Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Universalism

003white  Index To A Question of Salvation         >       Index To Pluralism, Universalism, Inclusivism       >      Universalism



Carol Brooks

Universalism is the very attractive belief that the ultimate destiny of every human being lies beyond the grave.

    Also See Heaven
    Even Christians who believe they will spend an eternity in "heaven", seem to have little or no idea where this heaven is, what it will look like, or what they will do there. Either they have vague, half formed ideas about some ethereal place 'out there' or resort to pious phrases that amount to little more than spiritual gobbledy gook.


    Introduction - Pluralistic vs.Christian Universalism
    Universalists believe that the concept of hell is inconsistent with a God of love.

    Proof Texts?
    Several passages are often quoted as evidence for Universalism and, on the surface, they certainly appear to do just that. However, they are usually misinterpreted and/or taken out of context. Examples include John 12:32, Romans 11:32, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Philippians 2:10-11, 1 Timothy 4:10,

    God's Judgment... Restorative or Punitive?
    Universalists believe that the concept of hell is inconsistent with a God of love.


    Passages That Explicitly Refute Universalism


    Introduction - Pluralistic vs.Christian Universalism
    Universalism is the very attractive belief that the ultimate destiny of every human being lies beyond the grave and is a positive one. However, there are two 'categories' of universalism - Pluralistic Universalism and Christian Universalism. Although universalists may debate the exact process, they agree on the end result which is that the entire human race is ultimately reconciled to God.

    (See What Various Religions Tell Us About The Afterlife)

    Pluralistic Universalism is the belief that everyone in the world will be "saved", although how you define the term depends on your world view. Either death is part of a recurring cycle or an unspecified better life awaits people 'on the other side'. Even the almighty being or force that saves people is understood in different, often contradictory ways.  In other words, all religions are different roads to the same destination. If a person sincerely seeks God, they can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity something that is, apparently, quite widely believed.

      40% agreed, 55% disagreed with the statement - "All people will experience the same outcome after death, regardless of their religious beliefs".

      40% agreed, 50% disagreed with the statement - "All people are eventually saved or accepted by God, no matter what they do, because he loves all people he has created".

      Amazingly, even "one-quarter of born again Christians said that all people are eventually saved or accepted by God (25%) and that it doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons (26%) [01]

    If you are one of those people that happen to believe this myth, I strongly suggest you read the page on Religious Pluralism.

    Christian Universalism
    holds that Jesus is the only way - His death on the cross provides atonement for all sins and redemption for humanity. However, contrary to traditional belief, universalists believe that everyone will be saved through faith in Christ regardless of whether or not they repent of their sins, trusted in Christ for salvation etc. If they die without doing these things some say that they will be given the opportunity to accept Christ on the 'other side'. If they do, they will be forgiven their sins and granted entry into eternal life in God's kingdom, perhaps after a period of punishment.

    Ron Rhodes, President of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries says

      "The newer form of universalism declares that all men are now saved, though all do not realize it. Therefore the job of the preacher and the missionary is to tell people they are already saved." [02]

     In other words, all of mankind is going to be saved by a superior power - whether or not they wish to be. See Salvation

    According to Theopedia

      Belief in universal salvation is at least as old as Christianity itself and may be associated with early Gnostic teachers. The first clearly universalist writings, however, date from the Greek church fathers, most notably Clement of Alexandria, his student Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. Of these, the teachings of Origen, who believed that even the devil might eventually be saved, were the most influential. [03]

    No surprises here - Origen was responsible for introducing Greek philosophy into Christianity which is how the doctrine of the Trinity came about. See Footnote I.

    While one can understand why a message that softens the edge of the Gospel message elicits a favorable response from people, what we need to ask ourselves whether Christian universalism is Biblical or whether it can be assigned to the wishful thinking category. In this respect, I have no idea what universalists do with verses like Ezekiel 18:24 that says a righteous man who turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity will die.

      But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. (Ezekiel 18:21-24 NASB)

    And, in another example -  the sequence in Romans 1 is clear - men who knew and acknowledged God chose to reject Him, which caused Him to give them up to whatever they had set their minds on. (All emphasis added)

      (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  (22)  Professing to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (Romans 1:21-24 NASB)

    It is true that God sent Jesus to be Savior of the world (1 John 4:14 and John 4:42). The problem is much of the world does not seem to be very interested in the kingdom Christ came to proclaim. See What Was the Core of Jesus' Message?

