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The "Appeal" of Universalism?

JamesR

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It has come to my attention that for many liberal Christians, particularly converts to the Orthodox faith, that the notion of universalism is viewed sympathetically as many people see some sort of appeal in it.

My question is this: what exactly is the appeal? I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.

St. Isaac the Syrian wrote that the aim of God's love isn't retribution but to make humans right, but granting such a depraved soul as say a child-murderer the same award as a saint hardly seems to make things right. It just completely excuses their actions and thus there isn't any true ontological transformation or repentance in the true sense of a turn-around.

Love becomes reduced to mere kindness, like the LGBT movement and its insistence that Christianity come to "accept" its sexual deviancy. And for that matter, God is no longer a loving God but becomes reduced to an enabler and a victim-shamer.

At least the wrathful judging God of Western Christianity affirms true justice in the end.

So what is it with this affinity that so many people have with universalism? I find it the most repulsive heresy there is as it completely shatters the consolation of those who suffer by undermining God's judgment which is affirmed by the gospels, Fathers, and Christ Himself.
 

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Universalists think that an eternal hell is an offense against the "combo" omnipotence and love.

If God loves, if loving is desiring what is good for the beloved and if God is omnipotent, reasons the universalist, He *must* be able to provide the good He desires to His beloved, that is, every single creature that exists, and yes, for some universalists that includes the devil. Otherwise it would mean that either does not desire what is good (He does not love) or that He is unable to cause it (He is not omnipotent). They also think it is impossible that people would suffer eternally, specially being aware of the reason of the punishment and of the blessed state of the saints and its causes, and *not* repent, and in repenting that God would not accept them back.

The trouble with this is that it is half of the truth. Truly, God *will* provide what is good for everyone. The step universalists can't or are unwilling to make is that hell *is* the supreme Good for those who have not acquired a contrite heart. Also they have a poor understanding of the change of states between this life and afterlife/post-eschaton life where time, entropy, matter and change work in very different ways.

Basically, in this life, almost everything can change. After it, we are no longer in the process of forming ourselves, but we have at last acquired a form. Now, it is imprecise to say we are someone, specially in terms of character. Now we are "being", then we will "be". Our essence is not fully formed today. Who am I? A saint, a pervert, a father, a God-hater, a God-son? This life is the draft, and that's why repentance is possible. We are just scribbling, some with more born talent (those who seem to be virtuous from birth), some with less (most of us), some clearly dislexic (those who seem to have compulsion to sin). But we are not the drafts that came up. Those are accidents, no matter if they look like a 3-year-old work or like Michelangelo. We will the meaning that comes out of the work we had been attempting to achieve, regardless of how it came up in the draft, just like you only know who a character is after you finish the book and sometimes the last page changes everything we judged about him. That's who we are: the meaning of the character we have become after we die. And once we are resurrected, God will be everything in everyone and we all will have perfect talent and we will be able to see the true work we had been attempting all our lives. We will see that regardless of a lot of talent, many of those with beautiful drawings were vulgar or pervert minds, many of those who drawed meaningless scribbles had far better images in their heads than their hands had been able to expose.

People will be able to be better in who they are, but they will no longer be able to change what and who they are. Those who made a hell out of their hearts will be in hell, forever because that's who they are and who they are is now imortal. We die because we can change, and we can change because we die. Imortallity necessitates the lack of capacity to change. That is why death was a blessing to Adam and Eve. Becoming mortal is what made them able to be redeemed of the sin they had committed so they could be made fully imortal after that. Had they eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life before the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, maybe things would have happened differently.

We are now given the fruit of the Tree of Life: it's the Eucharist. That's why we are not supposed to eat of it while not made pure at least by confession, because it will imortalize us as we are, it will make us unchangeable... that's the sense that it is a condemnation for those who take part in it while still impure without confession and filled with sins. To take part in Christ, to be in His Presence, unwilling to repent, is what hell is.
 

mikeforjesus

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Thanks for your honesty JamesR please pray for me
 

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JamesR said:
It has come to my attention that for many liberal Christians, particularly converts to the Orthodox faith, that the notion of universalism is viewed sympathetically as many people see some sort of appeal in it.
Whoa! Liberal converts to Orthodoxy? You must be kidding.
 

truthseeker32

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JamesR said:
It has come to my attention that for many liberal Christians, particularly converts to the Orthodox faith, that the notion of universalism is viewed sympathetically as many people see some sort of appeal in it.
Seeing universalism as a "liberal" thing is a mistake. I know a lot of liberal Christians who reject universalism, and a lot of otherwise theologically conservative Christians who accept or sympathize with the position.

