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28th July 2007


(Jacob writes one of the best short discourses on this topic I've seen. Excellent!!! -- T)

Jacob Wright
13 Jan 2007

I heard someone once say "Universalism is based on an over-sentimentalization of God's love"

This is a response.

Universalism is based on God's holy oath to mankind. "Let all the world look to Me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. I have sworn by My own name, and I will never go back on My word: Every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will swear allegiance to My name." (Isaiah 45:22-24)

God Himself has sworn an oath! He swore this even on His own name! God says "Let all the world look to Me for salvation." Then, to leave no doubt about his ability to achieve what He purposes, to be absolutely clear, He swears by His own name that indeed "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Christ is Lord." And, He will not go back on his word. But who among us has faith to believe God's promise to mankind?

Universalism is based on Christ's ability to bring all things into subjection to Himself. "Now when all things are made subject to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him (God) who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all (Everything to everyone!)." (1st Corinthians 15:28) If there is one heart, one will in the universe that is competing with Christ or forever in rebellion to Him, and not in submission (and remember that all God has desired of mankind is that they love Him, therefore submission IS loving Him), then all has not been subjected to Christ. There is a parallel between Christ's subjection to the Father and mankind's subjection to Christ; all will be subjected to Christ the same way Christ is subjected to the Father. A final universe of perfect harmony and love.

Universalism is based on the infinite power of the all-wise God, that He knew what He was doing when He created the human race, that He had a plan, and He is able to carry out that plan, "This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together in unity, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head." (Ephesians 1:10)

Universalism is based on God being all-loving (His desire that all should be saved: "It is God's will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" 1 Timothy 2:4) and on God being all-powerful (God's perfect ability to accomplish all He desires - "My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do" - Isaiah 46:10-11 "God works everything out in conformity to the purpose of His will" - Ephesians 1:11)

Universalism is based on Jesus Christ being the Savior of the World, not just Savior of the elect, or "potential" Savior of the World, but actual SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.

Universalism is based on the finished work of the Cross and on the blood of Jesus. Colossians 1:20 puts it this way "Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to Himself. God made peace through His Son's blood on the cross and so reconciled to Himself all things, both on earth and in heaven."

Universalism is based on the Good Shepherd who does not stop looking until the last lost sheep is found.

Universalism is based on Death being abolished ("The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death" 1st Corinthians 15:26), the effects of Adam's fall being reversed by the completely victorious and sufficient work of Christ (Romans 5), and Christ being "Satisfied with the travail of His soul" (Isaiah 53:11).

Universalism is based on God who "will swallow up Death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces" and God "making all things new" (Revelations 21:5).
Universalism is based on the "universal restoration, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:20-21)

Universalism is based on the words soon to ring true through all the universe: "Where O Death is your sting? Where O Hell is your victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:55)

Universalism is based on God's incarnate Word (Jesus) not returning to God void but accomplishing the purpose it was sent (to save the world).

Universalism is based on the fact that the gates of Hell will not hold back the Conquering and victorious Church of Christ. (Matthew 16:18)

Universalism is based on Christ's own words that if He be crucified, He would "draw all mankind to Himself" (John 12:32)

Universalism is based on the fact that God's judgments are for a redemptive purpose and that God will not always be angry. "For when Your judgments are the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9) "For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made." (Isaiah 57:16)

Universalism is based on the fact that of the few times "eternal" punishment is mentioned, the original Greek word translated "eternal" ("Aionios") does not mean "never-ending" (For example, King David spoke of the "everlasting hills", but he was not saying that after this current earth passes away, those hills would go on existing for all eternity). The word is used many other times to denote a limited, and not endless, period of time. Not only this, but the random places these "eternal punishment" verses are lifted out of are typically from parable, symbolism, metaphor, and hyperbole, whereas the teaching of God's infinite love and unlimited power to accomplish His whole purpose in Christ is systematically taught throughout the Scriptures.

Universalism is based on the fact that Christ never spoke of Hell, but the word He used (which is translated "Hell") was "Gehenna". Gehenna was the city dump outside of Jerusalem, not an eternal torture chamber. Jesus used it metaphorically of shame and punishment, but the word has been forced to bear the false burden of eternal torment. However, it never meant such a thing, and never will. God's judgments are ultimately for a good and redemptive purpose (that is His nature), not to torture a person endlessly.

Universalism is based on the fact that the Lake of Fire is called "the second Death" (in other words, Death Part 2). The Scriptures proclaim "Death will be destroyed, Death will be swallowed up in victory", even Death Part 2. If Death lasts forever in anyone, then Death will not be destroyed. If Death is "swallowed up in victory" as the Scriptures say, then what remains? Only life. For one and all. All-encompassing, complete, universal life.

Universalism is based on the hope that the beauty of Creation instills in us, an utterance of the heart, that all that comes from God must return to God. That goodness and love must be the eternal, abiding and final reality. That if God be God, all must turn out right. That He is the ever, abiding truth that all must come back to, and that evil must finally be vanquished.
Universalism is based on the holiness of God, that He will not allow or tolerate the existence of any eternal evil.