    However, some of the indifference can be laid at the feet of Christians who never seem to go beyond the word "salvation." They rarely explain what people are saved from nor what the result of being saved is. Perhaps the following two articles will help clear away some of the fog that often accompanies the Gospel message and enable us to give non-believers a clear understanding of what it means to be 'saved'.  It may help to read them in this order

    1.)The Message of The Bible
    Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, Christianity promises exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of.

    2.) Salvation on THIS Page
    When all is said and done, virtually all humans have two things in common. 1) Almost everyone is searching for a 'better life', if not a perfect one. 2) No one wants to die - our spirit rebels at the thought that no matter what we have accomplished in our seventy odd years here on earth, we are eventually going to become worm food. However, if your defenses are well honed and you claim to be satisfied with the short life given to you then don't bother with this article, written for those who do not wish to arrive at death's door without being certain of where it leads.

    Proof Texts?
    Universalists offer up a number of New Testament texts that, on the surface, appear to support their beliefs. These passages often say something about Jesus coming to save "the world" or use the word "all". In his article entitled "I Am A Convinced Universalist", William Barclay (who?) makes the following statement...

      First, there is the fact that there are things in the New Testament which more than justify this belief. Jesus said: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (John 12:32). Paul writes to the Romans: "God has consigned all men to disobedience that he may have mercy on all" (Romans 11:32). He writes to the Corinthians: "As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22); and he looks to the final total triumph when God will be everything to everyone (1 Corinthians 15:28). In the First Letter to Timothy we read of God "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," and of Christ Jesus "who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:4-6). The New Testament itself is not in the least afraid of the word all. [04]

    These passages and several others are often quoted as evidence for Universalism and, on the surface, they certainly appear to do just that. However, they are usually misinterpreted and/or taken out of context. No Biblical author simply strung together a number of sentences disconnected from one another and from the rest of the Bible. As Ron Rhodes also says

      "Every word in the Bible is part of a sentence; every sentence is part of a paragraph; every paragraph is part of a book; and every book is part of the whole of Scripture". No one should read, much less base their beliefs on stand alone verses. [05]  See Context is Crucial

    Thus we need to examine some of the so called "proof-texts in view of the context, verses that clearly state the opposite and, of course, the general tenor of the book in question.

    John 12:32:
    "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."  (John 12:32 NASB)

    Numerous Old Testament passages unarguably show that God freely offers salvation to everyone. For example, the invitation in Isaiah 55:1 is extended to "every one who thirsts"

      "Ho! Every one (Hebrew kôl) who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1 NASB)

    These words are almost duplicated in the last book of the Bible

      The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.  (Revelation 22:17 NASB)

    However, the Bible is the word of God and does not contradict itself, so what are we to make of the following verses that clearly state that only those that believe in Christ will have eternal life?

      As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-16 NASB)

    John's above statement was a reference to Numbers 21:5-9 which tells of the Israelites who were grumbling because they felt that Moses had brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness - there was no food and no water, and they loathed what they were being fed - presumably manna. The upshot was that the Lord sent serpents among the people that bit and killed many of them. However, when Moses interceded, the Lord told him to "make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live."

    Jesus drawing all men to himself doesn't mean all men are saved. Just as the serpent was lifted up and all who looked to it were healed, so Jesus will be lifted up and all who look to him will be healed.

    Although John wrote "For God so loved the world (Gk. kosmos), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life", he didn't stop there but continued on to say "whoever believes in Him shall not perish". (John 3:16 NASB)

    It is interesting that John 12:32 is a key verse used by Calvinists to argue that 'all 'doesn't always mean every single person. See 'All Men' in the article Limited Atonement

    Romans 11:32
    For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. (Romans 11:32 NASB)

    The argument goes something like this... if the "all" that God has shut up in disobedience is universal, the "all" that He might show mercy to also has to apply to all mankind. However, this interpretation neither squares with the argument of the chapter, Paul's theology in general, nor with the teachings of the New Testament that consistently says that the gift of grace is offered to all (grace would not be grace if it were offered only good men).

    However, just a few verses earlier Paul told the Romans that they were wild olives, grafted in among the Jews thus becoming joint partakers of the rich root of the olive tree. (Vs. 17) He then went on to warn them that unless they walked rightly they too would be cut off.

