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Author Topic: I believe in Universal Reconciliation  (Read 21199 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 03, 2005, 03:25:01 AM »

It is rather strange to believe that Gandhi is damned to hell for eternity for simply being a Hindu.

Universal Reconciliation Understood by Early Christians

The truth that a salvation in Christ awaits all was the prime message of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. But what about the people who followed on after the deaths of the apostles? Did they maintain this fundamental doctrinal belief? The answer is a decided YES. Among several important Christian scholars and theologians over the following four hundred years, universal salvation was publicly advocated and taught. First note the remarks of Iranaeus, the Bishop of Lyons (c.130 to 200 C.E.)

“Wherefore also He drove him out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, ... but because He pitied him [and did not desire], that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, by interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease, putting an end to it by the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God.”

• Against Heretics, Book III, Chapter. 23.6
Note also the remarks of Clement of Alexandria (c.190 C.E.). There can be no doubt of his understanding that all in the universe will one day obtain their salvation in Christ which was given before the world’s foundation.
“How is He Savior and Lord, if not the Savior and Lord of all? But He is the Savior of those who have believed, because of their wishing to know, and the Lord of those who have not believed, till being enabled to confess Him, they obtain the peculiar ... boon which comes by Him ... For all things are arranged with a view to the salvation of the universe by the Lord of the universe, both generally and particularly.”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book vii, chapter 2
[Quoting 1 Timothy 4:10] “To speak comprehensively, all benefit appertaining to life, in its highest reason, proceeding from the Sovereign God, the Father who is over all, consummated by the Son, who also on this account ‘is Savior of all men,’ says the apostle, ‘but especially of those who believe.’”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book vi, chapter 17
“Christ’s only work is the salvation of mankind.”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book ix
Let us now look at the linguist and scholar Origen (c.210 C.E.). All historians know he was an avowed believer in universal salvation for the human race and all intelligent beings in the universe.
“When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole creation is signified, so also, when the enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood to consist.”

• De prin. iii.5
“But those who have been removed from their primal state of blessedness [innocence] have not been removed irrecoverably, but ... being remolded by salutary discipline and principles, they may recover themselves, and be restored to their condition of happiness.”

• De prin. i.vi
We also have the witness of Victorinus (360 C.E.),
“Christ will regenerate all things, as he created all things. By the life that is in Him, all things will be cleansed and return into age-lasting life. Christ is to subject all things to Himself. When this shall have been accomplished, God will be all things, because all things will be full of God.”

• Adv.Arium Lib. i & iii
There was also Hilary, known as “the leading theologian of his day” (X.LeBachelet, St. Hilarie DTC. 6.2413—60).
“This seemed good to God to manifest in Christ the mystery of His will, namely, that He should be merciful to all who had strayed, whether in heaven or in earth (fallen angels and mankind). Every being, then, is being restored to the place in which he was created, by learning the knowledge of Christ.”

• In Eph. iii.9—10
Even Titus, the Bishop of Bostra in 364 C.E. professed an explicit universalism in salvation. He showed that the fire of hell is really remedial.
 
[ Because some came to believe the erroneous doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul—which the Bible does not support— some invented what is called “Purgatory.” There is, however, not a word in the Bible about such a transient place after death for the cleansing of errors. Yet the punishment of the wicked is intended to be corrective. The word for “punishment” in Matthew 25:46 is kolasis which in Greek literature means correction. ]
 
This was understood by early Christians. Titus, Bishop of Bostra, knew that the biblical teaching of “hell” signified a place of correction and discipline, which did not last for eternity!

“The very pit itself is a place of torments and of torments and of punishments, but is not eternal. It was made that it might be a medicine and yield help to those who sin. Sacred are the stripes which are remedies and helps to those who have strayed.”

• Lib. i, ch.xxxii
Gregory of Nyssa (380 C.E.) was one who proclaimed a universal redemption in Christ for all creatures within the entirety of the universe. Quoting Philippians 2:10 where Paul said every knee would one day bow and every tongue confess the Lordship of Christ to the glory of God, Gregory comments,

“In this passage is signified, that when evil has been obliterated in the long circuits of the ages, nothing shall be left outside the limits of good; but even from them [all creatures made by God] shall be unanimously uttered the confession of the Lordship of Christ.”

