Universal Restoration

Cont’d from the other thread for Grey Pilgrim. Had to snip a little and ended up breaking up your last post and my response to fit the word count.

Universal Restoration is not modernist teaching. Origen believed in Universal Restoration. Whether that means anything to you at all, because in the end he ended up a heretic, it does demonstrate that this teaching is in no way new.

You are correct, though, that aion can mean many things. That’s because, as I stated, it is a time frame which has a beginning, a limited duration, and an end, but is typically a long period of time, but it never means “eternity” in the sense you are applying, for the reasons that I pointed out, which you have not refuted.

Eternity is not quantitative. It is not more time, or even endless time. It is another dimension than time, just as time is another dimension than space. Whatever we make of ourselves in time is destined to be “fleshed out” into the dimension of eternity. … The relation between earthly choices and eternal rewards or punishments is not like the relation between crimes and prison sentences, but like the relation between a foundation and a building. It is not external but internal. In a sense, heaven or hell is the same thing as earth; the same life, the same person, only with another dimension—somewhat as life after birth is the same life, the same person, but with more dimensions. Souls in time are like boats on a river, all destined for the ocean of eternity. It is a structural internal necessity, not an imposed external reward or punishment.

This concept you are describing does not exist in scripture. We are currently experiencing an aion right now, and there will be at least one, and maybe several, “aions” afer this one. That’s a Biblical fact. Neither of those definitions fit with aion being another dimension.

Your other statements directly contradict scripture. That’s a problem with Catholicism: an answer can be found in Scripture, but a philosophy of man is put forward. Heaven is indeed a reward (Matt 6:4) just as Hell is punishment (Matt 25:46).

This begs the question.

It’s customary to point out the question that is being begged, just FYI. It may make you sound impressive to someone totally ignorant of logic, but I’m not going to make your argument for you. For instance, when I accuse you of attacking a strawman, I explain why.

This presupposes that God replaced justice with mercy. He did not. It also presumes that God exacts revenge on the disobedient, this is false. God does not cast us into hell, …our own free will. God respects our decision to separate ourselves from Him. Sin …is its own punishment, it is internal, not externally exacted by some “vengeful god.”

It does not presuppose any such thing. God’s Justice is still carried out, just as the Scriptures say it will be, which is what Universal Restoration teaches. You are arguing against strawmen here.

And another contradiction of plain scripture. You say God does not cast us into hell, we send ourselves there. Yet another false philosophy of man not found in the Scriptures:

Matthew 13:42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

God sends people to Hell. Plain as day.

This begs the question.

See above.

Are we having a philosophical discussion or …you need scripture references for everything?

No, we’re not having a philosophical discussion, and yes, I do need a scripture reference for everything. How many times have I heard a Catholic claim that scripture totally supports Catholic doctrine?

You have not “clearly demonstrated” anything. …your opinion based on bad modernists interpretations.

Which of the following statements do you disagree with then? Because this is where I demonstrated the truth of my position:

  1. aion means age.
  2. an “aion” has a beginning, limited duration, and an end.
  3. aionion literally means age-abiding.
  4. you cannot pluralize “eternity” because it would be nonsensical.
  5. adjectives cannot have more strength than the noun on which they are based (I demonstrated this with the year/yearly example).

This begs the question.

See above…

Ditto.

The statement begs the question; How do you know heaven could be a happy place only if … punishment was …remedial?

Well, it’s just kind of sadistic that you think you could be happy with presumably billions of souls suffering for all of eternity.

The above … ignores the fact of original sin. …we can choose to die and choose not to die. It merely depends on what you mean when you say “death.” Regardless it does not remove free will.

You miss the point. Clearly there are some things in which we have no choice. Your example was one of them. We cannot choose to NOT physically die some day. That does not mean we don’t have free will.

I apologize, its hard to pin down what certain people who believe in Universalism, or as you call it Universal Restoration, because it seems that the tenets are subjective. You believe in those which you like and discard those you don’t. like your method of interpretation of scripture.

Ha ha ha, nice try. You’re the one ignoring scriptures and putting forward philosophies of man. It’s funny that you could have the nerve to make that statement.

I tried to specify exactly what I was talking about. There is indeed a thing called universalism which basically states that everyone is saved. That’s not true, and not what I’m referring to.

