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Rodger,

 

Is this quote saying that God has deliberately prearranged and planned out all the pain and suffering that people experience in this world? God has deliberately created man to experience the deaths of 15,000 little children each day to malnutrition and starvation, to mass genocides throughout history, to world wars, civil wars, catastrophic natural events?

 

Cheers

Paul

 

Hi Paul.

 

Yes, I do believe that.

 

I believe that after our resurrection from the dead God will eventually somehow transform every second of everyone's suffering into something better that it happened.

That includes both the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as what the Bible calls "kolasis aionion" which means age-during corrective chastisement that everyone who needs it will experience.

 

I also believe that God will eventually fit every unique individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

Then, after God has finished using evil and suffering for the reasons why He allowed them to temporarily exist, He will eradicate them from existence.

 

#9 – A SNIPPET FROM A CLOUD OF WITNESSES – J.W. HANSON

 

“The deliverance of the whole human family from sin and sorrow, its final holiness and happiness, has been the thought of multitudes, even when the prevailing doctrines around them were wholly hostile.”

 

A book of quotes by more than 500 believers in universal salvation.

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Welcome, Rodger!   I, too, hope for a better future for humanity than what we have inherited from our past and are creating in our world today. And it is indeed comforting to think that God has a pl

Good quotes. My first introduction to Universalism was probably the writings of William Barclay –it has always been a convincing position, to me.   A few samples from a more recent author, Rob Bell

Although I am not affiliated with official universalism or if that even exists. I do believe that Jesus is the savior of ALL men and that means everyone is moving on the next life. That being said I

Hi Paul.

 

Yes, I do believe that.

 

I believe that after our resurrection from the dead God will eventually somehow transform every second of everyone's suffering into something better that it happened.

That includes both the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as what the Bible calls "kolasis aionion" which means age-during corrective chastisement that everyone who needs it will experience.

 

I also believe that God will eventually fit every unique individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

Then, after God has finished using evil and suffering for the reasons why He allowed them to temporarily exist, He will eradicate them from existence.

 

Roger,

 

May I ask why you think God would do that? Why would he make some people feel immeasurable pain such as parents of starved chidren or maybe parents of kidnapped and abused children? Why he would let some children be sexually abused yet not others, and why would he let you be able to postulate like this but not say a kid born in an African ghetto who has no access to books, the internet, and perhaps such reasoning?

 

Why would God do that to his Creation?

 

Cheers

Paul

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Rodger,

 

May I ask why you think God would do that? Why would he make some people feel immeasurable pain such as parents of starved chidren or maybe parents of kidnapped and abused children? Why he would let some children be sexually abused yet not others, and why would he let you be able to postulate like this but not say a kid born in an African ghetto who has no access to books, the internet, and perhaps such reasoning?

 

Why would God do that to his Creation?

 

Cheers

Paul

 

Paul, my percetion of the reason is that there is absolutely nothing that God lets anyone go through in the way of suffering that God is not going to eventually transform into something better that it happened, both for the sufferer, and for the one who causes the suffering, as he fits each of us into His master plan in our own unique way, a way that will eventually bring blessing to everyone involved in such a way that it will magnify His grace (i.e. unmerited favour).

 

Which brings me to snippet #10

 

#10 – A SNIPPET FROM TRUTH AS I SEE IT – W.F. SALTER

 

“Does God not love His enemies, even as He has taught us to love ours? If He fails to reconcile even one, must it not be due to a lack of love, or of power? These qualities find their source in Him! So of a certainty He shall bring circumstances to bear which shall ultimately cause all to know, with understanding, His great love manifested in the gift of His Son, and this in turn shall fill each heart with adoration and love, and praise to God.

 

When God’s plans for the ages of time (eonian times) have been accomplished, every experience of man will, under the guidance of His wisdom, work together with every other experience for man’s highest ultimate good, and thus redound to God’s honor and glory.”

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#11 – A SNIPPET FROM A SHORT HELP AND INCENTIVE TO AN UNBIASED INQUIRY INTO THE SCRIPTURE TRUTH OF UNIVERSALISM OR THE FINAL RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS – R. ROE

 

“The adjective aionios, in the case of the wicked, is restricted to a limited period by its noun kolasis; of which the literal sense is clipping or pruning. It means the kind of punishment which tends to the improvement of the criminal. If endless were the sense of the adjective describing chastisement, it would represent God as acting under the influence of an endlessly vain expectation.