• De an.et.resurrect.
“For it is evident that God will, in truth, be ‘in all’ then when there shall be no evil seen in anything. ... When every created being is at harmony with itself and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; when every creature shall have been made one body, then shall the body of Christ be subject to the Father. ... Now the body of Christ, as I have said often before, is the whole of humanity. ... When it says that God’s enemies shall be subjected to God, this is meant that the power of evil shall be taken away, and they who, on account of their disobedience were called God’s enemies, shall by subjection be made God’s friends. When, then, all who were once God’s enemies, shall have been made His footstool (because they will then receive in themselves the divine imprint), when death shall have been destroyed; in the subjection of all, which is not servile humility, but immortality and Christ is said by the apostle Paul to be made subject to God.”

• Orat. in I Cor. xv.28
Read carefully this extended but beautiful passage by Gregory,
“Hence, another meaning of subjection is understood by Paul as opposite to the common one. The exposition of the term 'subjection' as used here does not mean the forceful, necessary subjection of enemies as is commonly meant; while on the other hand, salvation is clearly interpreted by subjection. ... Paul mentions this in his Epistle to the Romans: ‘For if we have been enemies, we have been reconciled to God’ [Rom 5.10]. Here Paul calls subjection reconciliation, one term indicating salvation by another word. For as salvation is brought near to us by subjection, Paul says in another place, ‘Being reconciled, we shall be saved in this life’ [Rom 5.10]. Therefore, Paul says that such enemies are to be subjected to God and the Father; death no longer is to have authority. This is shown by Paul saying, ‘Death will be destroyed,’ a clear statement that the power of evil will be utterly removed: persons are called enemies of God by disobedience, while those who have become the Lord's friends are persuaded by Paul saying, ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: Be reconciled to God’ [2Cor 6.20]. ...
 
When all enemies have become God's footstool, they [the enemies] will receive a trace of divinity in themselves. Once death has been destroyed — for if there are no persons who will die, not even death would exist — then we will be subjected to him; but this is not understood by some sort of servile humility. Our subjection, however, consists of a kingdom, incorruptibility and blessedness living in us; this is Paul's meaning of being subjected to God. Christ perfects his good in us by himself, and effects in us what is pleasing to him. According to our limited understanding of Paul's great wisdom which we received, we have only understood part of it.

• Orat. in I Cor. xv.28
About the same time lived Diodorus of Tarsus. He was equally assured the Scripture taught the universal reconciliation of all to Christ—and that it would be accomplished through the power of Jesus Christ.
“For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetual, but they are to be tormented for a certain brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness without end awaits them. The resurrection, therefore, is to be regarded as a blessing not only to the good but also to the evil.”

• De aecon.
Then there was Theodore of Mopsuestia (a contemporary of Diodorus), who was the leader of the Christian university of Antioch. He was called by those who knew him as “the Master of the East because of his theological eminence.” His remarks are very pertinent.
“That in the world to come, those who have done evil all their life long, will be made worthy of the sweetness of the Divine bounty. For never would Christ have said ‘Until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,’ unless it were possible for us to be cleansed when we have paid our debts. ... Who is so great a fool as to think that so great a blessing [eternal life in Christ] can be to those who let arise [in their hearts] the occasion of endless torment.”

• Frag. iv
In other words, endless torment was to Theodore incompatible with the Gospel. 
 
And most important to the issue is Jerome (c.400 C.E.). The reason for this is because he was a translator of the Hebrew and Greek testaments into the common Latin of the time. He was fully aware of all the original words involving a so-called “eternal” damnation that some translators today render as endless and unrelenting torments, but Jerome taught the redemption of all! 

“Christ will, in the ages to come, show not to one, but to the whole number of rational creatures His glory, and the riches of His grace, by means of us [Christians]. The saints are to reign over the fallen angels, and the prince of this world, even to them will be brought blessing.”

• In Eph. ii.7
“In the restitution of all things, when the true physician, Jesus Christ, shall have come to heal the body of the Church, every one shall receive his proper place. What I mean is, the fallen angel will begin to be that [of his original state] which he was created, and man (who was expelled from Paradise) will be once more restored to the tilling of Paradise. These things then will take place universally.”

• In Eph. iv. 16
And importantly, look at Jerome’s comment on Galatians 5:20,

“With God no rational creature perishes eternally. ... For God pities His creatures, and will not suffer those whom He himself has formed to perish eternally, who are sustained by His breath and spirit.”