Salvation is not about saving us from something but saving us for someone. We are saved to share in God’s life-which is eternal. If the life we receive from God is eternal life, then the life we reject is eternal death.

You put out nonBiblical statements like crazy. Salvation is about saving us from several things: sin, this corrupt generation, the coming wrath, etc. And, technically, we receive age-abiding life. It’s “eternal” (in the literal “forever” sense) because it is a sharing in the divine nature, not because it is “aionion”.

Hell is not purgatory. The difference between the two are clear. By definition purgatory is good; it purges and purifies. By definition, hell is evil. Demons live and work in hell; angels work in purgatory.

Wow, I suppose you read Dante’s Inferno more often than you read the Bible. Demons SUFFER in hell, they do not work there tormenting souls as some pagan artists have suggested. I’d agree that Purgatory and Hell are two different places anyway.

…Universal Restoration …do you believe that demons or even Satan himself will be saved?

I’m not totally sure on that one. In reality, I believe there are two possibilities, even though I’m arguing for Universal Restoration: the annihilation of the damned, or Universal Restoration. Part of that has to do with the fact that there is no word for eternity, and the lake of fire destroys things (if a thing is destroyed, it no longer exists), and the other reason is because God is Just, and eternal punishment for temporal offenses is not Justice.

I do have a question for you, and anyone else interested in the discussion: Do you believe God can have Mercy on anyone he chooses?

Grace & Peace!

For what it’s worth, I think it was Vladimir Lossky who mentioned this about the Apocatastasis. And I paraphrase–Those who deny the Universal Restoration are stubborn oxes. Those who teach it are braying mules.

(I’m a big fan of Origen, by the way. Also Gregory of Nyssa who addressed this question as well.)

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy! Deo Gratias!

Origen believed in the universal restoration. And this is one of his propositions that was explicity repudiated by the Fifth Ecumenical Council.

St. Gregory of Nyssa also later said that hell would not come an end.

Thanks for bringing up the 5th Ecumenical Council and Gregory of Nyssa - I had forgotten about those. As I pointed out, this is not some new, modernist invention.

Grace & Peace!

Let me just be clear and say that I don’t think Universal Restoration should be dogmatically taught, defined, or affirmed. Nor can the possibility of Universal Restoration be denied. Nor do I believe one is heretical in hoping for it–the late cardinal (almost–he died before he was elevated) Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote some lovely things on how we may hope that hell is empty.

Regarding hell not coming to an end–I think we must make some distinctions. Hell cannot be eternal as God is eternal. The best we can say regarding hell’s endlessness is that it is indefinite. We cannot say that it is, in itself, eternal.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy! Deo Gratias!

Despite the fact that I’m defending it, I pretty much agree with your statements here. What you write regarding eternity is also why I’m trying to be very precise in defining my terms. Teaching Universal Restoration would be problematic for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that people would feel free to live however they choose. I think that’s a cultural thing, though. Many people in the Old Testament clearly lived righteously without the threat of eternal damnation hanging over their heads.

I almost agree 100% with this post. It is the last line that catches me. Most of them did not live rightously. If they had, the Law alone could have saved us. :slight_smile:

:thumbsup:

It wasn’t really my intention to defend the acts of everyone in the Old Testament, but simply to point out that the motivation to follow God does not require the threat of hellfire. Some people do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing.

Jesus certainly believed there were at least some righteous people prior to the New Covenant:

Matthew 23:35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

No doubt. I did not think that you were doing so, but I had to call you out.

I guess that the question is not if the Bible is clear that hell is eternal or not, but if the Apostles took it to be so. As you pointed out, the Jewish tradition is not a sure of it. Revelation seems to indicate that the hell that Jesus spoke of is the place where Satan and the fallen angels are kept, and that is eternal.

Yes, Universal Restoration can be denied. The Fifth Ecumenical Council condemned the doctrine. One can dogmatically teach and affirm on the authority of the Church that the doctrine is heresy, and those who persist in holding to it despite the clear teaching of the Church are heretics.

Grace & Peace!

Dixibehr, I think you may wish to revisit the Anathemas Against Origen from the Council. The relevant ones are 1 and 14. Here they are:
1: If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.