      ...arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off (Romans 11:18-22 NASB)

    And just a couple of chapters earlier the apostle speaks about the vessels of wrath prepared (Gk. katartizo) for destruction.

      What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  (Romans 9:22 NASB)

    Note: The word 'prepared' translated from the Greek katartizo can also be used as an adjective. Vincent Word Studies says katartizo is a participle denoting a present state previously formed, but giving no hint of how it has been formed... an agency of some kind must be assumed. In other words they were 'fit to be destroyed' or 'perfect for destruction'. The word in no way lends support to the reformed doctrine of Unconditional Election

    1 Corinthians 15:22
    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  (1 Corinthians 15:22 NASB)

    The main point to be considered here is Paul was writing to the church in Corinth - a rather immature church with many problems including moral issues, divisiveness, class divisions at the Lord's Supper etc. Paul wrote to them to reprimand them for various shortcomings, and to clarify some points of doctrine (marriage, divorce, food offered to idols etc.) they seemed to be arguing rather noisily about. However, when all is said and done, the fact remains that they were a group of believers although some of them did not trust that dead would be resurrected. In reference to this Paul wrote

      Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  (1 Corinthians 15:12 NASB)

    In fact, the entire fifteenth chapter was written to establish that Christ had been resurrected from the dead and that as believers they would be too. It was not written to the world at large which is why Paul says absolutely nothing one way or the other about the resurrection of unbelievers.

    If you read verse 22 in context, Paul's line of reasoning is very clear. Unless the resurrection was true, those that had fallen asleep in Christ had perished forever and were to be pitied (Vs.18, 20). However, Christ was the first to be resurrected (the first fruits), followed by "those who are Christ's" who would be raised at His coming (Vs. 23) .

      (16) For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;  (17) and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  (18)  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  (19) If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.  (20)  But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  (21) For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  (22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (23) But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, (1 Corinthians 15:16-23 NASB)

    (See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet)

    Note: The "first fruit" reference is to the Jewish Feast of First-fruits, which was a celebration of the harvest, when a sheaf representing the very first of the harvest was waved before the Lord, as a symbolic gesture that dedicated the coming harvest to Him. Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of First-fruits. His resurrection was like a wave offering presented to the Father as the first-fruits of the harvest to come at the end of the age. (See The Seven Feasts of Israel.

    Note, unbelievers will also be raised. However, this second resurrection will take place after the millennium. The sea and Hades will give up their dead who will be judged according to their deeds (Revelation 20:11-13).  (See The Millennium)

    1 Timothy 2:4

    who desires (Gk. thelei) all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4 NASB)

    I have absolutely no idea how this verse can be used as a 'proof text' for universalism. It simply says that God wants all men to be saved, not that all men will be.

    The English 'desired' was translated from the Greek thelei that means 'wish'. Examples include 

      And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes (Gk. thelei) to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23 NASB)

      For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing (Gk. thelei) to work, then he is not to eat, either.  (2 Thessalonians 3:10 NASB)

      And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to (Gk. thelei) harm them, he must be killed in this way. (Revelation 11:5 NASB)

    See more about God's Will on THIS page

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19
    Is another verse often put forth as evidence for universal salvation

      Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world (Gk. kosmos) to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NASB)

    A reconciliation takes place when two people or groups reestablish cordial relations after an argument or disagreement. One gets a good sense of the word as it is used in 1 Corinthians

      But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled (Gk. katallasso) to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB)

    But doesn't this mean that if "the world" was reconciled to God by Christ's sacrifice on the cross, every individual that has ever lived and will ever live is already completely saved?

    Unfortunately not! Reconciliation and salvation are not the same thing. Pay close attention to the wording in the verse below in which Paul very clearly says having been reconciled, we shall be saved by Christ's life.

      For if while we were enemies we were reconciled (Gk. katallasso) to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled (Gk. katallasso) we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Gk. katallage). (Romans 5:10-11 NASB)

    As the ancient prophet wrote, our sins have put a barrier between us and God (Isaiah 59:2. When Christ paid the price for sin by sacrificing Himself, He removed the obstacle that prevented us from even entering into a dialogue (in a manner of speaking) with the Father. Certainly nothing further would have been possible.