• In Isa. lvii.6
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2005, 05:38:53 PM »

So what if some of the Fathers believed in this or that? Doctrine is settled by the consensus patrorum, not individual citations, and the Orthodox Church has made it clear for centuries now that universalism is not an authentic part of Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2005, 05:48:41 PM »

Wasn't Origen's universalism condemned as heresy?
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2005, 09:26:21 PM »

If God is going to restore all things and all will be made good under Him, how could there be souls in eternal torment?
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2005, 10:05:29 PM »

If God is going to restore all things and all will be made good under Him, how could there be souls in eternal torment?

By rejecting God.
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2005, 12:13:12 AM »

Did Gandhi 'reject God'?
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2005, 12:18:04 AM »

How do you know Gandhi is in hell?  We have no way of knowing such judgements....

You are believing in a condemned heresy based on an assumption you have no way of knowing. 
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2005, 12:29:35 AM »

I just believe that the concept of Gandhi burning for eternity in hell is absurd.

"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2005, 12:42:55 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy. Continuing to argue against it means you've either fallen to Protestant notions of private interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, or are just trying to denigrate the Faith.
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2005, 12:47:31 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy.

No, the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned it as heresy. Matthew is not in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2005, 12:56:55 AM »

No, the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned it as heresy. Matthew is not in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the Church--except when the Oriental Orthodox Church is the Church, but I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings. Honest debate and inquiry is one thing, but Matthew is trying to suggest that universalism should be taught, and seems oblivious to people telling him the Church has already dealt with the issue and made a decision.
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2005, 01:02:00 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy. Continuing to argue against it means you've either fallen to Protestant notions of private interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, or are just trying to denigrate the Faith.

I quoted an Orthodox source for you:


"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2005, 01:04:04 AM »

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the Church--except when the Oriental Orthodox Church is the Church, but I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings. Honest debate and inquiry is one thing, but Matthew is trying to suggest that universalism should be taught, and seems oblivious to people telling him the Church has already dealt with the issue and made a decision.

I believe that people do go to hell but not necessary for all eternity. That would seem to contradict what Irenaeus taught on spiritual development. Nonetheless, Origen was not the only church father who believed in universal reconcilation. What about the others I've quoted?
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2005, 01:09:34 AM »

I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings.
Nope. Origenism was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod. It was only condemned by local Synods before that. Matthew is free to believe whatever he wants.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2005, 01:12:20 AM »

Nope. Origenism was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod. It was only condemned by local Synods before that. Matthew is free to believe whatever he wants.

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either. But could you please at least respond to this Orthodox source:


"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html


Why are you ignoring it?
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2005, 01:16:39 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either.
So you disagree with Oriental Orthodoxy now.....so what's left? Wink

But could you please at least respond to this Orthodox source: ......Why are you ignoring it?
Because there is nothing about univeral salvation in it. Read it again and see for yourself. Unrepentant sinners will experience God's Love as eternal torment....where is the salvation in that?
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2005, 01:17:55 AM »

Origenistic universalism was never condemned at an Oriental Orthodox Ecumenical Council, since the issue was never considered ecumenically relevant, as is the case with a range of post-Ephesus-431 heresies such as the iconoclast heresy. It is however as good as condemned for it stands in opposition to the established Tradition and Mind of the Church as expressed in other forms — local synods, the writings of ancient and contemporary fathers etc.

Matthew is certainly not free to believe “whatever he wants."

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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2005, 01:26:49 AM »

Unrepentant sinners will experience God's Love as eternal torment....where is the salvation in that?

It says that due to rejecting God in this life, His love will torment them in the next. But at some point, won't they get used to and enjoy God's love?
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2005, 01:28:11 AM »

Origenistic universalism...