14: If anyone shall say that all reasonable beings will one day be united in one, when the hypostases as well as the numbers and the bodies shall have disappeared, and that the knowledge of the world to come will carry with it the ruin of the worlds, and the rejection of bodies as also the abolition of [all] names, and that there shall be finally an identity of the γνῶσις and of the hypostasis; moreover, that in this pretended apocatastasis, spirits only will continue to exist, as it was in the feigned pre-existence: let him be anathema.
You will see that the anathemas deal with the apocatastasis within the context of particular teachings (which seem to deal with a form of reincarnation, denial of the bodily resurrection, and the pre-existence of souls). I fully believe and uphold these anathemas and, moreover, affirm the authority of the 7 Councils, including Constantinople 2.

Emperor Justinian’s anathemas are much more specific to your point–they explicitly anathematize any who deny that hell is eternal. Those anathemas, however, were not adopted by the council.

I will not stop you from denying the apocatastasis. With the Church, I, too deny the orthodoxy of the Origenist form of apocatastasis. I will not deny, however, that there may be an acceptable form of the restoration or reconciliation which is not an affront to orthodoxy. I will not attempt to define what that acceptable form is. But I will maintain that hoping for it does not make one a heretic. Otherwise, St. Gregory of Nyssa (the Father of the Fathers according to Council 7) would be a heretic. As well as St. Clement of Alexandria. And possibly St. Gregory Nazianzus and St. Maximos the Confessor, too.

Perhaps this article from the online journal “Theandros” may be useful: theandros.com/restoration.html

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy! Deo Gratias!

You are right. Origen theorized on the pre-existence of souls, which is basic to the idea. The apocatastasis is the returning of all these lost souls to heaven. Sort of a Big Bang and Big Crunch of the sparks of the Divine, I guess. I think the concept is Platonic.

A lot of people may still toy with pre-existence. Who hasn’t heard a young parent tell a child that (I must paraphrase) “You were the prettiest little Angel in heaven, and when it came time to give you a family God sent you to us!” I know I have.

Well, that’s heresy, we are not supposed to be souls waiting for bodies. The church rejected pre-existence of souls for mere mortals. The theory was entangled with a whole bunch of gnostic ideas.

Only Jesus Christ pre-existed, being co-eternal with the Father, before all ages.

I think that we can wish for all to be saved, even Satan, and pray on the behalf of everyone, including Hitler and Stalin. Perhaps God has an underlying wish for the same, God being Love.

But we cannot know such a thing will happen. We can’t teach it as if we knew it to be true, or even possible. We can wonder.

The derivation of words is a very weak straw to support exegesis. The constant understanding of the church from the beginning is that the word meant “eternal” or “everlasting.” St. Jerome, if anyone, theoretically should have followed your interpretation when he translated his Vulgate from the Greek; he didn’t.

Many time in scripture a word meaning a definite time is used to actually refer to an indefinite time. Matt 28:20 " teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Do you believe that Jesus will abandon us after the close of the age?

1 Tim 3: if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

The Church teaches that heaven and hell are eternal. The bible teaches that the Church is the pillar and bulwark, or upholder and defender, of the truth.

You said:

It begs the question in that you are claiming to know the only possible way to something that only God can know. The only way you could know that it was the only possible way would be for you to be God. Unless you believe that you are God, then it doesn’t beg the question at all, it just makes you an insane person.

You also said:

Again, it begs the question. You are claiming to know something that you cannot possibly know, i.e. that his punishment is only temporary. You are also claiming that he will eventually released for such even though nowhere in the text does it state so. You are reading into the text what you want to believe rather that reading out of the text that which the texts says on its own. You are committing eisegesis, not exegesis.

Is it God’s justice or your sense of what God’s justice has to be that we are discussing here?

It is not a contradiction on my part but another flawed interpretation on yours. When the scripture refers to “They” it is talking about the angels charged with protecting heaven. Jesus imagery of the “firey furnace” is His way of conveying the pain and suffering of existing in the absence of God, which is what happens when we sin. The scene from the parable is from the final judgement when all will be brought into God’s presence for judgement. Those who lived their lives in rejection of God’s presence will at that time merely receive that which they already chose. They-the angels-will cast them away from His presence. No contradiction.