My question is this: what exactly is the appeal? I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.

St. Isaac the Syrian wrote that the aim of God's love isn't retribution but to make humans right, but granting such a depraved soul as say a child-murderer the same award as a saint hardly seems to make things right. It just completely excuses their actions and thus there isn't any true ontological transformation or repentance in the true sense of a turn-around.
I think you begin from a radically different starting point than not only universalists, but a lot of Christians in general. It isn't about fairness or satisfaction. It is about repentance and healing. Consider the parable of the prodigal son. The "bad" son squandered his inheritance and lived a life of rebellion while the other son remained obedient and loyal to his father, yet once the "bad" son returned to his father both were embraced and loved equally by their father. What is just about that?

Second, a wicked person and a righteous person won't necessarily receive the same heavenly fate, at least not immediately. Most universalists reject the idea that everyone immediately goes to the same blissful state immediately following death. It could be the case that the most wicked of souls will require eons of purgation/rehabilitation before they are in the same state as righteous souls. 

Love becomes reduced to mere kindness, like the LGBT movement and its insistence that Christianity come to "accept" its sexual deviancy. And for that matter, God is no longer a loving God but becomes reduced to an enabler and a victim-shamer.
This only follows from certain forms of universalism.

At least the wrathful judging God of Western Christianity affirms true justice in the end.
What is your standard for "true justice"? Many would argue that eternal torment is an unjust sentence for any sinner in this life.

So what is it with this affinity that so many people have with universalism? I find it the most repulsive heresy there is as it completely shatters the consolation of those who suffer by undermining God's judgment which is affirmed by the gospels, Fathers, and Christ Himself.
Well, your biggest problem, IMO, is that you have a narrow understanding of universalism, or rather universalisms, and a draconian perspective on how things ought to be.

People come to a universalist position from multiple angles. For some it may be emotional, for others it may be a conclusion reached after serious thought and study. I understand one being uneasy with universalism due to its questionable canonical status, but to be repulsed by it seems odd to me. Even the majority of my Orthodox friends who reject it understand its appeal. Many of them even say they wish they could be a universalist.
 

JamesRottnek

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Being one of those liberal universalists (or, at least, most on those board would say so), I'd pretty much agree with truthseeker.

Who are to tell God "No, Lord!  Don't have mercy on those people!  I've been MUCH better than them!"  "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  Consequently, none of us deserve mercy or grace from our Father, not one.  None of the saints did.  I don't.  No one does.  And yet God has mercy; and yet God gives grace; and yet God saves.  The Son of God himself came to this earth, became a human being, and died on a cross, that I might be saved, along with all people.  I was not worthy of that.  You were not worthy of that.  The greatest of the saints was not worthy of that.  If they were, God would have merely been paying them their due; God was instead giving them a radical gift.

Hell, St. Paul openly persecuted Christ, and yet Jesus appeared to him in a vision, and Saul became Paul as a result.  Surely, Saul was not worthy of such a gift, yet God gave it - a gift, I'd point out (that of a direct, personal, revelation of Christ), is seldom given in this life, even to the saints.

And so to me, it doesn't fit with an earthly (or, at least, American) conception of 'justice,' for God to save all people.  However, it doesn't fit with such 'justice' for God to save anyone.  And it isn't satisfying to me, to think that those who have caused me a great deal of emotional - and other - trauma in my life will be saved.  Sometimes it angers me.  But the salvation of others is not about me, and if I were to begrudge God who has forgiven me my many sins, I would be just like the debtor who was given an unthinkable sum, and then turned around and demanded the payment of (what was relatively) nothing.




