Apokatastasis


#1

The Apokatastasis is the view that souls will be punished in hell for a time until all evil is cleansed from the person. All souls are punished in accordance with their personal state. Purgatory in a way. I have read online that Hans Urs Von Balthasar and some others were proponents of this theory. Is this view admissable in any degree? I can’t help but thinking that it is permissable in some way if one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century(Von Balthasar, a priest) thought so, and from what I know he was regarded as completely orthodox. Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia article regarding Apokatastasis.

newadvent.org/cathen/01599a.htm


#2

[quote=jimmy]The Apokatastasis is the view that souls will be punished in hell for a time until all evil is cleansed from the person. All souls are punished in accordance with their personal state. Purgatory in a way. I have read online that Hans Urs Von Balthasar and some others were proponents of this theory. Is this view admissable in any degree? I can’t help but thinking that it is permissable in some way if one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century(Von Balthasar, a priest) thought so, and from what I know he was regarded as completely orthodox. Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia article regarding Apokatastasis.

newadvent.org/cathen/01599a.htm
[/quote]

If you die and your soul is condemned to Hell there is no reprieve. It is there for eternity.


#3

[quote=jimmy]I have read online that Hans Urs Von Balthasar and some others were proponents of this theory.
[/quote]

Well, first of all, it is worthy to point out that greater theologians than Fr. Von Balthasar have been wrong from time to time. St. Thomas Aquinas, generally regarded as the greatest Catholic theologian who ever lived, wasn’t too keen on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Many great Saints and Church Fathers were ‘heretics’ in one way or another (my favorite ECF, St. Cyprian of Carthage, maintained that the validity of Baptism depended on the merits of the minister - which is heresy).

However, your online sources may have been confused if they indicated that the good Father has specifically advocated this position. Fr. Von Balthasar has categorically denied being an apokatastist. However, his denials are confronted with such a wishy-washy opinion about eternal damnation that it is easy to be confused by his remarks. He seems to be saying, “yes, it is **possible **to be eternally damned, but it’s very **unlikely **(or nearly impossible) that anyone actually would be eternally damned.”

If that’s actually what he’s saying, he could be correct (and perfectly orthodox). That paraphrase is not opposed to Catholic tradition or Magisterial teaching. It’s possible (under Catholic theology) that even the most brutal sinners (the Stalins and Hitlers of the world) might have a particularly tough time in purgatory, but eventually find a place among the Heavenly Saints. It is not good to doubt or question the mercy of God.

Church teaching is clear - if you are condemned to hell, there is NO escape (and Fr. von Balthasar would agree). But orthodox Catholics may debate whether many, or few, or (nearly) none are **actually **condemned.


#4

I was actually doing some more reading online and found an article on Catholicculture.com. It appears that he was not a apokatastasis but he did have some view where he hoped for the salvation of all. Here is the article.

catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=565


#5

Yeah i was watching the history channel and i heard about the same thing. In the apocalypse according to Peter(which never got cannonized) jesus secretly tells peter that the gates of hell will eventually be opened and all souls will enter heaven.
I’m very sckeptical on issue of everlasting punishment.


#6

[quote=jimmy]The Apokatastasis is the view that souls will be punished in hell for a time until all evil is cleansed from the person. All souls are punished in accordance with their personal state. Purgatory in a way. I have read online that Hans Urs Von Balthasar and some others were proponents of this theory. Is this view admissable in any degree? I can’t help but thinking that it is permissable in some way if one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century(Von Balthasar, a priest) thought so, and from what I know he was regarded as completely orthodox. Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia article regarding Apokatastasis.

newadvent.org/cathen/01599a.htm
[/quote]

It is my understanding, via Bishop Patrick Ahearn of New York, that Balthasar was orthodox on the subject of the eternity of Hell but that he believed that it would not violate the precepts of the Church for us to hold the holy hope that all might be saved, since we know that God “desires all men to be saved.” (I Tim 2:4)


#7

The Church clearly teaches that once in Hell you are there forever.

CCC 1861: Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, **with no turning ** back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.


#8

Is it possible that no one will go to hell and all will be judged to purgatory except those who go straight to heaven?