1 Tim 3:15

As far as whatever I’ve mentioned before, it either comes from the Catechism or from the Church fathers, and is therefore supported by scripture.

And I’ll repeat again here, the derivation of words is a very weak straw to support exegesis.
St. Jerome interpreted the word according to sacred tradition that he received. And that meant that the word “aionion” translated into “in aeternum”-eternity.

To disagree is to then go against the bible(1 Tim 3:15).

This is an opinion, not biblical exegesis. And it’s again obvious that you think that God must conform to your standard and idea of justice instead of the other way around.

I agree, but what comes of those who have set their wills eternally against God in the choices that they have made throughout their lifetime? Is God to merely allow them to carry that will into heaven? It would be the Fall all over again, which refutes the biblical notion of Jesus’ kingdom being “everlasting”.

I can provide plenty of scripture if that’s what you want…

Technically, we have already received “age-abiding” life-the live we are living right now. Because of our human nature we are given a sufficient time to grow and search for God, while in reality it is He who searches for us. It is “now” where we make our decisions on whether we want to be with God forever or not.

The Church believes that we who are in Christ share in the divine nature now, not at some point in the future. We are baptized into Christ’s death(Rom 6) which saves us(1 Pet 3:21), we receive the Holy Spirit as our "first installment( 2 Cor 5:5), we share in His Body and Blood, (John 6; 1 Cor 10 & 11; the Last Supper passages in the Gospels). We live according to God’s grace in the Spirit(Rom 8).

Now is “age-abiding”-what is to come is eternal(2 Cor 4:18).

Dante was pagan?

How do you know that offenses are merely temporal? Was the crucufixtion of God incarnate merely temporal? Was Adam’s disobedience in the Garden merely temporal?

If someone kills someone you love do they come back from the dead after a time?

Sacred tradition teaches us that every sin has two dimensions: temporal AND eternal(see 2 Sam 12).

Absolutely! Will I be shocked to see people who I didn’t think I’d see in heaven? Of course not! But scripture also testifies to the eternity of heaven and hell.

It’s not a “derivation” of words. It’s what the word means. Jerome was wrong, and biased, and told to do several unscriptural things, such as invent the Johannine comma.

To disagree is to then go against the bible(1 Tim 3:15).

How so?

This is an opinion, not biblical exegesis. And it’s again obvious that you think that God must conform to your standard and idea of justice instead of the other way around.

If, by Justice, God means something other than what humans understand to be Justice, then it’s somewhat nonsensical and meaningless to say God is Just.

I agree, but what comes of those who have set their wills eternally against God in the choices that they have made throughout their lifetime? Is God to merely allow them to carry that will into heaven? It would be the Fall all over again, which refutes the biblical notion of Jesus’ kingdom being “everlasting”.

Well, I didn’t say they carry this will into heaven, so, as usual, you’re attacking a strawman.

I can provide plenty of scripture if that’s what you want…

Technically, we have already received “age-abiding” life-the live we are living right now. Because of our human nature we are given a sufficient time to grow and search for God, while in reality it is He who searches for us. It is “now” where we make our decisions on whether we want to be with God forever or not.

And you do not see the implications of us currently having “age abiding” life?

The Church believes that we who are in Christ share in the divine nature now, not at some point in the future. We are baptized into Christ’s death(Rom 6) which saves us(1 Pet 3:21), we receive the Holy Spirit as our "first installment( 2 Cor 5:5), we share in His Body and Blood, (John 6; 1 Cor 10 & 11; the Last Supper passages in the Gospels). We live according to God’s grace in the Spirit(Rom 8).

OK. I agree. :shrug:

Now is “age-abiding”-what is to come is eternal(2 Cor 4:18).

There is no word that means eternal in the New Testament.

Dante was pagan?

His depiction of Hell was pagan.

How do you know that offenses are merely temporal? Was the crucufixtion of God incarnate merely temporal? Was Adam’s disobedience in the Garden merely temporal?

Your question makes no sense. Punishment, according to Christ himself, is commensurate to the offense.

If someone kills someone you love do they come back from the dead after a time?

No.

Sacred tradition teaches us that every sin has two dimensions: temporal AND eternal(see 2 Sam 12).

Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Absolutely! Will I be shocked to see people who I didn’t think I’d see in heaven? Of course not! But scripture also testifies to the eternity of heaven and hell.

