And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it. Luke 19:41
This is an enormous question for both of the views of everlasting hell we have considered. For the traditional view that is grounded in a divine decree of justice, it is difficult to see how God could be content to impose an eternal sentence of torture on Gods children. For the revisionist view that is grounded in the value of human freedom that God must respect, it is hard to see how a God of love could ever give up on his children and be content with their eternal rebellion. In the Gospels, we are told that as Jesus rides into Jerusalem he weeps over the rejection he is about to experience from his people (Luke 19:41). If God looks like Jesus (John 14:9; Col 1:15; Heb 1 :3), then it seems that an everlasting hell would mean everlasting tears flowing down the face of God. It is impossible for me to believe that the God revealed in Jesus will at some point simply throw up his hands in defeat or harden his heart in retaliation.
From Flames of Love by Heath Bradley
Making known to us the secret of His will (in accord with His delight, which He purposed in Him) to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up all in the Christ—both that in the heavens and that on the earth—in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will…” Ephesians 1:9-11(CV)
Again, we hear with clarity what goal God has set for Himself in this counsel of the eons—to bring everything that is in heaven and on earth under one head in Christ. In later chapters, we will have to come back to the precious meaning and significance of this expression “under one head.” We can say, now, that with this the Father has decreed and promised His first begotten Son, the Christ, the One anointed with the Spirit, of whom all Scripture testifies, a position at the head of the entire created universe, which excludes any successful resistance or objection against the Son, whether this be in heaven or on earth. Note also that the plain language of Scripture, according to its simple statements, includes the entire universe. If, in the first verse of the Bible it is written: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” then surely believers cannot entertain the idea of creatures not being included in this expression “heaven and earth,” whether they be lifeless or living beings, humans or angels. Moreover, it is generally a good rule that an expression often used in Scripture can be interpreted best if used in the same sense as it was when it appeared for the first time.
The Gospel Of God’s Reconciliation Of All in Christ (p. 24) by E. F. Stroeter
“Then the LORD spoke his word to Zechariah. He said, ‘This is what the LORD of Armies says: Administer real justice, and be compassionate and kind to each other. Don’t oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor people. And don’t even think of doing evil to each other.” (Zechariah 7:8-10)
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.” (Matthew 12:18-20 – NIV)
Retributive justice is no justice at all. It is merely revenge.
No concept of retributive justice can possibly be compatible with forgiveness. Where there is punishment, there is no forgiveness. Where there is forgiveness, there can be no punishment.
Justice, in order to be just, must always take into account every mitigation and extenuation: “He remembers that we are but dust,” the Psalmist says.
Moreover, “justice” includes giving rewards and restoring things to rightful owners. Justice with mercy includes giving what a person actually needs rather than only what they merit. Sin means to miss the mark, fall short of the goal, and the goal is unity with God. Alienation, not “breaking laws,” is our real problem. Even a virtue can be a sin (`αμαρτία) if it causes an alienation between us and God. Not only the idea of retributive justice, but the idea of redemption through “substitutionary sacrfice” negates every concept of forgiveness. Nevertheless, salvation comes through forgiveness.
“For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetual, however, lest the immortality prepared for them should be a disadvantage, but they are to be purified for a brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness having no end awaits them … the penalties to be inflicted for their many and grave sins are very far surpassed by the magnitude of the mercy to be shown to them.”
From the fourth century Christian theologian and Bishop Diodorus of Tarsus
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Upon their creation, God declared Adam and Eve to be “very good”; actually made in his divine image. And once God pronounced his creation to be “very good” in the beginning, then, regardless of what happens between times to defile it, his handiwork (all of it) must still be no less than “very good” in the end. He cannot (and will not) permit his original good work to be permanently damaged, diminished or ultimately destroyed (see Rev 21:4-5).
That said, it would seem that Adam and Eve must have sinned very soon after their creation. Some important sixteenth and seventeenth century scholars calculate the fall of the first couple as early as the second day after the creation events. The scriptures teach that God was very busy through the creation process. Nonetheless, on the seventh day he rested (Heb: shabat = “ceased”) from all his work” (Gen 2:2). What is not recorded, however, is that God went ‘back to work’ on the eighth day; the work of renewing everything that had been ruined by Adam’s fall. Jesus would later allude to this when he said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (]n 5:17).
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hades: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. Matthew 11:23
Why, then, were those mighty works not done? Is it not the will of God that none should perish, but that all should come, through repentance, unto life? Does not He Himself plead with men, saying, “Why will ye die” (c.f. Ezekiel 18:31; 33:11)? Yet the Lord Jesus, Who knew what might have been as well as what had been, solemnly declares that even the guilty inhabitants of Sodom and of Tyre and Sidon would have been brought to repentance and life had they witnessed the mighty works wrought in the favored cities of Galilee! Why were they not permitted to witness them, then? Can we blame them, will God condemn them, and condemn them to an eternal death or an eternal misery, because they did not see what they could not see, because they did not repent, when the very means which would infallibly have induced repentance were not vouchsafed them?
From Salvator Mundi by Samuel Cox
[Love] is not taking account of evil. 1 Corinthians 13:6 CLNT
I am convinced that God loves all, (John 3:16, Rom. 5:6-10), and that ‘love never faileth.’ (1 Cor. 13) Therefore, if one sinner is endlessly lost, that sinner has defeated the LOVE of God and that is impossible.
From An Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:15
When death approaches to life, and darkness to light, and the corruptible to the incorruptible, the inferior is done away with and reduced to non-existence, and the thing purged is benefited, just as the dross is purged from gold by fire. In the same way in the long circuits of time, when the evil of nature which is now mingled and implanted in them has been taken away, whensoever the restoration to their old condition of the things that now lie in wickedness takes place, there will be a unanimous thanksgiving from the whole creation, both of those who have been punished in the purification and of those who have not at all needed purification.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa
Ask of me, and I shall give thee [Jesus] the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Psalm 2:8
We find by reference to, the language of the Psalmist, that Jesus, as a moral ruler, is” in possession of all things or all men. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee [Jesus] the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Again, John 3: 35. “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hand.” Now Jesus positively declares (John 6:37) “ALL that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” How many had the Father given him ? ALL. Then ALL will finally come to Chnst. Jesus continues in the following verses : — ‘For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Here then we see, 1st, Christ in possession of all men—2nd, all are to come to him—3rd, He will lose none which God hath given him; but, 4th, will raise them up at the last day. And what is all this but Umversalism?
From The Salvation of Christ, or a Brief Exposition and Defense of Universalism by George W, Quinby.
Once in a while, I like to post on what this page is all about.
A number of years ago, I had a revelation of how much God really loved me. And that started the questions.
- If God loves us unconditionally, how could he torment people with fire and unbearable torture for all eternity?
- Why would God create billions of people that he claims to love, when he knew that most of them would burn for ever and ever?
- What kind of a God would burn people as a punishment? I wouldn’t do something like that. Neither would the people I know. Are we better than God?
- Is eternal damnation a true doctrine?
So I started studying the scriptures and soon realized that we have been duped. Not only is eternal torment a false doctrine, it’s worse than that. It’s the doctrine of devils.
Join me has we search the scriptures to “see if these things are so”. Monday through Friday will feature scriptures with commentary. The weekend will feature a quote by a Bible scholar.
I’m posting comments from the many varied segments of Christian thought. I probably don’t agree with many of them in other areas of their theology. That’s not the point of this blog. My purpose is to show that the belief – that God is truly good and he will save all mankind – crosses may theological boundaries.
And, if we can agree that God will save all people, incorrect theology won’t send anyone “straight to hell!”