#9

[quote=jimmy]Is it possible that no one will go to hell and all will be judged to purgatory except those who go straight to heaven?
[/quote]

NO. When you die you are immediately judged (The Particular Judgement) and your soul is either condemned to Hell (for eternity) or your soul is saved and you go to Heaven (most likely via Purgatory).


#10

[quote=melbourne_guy]In the apocalypse according to Peter(which never got cannonized)
[/quote]

It was never even *considered *for canonization! And Peter had nothing to do with writing it.

jesus secretly tells peter that the gates of hell will eventually be opened and all souls will enter heaven.

It says no such thing. In fact, quite the opposite - this particular document paints an extremely grim and scary vision of Hell. You may read it for yourself at this site.


#11

[quote=thistle]NO. When you die you are immediately judged (The Particular Judgement) and your soul is either condemned to Hell (for eternity) or your soul is saved and you go to Heaven (most likely via Purgatory).
[/quote]

If the soul is condemned to hell, it will be for all eternity. But the Church has never actually taught that anyone WOULD be condemned to hell. It is not contrary to Catholic doctrine to suppose that hell exists, but is empty.

In fact, the Church has always insisted that we cannot dispair for the salvation of even the most brutal or notorious sinners. If there is hope even for these most wicked people, it is possible (and not contrary to doctrine) to suppose that hell actually is empty.

Just because someone COULD go to hell does not mean that anybody actually DOES.


#12

[quote=DavidFilmer]Well, first of all, it is worthy to point out that greater theologians than Fr. Von Balthasar have been wrong from time to time. St. Thomas Aquinas, generally regarded as the greatest Catholic theologian who ever lived, wasn’t too keen on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Many great Saints and Church Fathers were ‘heretics’ in one way or another (my favorite ECF, St. Cyprian of Carthage, maintained that the validity of Baptism depended on the merits of the minister - which is heresy).

However, your online sources may have been confused if they indicated that the good Father has specifically advocated this position. Fr. Von Balthasar has categorically denied being an apokatastist. However, his denials are confronted with such a wishy-washy opinion about eternal damnation that it is easy to be confused by his remarks. He seems to be saying, “yes, it is **possible **to be eternally damned, but it’s very **unlikely **(or nearly impossible) that anyone actually would be eternally damned.”
[/quote]

A difficulty with this, is that it seems to underestimate just how contrary to God one can be - human beings are capable of appalling malice toward God, and it is not a good idea to let this be forgotten. Jesus had no rosy views of human nature.

It’s as though the pessimistic views common in the 18th century and before, according to which few would be saved, have been succeeded by an opposing view: we are all so good that we are most unlikely to be damned.

Is there a relationship between this sunny view of our final state, and sunny views of the difficulty or rarity of mortal sin ? It would be interesting to know; but perhaps not helpful.

It seems especially remarkable that such sunny views can be possible after the atrocious violence of the twentieth century ##

If that’s actually what he’s saying, he could be correct (and perfectly orthodox). That paraphrase is not opposed to Catholic tradition or Magisterial teaching. It’s possible (under Catholic theology) that even the most brutal sinners (the Stalins and Hitlers of the world) might have a particularly tough time in purgatory, but eventually find a place among the Heavenly Saints. It is not good to doubt or question the mercy of God.

Church teaching is clear - if you are condemned to hell, there is NO escape (and Fr. von Balthasar would agree). But orthodox Catholics may debate whether many, or few, or (nearly) none are **actually **condemned.


#13

Well said! :thumbsup:


#14

[quote=DavidFilmer]If the soul is condemned to hell, it will be for all eternity. But the Church has never actually taught that anyone WOULD be condemned to hell. It is not contrary to Catholic doctrine to suppose that hell exists, but is empty.

In fact, the Church has always insisted that we cannot dispair for the salvation of even the most brutal or notorious sinners. If there is hope even for these most wicked people, it is possible (and not contrary to doctrine) to suppose that hell actually is empty.

Just because someone COULD go to hell does not mean that anybody actually DOES.
[/quote]

That is not actually correct. The Church teaches that if you die in a state of mortal sin you go to Hell for eternity, not that you might or could.

CCC 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.