 

The belief of the Universalist includes a reconciliation of the tenets of Calvinism and Arminianism, by uniting the leading doctrines of both as far as they are found in the Scriptures; from which union they believe that the sentiment of Universal Restoration naturally flows.”

 

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Universal Reconciliation, in a narrow sense, seems to answer a question I have not asked as an adult. Second it seems to be one answer to the problem of evil: Why does a Good and All-Powerful God allow bad things to happen to good people? I think that answers to problems in this life are answered in this life so - - -

 

But I do wonder

All of God’s punishments are corrective ...

[they] will not last any longer than is necessary to produce the end for which it exists in the first place.

I know this is out of context but it sounds like God will water-board me until I yell "Uncle" or "Jesus"

 

I can understand

When we finally weary of our own selfishness, petty jealousies, and lust for power; when we learn at last, perhaps through bitter experience, that these lead only to ruin and cannot bring enduring happiness, that nothing short of union with God and reconciliation with others will satisfy our own deepest yearnings; when we discover that the Hound of Heaven has finally closed off every alternative to such a union, we shall then, each of us, finally embrace the destiny that is ours.”

This speaks to me of an answer in this life.

 

My question for today

If the following is true

“God prearranged it all, from the fall of man to the glory of the consummation. Not one thing was left to chance. All was founded on His wisdom.

is there any point in petitionary prayer? Can we, like the regrettable results of the flood, or the pleadings of Abraham and Moses, change God's mind?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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#10 – A SNIPPET FROM TRUTH AS I SEE IT – W.F. SALTER

 

“Does God not love His enemies, even as He has taught us to love ours? If He fails to reconcile even one, must it not be due to a lack of love, or of power? These qualities find their source in Him! So of a certainty He shall bring circumstances to bear which shall ultimately cause all to know, with understanding, His great love manifested in the gift of His Son, and this in turn shall fill each heart with adoration and love, and praise to God.

 

When God’s plans for the ages of time (eonian times) have been accomplished, every experience of man will, under the guidance of His wisdom, work together with every other experience for man’s highest ultimate good, and thus redound to God’s honor and glory.”

 

Hello Roger and welcome to this community. Just finally read your very moving testimony and the responses as there is just too much going on to keep up with every post. Thanks for sharing.

 

Just a couple questions on this snippet. (Just for the record, neither do i believe God will torment people with everlasting torment)

1. What exactly do you see as the gift of his son? Do you see any other religions other than Christianity that offer God's gift to us?

2. Does God really seek adoration and praise? If so, Why or what makes you think so?

 

I would be interested in your understanding of this. Thanks in advance for your time.

 

Joseph

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Universal Reconciliation, in a narrow sense, seems to answer a question I have not asked as an adult. Second it seems to be one answer to the problem of evil: Why does a Good and All-Powerful God allow bad things to happen to good people? I think that answers to problems in this life are answered in this life so - - -

 

But I do wonder

 

I know this is out of context but it sounds like God will water-board me until I yell "Uncle" or "Jesus"

 

I can understand

 

This speaks to me of an answer in this life.

 

My question for today

If the following is true

 

is there any point in petitionary prayer? Can we, like the regrettable results of the flood, or the pleadings of Abraham and Moses, change God's mind?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Dutch, I think that all prayer is caused by God.

He will teach appropriate lessons whether or not His answer to prayer is yes, or no, or later.

 

#12 – A SNIPPET FROM THE FIVE SMOOTH STONES OF THE KINGDOM – IRENE LINDSAY

 

“It is a great giant, this one called eternal hell!!! It can only be killed by the stone of truth taken from the running waters of God’s word. These waters have been running for a long time, but the stone to kill the giant is ready now.

 

God told Israel to set everything free in the year of Jubilee. God is going to have a Jubilee in totality over all sin, all death, and all destruction in this world. This world belongs to God and it shall be restored and shine with glory. God’s tapestry is unrolling bit by bit, and when it is all unrolled, the great Jubilee of rest for the entire universe will be unveiled.”

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To Dutch: For whatever it is worth, your questions reflect my own struggle with UR theology. I looked into UR for a couple of years after the incident at the Bible church where, as Rodger calls them, the ETers threatened my son with hell. What I found in the brand of UR that I looked into was the notion, as Rodger describes it, of "aionian punishment." On the surface, this seems more in keeping with a God of love, that he would not torment his creatures for all of eternity.