     Additionally, the very next verse has been ignored. It says

      Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB)

    Why in the world would God make an appeal through the apostles if the entire world was already saved? And what possible reason could Paul have had for begging his readers to be "reconciled to God" if it were already a done deal on both sides?

    Philippians 2:10-11
    so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11 NASB)

    Simply because all unbelievers will one day acknowledge Jesus as Lord, does not mean they will be saved. Even the demons believe that Jesus is Lord. See Salvation  

    Paul was simply saying that someday all people will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. For most it will be too late to be saved.

    1 Timothy 4:10
    For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. (1 Timothy 4:10 NASB)

    Most, if not all the texts quoted in support of Universalism are easily refuted, 1 Timothy 4:10 being the exception. It is an extremely difficult verse to understand because it seems to indicate that although Christ has saved all mankind, He has done something "special" for believers. However, I do not see what that could possibly be. Apart from the fact that believers will be given different rewards according to their deeds here on earth (See Rewards in Heaven), salvation is salvation. Either you are saved or you are not. There are no 'degrees' of salvation and nothing in between salvation and destruction. 

    Common Grace Vs. Special Grace
    Steven J. Cole who was pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship until his retirement writes,

      There are two main interpretations. Calvin (and others) suggests that Paul is using the word "Savior" in a general sense with regard to the world, in that God gives protection and provision even to the wicked. But in a special sense He is the Savior of believers, since He not only gives them temporal blessings, but eternal deliverance from His judgment. The problem with this view is that it forces on the word Savior an unusual meaning that does not fit the context. [06]

    In other words, Paul is referring to "common grace", called so because it refers to those of God's blessings that are experienced by the entire human race. For example, He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). This is contrasted with what is called "special grace", by which God redeems His people.

    However, as  said by Pastor Cole, this is not a plausible theory. The word "Savior" always defined in one way and one way only i.e Jesus saves people from the consequences of their sin. Nowhere in Scripture has the fact that God keeps the planets in orbit ever been synonymous with salvation.

    One other explanation concerns the word "especially" translated from the Greek Malista, which some believe should be rendered "that is". In other words, the translation would read "... we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, that is (Gk. malista) of believers. The word "that is" clarify the all people.

    I cannot buy that because, in all its 12 occurrences in the New Testament, malista very clearly means 'especially', 'particularly' or even 'chiefly'. For example...

      But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially (Gk. malista) for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)

      The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially (Gk. malista) those who work hard at preaching and teaching.  (1 Timothy 5:17 NASB)

    False Teachers
    Steven Cole went on to offer one other possibility.

      A better view is that Paul is countering the false teachers, who said that salvation is an exclusive thing for those in the inner circle who had "knowledge." Paul is saying, "No, God wants to save all types of people in every place, from every walk of life. He has provided salvation for all, but it is only applied to those who believe in Christ.” [07]

    This understanding fits best into the context of the chapter that concerns apostasy and how Timothy was to conduct himself in the face of it. Paul was reminding Timothy to point out to the church that "in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (Vs.1). He was also to warn the churches against trifling and superstitious views, which Paul called "old wives" tales (Vs. 7-11), he was not to neglect the spiritual gift in him (Vs. 14), and he was to live so no one would despise him, giving constant attention to his duties (Vs. 15), etc. 

    Whether anyone agrees with any of these theories or not, it does not change the fact that nothing in the Bible supports universalism and, in fact, there is overwhelming evidence against it.

    God's Judgment... Restorative or Punitive?
    Universalists believe that the concept of hell is inconsistent with a God of love. (Link to What And Where is Hell below) William Barclay (cited earlier) specifically points to Matthew 25:46 which reads "And these will go away into eternal punishment (Gk. kolasis), but the righteous into eternal life"

    About which he says

      one of the key passages is Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. [08]

    In other words, Barclay believed that the punishment being spoken about was intended to correct or improve.

    The New Testament only uses kolasis one other time which is not helpful in determining how the Scriptures use the word. Other sources may indicate that it means pruning or remedial punishment however, even if you consider Matthew 25:46 in a horticultural context it is the main body of the tree that becomes stronger after pruning.  We are the branches - not the tree itself (See Romans 11:17-21 below) and the branches that are removed from their source of life die very quickly.

      But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. (Romans 11:17-21 NASB)

    Faith Dictated By Fear?
    I have heard the argument that if God's justice is punitive (intended as punishment) then the response to Him in terms of both feelings and behavior is dictated by fear.

