Christian Universalism should be an acceptable view in the church. Christian Universalism is the belief that all mankind will be saved through Jesus Christ. Christian Universalist base their belief in the salvation of all mankind based on these two Biblical statements: Statement 1---God has agape love for all mankind and desires their salvation(1Timothy 2:3-6 Arminian theology). Statement 2---God is sovereign and all powerful, therefore God will accomplish all of His desires(Isaiah 55:11 Calvinist theology). If God desires the salvation of all mankind(Statement 1) and God has the power through love to accomplish His desires(Statement 2), then it stands to reason that God will accomplish his desire to save all mankind. Futhermore, if Statement 1 is a true Biblical statement and Statement 2 is a true Biblical statement, why is it considered heretical for Christian Universalists to believe in both of these true Biblical statements? This is one of the many reasons why I believe in Christian Universalism or the salvation of all through Jesus Christ. Also, if statements 1 and 2 are both true Biblical statements, then as a matter of logic, there should be scriptures to support the conjunction of these two Biblical statements. Here is a list of some of those scriptures: Psalm 22:27-28, Psalm 66:3-4, Psalm 145:8-10, Isaiah 25:6-8, Isaiah 45:22-24, John 12:32, Romans 5:18-19, Romans 14:11, 1John 2:2, 1John 4:14, Colossians 1:16-20, 1Timothy 4:10-11, Revelation 5:13, and The Consummation(1Corinthians 15:22-28)---This is when Jesus Christ abolishes death by vivifying everyone(make alive), puts down His enemies and destroys them by making them His friends(reconciliation), then subjects Himself and everyone to God. With death abolished, and everyone subjected to God, there is no longer any seperation between God and man. God can now become All in all. This is not an exhaustive list of scriptures. There are many more scriptures that support the conjunction of Statements 1 and 2.
Thank you, rjohnson741, for the challenge and for shortening the character limit to 6000.
Pro defines Christian universalism as "the belief that all mankind will be saved through Jesus Christ." But we need to also explain what it means to be saved. In general, to be saved is to be rescued. In Christianity, we are being rescued from the wrath of God. Notice the contrast Paul makes between wrath and salvation:
1 Thessalonians 5:9 "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:9 "Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him."
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 "…Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come."
People are under the wrath of God is because of their sins (Romans 1:18, Colossians 3:5-6). To save people from the wrath of God, Jesus died for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). His death provides forgiveness for sins (Matthew 26:28). Consequently, salvation comes by the forgiveness of sins (Luke 1:77).
The alternative to suffering the wrath of God is having eternal life (John 3:36), so to be saved is to have eternal life (Titus 3:5-7). A person who has eternal life will not come under the judgment of God (John 5:24).
From all this, it follows that a person who is saved will (1) have their sins forgiven, (2) be spared the wrath of God, (3) not come under the judgment of God, and (4) have eternal life. If there is any person for whom all four of these things are not true, then that person is not saved, and if there is any person who will not be saved, then Christian universalism is false.
Christian universalism is false because there are some people whose sins will not be forgiven, who will suffer the wrath of God in judgement, and who will not have eternal life.
1. Not everybody will have their sins forgiven.
Matthew 12:31 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven."
Pro could claim that nobody ever has or will commit this sin, but the context indicates that some already have.
2. Some people will suffer the wrath of God.
Colossians 3:5-6 "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience."
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 "…Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come."
And let's not forget the bowls of wrath poured out on mankind in Revelation 16. All of these passages say that wrath is coming. There will actually be people who suffer the wrath of God.
3. Some people will come under the judgment of God.
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."
Matthew 11:22 "Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you."
2 Peter 3:7 "But by his word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."
These passages show that there will be a day of judgment in which some people will come under the judgment of God.
4. Not everybody will be raised to eternal life.
Daniel 12:2 "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt."
Matthew 25:46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Pro's argument for universal salvation
Pro's argument can be summarized like so:
1. God accomplishes all of his desires.
2. God desires the salvation of all people.
3. Therefore, God accomplishes the salvation of all people.
This argument commits the fallacy of equivocation because God's desires in the first premise does not have the same meaning as God's desires in the second premise. There is a difference between desiring to act and desiring a state of affairs, e.g., we might desire to punish our kids so they will learn good behavior, but wish we didn't have to.
And there are many examples in the Bible of God desiring things which he does not bring about. The most obvious example is morality. God has a desire for people to act morally (Proverbs 21:3), but every one of us acts immorally.
In Ezekiel 33:11, God says, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live." God has a desire that the wicked repent and live, but many don't, and the old testament is filled with examples of God killing the wicked.