 

But what this translated to, in practical terms, was that God would still cast people into a literal burning hell until they finally said, "Okay, okay, I've had enough! I now see that You are a loving and merciful God! Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Can I please get out now?"

 

This kind of "logic" just didn't work for me. I still don't think Jesus taught a literal hell, although I don't want to get into the debate at this time. If I was a literalist (and I suppose I still am on some things), I would agree with Paul that the wages of sin is death, not that the wages of sin is torment at the hands of God.

 

My understanding of UR, limited though it was compared to all of Rodgers years in this form of Christianity, is that 1) God reconciled every human being to himself at the cross and that 2) everyone will someday come to accept and understand that reconciliation. How and when that happens was of no concern to the URers that I knew. The UR theology I was exposed to hinged upon the event of the cross and the present and future bowing of people to Christ as King. It, therefore, had little to no use for Jesus' teachings or his way of life. So, to me, it was still a religious system that focused on changing one's destination while leaving one essentially unchanged -- "saved by syllables" i.e. saying the right words.

 

I hope I haven't been too harsh here. I'm just trying to describe my experience with and understanding of UR. I respect the system for trying to deal "scripturally" with the problem of evil and the natural repulsion that most people have that God would eternally torture people. But I just think salvation is a more complex thing than "how long do we spend in hell and how do we get out?"

 

Again, for whatever it's worth, my studies of Jesus' teachings have led me to think that he believed, not that people would go to heaven, but that the Kingdom of God would *fully* come (as a physical on-earth manifestation) within one generation of his ascension and that faithful God-believers would be resurrected to live on that "new heavens and new earth." I'm not saying that this is *my* understanding of eschatology because 1) Jesus was obviously wrong about when the kingdom would fully come and 2) I think we know more now about human consciousness than first century Jews did. But the notion that humans have an immortal soul is definately not a scriptural one, and yet it is the underpinning of both the ETers and the URers (and probably most Christians).

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Roger,

 

After some thought, i can see that there is a multitude of overwheming topics you have covered by your snippets without "fully" exploring all questions and explanations on any of them before continuing. Twelve snippets in 12 days is a bit too much to follow and and allow members to participate in. With all due respect for your presence, intentions and wonderful testimony, what we are looking for as Dutch has indicated and echoed by Wayseeker is active participation, not just to have our forum filled with snippets for thought or contemplation.

 

Dutch has allowed it in this area as a trial thing to see where it would go. It seems to me that one can google a universe of snippets on the internet if they wish or purchase books full of them. There are many wonderful quotes and quips that can be found here and elsewhere for contemplation and discussion. The snippets are coming too fast for meaningful discussion and questions.

 

It is evident that you have found the snippets you post from your library very useful in your life. I for one am very happy for you and the help you have received from such writings in your journey. How you find each of them useful is of great interest to myself and this community as a whole as are the views and testimonies of all its members.

 

Unfortunately, the snippets themselves offer us little we cannot find for ourselves with a little research. Links to external sites with such snippets that may be of interest to members here are most welcome on this site in the "Link area" under Resources or a few quips and quotes from time to time in the Personal Stories and Journey's area under the pinned thread "Quips and Quotes". However, as Admin, i find it wise not to allow everyone who has a library of snippets to publish all of them here. It simply is not within the mission of this forum community nor does it offer us the insight and explanations of posters and others that members might seek to share here.

 

Perhaps you can post some that are most meaningful or relevant to you under its own thread in the "Debate and Dialog" section and explain a bit on why you believe it and how it has helped you and allow others to question or share their related views on the snippet. Perhaps you can keep a couple threads going at a time and when they have become inactive start a couple more. If there is no response, you can assume there is no interest and in time those threads without responses are deleted. This i believe may be of mutual benefit to both yourself and forum readers and members.

 

Please give this request your consideration as i perceive you have much wisdom to offer and perhaps may even receive some from others here as an active community member rather than just a poster of snippets.

 

JosephM (as Admin)

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Rodger,

Dutch, I think that all prayer is caused by God.

He will teach appropriate lessons whether or not His answer to prayer is yes, or no, or later

If God causes both my prayer and my answer then there isn't much room for me, I think. What is the purpose of prayer?

Can God's mind be changed? By the results of God's own actions as the Bible describes in the flood story? By the pleadings of Moses? By my prayers? Am I in a dynamic relationship with the Divine? Or am I battered about at the whim of a petulant God?