      In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion (occurring 76 times) "good news," and the verb euangelizo (occurring 54 times), meaning " to bring or announce good news." Both words are derived from the noun angelos, "messenger." In classical Greek, an euangelos was one who brought a message of victory or other political or personal news that caused joy.  [09]

    And what was this "good news"? It was the proclamation of the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus said was the reason He was sent to earth (Luke 4:43). In fact, He never stopped talking about the "kingdom of God", which phrase is used over 50 times in the four Gospels alone. See What Was the Core of Jesus' Message?

    But what and where is this kingdom? The Bible's description of this kingdom of God, also called heaven is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there', but matches, in every respect, the world most men and women would choose to live in - a place of peace and safety, where there is no crime, hunger and disease, war and above all-  no death. See Heaven

    How can there be a "fear and death based motivation" when Jesus came to tell us that we could have exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of. Now it is up to each one of us to decide whether we want to be there. See The Message of The Bible

    The word 'eternal' translated from the Greek aionion is used some 45 times in the New Testament. With only two or three exceptions, it is always used in reference to eternal life. When Matthew wrote ...

      "And these will go away into eternal (Gk. aionion) punishment, but the righteous into eternal (Gk. aionion) life"

    ... he used exactly the same Greek word to describe both the punishment of the wicked and the duration of eternal life. When the same word is used twice in a sentence, we cannot change the meaning of each usage to suit our own ideas. In other words, 'eternal life' cannot mean one thing, and 'eternal punishment another' - If the punishment is not eternal, then neither is the life.  If the life is eternal, then so is the punishment.

    However, this does not mean one is tortured in flames for all eternity.  Note how the phrase "eternal punishment" is contrasted with "eternal life". However, reward is the opposite of punishment, not life . If never ending punishment were true, then the verse would probably have said that sinners go away into 'eternal punishment', but the righteous into 'eternal reward'.

    Also note how the book of Hebrews, using exactly the same Greek word in both cases, speaks of "eternal" judgment then, just three chapters later, speaks of "eternal" redemption.

      and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal (Gk. aionian) redemption. (Hebrews 9:12 NASB)

      of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal (Gk. aioniou) judgment.  (Hebrews 6:2 NASB)

    Redemption itself was a once and for all event that took place 2000+ years ago. However, the result of the redemption continue on forever. Similarly, the judgment will occur in a particular moment in time. However, the results of the judgment are eternal.

    Again, in the verse below, something is destroyed once, i.e. something cannot be continuously be destroyed. However, the results are permanent, i.e. the thing stays destroyed.

      These will pay the penalty of eternal (Gk. aionion) destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:9 NASB)

    See What and Where is Hell?
    The belief that Hell is a place of unending torment has been so strongly held throughout the history of Christianity that few have dared to challenge it. Besides which, since most modern challenges have come from the cults, a person who dares to question the traditional viewpoint runs the risk of being labeled a cultist. However, the deeper one delves into the subject the less persuasive the argument in favor of the traditional view become. For example, there is not a single verse in the entire Bible that says anything remotely similar to "everyone has eternal life; it is only a matter of where each will spend it." Yet, this is what most of the church believes, assuming that the idea has its origins in the Bible. It does not. Of the many references to the spirit in the Bible, never once is it said to be immortal, imperishable, or eternal. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that God alone possesses immortality.

    Additionally, Christians routinely take the word "death" to mean eternal life in hell, and the word "perish" to mean "never perish". However, it is totally pointless to embark on a investigation unless one is prepared to set aside one's denominational presuppositions, and other biases, and rely strictly on what the Word says. This seems to be easier said than done for many, if not most, Christians.

    Not only is there a lack of support for universalism and decisive arguments against it, but the Bible never once says anything about sinners repenting, accepting Jesus Christ, having their sins forgiven etc. in the after life. In fact, the author of Hebrews completely contradicted this notion when he wrote ...

