Posts Tagged ‘salvation’


Universalism is the belief that eventually everyone will be saved or go to heaven. This view stems from the idea that there is no eternal punishment. Universal salvation was originally proposed by Origen (185-254) who was an early church Father and apologist with a Platonic and Gnostic leaning. Origen’s ideology was considered heretical and eventually condemned by the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 553. The rise of universalism in the twentieth century can be attributed to Karl Barth (1886-1968) who denied the inerrancy of the Bible, and other notable philosophers and theologians such as Clark Pinnock and John Stott. Most liberal theologians hold to some form of a universal belief system and a belief in relative truth.


At the helm of the Universalist’s argument is God’s omnibenevolence. The argument follows, “If God is omnibenevolent, He cannot allow His creatures to endure eternal punishment.” However many orthodox apologists have successfully refuted this argument. C.S. Lewis in his work The Great Divorce, proposed that while God loves the world (John 3:16) and desires none to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), He does not force love upon anyone. Jesus lamented in Matt. 23:37 ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” They were not willing, and He would not force them.


Scripture teaches an eternal hell to which human beings will be condemned. Jesus affirmed hell far more than he did heaven. Refer to Matt. 10:28, Matt. 13:40, and Matt. 25:41. Jesus description in Luke 16:23-31 is the most vivid. Further, Heb. 9:27 makes it clear that the human existence is fatal and at death all will face judgment. But “. . . Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God . . .” If sin does not reap an infinite punishment, what was the purpose of the cross? To stand at judgment before an infinitely Holy God without the righteousness of Christ will result in eternal separation from the presence of God. The full purpose in allowing evil is to overcome it in the end resulting in full and complete separation of good from evil.


C.S. Lewis said it best “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end. ‘Thy will be done’ ” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, 69).


If you are struggling with scripture that seems to support universalism, please send me a list of those scriptures and I will explain each of them within an Orthodox Christian view.