Repentance after death and universalism


#1

What is the biblical evidence that there is or is no repentance after death? A universalism view would take the position that there is repentance after death for instance. If God is love then he would not give up on people or write them off - saying to hell with you. But, instead, he would never give up to try and bring this person to repentance by offering his love to them even for all of eternity. This idea that God gives up on people encourages us to do the same to others since our view of God is what we become like. And, the other idea is that of putting more faith in God's ability to love everyone into repentance (without violating their free will) than in man's stubbornness, so that eventually everyone would be saved.

I recently read a book called 'Good Goats' by Catholic author Dennis Lynn and he takes a Catholic universalism approach. The book isn't actually about universalism but it is a book for anyone who ever felt like a goat instead of a sheep and he tries to change a possible faulty perception we may have of our image of God from a kind of scary control freak to a loving Father. Universalism is one of the ideas he presents as a possibility in the book. Though he does not deny the existence of hell and calls it a theological possibility but the Church does not know if anyone is actually there. He also talks about hell as a state of being alienated from God and not a literal place of fire. And, that after death God loves and heals us for all of eternity. So if we die in a state of alienation to God it is possible for us to one day repent. He calls hell as being closed from the inside and God who is love can not fail to try to save this person. God would not give up on anyone? Would you give up on your loved ones? Or say to hell with you? Are you more loving than God?

The book is very good. There are a couple of things though that I was wondering about. One was the idea of universalism and is that compatible with the Catholic idea that there is no repentance after death. He actually quotes a number of Catholic theologians who seem to support this optimistic outlook. The book itself has a Catholic 'Imprimi Potest' so there is nothing in it against Catholic faith and morals.

In His book, he talks about how we make the mistake to translate many passages in scripture too literally like MT 25 about the sheep and the goats for instance. He asks do you translate the scripture that says to pluck your eye out if it causes you to sin literally? He said he actually met a person who was chained in a mental hospital because he had tried to pluck his eye out. When asked why he quoted the scripture about plucking your eye out. He asked himself is this guy any crazier for interpreting that passage literally than he was for interpreting the next verse literally about God literally throwing him into the fires of hell. He says if we have the view that God gives up on people then we tend to do that as well since we become like our image of God.

He mentions an example of how parents use exaggerated punishments to their kids. In a car trip as kids where the kids were making too much noise in the back seat. So the dad yells back be quite or I will tie you to the roof rack. The kids knew that the dad wouldn't actually do that to them, but nonetheless they were very quiet after that. He says anyone who would actually tie their kids to the roof rack would be jailed for child abuse.

He quotes various Catholic theologians as well as historical writings. He cited one example where people in the Church interpreted things too literally when a certain pope took the passage 'all things in heaven and earth have been given to me' literally and decreed to give half the world to Spain and the other half to France.


#2

I just found out you can read the book online here - books.google.ca/books?id=r1ao2DMhpm0C&dq=healing+our+image+with+god+by+dennis+linn&pg=PP1&ots=Bka5NMIbbU&sig=JDK5DgB8dapvcs8iabjf614JjQI&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DHealing%2Bour%2BImage%2Bwith%2BGod%2Bby%2Bdennis%2Blinn%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSearch&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&redir_esc=y#PPA45,M1
(Unfortunately it is not the compete book just excerpts but you can purchase it as a kindle book on Amazon)

Here is another thread on the book - forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=202692


#3

This is* subjective*** theory!!
*One must literally take what Jesus Christ said (quite clearly) about heaven *
*and hell and say to themselves, he did not mean it, he was just trying to scare us :)!! *
*Than you must say, tradition and the way these texts have **been interpreted by the apostles, and the early Church fathers up until today was wrong. This is what happened with Vatican 11 when several theologians (quite famous) speculated (for what ever reason) that all would be saved. Catholics that did not see what had happened began to look like most protestant groups today…once saved…always saved… and you have absolutely nothing what so ever to do or not to do to go the heaven when you *die.


#4

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