       And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27 NASB)

     I have to also ask why 1 Corinthians 9:16 records Paul as saying

      For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:16 NASB)

    If all men are saved, why was Paul "under compulsion" to preach the gospel and "woe" to him if he did not. If all men are saved, it wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference whether Paul preached or put all his efforts into a start up tent making company. If people are already saved and only need to be informed of that fact, why would Jude have said to snatch people out of the fire by just about any means necessary. (Jude 1:23 NASB)

    Also See How Will Those Who Never Learn the Gospel Be Judged?
    What will be the ultimate fate of those who never have the opportunity of hearing the gospel of Christ? This is a question with which every sensitive soul struggles. While Christians are not the "judges" of man's final disposition, there are Bible principles that are worthy of serious consideration. (Includes Is "ignorance bliss" with regard to sin? Not according to the Scriptures)

    Passages That Explicitly Refute Universalism (All quotes are from the NASB. Emphasis Mine)

    Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    Jesus Himself said "few" will find the way. Universalists say "all" will find the way.

    Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

    Matthew 13:30: 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."

    This verse indicates the tares are separated and symbolically 'bound' in some way, before the believers are gathered into His barn. In verse 49, Christ draws the analogy to the end times, saying "So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous" (Matthew 13:49 NASB) Therefore the harvesting in Revelation 14:16 can not be anything but a gathering in of the good crop (the "sons of the kingdom")... also called 'The Rapture'. 

    Matthew 13:49-50: "So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

     See The End Of The Age Part IV... The Seventh Trumpet

    Matthew 25:32-34, 41, 46: "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world... "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels... "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

    Luke 13:4-5: "Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

    Luke 13:23-25: And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.'

    John 3:16-18: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved (Gk. sozo) through Him. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      It is true that this verse says that God loved the world. However, it also says that those who believe in Him shall not perish, which implies that those who do not believe in Him will. However, please also note that the Greek verb sozo means to save. The word "might" was added in the English translations. A different form of the verb is used, for example, in Acts 16:31, which reads "They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Gk. sozo) , you and your household."

    John 5:25: "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

    John 5:28-29: "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

    Romans 1:18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  

    Romans 2:5-10: But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 

    Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Galatians 6:8-9: For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

    2 Thessalonians 1:8-9: dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

    Hebrews 6:7-8 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned

    James 4:4: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God

    1 Peter 4:17-18: For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? and if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner

    Jude 1:14-15: It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

    Revelation 20:14-15: Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Revelation 21:8: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

    Revelation 22:14-15: Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

    Footnote I
    Three theologians from Cappadocia .... Basil, bishop of Caesarea, his brother Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, and Basil's close friend Gregory of Nazianzus, jointly known as the Cappadocian Fathers, gave definitive shape to the doctrine of the Trinity. The problem is that they were provably greatly influenced by the writings of Origen known for introducing Greek ideas into Christianity. In fact, Gregory of Nazianzus wrote: "Origen is the stone on which all of us were sharpened."

    The result was that there are strong links between Plato's teachings and the Trinity (as adopted by the Second Ecumenical Council) and none between the Trinity and the Bible. 

    Greek philosophy focused on the importance of reason and evidence in understanding the nature of god and the universe etc. In other words, everything about God had to be approached based on reason. As long as the so called logic was sound, it didn't seem to matter whether or not it contradicted the Scriptures.  See The Trinity - Part V The Cappadocian Fathers. [PLACE IN TEXT]

    Footnote II... William Barclay
    William Barclay was professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at Glasgow University and the author of many Biblical commentaries and books, including a translation of the New Testament, "Barclay New Testament," and "The Daily Study Bible Series." [PLACE IN TEXT]

    End Notes
    [01] What Americans Believe About Universalism and Pluralism.

    [02] Ron Rhodes. Heaven: The Undiscovered Country: Exploring the Wonder of the Afterlife Paperback –  Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reissue edition (April 8, 2003) Pg. 123

    [03] Universalism. http://www.theopedia.com/universalism#note-0

    [04] William Barclay. I Am A Convinced Universalist. http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/barclay1.html.. Quoted from William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography, pg 65-67, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1977

    [05] Ron Rhodes. Esotericism and Biblical Interpretation http://www.inplainsite.org/html/esoteric_interpretation.html

    [06] Steven J. Cole Lesson 13: The Discipline That Matters (1 Timothy 4:6-10)

    [07] ibid.

    [08] William Barclay. I Am A Convinced Universalist. http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/barclay1.html.. Quoted from William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography, pg 65-67, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1977

    [09] What does the term "gospel" mean? https://bible.org/question/what-does-term-%E2%80%9Cgospel%E2%80%9D-mean


    Universalism, Inclusivism