And, again, in line with what Truthseeker said, I don't think everyone is going to have the exact same future, when they leave this life.  Those who have truly repented, and accepted the love of God in this life, will be far better off than those who do not.  The purgation of a soul is surely a terrible thing.  I certainly hope - God willing - I might avoid it in the next life. 

As well, I'd add that I'm not certain the state of everyone who does enter into Paradise is the same.
 

PeterTheAleut

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JamesR said:
It has come to my attention that for many liberal Christians, particularly converts to the Orthodox faith, that the notion of universalism is viewed sympathetically as many people see some sort of appeal in it.

My question is this: what exactly is the appeal? I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.

St. Isaac the Syrian wrote that the aim of God's love isn't retribution but to make humans right, but granting such a depraved soul as say a child-murderer the same award as a saint hardly seems to make things right. It just completely excuses their actions and thus there isn't any true ontological transformation or repentance in the true sense of a turn-around.

Love becomes reduced to mere kindness, like the LGBT movement and its insistence that Christianity come to "accept" its sexual deviancy. And for that matter, God is no longer a loving God but becomes reduced to an enabler and a victim-shamer.

At least the wrathful judging God of Western Christianity affirms true justice in the end.

So what is it with this affinity that so many people have with universalism? I find it the most repulsive heresy there is as it completely shatters the consolation of those who suffer by undermining God's judgment which is affirmed by the gospels, Fathers, and Christ Himself.
Seems like a perverted, even wicked sense of grace that we can only draw true joy from watching sinners burn in hell.
 

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I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.
Does this help?

“ You also go to my vineyard,’ he told them.  When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay, starting with the last and ending with the first.’ “When those who were hired about fivei came, they each received one denarius. So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat! ’
“He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius?  Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my business? Are you jealous because I’m generous? "


I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.

I do not hold to universalism...I'm just trying to get you to understand their perspective.  You have it too if you believe in God's mercy in this life - and the last shall be first and the first shall be last.  You just think it "turns off" for God or for us when we die.  Universalists don't.

Most of the characterization that you've described of the universalist beliefs are off mark.  That doesn't mean they are right...but the caricature you describe will cause you to joust at windmills.
 

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AaronIsom said:
I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.
This is spot on. Regardless of whether one accepts universalism or not, I think we can agree that the perspective James has presented is irreconcilable with the Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
 

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truthseeker32 said:
AaronIsom said:
I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.
This is spot on. Regardless of whether one accepts universalism or not, I think we can agree that the perspective James has presented is irreconcilable with the Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
The God you believe is hateful and undeserving of love or worship. In fact, such a God, if it existed would be unable to create anything, being just a mask of Satan.

The blasphemy that it is to use that parable to convince people that their actions have no ultimate consequence, to convince people that torture will ultimately save us all, the profound faith in the salvific power of punishment and what a terrible God He who would have decided to save people by torture.

I can believe in a God that puts up, with tears, with the lesser evil of having as few people as possible in the eternal consequences of their eternal acts for the greater good of having as many people as possible in the blessed state of holiness. But one, who on purpose setences *everybody* to torture either in this world or in the next is a god of hate and lies. Yes, it's nothing less than Satan himself.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
truthseeker32 said:
AaronIsom said:
I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.
This is spot on. Regardless of whether one accepts universalism or not, I think we can agree that the perspective James has presented is irreconcilable with the Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
The God you believe is hateful and undeserving of love or worship. In fact, such a God, if it existed would be unable to create anything, being just a mask of Satan.

The blasphemy that it is to use that parable to convince people that their actions have no ultimate consequence, to convince people that torture will ultimately save us all, the profound faith in the salvific power of punishment and what a terrible God He who would have decided to save people by torture.

I can believe in a God that puts up, with tears, with the lesser evil of having as few people as possible in the eternal consequences of their eternal acts for the greater good of having as many people as possible in the blessed state of holiness. But one, who on purpose setences *everybody* to torture either in this world or in the next is a god of hate and lies. Yes, it's nothing less than Satan himself.
.... what? How did you get any of that from what I said?
 

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truthseeker32 said:
Fabio Leite said:
truthseeker32 said:
AaronIsom said:
I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.
This is spot on. Regardless of whether one accepts universalism or not, I think we can agree that the perspective James has presented is irreconcilable with the Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
The God you believe is hateful and undeserving of love or worship. In fact, such a God, if it existed would be unable to create anything, being just a mask of Satan.