 

Dutch

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Rodger,

 

If God causes both my prayer and my answer then there isn't much room for me, I think. What is the purpose of prayer?

Can God's mind be changed? By the results of God's own actions as the Bible describes in the flood story? By the pleadings of Moses? By my prayers? Am I in a dynamic relationship with the Divine? Or am I battered about at the whim of a petulant God?

 

Dutch

 

Looks like the message board is back online. :-)

 

The way I see it there is no room at all for me. :-)

I see prayer as caused by God to keep us aware of His intimate sovereign control.

I believe God caused the pleadings of Moses, and answered them to reveal how He wanted Moses to be involved in the process.

I see God's creatures as micro-managed by Him.

Instead of being "battered about by a petulant God" I see myself as being under His loving control of absolutely everything that I do and He will not let anything happen to anyone that He does not intend to make it better that it happened.

I believe that Ephesians 1:11 has no exceptions.

The way I see it, we all have wills alright, they are just not free.

 

Then why do we even exist, we might ask? Why do our wills exist? Is God playing chess with Himself? Why does He even need us? Why does He bother letting us think that we’re free?

 

I think it is in this perceived realm of freedom that we live and learn. God has given us the gift of NOT FEELING HIS CONTROL, and it is this gift that allows us to struggle with decisions, suffer for mistakes, and revel in the overcoming of obstacles.

 

It is this gift that allows us to turn to Him with tears both of sorrow and of joy.

 

I think the idea is to bring us in humble adoration to His feet. If it takes a sovereign God to assure that we come to this blessed place, then let’s let Him be sovereign — at the same time revelling in our perceived (but not actual) freedom.

Anyway, that's the way I see it. :)

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#13 – A SNIPPET FROM TIME AND ETERNITY A BIBLICAL STUDY - G.T. STEVENSON

 

“Many plain direct statements in the sacred scriptures declare that the purpose of God through our Lord Jesus Christ is to bless all humanity and to bring the whole universe into harmony with Himself.

 

How can this be if myriads of mankind whom He so loves were to be kept alive forever in hopeless misery? And what kind of a god could love the sinner with Calvary love until he died, and then leave him in indescribable suffering eternally?”

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...at the same time revelling in our perceived (but not actual) freedom.

 

That's interesting, Rodger. So, in other words, God has us living in self-deception...and he designed it that way. We think we have freedom of will, but we really don't. If this is your view, it is really not a harmony of Calvinism and Arminianism, it is pure Calvinism, albeit with the twist that everyone is/will be saved because salvation is something that God does apart from any human response or cooperation. Any human response or cooperation is, what, just perception that we had a role to play?

 

Which brings me to a question: How/when is someone saved, in your opinion?

 

I agree with you that certain passages in the Bible uphold God's sovereignty, the notion that absolutely nothing happens without God either doing it or allowing it to happen. I'm sure you could quote these passages better than I. But I also have to say that most (but not all) of these come from the Old Testament where the view of God is often that of a warrior-king. The ancient Hebrews, being an often-oppressed, persecuted, and always-on-the-edge-of-extinction people, needed such a view of God to help them survive. They believed that no matter how bad things got, yes, God was "in control" and had a purpose for all their suffering. I admire them for their faith, though I don't always agree with their theology.

 

Jesus, on the other hand (and imo) does not often teach about God being "in control." Yes, he insists that God has a kingdom. But, according to Jesus, that kingdom is not defined by "control", but by service and sacrifice. It is the kingdoms "of this world" that are based upon despots who are "in control", forcing people to do things against their will, wiping out all human freedom so that one (or a few) may have total control. Jesus' idea of God's kingdom was that the truly "powerful" did not force (or deceive) others into obedience, but, instead, washed feet, accepted the unacceptable, sacrificed self for the sake of others. To me, Jesus' teachings about God's kind of kingdom are not about God's sovereignty being enforced from the outside, but about God's compassion motivating us from the inside. God, like a Father, is not pleased when he forces us to do his will, but when we freely chose it, knowing that his will is best for us and our world. And in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus directly implies that God's will is NOT done on earth. So I can't interpret Jesus as teaching in whole that God is in control and that God's will is always done. Rather, we should pray for and align our lives in such a way that God's will is done through us. That's not "control", it's cooperation.

 

What are your thoughts on salvation, Rodger?

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Yes Dutch, it would be accurate to call what I believe Calvinistic universalism.