So there are different senses in which God desires things. He has a moral will and a sovereign will. When we say that God accomplishes all his desires, we are speaking of God's sovereign will. But when we say that God desires that people turn from their wickedness and live, we are speaking of God's moral will.
We know that God does not sovereignly desire the salvation of all people through the following reasoning:
4. Whatever God sovereignly desires, he accomplishes.
5. God does not accomplish the salvation of all people.
6. Therefore, God does not sovereignly desire the salvation of all people.
Pro agrees with 4. I have already demonstrated 5. 6 follows from 4 and 5. Since God's sovereign desire in premise 1 of Pro's argument is not the same as God's moral desire in premise 2 of his argument, Pro's argument commits the fallacy of equivocation, and his conclusion does not follow from his premises. So Pro has not demonstrated Christian unversalism.
As many of you already know, there are a plethora of other scriptures I could've used to undermine universal salvation. There are so many that it's not possible to bring them all up in this debate. If I have room in the next round, I'll bring up some more of them.
First of all thanks Philochristos for accepting my debate challenge, and as usual, your arguments are thought provoking, logical and scriptural. I agree whole heartily with the scriptures you quoted. Those scriptures you quoted clearly say unbelievers will be judged, punished and suffer the wrath of God. But we must remember those scriptures as with all scriptures, are making statements of fact, not doctrinal statements. Also, you must remember we as believers were once ourselves unbelievers and under the wrath of God(Ephesians 2:2-3). So those scriptures you quoted are simply stating the fact that---'unbelievers are under the wrath and condemnation of God, and believers are not'. We should not read our beliefs into those scriptures. The Bible is it's own commentary. Let those scriptures speak for themselves. You assume there will come a time when it will be too late for unbelievers to repent and come to Christ, therefore they will remain under condemnation forever. But I can find no such scriptures that say there is no hope of repentance after death or after unbelievers are resurrected. As long as man has the ability to choose, he can make the decision to come to Christ. This is why the Spirit and the bride(the church/believers) are issuing an invitation to come to Christ(Revelation 22:17). This is why the gates of New Jerusalem are always open(Revelation 21:25) just as the doors of the church are always open today so people can repent and come to Christ. Now let's look at Matthew 25:46--'And these shall go away into everlasting[G166 aionios] punishment; but the righteous into life eternal[G166 aionios]'. The english word eternal is translated here from the Greek word aionios which is the adjective form of the Greek word aion[G165]. Aion means age or eon which is a period of time. Check your Bible Concordances or Lexicons to confirm this. If the writer wanted to convey the idea of eternal punishment for the goats(unbelievers), he would have used the Greek word Aidios[G126] which means eternal. This is why a literal translation of Matthew 25:46 reads--'And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian' Concordant Literal New Testament; Read also Young's Literal Translation. The punishment of the goats(unbelievers) is not forever. Now let's read Matthew 12:31-32--'Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come' NKJV. The believers in eternal torment and annihilation use this scripture as one of their proof text to show that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the one sin that God will never forgive, hence they say everyone will not be saved. But as I stated earlier, Matthew 12:30-32 as well as all scripture are making statements of fact, not doctrinal statements. Matthew 12:31-33 is making four statements, with each statement being separated by a colon, semi colon, or period. Here are those four statements: STATEMENT 1---Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men. STATEMENT 2---Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. STATEMENT 3---Whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. STATEMENT 4---The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven for two ages. All four of these statements are of course Biblically true because all four statements are from the word of God. But on the face of it, statements 1 and 2 seem to contradict each other. Statement 1 says every sin will be forgiven men, but statement 2 says blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men. Of course the Bible doesn't contradict itself, so let's harmonize statements 1 and 2. Statement 4 is the statement that qualifies statement 2---The sin of blasphemy will not be forgiven for two ages. After that the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven because of Statement 1--Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men. Also here's something else to consider: Matthew 12:31-33 says the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will NOT be forgiven. That scripture doesn't say the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will NEVER be forgiven. NOT and NEVER do not mean the same thing. For example: Apatent punishes their child for disobedience. As punishment the child will NOT get dessert. Does this mean the child will never ever again get dessert? Of course not. The parent qualifies this punishment by saying the child will NOT get dessert either TODAY or the NEXT DAY. The child will NOT get dessert for TWO DAYS. After the child's punishment of TWO DAYS has ended, the child will get dessert again. So the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will NOT be forgiven for TWO AGES(statement 4). After that, the sin will be forgiven(STATEMENT 1). This fits perfectly with Jesus telling us to forgive seventy times seven(Matthew 18:21-22), which is a metaphor to always forgive. Will not God do the same(Matthew 5:48)? After all God's anger[wrath] endures but a moment(Psalm 30:5), but God's mercy endures always(Psalm 118:29). Christian Universalism is Biblically sound.