The blasphemy that it is to use that parable to convince people that their actions have no ultimate consequence, to convince people that torture will ultimately save us all, the profound faith in the salvific power of punishment and what a terrible God He who would have decided to save people by torture.

I can believe in a God that puts up, with tears, with the lesser evil of having as few people as possible in the eternal consequences of their eternal acts for the greater good of having as many people as possible in the blessed state of holiness. But one, who on purpose setences *everybody* to torture either in this world or in the next is a god of hate and lies. Yes, it's nothing less than Satan himself.
.... what? How did you get any of that from what I said?
Got angry that anyone would even condone with such a horrible blasphemy that goes *against* God's mercy. Universalism is a repagination of the serpent's offer that we can be greater than God, by convincing people they can be more merciful than Him.

Sometimes it gets surreal how obstinately people insist even on already denounced mistakes like that, against reason, against grace, against history, against everything, just because in their minds "it can't be". Man...
 

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Fabio, what evidence do you have that the souls of the condemned will never repent? I fail to see how to follows that death is the end of change.
 

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byhisgrace said:
Fabio, what evidence do you have that the souls of the condemned will never repent? I fail to see how to follows that death is the end of change.
There is no more the kind of time that we know here. The time we live in is one where things *end*, everything dies, that is why we can repent, our love of our sins can die, it can come to an end.

If it's true that after resurrection we live in a time without end, it means that things no longer have end, nothing dies, not even people's love for God, not their love for their sins.

It's *because* God's mercy is unchanging that hell will exist. Once we become relatively imortal by participating in His absolute imortality, His unchangeness, everything in us, including our passions, also become imortal, unchangeable. If people could repent then, it would mean nobody will be truly participating in God, that He is not everything in everyone. That is precisely the state of things now. God's kenosis is what saves us from our sins, by allowing our contact with death, our sins can die. When Imortal Life is everything in everyone, nothing will be able to die, not even our sins.

That plus the immense corpus of evidence from saints and Church Tradition, the repetitive condemnations of Universalism, the repetitive reproach of it by saints and theologians, regardless of their mercy in not pointing fingers to those who defended it.. that's not "thinking it's acceptable to hold this opinion", it's just "hating sin and loving the sinner".
 

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Fabio Leite said:
It's *because* God's mercy is unchanging that hell will exist. Once we become relatively imortal by participating in His absolute imortality, His unchangeness, everything in us, including our passions, also become imortal, unchangeable. If people could repent then, it would mean nobody will be truly participating in God, that He is not everything in everyone. That is precisely the state of things now. God's kenosis is what saves us from our sins, by allowing our contact with death, our sins can die. When Imortal Life is everything in everyone, nothing will be able to die, not even our sins.
Really? God immortalizes our evil passions and sins? Please provide some patristic citation for this astonishing claim. Freezing someone into sin is not a gift of immortality. It is actually a dehumanization, by removing the freedom that the "infernalists" are so keen to protect.

That plus the immense corpus of evidence from saints and Church Tradition, the repetitive condemnations of Universalism,
Such a "corpus" is far from evident or definitive.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
byhisgrace said:
Fabio, what evidence do you have that the souls of the condemned will never repent? I fail to see how to follows that death is the end of change.
There is no more the kind of time that we know here. The time we live in is one where things *end*, everything dies, that is why we can repent, our love of our sins can die, it can come to an end.

If it's true that after resurrection we live in a time without end, it means that things no longer have end, nothing dies, not even people's love for God, not their love for their sins.

It's *because* God's mercy is unchanging that hell will exist. Once we become relatively imortal by participating in His absolute imortality, His unchangeness, everything in us, including our passions, also become imortal, unchangeable. If people could repent then, it would mean nobody will be truly participating in God, that He is not everything in everyone. That is precisely the state of things now. God's kenosis is what saves us from our sins, by allowing our contact with death, our sins can die. When Imortal Life is everything in everyone, nothing will be able to die, not even our sins.