 

What do I believe about salvation? you asked.

 

I’m convinced that after we have thought the very best thoughts about God, we can be sure that He is even better than that because He is able to do above what we can even think, Ephesians 3:20. And IMHO I cannot think any higher thoughts than universal transformation.

 

I believe that after our resurrection from the dead God will eventually somehow transform every second of everyone's suffering into something better that it happened.

That includes both the unexplained and seemingly unjustifiable suffering that we all experience in varying degrees, as well as what the Bible calls "kolasis aionion" which means age-during corrective chastisement that everyone who needs it will experience.

 

I believe that God will eventually fit every unique individual into His master plan in a positive way that necessitates their unique temporary involvement in evil and suffering that will enable God to manifest, and glorify, and magnify the many facets of His character in a way that uniquely involves that person, and everyone else involved in that person’s life too.

Then, after God has finished using evil and suffering for the reasons why He allowed them to temporarily exist, He will eradicate them from existence.

 

I believe that God has both the ability and the intention to save all fallen creatures from everything from which they need to be saved, and He will not fail to do so.

 

I believe that God's determination, within the wise counsel of His DECRETIVE will which is that which MUST occur, to eventually rid all of creation from suffering, will in every case, overcome the strongest will that is temporarily opposed to God's PRECEPTIVE will which is what His creatures OUGHT to do, e.g. THE GOLDEN RULE, and accepting Jesus.

 

I believe that all evil eventually leads to good, however, God is the only One Who can do this. He created evil (Isaiah 45:7), to provide the contrast for good. When all good is revealed, then evil will be abolished from God’s universe — forever.

THE PURPOSE OF EVIL – A.P. Adams (GOOD EXPOSITION)

http://thegloryrd.com:80/apadams/evil.html

 

I believe the only mistake that I am probably making is in grossly underestimating just how gloriously God will achieve this universal transformation through what Christ accomplished for everyone by His death and resurrection, through the power in the blood of his cross.

 

That is the kind of God that I see in the Bible.

 

THE COROLLARY TO MY BELIEFS

 

For me the corollary to my belief in universal transformation is just as important as the belief itself.

The corollary is that when the chips are down and I am overwhelmed by life's negatives to the point where I can't make my wonderful theology work for me in a practical way, yet even that sorry state of affairs is something that God will eventually transform into something better for me that it temporarily prevailed.

 

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#14 – A SNIPPET FROM THE DIVINE DESTINY – K. ROSS MCKAY

 

“The great enmity of mankind is but a background to magnify and display the far greater love of our God. Such love is as measureless as it is timeless; a vast portion being yet unrevealed. ‘And having made peace through the blood of Christ’s cross, by Him to reconcile all unto Himself, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.’ This plan of the ages is our Lord’s ultimate purpose according to the declared will of Almighty God. This is the divine destiny of all in His creation. This is love that never fails.”

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Rodger, thanks for your response, but you didn't directly answer my question: How and when is someone saved?

 

To be honest, I admire your view of God and of God's plan. A lot. Though I was an Arminian for much of my life (just couldn't swallow the double predestination form of Calvinism), I also believed that God was good and, deep in my heart, I struggled greatly with how a good God could put people into everlasting torment. Thus, my foray into UR and Tentmaker.org. Though, as you know, there are quite a number of verses that support UR, I admit that after about 2 years in the movement, I just didn't have enough faith to hold to it.

 

See, Rodger, for the same reason that I rejected the doctrine of everlasting torment (a good God wouldn't do that to a creation he loves), I also have to, if I am true to my heart, reject the notion that God created evil and that war, sickness, cancer, starvation, miscarriage, divorce, crime, natural disasters, and death are all intrinsically the acts and/or will of a loving God. I just can't wrap my head or my heart around such a notion. You have, obviously, found a way to do so, but I can't. I look at all these things around me and while I feel an inner compulsion to do something about them (and do what I can), I just can't quite bring myself to the point of saying, "...and we all lived happily ever after." Call it my own failing, but if things are this messed up *right now* in a world that God created and loves, I see no reason to think that God will fix things *later* apart from our involvement. I just don't. I don't have that kind of faith.

 

I enjoy "Happily Ever After" endings. I root for them through the whole book or movie. But I know that is fiction. Real life is much more complicated and messy and things don't always work out. Given all the evil in our world and sometimes in us, for me to believe that God is love, I have to reject the notion that he is the author and sustainer of evil. I find no way within my pea-brain to harmonize "God is love" with "God is in control." I just can't do it. But I'm glad for you that you can.

