do I believe in it.

We have every reason to preach the Gospel. We know that those who reject Christ will be damned, and, as far as we know for sure, they are without hope after that.

For a Christian to pray for all creatures - even the damned and the devils - and to cling to a faint glimmer of hope that those prayers will prove efficacious, is far from dangerous.
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« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2005, 06:21:25 PM »

I just finished reading the last chapter of Kallistos Ware’s book “The Inner Kingdom” entitled “Dare We Hope for the Salvation of All.” Before I read that the Universalist position seemed absurd, but the way he said it made it seem to conform to the Orthodox position without selling out to liberalism. He is careful not to say that all will be saved, but that there is hope that all will be saved. Is it consistent with Orthodox theology to allow that possibility? I have read many places that say that the Church does not judge those outside the Church.

Also, how else can we explain Paul when he says: “As all die in Adam, so all are made alive in Christ.” As Bishop Ware says, “Surely the word ‘all’ bears the same sense in both halves of the sentence.” Also: “Just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.” And: “God has imprisoned all in disobedience, that he may be merciful to all.”

Of course there are also verses that speak of eternal torment that must also be dealt with. But if eternal means age long, or for all time, then it doesn’t speak of after the end of time.

If at the end of time God will destroy all sin and death, then how can sin and death remain in those who turned away from God? Either their souls must be driven out of existence, or they must be made free of sin and death. And if sin is separation from God, then they must be united with God. Would God’s will that all be saved be eternally frustrated?

To me the most convincing question is this: If God intended save all men through His son; will he fail? Can the omnipotent God’s will be frustrated eternally by his own creation? I realize that we have free will, but I don’t see how our will can ultimately defeat God’s. After all, if God can convert Saul without violating his (Saul’s) will, can’t He do the same with just about anyone?

Also there does seem to be some Patristic support for Universalism, such as St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Isaac the Syrian.
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« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2005, 09:34:38 PM »

Holy bumping of old threads, Batman!

Thomas,
Yes, "Hope for all" is a key concept but Free Will just as much.  Of course God could save everyone, but just like it is written in the Bible, not everyone will be saved - they chose not to be.  Of course the results of all this (Orthodox, non-Orthodox, non-Christians, even non-theists, etc.) is a huge mystery to us.  We're not to judge, whether it is the random tribal person in Africa/Asia or your fellow Orthodox Christian.  We only know that the Orthodox Church is The Ark of Salvation and the guide to the True Path emobodied in Christ.  He is The Way.  It is up to us whether or not we want to follow that path, but he gives us all the help we can ask for.
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« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2007, 11:10:07 AM »



  Dont you believe in God's infinite power and love? There is salvation and redemption for everyone.
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