That plus the immense corpus of evidence from saints and Church Tradition, the repetitive condemnations of Universalism, the repetitive reproach of it by saints and theologians, regardless of their mercy in not pointing fingers to those who defended it.. that's not "thinking it's acceptable to hold this opinion", it's just "hating sin and loving the sinner".
You are "mechanizing" God's working with us and using scholastic ideas to justify an everlasting hell.  Your ideas can be described best as theological speculation, not actual dogmatic ideas that are reflected from the Church fathers.

Quite simply, God is free.  He could have created us to not react to His presence in such a manner if He so pleased.  Therefore, it's not merely an "immortalizing" approach.  Yes, His immortality, which is His divinity, is participated, but it is participated even now, not later.  What changes is how this participation is manifested in us, and that proves God's dynamism and freedom apart from the scholastic mechanics you use to describe the divinity.

I'm not saying you incorrect in condemning universalism, but you are condemning it using faulty logic.
 

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JamesR said:
I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.
Agreed.
 

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Who said God is fair?  If the person repents at the 11th hour, he gets the same wages as the one who has been working since the first hour.
 

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nothing said:
JamesR said:
I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.
Agreed.
Please read the parable of the Prodigal Son.

kthxbai
 
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JamesRottnek said:
Being one of those liberal universalists (or, at least, most on those board would say so), I'd pretty much agree with truthseeker.

Who are to tell God "No, Lord!  Don't have mercy on those people!  I've been MUCH better than them!"  "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  Consequently, none of us deserve mercy or grace from our Father, not one.  None of the saints did.  I don't.  No one does.  And yet God has mercy; and yet God gives grace; and yet God saves.  The Son of God himself came to this earth, became a human being, and died on a cross, that I might be saved, along with all people.  I was not worthy of that.  You were not worthy of that.  The greatest of the saints was not worthy of that.  If they were, God would have merely been paying them their due; God was instead giving them a radical gift.

Hell, St. Paul openly persecuted Christ, and yet Jesus appeared to him in a vision, and Saul became Paul as a result.  Surely, Saul was not worthy of such a gift, yet God gave it - a gift, I'd point out (that of a direct, personal, revelation of Christ), is seldom given in this life, even to the saints.

And so to me, it doesn't fit with an earthly (or, at least, American) conception of 'justice,' for God to save all people.  However, it doesn't fit with such 'justice' for God to save anyone.  And it isn't satisfying to me, to think that those who have caused me a great deal of emotional - and other - trauma in my life will be saved.  Sometimes it angers me.  But the salvation of others is not about me, and if I were to begrudge God who has forgiven me my many sins, I would be just like the debtor who was given an unthinkable sum, and then turned around and demanded the payment of (what was relatively) nothing.




And, again, in line with what Truthseeker said, I don't think everyone is going to have the exact same future, when they leave this life.  Those who have truly repented, and accepted the love of God in this life, will be far better off than those who do not.  The purgation of a soul is surely a terrible thing.  I certainly hope - God willing - I might avoid it in the next life. 

As well, I'd add that I'm not certain the state of everyone who does enter into Paradise is the same.
This is "liberal universalism" - what you have described here?  This is just basic Christianity straight out the Gospels.  God forgives ALL truly repentant, and yes, that includes Hitler or whoever truly repents before death, right up to the last second.  Jesus forgave his persecutors, did he not? 

But if one doesn't sincerely repent, he answers for the transgression at Judgment Day - heaven or hell (or maybe purgatory).  Simple as that.  And I think once you are in hell, you stay there.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
truthseeker32 said:
Fabio Leite said:
truthseeker32 said:
AaronIsom said:
I know, I know...people will object that this is not about heaven / hell...etc.  I agree.  But the principle behind this applies to God's eternal disposition to the universalist.  If this parable is applied to the restoration after death of those who have gone through some purgatorial process (as many universalists believe) - then the result (following their logic) is both the justice and the mercy or God.    Complaints that it is unfair are really nothing more than a reproduction of the complaints of the workers in the above parable, or of the jealousy of the Prodigal Son's brother.
This is spot on. Regardless of whether one accepts universalism or not, I think we can agree that the perspective James has presented is irreconcilable with the Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
The God you believe is hateful and undeserving of love or worship. In fact, such a God, if it existed would be unable to create anything, being just a mask of Satan.