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Rodger, thanks for your response, but you didn't directly answer my question: How and when is someone saved?

 

To be honest, I admire your view of God and of God's plan. A lot. Though I was an Arminian for much of my life (just couldn't swallow the double predestination form of Calvinism), I also believed that God was good and, deep in my heart, I struggled greatly with how a good God could put people into everlasting torment. Thus, my foray into UR and Tentmaker.org. Though, as you know, there are quite a number of verses that support UR, I admit that after about 2 years in the movement, I just didn't have enough faith to hold to it.

 

See, Rodger, for the same reason that I rejected the doctrine of everlasting torment (a good God wouldn't do that to a creation he loves), I also have to, if I am true to my heart, reject the notion that God created evil and that war, sickness, cancer, starvation, miscarriage, divorce, crime, natural disasters, and death are all intrinsically the acts and/or will of a loving God. I just can't wrap my head or my heart around such a notion. You have, obviously, found a way to do so, but I can't. I look at all these things around me and while I feel an inner compulsion to do something about them (and do what I can), I just can't quite bring myself to the point of saying, "...and we all lived happily ever after." Call it my own failing, but if things are this messed up *right now* in a world that God created and loves, I see no reason to think that God will fix things *later* apart from our involvement. I just don't. I don't have that kind of faith.

 

I enjoy "Happily Ever After" endings. I root for them through the whole book or movie. But I know that is fiction. Real life is much more complicated and messy and things don't always work out. Given all the evil in our world and sometimes in us, for me to believe that God is love, I have to reject the notion that he is the author and sustainer of evil. I find no way within my pea-brain to harmonize "God is love" with "God is in control." I just can't do it. But I'm glad for you that you can.

 

How and when is someone saved? You asked

 

I believe that the timing of each person's salvation in under God's intimate sovereign control, so it's not just 100% provided by God, but it is 100% by God, just like to was for Lydia, and Saul of Tarsus. I believe that any cooperation with God for our salvation is the result, not the cause of God laying hold on us by His sovereign grace and making Jesus "choice" in our heart. I believe that salvation is by grace, plus nothing.

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I'll trade you a response for another snippet. :-)

 

#15 – A SNIPPET FROM IS HELL ETERNAL? – MIKKEL DAHL AND JON R. WELKER

 

“Most Christian ministers seek only to search out passages of scripture that corroborate the eternal hell school of theology to which they belong; and whatever passages are unfortunately found in conflict are put through the required interpretations and contortions to disqualify for entry. Christian ministers all have posts to fill; they have a job to hold down; wherefore they dare not reach out for truth lest they should see too much and their conscience disturb them and their livelihood be imperilled.”

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>>I'll trade you a response for another snippet.

 

No thanks, Rodger. You haven't answered my question, imo. And I have little interest in reading the writings on this forum (or any other) which are little more than "talking heads" that cannot be interacted with. Thanks, anyway. I will leave you to your premise.

 

Regards,

Bill

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>>I'll trade you a response for another snippet.

 

No thanks, Rodger. You haven't answered my question, imo. And I have little interest in reading the writings on this forum (or any other) which are little more than "talking heads" that cannot be interacted with. Thanks, anyway. I will leave you to your premise.

 

Regards,

Bill

 

Please refresh my memory of what question I have not answered, Bill.

I'll give it another try.

 

Did you miss this response of mine?

 

How and when is someone saved? was asked

 

I believe that the timing of each person's salvation in under God's intimate sovereign control, so it's not just 100% provided by God, but it is 100% by God, just like to was for Lydia, and Saul of Tarsus. I believe that any cooperation with God for our salvation is the result, not the cause of God laying hold on us by His sovereign grace and making Jesus "choice" in our heart. I believe that salvation is by grace, plus nothing.

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“Rodger, thanks for your response, but you didn't directly answer my question: How and when is someone saved?” Wayseeker

 

Great question…………………………

 

It seems many Christians have fallen into a sub-Christian way of thinking when they look forward to people being punished and tortured. The Christian thought I find rewarding is that all are saved by Divine love, which is everywhere. We only need to pay attention and listen to our heart. Some might withdraw from the world to learn how to do this, but it seems this spiritual awareness is an effective way to enjoy the world more fully and peacefully while we live in it and help others. I feel this is not something we do, but something we live and feel. Jesus warns of the alternative reality so we can see the horrors of evil and ill will. I feel the desire is for us to wake up and live in harmony with the world and ourselves. The warnings are only to examine who we are, our view of the world and our relation to it so we will cultivate an appreciation for the fullness of each moment.

