Saturday 5 March 2016

Addendum Universalism IS a damnable heresy: Response to Answering Abraham

Before we begin, let us nip in the bud the idea that people can be saved by Jesus Christ beyond the grave, namely be freed from hell if they repent and trust him in. There is no evidence for a post mortem salvation in either the Old or New Testament, such an idea is foreign to the Bible. Let us dive in.

If out of God's boundless love mercy flows to the most unrepentant and stubborn sinners, they must then be reconciled to God in the same way an elect creature would be the object of the exact same kind of love and mercy. If God's love and mercy are literally boundless, and his desire to save obstinate unrepentant sinners is unrelenting, this leaves God with no lack of intent to save these very sinners with his full range of divine mercy."
  1. "If God has the intention to save someone he will indeed save that someone (desire, will and intention: Ezekiel 33:11; power, ability, sovereignty and accomplishment: John 6:35-40)
  2. But God has the intention to save everyone (John 3:16-17)
  3. Therefore God will indeed save everyone. (see section on Biblical Proof for Universal Reconciliation)
  4. Conclussion: Universalism is true"
"My view is that God's intention to save someone means that it will be done. If God intends something we are talking about a guaranteed outcome."
"In conclusion, then there is no question. God has the desire, the power and the will and intention to save all people, everywhere. And so our omnipotent sovereign savior without questionwill.

Let's take a look first of all at John 3:16-17.

"16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."

In John 3:16, What you have is a continuous present tense, which means to go on doing something. It means to GO ON believing in Jesus. The text itself makes it clear obviously that only those who trust in Jesus will be saved and those who don't will be destroyed. However, the text in context can't be misconstrued into some form of universalist claim of Jesus saving people from hell post mortem. Jesus (Or John because it is debated as to whether Jesus said John 3:16 or John is making a comment) do not either implicitly or explicitly make the claim that the possibility of being born again extends beyond the grave.

Now for John 6:
"35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”"

To argue that this text also opens the door to universalism is utterly absurd. Putting aside the John 6 debate, Is Jesus' statement pertaining to this life or beyond the grave or both? Well though he mentions the resurrection of the dead, it is not trying to imply that somehow there is a universalistic form of salvation, one that occurs after death. Out of context, one could shoehorn in such words into Jesus' mouth, but elsewhere through out the Gospel, he gives no hint of a second chance after death, even implicitly. The context of John 6 does nothing to prove universalism, it only would serve demonstrating that the key to eternal life is believing in the Son NOW and not after your death occurs. One cannot assume universalism is taught here.

Now for Ezekiel 33:11:
"11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’"

This is not a proof text for universalism, this is an exhortation to the Israelites to turn from their evil ways and saying Jesus will save someone post mortem is nothing more than a cop out, so no one should dare try to go that route. Ezekiel in the context of the passage is functioning as a watchman for the people.

"33 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?”’"

God is responding to what the Israelites were claiming in the context of the passage, they were claiming essentially that there was no hope for them and no chance for redemption, But God puts them in their place and is getting them to realize that they are not beyond salvation and that they can repent toward him. He goes on to say this:

"12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ 13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done. 14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. 16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so. 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”"

The Israelites are also accusing God of being unjust to which God turns the objection against them and points out that they are being unjust themselves, not him.

I need not repeat my comments about the fact that God is under no obligation to save anyone so I'll just link to the previous paper:

See also my previous article on the Biblical texts often cited by Universalists, for more information:

Answering Judaism.

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