The blasphemy that it is to use that parable to convince people that their actions have no ultimate consequence, to convince people that torture will ultimately save us all, the profound faith in the salvific power of punishment and what a terrible God He who would have decided to save people by torture.

I can believe in a God that puts up, with tears, with the lesser evil of having as few people as possible in the eternal consequences of their eternal acts for the greater good of having as many people as possible in the blessed state of holiness. But one, who on purpose setences *everybody* to torture either in this world or in the next is a god of hate and lies. Yes, it's nothing less than Satan himself.
.... what? How did you get any of that from what I said?
Got angry that anyone would even condone with such a horrible blasphemy that goes *against* God's mercy. Universalism is a repagination of the serpent's offer that we can be greater than God, by convincing people they can be more merciful than Him.

Sometimes it gets surreal how obstinately people insist even on already denounced mistakes like that, against reason, against grace, against history, against everything, just because in their minds "it can't be". Man...
Again, none of what you are saying follows from what I said, or from universalism for that matter. It may follow from some specific sort of universalism that you have constructed in your head, but it doesn't address any of the more thoughtful universalist ideas I have read.
 

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minasoliman said:
Who said God is fair?  If the person repents at the 11th hour, he gets the same wages as the one who has been working since the first hour.
How I understand theosis in the Orthodox tradition says otherwise.
 

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nothing said:
minasoliman said:
Who said God is fair?  If the person repents at the 11th hour, he gets the same wages as the one who has been working since the first hour.
How I understand theosis in the Orthodox tradition says otherwise.
Well then it is a strange form of Theosis akin to Star Wars belief in "the force".  I don't think that's "Orthodox".

If what you believe contradicts Jesus' parables, then by all means, that's not "theosis".
 

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Schultz said:
nothing said:
JamesR said:
I have trouble seeing how anyone in their right mind could find it fair, just, or satisfying that someone who spent their entire earthly life harming those around them can reap the same Heavenly fate as an innocent Lazarus whose entire life was spent in suffering.
Agreed.
Please read the parable of the Prodigal Son.

kthxbai
I've read it many times, but I'm not sure how relevant that is to James' point and I don't think he had that parable in mind either.

I take it from James that he isn't writing about repentant sinners, but rather those that act like beasts on earth can still partake in the joy of those who have suffered for Christ.

James is right that it isn't fair but if I took this Orthodox stuff seriously I find two things I would have trouble reconcling:

1. Christian universalism is certainly a major facet of how I understand salvation in the Orthodox context, but 2. how terrifying some of the judgments Christ will make, enough to keep our mouths shut.
 

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minasoliman said:
Fabio Leite said:
byhisgrace said:
Fabio, what evidence do you have that the souls of the condemned will never repent? I fail to see how to follows that death is the end of change.
There is no more the kind of time that we know here. The time we live in is one where things *end*, everything dies, that is why we can repent, our love of our sins can die, it can come to an end.

If it's true that after resurrection we live in a time without end, it means that things no longer have end, nothing dies, not even people's love for God, not their love for their sins.

It's *because* God's mercy is unchanging that hell will exist. Once we become relatively imortal by participating in His absolute imortality, His unchangeness, everything in us, including our passions, also become imortal, unchangeable. If people could repent then, it would mean nobody will be truly participating in God, that He is not everything in everyone. That is precisely the state of things now. God's kenosis is what saves us from our sins, by allowing our contact with death, our sins can die. When Imortal Life is everything in everyone, nothing will be able to die, not even our sins.

That plus the immense corpus of evidence from saints and Church Tradition, the repetitive condemnations of Universalism, the repetitive reproach of it by saints and theologians, regardless of their mercy in not pointing fingers to those who defended it.. that's not "thinking it's acceptable to hold this opinion", it's just "hating sin and loving the sinner".
You are "mechanizing" God's working with us and using scholastic ideas to justify an everlasting hell.  Your ideas can be described best as theological speculation, not actual dogmatic ideas that are reflected from the Church fathers.