 

“The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”

1 Chronicles 28:9

 

Divine love is not just out there, but also in each one of us. It seems we just need to trust and have faith in the Divinity within us, the deepest strength to be present and wakeful to God’s love. This faith makes our actions effortless in music, comedy, sports and service to others. It is a dance with the Divine. It doesn’t matter if someone changes, listens or loses. The Dance doesn’t stop unless we become unaware, which happens to all of us from time to time. We set ourselves on the path of self-will and self-exclusion from love. When this happens, I have found it helps me see the consequences of living without love, while self-giving service to others shows me forgiveness, and the deep attractiveness of the Divinity within. This is how I am saved from myself by honestly responding to the call of love and compassion. It seems I am saved every time I am brought back to the present moment where everyone is swimming in the depths of love. Love is a place that has no exceptions and is extended to everyone present in the moment, if they know of a Christ or not. It seems we are saved by a God we do not know, and who has spoken to us in our own voice, in our own heart, and to our own breath without going anywhere, doing anything or making anything better or different.

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#16 – A SNIPPET FROM THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL TORMENTS OVERTHROWN – by Samuel Richardson, edited by Thomas Whittemore, and published by him in 1833. On page 85, Whittemore says that Richardson wrote this book nearly 200 years before 1833.

 

First of all, there is what Richardson wrote nearly 200 years before 1833: “The doctrine of endless hell torments hath caused many to murder themselves, taking away their own lives by poison, stabbing, drowning, hanging, strangling, and shooting themselves, casting themselves out of windows, and from high places, to break their necks and by other kinds of death, that they might not live to increase their sin, and increase their torments in hell.”

 

Now here is what Whittemore the editor, wrote at the bottom of the page nearly 200 years later in 1833:

“Here we see the same dreadful effects attended the doctrine of endless misery nearly 200 years ago which attend it now. It was then the cause of anxiety, despair, and suicide, as we suppose it always was before, where fully believed, and as we know it has been of late years. Let posterity know, that within the last ten years, there have been a large number of suicides, which must be attributed to the doctrine of endless torment. That doctrine makes men melancholy; it drives them to despair; they know not what to do; and they sever the brittle thread, Fathers and Mothers, in repeated instances in the United States, have murdered their children, lest they should grow up, and commit sin, and be damned. Can a doctrine which produces such dreadful consequences be the doctrine of God?” End of Quote.

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I appreciate your input on this, Soma. As I'm sure you know, for many (perhaps most) Christians, salvation is an "event" that they can point to in their lives where, because of something they believed or did at that moment, God took them out of the "going to hell" line and placed them into the "going to heaven" line. I won't speak for Rodger, but most of the UR folks that I knew believed that if Jesus hadn't died, everyone would go to hell. Obviously, I don't hold to that theology. So I was asking Rodger his thoughts on how a person "got saved" and when such "salvation" happens.

 

For me, salvation is a process, it is a journey of being made whole and healed. While I can point to events in my life such as when I said the "sinner's prayer", was baptized, and the numerous times that I rededicated my life to God, these are signposts along the way of my salvation, but not the whole of it. I am still being saved.

 

Similarly, I feel that I am still being reconciled to God when the barriers that exist (or that I think exist) between God and I fall. As you have said, it is an open-ended awareness. So I tend to see both reconciliation and salvation as not something that God does on our behalf, but as a change in our awareness, an opening of our perception to receive and experience what has always been there all along. Salvation, to me, is not about God changing his mind about us; it's about us changing our minds (and hearts) about God.

 

Of course, against the typical Christian background that everyone is born in the "going-to-hell-line", my understanding and experience of salvation and reconciliation falls woefully short of the certainty that many hold to that God has, in response to their faith/works, changed their ultimate destination. After all, if you're told you are going to hell unless you do the right things or believe the right way, you sure as hell (ha ha!) want to do or believe the right things. If pushed on it, I guess I would say that at this point of my journey, everyone goes into God. But I'm not convinced that our sense of identity will be preserved when we do so, and this goes strongly against the Christian notion (and some of Jesus' teachings) that the "self" will survive. If Jesus taught us to have a "self-less" life, I don't see how God could reward that with a "selfish" eternity. ;)

 

But I guess where I most disagree with the UR folks is that, for them, Jesus' blood is necessary to buy God's mercy to deliver us from hell at some point. For me, God's mercy was never for sale (at any price) and Jesus' blood was a sacrifice to us, not to God. So I don't see Jesus' death as the switch that threw the tracks from "everybody-goes-to-hell" to "everybody-goes-to-heaven." Jesus' death is one aspect of his life, but I don't see it as the linchpin upon which the fate of the whole human race depended.