Universalism is based on the goodness of God, that He would not have allowed something essentially negative to come into existence which would be there for all eternity and mar and scar His creation permanently, and leave billions in its misery and discord.

Universalism is based on the jealousy and glory of God, that all must love and adore Him, because it is supremely right, and He is worthy of it.

Universalism is the only worthy or possible outcome with such a God as God. Amen.

"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him" (Psalm 22:27)

"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn... The last enemy to be destroyed is death... so that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:22-28)
Why Universalism is true based on the statement "God is Love"

Often, when I listen to lovely music, or gaze out at creation, I sense with all my being the divine touch on my heart, the love and tenderness that my Creator has for me. I am human, made in His image, and that's why He loves me. Not because I am randomly "chosen". I then try to imagine Him hating me, loathing me, and wanting to cast me off forever, and it is a contradiction... it cannot be. He loves me, because I am His creature, made in His image. I am no different then any other human being. There is nothing special about me that I should feel that God loves me this way and not everyone else. I am no different than anyone except that, presently, He has given me the grace to repent of sin and love Him, and has, by His sovereign kindness, opened my eyes to see His beauty, which my heart, unknown to me before, has always longed for. There are some that, in His infinite wisdom, He has chosen not to give such grace to yet. But He will.

Do you ever look at a little puppy. It is a small vulnerable, weak little creature, and really, it is at your disposal to do with it whatever you wish. Yes, we are sinners, by God's own design in fact. But we also are His creatures, fragile and easily broken. Easily brought to our knees. Take Paul for example, chief of sinners, on the road to Demascus. You know the story. This ultimate hater of God saw the glory of Christ, and that's all it took. We are fragile, not as strong as we think we are. This is why God says He will "not contend forever" and will "not always be angry" for "the spirit of man would faint before Me, and the souls which I have created". God loves all the same, with Him there is no partiality.

Read the Bible with the revelation of who God is, with a tender heart. You will not find a monstrous God who creates most just to torture them forever. Such is an absurd nightmare, a horror flick, not worthy of the Creator.

God does everything for His own glory. However, what is God's glory? It is Himself. And it is the revealing of Himself to His creatures. The mistake people make is they attribute wrath and love as equals attributes of God. This is wrong. Wrath is an action of God, it is not who He is. Love is God's essence. "God is Love". God is not just loving. And as John says "In God there is no darkness" because "God is Light", even so there can be nothing in God that contradicts His essence of Love. This is not a "different kind of Love, a holy Love that we don't understand" (that is just another way of saying it's not love at all!). God is not just Love to the elect while being something else to the nonelect. He is love. From eternity past, it is who He is.
Someone once said to me "What you love most about God is His love. What God loves most about Himself is His GLORY."
God is His Love. His Love is His glory. God is Light. His Light is His glory. Is God wrath? No. Wrath is an action for a greater purpose, the revelation of who He is: Love and Light, or in one word; HOLINESS. Or in a better word: HIMSELF.
The reason He created the universe and humankind is to reveal His love, to put His love into action, and this ultimately is to His highest glory. Because, revealing Himself, He glorifies Himself. Someone said to me: "Jesus did not die on the cross because of our worth, He died because the glory of God had been degraded by our sin! God's highest concern is not us, it's His glory!" People make a mistake in changing the meaning of love, and by this, they rob God of His true glory. Jesus died on the Cross because God loved sinners, because God cares about us, and desired our good (our good is enjoying Him, which is also to His glory) and desired to reconcile us back to Himself, and this is His radiant glory, because it is love, and He is love. So it was because we are worth something to God, and yet ultimately, it was because He wanted to reveal Himself, that He is Love and Light from eternity past, and this to His highest glory.
One might say that sin is a crime against the infinite honor of God and that is why it deserves infinite punishment. But where does the BIBLE say this? Given, David did say in Psalm 51 "against You and You only have I sinned", but where does it say that since we sinned against God then we deserve infinite punishment? Did not God Himself say that the wages of sin is "DEATH"? Where did He say the wages of sin is "ETERNAL CONSCIOUS TORMENT"? That is why Jesus DIED on the cross for our sins, He was not eternally tormented. All would remain in Death if Jesus would not have died, risen, and assured the victory over Death. Is any of what I am saying unbiblical? No.

Humans are BORN INTO sin, into a WORLD of temptation and sin, with the evil desires ALREADY implanted in them to want to sin, and this all because God Himself willed it to be so. I am not saying it is Gods fault, I am saying, in His infinite wisdom, He is carrying out His will, which will prove to be good. You see, in Romans Paul tells us that Creation was subjected to futility and condemned to lose its original purpose, not by its own will, but by God's will. Man became sinners, rebels, by God's plan. Not by their own. But this was for the revelation of Jesus Christ and redemption. Not for the revelation of eternal torment.