#15

[quote=DavidFilmer]It was never even *considered *for canonization! And Peter had nothing to do with writing it.It says no such thing. In fact, quite the opposite - this particular document paints an extremely grim and scary vision of Hell. You may read it for yourself at this site.
[/quote]

And I asked him and said unto him: Lord, suffer me to speak thy word concerning the sinners: It were better for them if they had not been created. And the Saviour answered and said unto me: Peter, wherefore speakest thou thus, that not to have been created were better for them? Thou resistest God. Thou wouldest not have more compassion than he for his image: for he hath created them and brought them forth out of not being. Now because thou hast seen the lamentation which shall come upon the sinners in the last days, therefore is thine heart troubled; but I will show thee their works, whereby they have sinned against the Most High.

Behold now what shall come upon them in the last days, when the day of God and the day of the decision of the judgement of God cometh. From the east unto the west shall all the children of men be gathered together before my Father that liveth for ever. And he shall command hell to open its bars of adamant and give up all that is therein.

reluctant-messenger.com/apocalypse-of-peter.htm
taken from the ethiopian text.
There it is i rest my case. This is why the scholar on the history channel thought that jesus told peter the gates of hell will be opened. So David dont lie and say "It says no such thing"
because it cleary does wherether its the right context or not, it clearly does.


#16

By the way von Balthasar was a Cardinal

In any case it not contrary to hope that all will be saved however it is not a probable belief because of revelation. Further, the formal excommunication of an individual results in the inability of that soul in enter heaven unless full contrision is found which includes a public repentance for justice to be satisfied. Further the Church knows of no other means to salvation than baptism thus we must hold at the same time that those who do not receive baptism cannot enter heaven and that it is possible that God has an extrodinary means of salvation. This is a question that is not either/or but rather it is both/and.

However at the same time it is impossible to say that hell is empty because of the angelic beings that fell. However, one can hope that no human soul is in hell.


#17

[quote=melbourne_guy]There it is i rest my case. This is why the scholar on the history channel thought that jesus told peter the gates of hell will be opened. So David dont lie and say “It says no such thing” because it cleary does wherether its the right context or not, it clearly does.
[/quote]

You accuse me of lying, when I cited my source? Apparently there are multiple versions of texts which bear this title (the source I found bears no resemblance to your source - my source does not even mention Jesus). It is uncharitable (and unethical) to accuse someone of lying when they have cited a source which bears up their statement. You may accuse me of incomplete scholarship (to which I will often admit), but not of lying. I may have been mistaken, but I was not lying!

You should be more careful when you accuse people of sin.

I maintain that the writing was never even considered for admission into the Canon of Scripture.


#18

[quote=thistle]That is not actually correct. The Church teaches that if you die in a state of mortal sin you go to Hell for eternity, not that you might or could.
[/quote]

Sorry, but it is correct [that hell might be empty]. The Church has always maintained that it is impossible to know if we are actually in a State of Grace (and thus we cannot know if we are in a state of mortal sin). When the English inquisitors asked St. Joan of Arc if she was in a State of Grace (a trick question, they thought), she wisely replied, “If I am in this state, I ask that God keep me there; if I am not in this state, I ask that God place me there.”

People have said things like, “surely Hitler (Stalin, etc) is burning in hell,” to which the wise Chrisian correctly responds, “we don’t actually know that for sure - we have no way to know what Grace these wicked persons may have obtained, even at the moment of their last breath, owing to the infinite Mercy of God.”

So the Church doesn’t actually teach that ANYONE is presently in a state of Grace, and/or of mortal sin. The Church says we simply cannot be sure (we can be pretty sure, but not absolutely certain).

If we cannot be 100% sure that anybody is in a state of mortal sin, we can’t be 100% sure anyone dies that way. So we can’t be 100% sure that there is anyone who is actually in hell.

The Church teaches that it is possible to go to hell. But the Church absolutely does not teach in any way, shape, or form that anyone actually DOES go to hell, or that hell is not empty.

Oh, FWIW, I think hell is quite crowded. But that’s my opinion. It is NOT Church doctrine.


#19

This thread started out as a discussion of von Balthasar’s opinions on salvation theology, but has grown into a discussion regarding the question of the popluation (or lack thereof) of hell. I think this sub-topic may interest others as well, so I have established a new topic to further discuss this aspect of this thread:


#20

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