As has been shown, Origen wasn't the only church father. Perhaps he was just used as a scapegoat.  Huh
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2005, 01:35:10 AM »

Matthew, I already told you that Church doctrine is not decided by citations from individual Fathers, but from the consensus that the Church finds within the entire body of the Fathers' writings. So, stop quoting from this or that writer. The general Tradition is that universalism is a heresy.
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2005, 01:37:48 AM »

Please, perhaps you could answer my questions. Why wouldn't those in the light of God get used to and enjoy it after a while? Why would they 'hate God' in the afterlife for all time?
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2005, 01:54:19 AM »

Please, perhaps you could answer my questions.
To what end? Clearly you have made your mind up by the title you chose for this thread as the public confession of your belief and new Symbol of Faith for yourself.....
So you now believe in universal salvation....bully for you....what's to discuss?
Change the title of the thread to: "Why is Universal Salvation Incompatable with Orthodoxy?" and maybe people will be interested in discussing it with you....
As it stands, this thread simply presents your manifesto...OK, you've told us...let's move on.
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2005, 02:00:06 AM »

I don't think that you and I are thinking of the same concept. What I am saying is that if non-believers will be enveloped in God's love in the afterlife, it makes sense that after a while, even after a zillion years, they'd get used to it and enjoy God's love. Why not?
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2005, 02:06:46 AM »

What I am saying is that if non-believers will be enveloped in God's love in the afterlife, it makes sense that after a while, even after a zillion years, they'd get used to it and enjoy God's love.
I heard you the first time (and the second time, and the third time...) Thank you, I now know what you believe, and I repeat:
Clearly you have made your mind up by the title you chose for this thread as the public confession of your belief and new Symbol of Faith for yourself.....
So you now believe in universal salvation....bully for you....what's to discuss?
Change the title of the thread to: "Why is Universal Salvation Incompatable with Orthodoxy?" and maybe people will be interested in discussing it with you....
As it stands, this thread simply presents your manifesto...OK, you've told us...let's move on.
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2005, 02:08:45 AM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question. Why wouldn't they get used to God's love? God's love is good, is it not?
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2005, 02:10:54 AM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question.
It would help what, Matthew?
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2005, 02:12:38 AM »

Look, I've never believed that Gandhi will spend eternity in Hell. That just doesn't make any sense. My mind is not made up, considering that I've been hoping that you could explain why non-believers would not get used to God's love.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2005, 02:22:19 AM »

Look, I've never believed that Gandhi will spend eternity in Hell. That just doesn't make any sense.
And like Silouan asked, what makes you think anyone else here knows Gandhi's lot in Eternity? Or even has an opinion about it?

My mind is not made up.
In that case, why does the title of this thread say that your mind is made up? Why would you lie about the dogmas you believe?
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2005, 02:28:21 AM »

Do you know what intellectual fluidity is? It basically means having an opinion but without claiming certainty and being open to the opinions of others.

Again, why wouldn't non-believers get used to and enjoy God's love? That's a simple question.
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2005, 02:48:25 AM »

Do you know what intellectual fluidity is? It basically means having an opinion but without claiming certainty and being open to the opinions of others.
Oh, I see. So when you say "I believe in universal salvation", it's an opinion like "I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty....."
And are all the dogmas of the Oriental Orthodox open to such individual, personal opining, or just this one?
Or aren't you Oriental Orthodox this week?
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2005, 03:17:33 AM »

Again, why wouldn't non-believers get used to and enjoy God's love? That's a simple question.   

Who knows?  There is the notion that those non-believers who live lives befitting of a good Christian may feel the Love of God right away after death and be in bliss... but the key here is might...

What is a better, more important question is can those who outright reject God's love on this earth - believers and non- - get "used to" God's love; in many Orthodox theologians' opinions the afterlife for those who reject God's Love on earth will be filled with the burning reality of being enveloped in it -> and since we will enter the realm of the eternal (i.e. outside of time), then the ability to change states will be gone (a similar condition to what the angels have had from the beginning).
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2005, 11:54:54 AM »

I am confused on what it is exactly that you guys are saying is heresy. Read http://www.philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html and clarify if that is the heresy of which you are speaking, and if so, what is the correct position?
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2005, 02:52:53 PM »

I myself hope for an universal salvation.  Why?  I don't believe, that one can refuse to repent, when he sees real God.  I also think, that those, who reject the Gospel had to be misinformed about it.
On the other hand, I don't know all the mankind, and maybe there are people who would choose hell (if - I think it would be out of pride).

I don't know, why Matthew777 assumes, that not believing in universal salvation means condemning all that aren't Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2005, 04:51:10 PM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question. Why wouldn't they get used to God's love? God's love is good, is it not?