Seriously, do you think God honestly was thinking at the creation of the world "My main purpose for the world is to reveal a fate worse than they can possibly imagine, an eternity of conscious torment. Therefore I will create them, carry out My plan of making them fall from Me and sin against Me, then I will not grant them repentance, and let them die, and then torture them forever for their sins. I will provide a way of escape from this dreadful horror for a few, but My main plan for the world is to torture the majority of them forever."

Is that really how it is? NO! It does not line up with how God has revealed Himself in the beauty and tenderness of Creation, nor is it the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Do you not understand that it was God's will that we fall from His glory and become sinners? It was His will. The whole point of it was not so that He could then carry out His will of torturing us forever, but so that He could reveal REDEMPTION. God's whole point in planning the Fall was to reveal Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. All of history revolves around the glory of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. It's the point of sin. It's the point of the fall.

Realize what is meant by that statement "God is Love". Calvinists like to push it under the rug and see it as something that unfortunately got into the Bible or something. "God is Love only to the elect but not to the nonelect". That doesn't even make sense.

God's love. look at the Cross.

It is violent, reckless, raging, fury. It never fails. It is the reason of all things. It is the purpose for which we were created. All is worthless without love.

You see, wrath, hatred, anger, these are all essentially negative attributes in that the only reason they exist is because sin exists. They have not been what God is from everlasting to everlasting. What God is from everlasting to everlasting is Light and Love, perfect beauty and holiness... something that if you came into the presence of, you would fall down weeping and worshipping because of how perfectly pure it is. Your whole being would find its complete fulfillment and satisfaction.

Yes, in this age of evil, God is showing His wrath. In fact, it is all a part of His ultimate plan to bring everything in heaven and on earth together into unity, with Christ as Head. To reconcile all things to Christ at the consummation of the ages. He is working out His plan, and evil is His vessel. He is working in the sons of disobedience and working in those who are righteous. All for His glorious end, a good end.

Concerning the statement "God is Love" one might say:

"Well the sun is heat. For us here on earth, that means the sun is hot, AND the source, the definition if you will, of all heat we enjoy. It does not mean, nor would it be a contradiction, for me to say that 'The sun is yellow', or 'The sun is a star' or, 'The sun is very big', etc."

This they say trying to prove that God can be love while simultaneously torturing a sinner endlessly.

This is actually wrong because "the sun is heat" is actually not a true statement. The sun is not just heat. The sun HAS heat. But that does not mean the sun IS heat. "The sun is yellow", this is a true statement. What would be wrong is: "the sun is yellowness". The sun is not just defined by a color. "The sun is a star"; true enough. This explains what it is as a whole. Kind of like saying "Jacob is a human". "The sun is very big", this is true, but it would not be true if you said "the sun is bigness", because that is not only what the sun is.

Therefore, when the Bible says "God is love", it is nonsensical to say it just means "God has love". It means that the very essence of God, the whole of His character, IS LOVE.    G O D....I S.....L O V E. The reason you cannot say "the sun IS heat" is because it is not a true statement of the whole reality of the sun. But John could say "God IS Love" because it is a true statement of the whole reality of God. So everything that flows from God is in love. In other words, God could not act in a way to anything that is not in desiring the ultimate good of that creature. (What is the ultimate good of any creature? That it love and enjoy God of course)

You might say, "Well saying 'God is Love' would not be a true statement then because the Scriptures say God is Light, it does not just say 'God is bright'". True enough, therefore we must conclude that spiritually speaking (God is spirit, and we are not talking of actual, physical light rays here) His light and love are the same. His brilliance and glory is the eternal fountain of His infinite love. With God, all His attributes tie into one glorious positive. God is beautiful. Is God beauty? Yes, this ties in with His essence of love. God is wrathful. For what purpose? Love. Is God wrath? No. This would be a confusing negative contradiction to His eternal lovely being.

One once said to me "There cannot be love without hate" That is not true. God has existed everlastingly without evil, in perfect love. And when all evil is completely vanquished, there will be nothing but love. Hate doesn't have to exist for love to exist. In these temporary ages of evil, it is true that hate must exist with love, because if you love someone, than you will hate that which wants to destroy them, namely evil. But in a world where no evil exists, there will no hatred, and LOVE will exist.

My argument by no means rests alone on the fact that God is Love. However, I do believe none of His attributes can contradict. There is no contradiction in God. Therefore since we know the Scriptures reveal that God is Love, than any "hate" so to speak, must finally be for the purpose of His love. If the Scriptures said "God is Hatred", than we would have reason to believe that His love was really ultimately a means to reveal hatred. But God being light, love, and anything else the Scriptures speak about His essence, these all flow together in oneness, and there is no "other" essence in Him to challenge His love. There is no essence of darkness in Him to challenge His light, there is no essence of hatred in Him to challenge His love. Hatred God does have, but because of love. However God is not hatred, His essence is love. Justice, jealousy, and anger God has, but none of these are His essence. These all flow from His Love, His Light, and everything else that, in perfect harmony, define His glorious positive essence.