 

As usual, this is just my understanding.

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I appreciate your input on this, Soma. As I'm sure you know, for many (perhaps most) Christians, salvation is an "event" that they can point to in their lives where, because of something they believed or did at that moment, God took them out of the "going to hell" line and placed them into the "going to heaven" line. I won't speak for Rodger, but most of the UR folks that I knew believed that if Jesus hadn't died, everyone would go to hell. Obviously, I don't hold to that theology. So I was asking Rodger his thoughts on how a person "got saved" and when such "salvation" happens.

 

For me, salvation is a process, it is a journey of being made whole and healed. While I can point to events in my life such as when I said the "sinner's prayer", was baptized, and the numerous times that I rededicated my life to God, these are signposts along the way of my salvation, but not the whole of it. I am still being saved.

 

Similarly, I feel that I am still being reconciled to God when the barriers that exist (or that I think exist) between God and I fall. As you have said, it is an open-ended awareness. So I tend to see both reconciliation and salvation as not something that God does on our behalf, but as a change in our awareness, an opening of our perception to receive and experience what has always been there all along. Salvation, to me, is not about God changing his mind about us; it's about us changing our minds (and hearts) about God.

 

Of course, against the typical Christian background that everyone is born in the "going-to-hell-line", my understanding and experience of salvation and reconciliation falls woefully short of the certainty that many hold to that God has, in response to their faith/works, changed their ultimate destination. After all, if you're told you are going to hell unless you do the right things or believe the right way, you sure as hell (ha ha!) want to do or believe the right things. If pushed on it, I guess I would say that at this point of my journey, everyone goes into God. But I'm not convinced that our sense of identity will be preserved when we do so, and this goes strongly against the Christian notion (and some of Jesus' teachings) that the "self" will survive. If Jesus taught us to have a "self-less" life, I don't see how God could reward that with a "selfish" eternity. ;)

 

But I guess where I most disagree with the UR folks is that, for them, Jesus' blood is necessary to buy God's mercy to deliver us from hell at some point. For me, God's mercy was never for sale (at any price) and Jesus' blood was a sacrifice to us, not to God. So I don't see Jesus' death as the switch that threw the tracks from "everybody-goes-to-hell" to "everybody-goes-to-heaven." Jesus' death is one aspect of his life, but I don't see it as the linchpin upon which the fate of the whole human race depended.

 

As usual, this is just my understanding.

 

I believe that salvation is a process too - a process that will include koilasis aionios (age-during corrective chastisement) for those who need it.

 

I believe that everyone who is cast into the lake of fire which is the second death will be saved out of it.

 

Greek scholar William Barclay wrote concerning kolasis aionion (age-during corrective chastisement) in Matthew 25:46

"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. There is no instance in Greek secular literature where kolasis does not mean remedial punishment. It is a simple fact that in Greek kolasis always means remedial punishment. God's punishment is always for man's cure."

 

See what other Greek scholars say about it too.

AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS

http://www.tentmaker.../Chapter11.html

 

Fifteen literally translated (not interpretively translated) Bibles that reveal what God will do with the sinners in Matthew 25:46

Concordant Literal, Young’s literal, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Rotherham’s Emphasized, Scarlett’s, J.W. Hanson’s New Covenant, Twentieth Century, Ferrar Fenton, The Western New Testament, Weymouth’s (unedited), Clementson’s, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Bullinger’s Companion Bible margins, Jonathan Mitchell’s translation (2010).

 

Regarding the meaning of aionios, many Greek scholars agree with John Wesley Hanson.

AIÓN – AIÓNIOS

http://www.tentmaker.../Aion_lim.shtml

 

SEE

 

THE SCHOLARS CORNER THE CENTER FOR BIBLE STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN UNIVERSALISM

Scholar's Corner: The Center for Bible studies in Christian Universalism

http://www.tentmaker...larsCorner.html

Edited by rodgertutt
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