Taking the assumption that some type of change is in fact possible changes nothing. If a person hates God, will they not hate Him more after being "burned" by His love? Again, every moment they exist, they will Hate more and more and more. God is infinite, so how could they ever reach "rock bottom"? They have an infinite list of things to hate and be angry over, and an eternity in which to sink deeper. There is no point at which they would magically stop hating God, for again, there is no botom, but a continual spiral downwards, which leaves no possibility to "get used to it."
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2005, 06:28:14 PM »

Oh, I see. So when you say "I believe in universal salvation", it's an opinion like "I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty....."
And are all the dogmas of the Oriental Orthodox open to such individual, personal opining, or just this one?
Or aren't you Oriental Orthodox this week?

Accepting the Nicine Creed is an essential for salvation. Insisting that all non-believers will spend an eternity burning in hell, however, is not. 
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2005, 06:30:22 PM »

If a person hates God, will they not hate Him more after being "burned" by His love?

This assumes that all non-Christians somehow 'hate God'.

Peace.
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2005, 06:36:10 PM »

The concept of universal reconciliation is inferred directly from Scipture:

Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
John 12:31-32

For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
1Cor. 15:21-22

Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the Sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.
Mark 3:28

Therefore 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. Rom. 5:18

For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
Rom 11:32

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2005, 06:42:53 PM »

(a similar condition to what the angels have had from the beginning).

If angels cannot change, how did Lucifer fall?
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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2005, 07:07:01 PM »

The concept of universal reconciliation is inferred directly from Scipture:

This is Protestantism. You cannot simply interpret Scripture on your own, you need to listen the Church's judgement. And the Church has said that universalism is a heresy.
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« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2005, 07:47:13 PM »

If angels cannot change, how did Lucifer fall?

Lucifer couldn't change direction after he was given the opportunity to stay or go... he chose which direction he wanted to go in, with full knowledge of the ramifications.

So we too are given a choice: embrace God's Love, or reject it.  We are told of the ramifications.  We have a lifetime to chose, turn around, repent, or reject.  But once life is over, we will have conditioned ourselves into a state: accepting God's love or rejecting it.  And whatever state that is, we'll likely stay in it for all eternity (like the angels do).
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« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2005, 08:15:14 PM »

You cannot simply interpret Scripture on your own

I agree, which is why I would not even consider the possibility unless certain fathers of the church, including St. Gregory of Nyssa, considered it also.
If you look at these verses themselves, it would appear that "all" means "all".

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« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2005, 08:17:50 PM »

Lucifer couldn't change direction after he was given the opportunity to stay or go... he chose which direction he wanted to go in, with full knowledge of the ramifications.

If Lucifer was given the opportunity to stay or go and was even able to rebell against God in the first place then that entails that angels can change.

Consider Iraneaus' theodicy. If suffering entails spiritual development, and this is the ultimate purpose of human suffering, then it wouldn't make much sense for souls to suffer in the afterlife without some sort of development.

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« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2005, 08:22:25 PM »

If Lucifer was given the opportunity to stay or go and was even able to rebell against God in the first place then that entails that angels can change.

God gave the angels one opportunity - one choice... not multiple; they are locked into their state right now.  When they made that choice, they had full knowledge of the consequences.  They were only able to make a choice because God allowed them to - otherwise, existing in a realm outside of space and time with God puts one in a position where change might not be possible.  Of course, since I haven't been to the Kingdom (except the taste that we receive at the sacraments) I couldn't tell you if change would be possible, but you could make a fine argument that it isn't.
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« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2005, 08:26:55 PM »

God gave the angels one opportunity - one choice... not multiple; they are locked into their state right now.ÂÂ  When they made that choice, they had full knowledge of the consequences.ÂÂ  They were only able to make a choice because God allowed them to - otherwise, existing in a realm outside of space and time with God puts one in a position where change might not be possible.ÂÂ  Of course, since I haven't been to the Kingdom (except the taste that we receive at the sacraments) I couldn't tell you if change would be possible, but you could make a fine argument that it isn't.

Are you implying that there are no choices in eternity? One would assume that if the afterlife is infinite, there would be infinite possibilities. Not between good or evil but between one good thing or another.
Do we not pray to the saints because they have the free choice to pray for us? If the saints weep for our suffering, doesn't this emotion entail change of some sort?

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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2005, 08:38:44 PM »

Perhaps it would be more clear to say that I hope for universal reconciliation just as we know from the Scriptures that God desires all men to be saved.
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