There is no word that means eternal, and your continued repeating of your mantra doesn’t make it any less true.

What I’m going to offer is purely opinion but perhaps some might be interested in discussing my proposition.

I’ve come to believe (though not dogmatically) that “hell” or “the lake of fire” or “gehenna” or whatever you want to call it merely represents the finality of SPIRITUAL death. Spiritual death is not like physical death. After physical death our souls/spirits still exist and will face judgment either as the saved or as the lost. So I’ve come to believe that in spiritual death the lost (and Satan and the fallen angels) will simply cease to exist. If God destroys a spirit, that is final and forever. Eternal. Furthermore, I believe that not only will the lost cease to exist–it will be as if they NEVER existed! So for the saved there will be no tears for our lost loved ones because they will have never existed for us to mourn over. I now this is radical and probably heretical, but I think it is logical…

This is interesting I found this thread today, since I was just reading on this yesterday.

I have been just starting to study this matter because I am a perennialist, and many perennialists believe in Universal Restoration. I am agnostic on the matter, at this point. I also know the Liberal Catholic Church teaches it.

I personally do not think this doctrine is heretical, but, with the rise of modernism, I am more cautious because it is now often used in conjunction with Universal Salvation, which is not the same. Someone mentioned von Balthasar which chills me, since he was a modernist, and his writing on hell, if not heretical, favors heresy. Unfortunately, Universal Restoration, or at least some of its supporters, often favor heresy, which is where my caution lies. I do not think Ckempston is heretic, but he can see my concern.

As a perennialist I am also offended by the “doctrines of man” bit. I do not see the justification for this statement. All tradition, is, in some primordial way, inspired by God, as Tertullian pointed out, and our seeking the Truth in it is not a vice. Ckempston should know especially given his views that truth is contained even in false religions, if obscured and non-salvic. To attack these traditions and dismiss them as pagan, I believe, does injustice to God’s providence in His creation.

CyberCall,
I would say that although you may feel the logic you expressed absolves people or God of caring about lost souls, we would care and God does care.

The Bible gives no basis for such a belief. If one reads Rev. 20:10-15 one finds the words “for ever and ever,” talking about Satan’s punishment for rebellion against God. Reading there, and also reading Isaiah 61:1-3 (which the Savior quoted in the Jewish synagogue) and 1 Peter 3:18-20, one can find the basis for a benevolent God who frees the captives from spirit prison or in other words, spiritual death–except for Satan and those who absolutely refuse to accept Christ’s gift of salvation that would be available to them if they would “bow the knee” and “confess” through repentance.

I believe in more glories than just one place for all in heaven. It makes sense when considering many Biblical scriptures.

Grace & Peace!

Enchanted, I’m not sure about your feelings towards the Liberal Catholic Church, but I would be wary of them. There are enough arguments for allowing that Universal Restoration is a possibility, or is possible to be held as some sort of theologoumenon, without having to have the LCC weigh in. Again, I’m not sure of your orientation toward them, but I would be wary.

Your caution is more than justified. Anyone who would claim to define the Universal Restoration is doing no one a good service. (But again, I would argue that those who deny it are doing no good service either.) It is a tricky issue–mostly because it is so speculative and as such defies any attempt at dogmatization. Ultimately, the best we can say is that God has revealed himself in Christ as Mercy. This is undeniable. Beyond that, the question must become–who can fathom the depths or approach the heights of this Mercy? Who can limit it? Who can define it? Who would dare?

Re: von Balthasar, if one reads him within the context of an attempted rehabilitation of Origen (not origenism!), then I think he does not read so much as a modernist. But I enjoy his writings, so perhaps I’m biased.

Do you know the work of Jean Borella? He’s a Catholic Traditionalist and has written some very wonderful works–Guenonian Esoterism and Christian Mystery is something I would highly recommend to you, given your interests, as well as Secret of the Christian Way (which is more a group of selections from his writings). Secret of the Christian Way discusses the Universal Restoration and the question of the eternity of hell in a fundamentally orthodox way–that is, it sheds light without stepping beyond the tradition. I’m a fan of the perennialists myself, and am glad there’s someone else here who appreciates them, too!

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy. Deo Gratias!

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