Quite simply, God is free.  He could have created us to not react to His presence in such a manner if He so pleased.  Therefore, it's not merely an "immortalizing" approach.  Yes, His immortality, which is His divinity, is participated, but it is participated even now, not later.  What changes is how this participation is manifested in us, and that proves God's dynamism and freedom apart from the scholastic mechanics you use to describe the divinity.

I'm not saying you incorrect in condemning universalism, but you are condemning it using faulty logic.
There's nothing scholastic about it. And even if there were, just saying something is scholastic does not equate it with being wrong.

That's an abuse of God's freedom. If it worked the way you claim, than God is more capricious than even Satan, because if it meant the kind of rational freedom you talk about, better than creating everybody and torturing them into holiness - which is the assumption of universalism - He would be free to also create us "unfallenable" from the beginning which is far better.

That absolute logical freedom is typical feature of Muslim occasionalism, where God is the direct effective cause of every single event. "Cause and effect" would be to mistake sequential correlations that are accidental to direct completely free and constant creative action of God.

Universalim and occasionalism are "cousins" in that both believe that God's omnipotence mandate that in practice God is the only agent there is. Neither believe that in "cause and effect", a corollary of which is that our actions have consequences, and actions regarding our eternal souls must have eternal consequences. What people have been accusing here of "scholaticism" is far from being that specific school of thought. It's just sheer logical cause and effect relations between created entities as opposed to what Muslims have called occasionalism.

Universalists, of course, claim they believe in "limited consequences to limited offenses" and because although we may committ great sins, not being eternal, we cannot commit eternal sins, the only ones, universalists think would be proportional to an eternal hell.

The problem is that we *do* committ eternal sins. As said above, we participate in eternity *now* and every single sin is so precisely because it is a perversion of our eternal aspects (yes, even those sins that are ok in our society and seen as "just normal stuff people do and hard headed traditionalists complain about"). If not for contrition, which is only possible in a world with death, our eternal state (which right now is just potential), would be actualized (in death) with that final form.

As for the claim that God will vivify our sins, that is not what I said. God will vivify our love by His own eternal, unchanging and unbreakable love. But He will not, like He does not, force us to change the object of our love.

There are recurrent warnings not to take the Eucharist in sin. We forbid (or should) non-orthodox or even non-confessed Orthodox from taking communion. The prayers before Communion say:

make me worthy to receive without condemnation Your divine, glorious, pure and life-giving Mysteries,
St. John of Damascus

make me worthy without condemnation to receive Your precious, immortal and life-giving Mysteries
St. John Chrysostom

Disdain me not to receive now, O Christ, the Bread which is Thy Body and Thy divine
Blood, and to partake, O Lord, of Thy most pure and dread Mysteries, wretched as I am,
and may it (the Eucharist) not be to me for judgment, but for eternal and immortal life.
http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_files/Preparetion%20for%20Communion%201.pdf

I tremble, taking fire, lest I should burn as wax and hay. O dread Mystery! O Divine
Compassion! How can I who am clay partake of the divine Body and Blood and become incorruptible!
http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_files/Preparetion%20for%20Communion%201.pdf

All these quotes have one thing in common: the corporeal presence of God is something to be feared if you are not either holy or repented. It is a fire that burns the unrepented like wax and hay although *at the same time* makes him incorruptible. And *incorruptibility* + being burned like wax and hay = hell as we learned about it.

*That* is why we have to fear the Lord: not that He is like a beast bringing down meaningless destruction, but because He is a just and good God who brings eternal hell with perfect justice and if that happens to us, unlike with the attack of a beast or unjust lord, we cannot say it's unfair. It will be *perfectly* fair.

The Eucharist condemns, judges and burns sin and all impurities *forever* , and the whole universe will be eucharistic after Judgment Day, is something that first makes you immortal and incorruptible, and makes your love undestructible, like God Himself, but it does not force you to love God or stop loving sin. If you love sin and your love is made imortal by the Eucharist or Judgement day, you *will* love sin forever while at the same time, the same Eucharist which is for the redemption from sin by banishing it out from your soul, will be purifying the universe from *you* who have identified yourself with evil. Again, that is what eternal hell is.
 

