Below is my transcript of this interview excerpt:
Eric Metaxas: Hey there folks, it’s The Eric Metaxas Show. I’m talking to George Sarris. His book is Heaven’s doors: wider than you ever believed! George you said you have some scriptures you wanted to share?
George Sarris: Yeah, I think that it’s important because most people will go to certain scriptures that talk about Hell and they think that it means never ending—when it doesn’t—but they miss a lot of descriptions that are actually in favor of, or at least speak to, the fact that God is going to ultimately restore. For example:
Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2
Christ came to seek and save what was lost—did he succeed or did he fail?
For as in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22
For God has bound all men [translated “everyone” in NIV, NLT, JUB, et al.] over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
And a very well known one:
at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth—and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The word that is used there for “confessed”, by the way, means positive confession, it means voluntary confession.
Eric: Okay, that’s the key right there because that’s the first thing comes into my mind and I know there a lot of listeners saying, “wait a second, the demons will confess this” but you’re saying there’s a different word for confess?
George: That is correct. It’s a word that means praise and plus the fact that God doesn’t like hypocrites. He doesn’t like people that stand up in the inside while bowing down on the outside. What he wants is true confession—he doesn’t want somebody [pretending]. It would be to God’s shame to say that he’s like the Roman emperors who forced people to say, “Yes, God you are wonderful. I love you.” It’s like a mechanical computer, it’s not a person.
this is good and pleases God our Savior who wants all men [translated “everyone” in HCSB, GNT, NRSV, et al.] to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all men.
1 Timothy 2:3-6
Eric: But wouldn’t people say that’s as a potential ransom? In other words, that he gives himself but he doesn’t force us to accept him?
George: Right, except that it doesn’t say, “a potential ransom”, it says “a ransom for all men”. Now that’s not applied until it’s accepted—that’s understood. By the way, the only thing I’m really saying that’s different than what most Christians believe, is that God doesn’t stop being God. He doesn’t stop his grace at the moment of death. That’s the bottom line. Why would God not continue into the age, ages, because scripture talks about ages plural.
Eric: In our last program you quoted the verse from Hebrews, “It’s appointed once for man to die, then the judgment.”
Eric: I’ve heard that quoted over and over, and people treat it as though that settles the issue. So why do you say that that scripture doesn’t settle the issue?
George: Because judgment doesn’t mean that you’re going to be eternally punished forever. It doesn’t say anything about Hell being forever. It just means that, yes, God makes a judgment, “You’re not allowed to come into my presence right now because you have not accepted the grace that I’ve given through my son Jesus Christ. Therefore you have to go to hell to experience increasingly the consequences of your actions.” But it doesn’t say that he’s going to stop being gracious to them when they’re in hell. There’s nothing in scripture that talks about that being the case.
By the way, you mentioned earlier (in fact one of the big issues that always comes up), “Well, God is also just. He’s not just loving, he’s also just.” Well what that does is bring up a bigger problem, that is, is God conflicted internally? Does he have a problem—that his justice and his love are kind of warring at each other throughout eternity? No! His love (working through justice) or his justice (working through love) are what caused Christ to die on the cross for our sins. That’s why he accomplished his purposes. God is loving and he’s just, and he’s all-powerful and he’s all wise, and he does what he wants to do and that has been revealed. What he wants to do is to save everyone. “It is God’s desire that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” and he’s able to accomplish it.
The next post asks, “If this is true, why have I never heard about it?”
4 thoughts on “Does the Bible support Christian Universalism?”
There is a complete ignorance being stated in this discussion,,,..It starts with the false idea that we must confess Jesus is Lord, wilingly,of our fee will. If one still believes this then they must believe salvation is still by human effort of some kind. Anyone believing this hasn’t truly allowed the scriptures to speak on this important subject, called Grace … read philippians 2:13…. We are saved by Grace through faith..Our wills are converted by this Grace,,, thats also why many letters written to the church start with ‘Grace and peace to you’…Also,Romans which clearly reveals this and all the other letters writen to the churches…Even James,if you read it all from thebegining,not ignoreing verses like 1:17…God must give the new birth,we then are freed from our ( total bondage and blindness of our sinful nature, our nature is also described as being DEAD !). Dead people dont believe and repent…Faith produces works,,,and faith saves us, because faith is based on the truth (Jesus).. Faith is what produces ALL obediance from confessing to inner changes and altimatly true obediance.. Jesus Saves,,,not man,,in any way…Look at Paul,he was on a mission to imprison and kill,he protected the coats for those who brutaly stoned a real christian-(to death).( he had to protect them so they would not be stolen,so much for trusting pharasees).. But God easily struck him down to convert his will,God used outside quick pressure,but inside new birth to convert him. GOD DOES NOT SEND PEOPLE TO HELL AND WATCHES THEM CLOSELY TO SEE IF THEY WILL REPENT. THEY NEVER WILL. By the way,all true christians would not repent as well, we owe ALL our salvation to God’s mercy, and GRACE- coming through the inner rebirth of our Spirits- being born again. We are God’s chosen elect,the rest were not. Their Father is the devil. Read the parable about the farmer who planted a field,his enemy planted something different. By the way, one big reason people keep believing this nonsense about universalism is because they dont embrace the clear truth of Election. I know there is always some scriptures that appear to contradict major doctrines but they all can be fitted into the flow of scripture if one isn’t bias. Its how you read them,and interpret them..But crazy ideas contradict 100s of scriptures…Just focus on the Diety of Jesus, the bible says he was a man, the Bible also says He was Lord and God,, Just let all scripture speak,avoid bias. The flow of scripture truth never supports crazy ideas….By the way, the scriptures deClare that God wants all men to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth, please read what ALL really means- John 6:39…….You see, we must first know what Jesus taught, and let those truths to be solitified into our hearts and minds, then read and interpret the letters written to the churches….Perhaps its best to start those letters by reading 1st Timothy 6:3-5,,,,..One last thought,,,the article above stated that hell was not eternal for those who go there, I sure hope people read what Jesus stated and believe it to be true, when He describe it as the place where the worm does not die…and let’s also not forget the teaching from Jesus that some will be punished worse then others, this shows God true justice, that if man won’t repent but are not of the worse kind, their punishment is much less. We ( true) christians should also stay totally humble, knowing the mercy shown us.
Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback Dave. I agree that we are only saved because of God’s grace and that even our repentance and faith are things that wouldn’t occur without the Holy Spirit working in our lives. I agree Jesus is Lord and God, and that Scripture needs to be interpreted in light of all Scripture and its overarching narrative/flow. Regarding 1 Timothy 6:3-5, I agree it’s important to try our best to teach and adhere to the sound teaching of Jesus that promotes godliness and to avoid being conceited, ignorant, needlessly argumentative, and slanderous—especially for material gain.
Some of the passages you mention explicitly state what God wills. Combining that with the belief that God always gets what He wills, logically seems to imply universalism (as has been noted many times eg http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2010/12/calvinism-leads-to-universalism/).
It’s worth noting that Christ has been given all things (which includes everyone):
I agree the Elect will be saved first but throughout the Bible, one of the major roles of God’s chosen people is to witness to the non-believing Nations in this age and even in the next:
I know George & Eric are well aware of the debate that has gone on for millennia about how exactly God achieves His will and whether we have free will.
For every good hope and light to glimpse there exists a contradiction. For every I see what evil they do, yet I shall save them anyways! there exists a I will mock them when their day of trouble comes. They will scream for me and I will not listen. The prayers of the wicked are an abomination. Every man has fallen short, every man is an abomination to that standard. Or man being the monster with Jesus, his own followers, lord bring fire on them they are this and that and Jesus being very angry with his own apostles, showing a care. His last words, a care. Forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing. – True words also, no clue what I’m doing, trying to endure and find comfort where I can skirting all authority and law to do so such is the misery. For that there is God. Happy in the man who speared through a man mid coitus with some woman for his zealousy. Squashed 2 worthless bugs of no consideration with one spear, give that man a medal! That’s the “good mindset”
The bible is every bit as much a headache as being is in this regard. Can’t be given over to hatred and dismissal for the hypocrisies fully for the consideration of God and all these things, such as people speaking for him, shown in Isiah- where the prophet breaks down confessing having blasphemed against God. Nor can you trust to the degree you’re being asked to.
The question is if the day comes where God would speak for himself if having endured so many fruitless thoughts, so many painful hopes, so much silence from God, if the created would be willing to listen, would be willing to come to an invitation to reason. Or would they skip that one and prefer a covenant with death, the promise of OBLIVION. Sweet release from one it seems so clearly loves to confound,confuse and torture you. Only to confuse further with every sudden and kind gesture, ever fearful of the imminent cost, the imminent bitterness as being has shown.
From the weight, the wounds, if they would go “now”, now? you choose to speak, when it is too late and my spirit is broken, my heart blackening,hardening, no matter how much I strife against it, after so much screaming desiring communication, after so much silence. NOW YOU SPEAK? Being has defined it, you have nothing to say worth hearing, the silence said enough. Who is speaking then, despite having ears, I hear nothing. You have despised me, you did not conquer your hatred where it is a fairy tale that you would love, nor have I conquered mine. I want no reason, no covenant with you, death deals honestly where you have only lied.
Or would they magically be healed? Relying on the strength of comforts to make all consideration beyond self pleasure (what was pursued in the madness) stop. Sure, what’s up? Pish posh, all those things, no big deal. Your will my hands, it’s not like I got a mind of my own or a spirit shattered into pieces and a hatred as shadow. I’ve drunk the kool-aid, my dopamine is elevated, I am happy, happy to hear from you.
If God saves any at all, it won’t be easily. For half the heart knows the salvation would be from him, from being, and it must be dealt with. Personally I never wanted any of this and sleep is my singular peace.