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The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
 

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nothing said:
minasoliman said:
Who said God is fair?  If the person repents at the 11th hour, he gets the same wages as the one who has been working since the first hour.
How I understand theosis in the Orthodox tradition says otherwise.
You understand it wrong, then. Have you not heard the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom? After all, it is read in virtually every Orthodox Church every year on Pascha. It simply restates that parable.
 

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truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were discussed even more freely on this forum. :)
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
nothing said:
minasoliman said:
Who said God is fair?  If the person repents at the 11th hour, he gets the same wages as the one who has been working since the first hour.
How I understand theosis in the Orthodox tradition says otherwise.
You understand it wrong, then. Have you not heard the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom? After all, it is read in virtually every Orthodox Church every year on Pascha. It simply rephrases that parable.
I am trying to find the literature I stumbled upon a few years ago, basically it was something like those that cultivate praxis vs those that do not, the former experience a deeper union with God.

It was probably nonsense, but I think the main point is that the entire creation will be restored upon the Last Judgement (when bodily Resurrection occurs). So all will be restored with our union with God and in fact closer than A&E had in the garden

But then again this is exactly what James takes issue with.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were discussed even more freely on this forum. :)
The conversations are always so predictable, though :)
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were discussed even more freely on this forum. :)
I propose we discuss the influence of Young Earth Creationist Universalim in liberal-marxist views of gay marriages in the context of Putin's geopolitical strategy and its impact in the US next elections and on global climate, considering how all this relates to talks of unity in American Orthodoxy and the 2016 Council.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
PeterTheAleut said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were discussed even more freely on this forum. :)
I propose we discuss the influence of Young Earth Creationist Universalim in liberal-marxist views of gay marriages in the context of Putin's geopolitical strategy and its impact in the US next elections and on global climate, considering how all this relates to talks of unity in American Orthodoxy and the 2016 Council.
LOL
 

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truthseeker32 said:
PeterTheAleut said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were discussed even more freely on this forum. :)
The conversations are always so predictable, though :)
Since when was predictability a cause for making a topic verboten?
 

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truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.

I'm not actually promoting censure....except self censure....and prayer.
 

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AaronIsom said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.
Defending an anathematized heresy is indeed a passionate sin.
 

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AaronIsom said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.
I think that says more about the people engaging in the discussions than about the topics of discussion themselves.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
AaronIsom said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.
Defending an anathematized heresy is indeed a passionate sin.
Opposing an anathematized heresy out of a distorted sense of justice and mercy that draws joy out of seeing sinners rot in hell, and not out of a desire for truth, is also a passionate sin.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Fabio Leite said:
AaronIsom said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.
Defending an anathematized heresy is indeed a passionate sin.
Opposing an anathematized heresy out of a distorted sense of justice and mercy that draws joy out of seeing sinners rot in hell, and not out of a desire for truth, is also a passionate sin.
Which is a Protestant argument that was never used here.

Which suggests to me that some people's sympathy for universalism comes from a gut rejection of that Protestant argument more than from anything else, thinking that opposition to this heresy can only come from an angry Puritan.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
AaronIsom said:
truthseeker32 said:
The more topics like evolution and universalism come up, the more I think that it would be best if these topics were off limits on this forum.
+1.  They seem only to precipitate sin and the passions in people.

The conversation always seems to takes a turn.
Defending an anathematized heresy is indeed a passionate sin.
God bless you Fabio.
 
 

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Fabio,

The quotes you give only conform to your ideas, not necessarily confirm them.  Yes, the Eucharist can be for me condemnation, but what makes you think God is not actively involved in the condemnation.  What you do is make God look passive.  He is nothing but a robot who preprogrammed humanity to react consequentially in a certain way.  Sounds like a deistic theosis/condemnation.

Furthermore, your concept of "eternal sin" screams "Anselm and Aquinas" in my ears.  That makes sin just as powerful as God, and turning our soteriology into a cosmic dualism between two eternities, God and capital S Sin.

My point is not to support universalism or otherwise, but to highlight weaknesses.  Your assumption that I support occasionalism is only an assumption.  I recognize the weaknesses of universalism and I would give the universalist a hard time the same way I am with you in your theological perspective.  The point is to admit these weaknesses, and eventually, to admit that we do not know what we are talking about in the end.
 
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