Thank you, rjohnson741.
Recap of my argument
In the previous round, I made the following argument:
1. A person who is saved will (1) have their sins forgiven, (2) be spared the wrath of God, (3) not come under the judgment of God, and (4) have eternal life.
2. There are some people who (1) will not have their sins forgiven, (2) will suffer the wrath of God, (3) will come under the judgment of God, and (4) will not have eternal life.
3. Therefore, there are some people who will not be saved.
Since universalism is the belief that all people will be saved, and since there are some people who will not be saved, it follows that universalism is false.
In Pro's response, he affirms my second premise. He says, "Those scriptures you quoted clearly say unbelievers will be judged, punished and suffer the wrath of God."
Pro attacks my first premise by saying that whatever wrath sinners must endure is only temporary, and eventually everybody will be saved. So it is possible for a person to be saved even if they have to suffer the wrath of God.
The problem with Pro's response is that he makes it while ignoring my argument to the contrary. I showed that in a Biblical context, the salvation that Jesus died for was a salvation from the wrath of God. If a person is saved from the wrath of God, then they will not suffer the wrath of a God. If a person suffers the wrath of God, then they are not saved from the wrath of God. It really is that simple.
It doesn't matter whether wrath is temporary or not. If it happens that wrath is temporary, and a person has to suffer it, then that person will not have been saved from the wrath of God. So even if it's true that people will eventually be reconciled to God, that is not salvation.
And a person who suffers the wrath of God is not forgiven, because if they were forgiven, then they would not have to suffer the wrath of God. In the case of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Pro argues that since "age" refers to a temporary period of time, the fact that a person will not be forgiven in the "age to come" doesn't mean they'll never be forgiven. But that is irrelevant because if a person is not forgiven in the age to come, then they will suffer the wrath and condemnation of God in the age to come and will therefore not be saved. Pro claims that "Matthew 12:31-33 says the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will NOT be forgiven. That scripture doesn't say the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will NEVER be forgiven. NOT and NEVER do not mean the same thing." But in the parallel passage in Mark 3:29, Jesus says, "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness."
Pro claims my scriptures only show that unbelievers are "under the wrath of God" in the same sense that believers were before they became believers. But that is false. Colossians 3:5-6, for example, explicitly says that "the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience." That means God is actually going to execute his wrath on some people. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 says that Jesus "rescues us from the wrath to come." That means wrath is actually coming. Somebody is going to suffer it. And Revelation 16 talks about God pouring out his wrath on mankind. Besides all that, Pro admitted that people will suffer the wrath of God. He said, "Those scriptures you quoted clearly say unbelievers will be judged, punished and suffer the wrath of God."
As far as people eventually gaining eternal life after suffering the wrath and judgment of God, Jesus said, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14). So Pro's whole argument about "age" referring to a temporary period of time are moot. Even if the "age to come" is only temporary, Jesus ruled out any possibility that everybody will gain eternal life in some future age.
Pro's original argument
Pro has completely dropped his original argument for universal salvation, so my refutation of that argument stands.
Since Pro has dropped his argument for universal salvation, and since he has failed to refute either of the premises in my argument against universal salvation, Pro has not carried his burden of proof in this debate.
I would like to recommend to Pro that he use paragraphs in his final round. It makes it easier for people to read, and the voters (if there be any) will appreciate that.
I will now recap my arguments. Arminian theology believes God loves all mankind and desires their salvation(Statement1). Calvinist theology believes God who is sovereign and all powerful therefore God will accomplish all of His desires(Statement 2). The Arminians and Calvinists have scriptures to support their beliefs. Christian Universalists rightly conclude that if Arminians and Calvinists can support their respective beliefs with scripture, then God will save all mankind. Con wrongly assumes God has two wills: God's sovereign will and God's moral will. God only has one will or desire concerning the salvation of mankind, and that will or desire is the salvation of all men(1Timothy 2:3-6). God or course has not yet accomplished this desire or will but God will accomplish this in the future in due time---'For it is written, As I live says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall give praise to God' Romans 14:11 NASB. Since everyone is worshiping and praising God, the conditions of repentance and putting faith in Christ have been met by everyone. I will now quote some scriptures that support the conjunction of Calvinist theology(Statement 1) and Arminian theology(Statement 2): 'One transgression[Adam] RESULTED IN CONDEMNATION TO ALL MEN, even so, One act of righteousness[Jesus Christ] RESULTED IN JUSTICATION OF LIFE TO ALL MEN' Romans 5:18 NASB.. This passage has two clauses separated by a comma. Each clause is making a universal statement---One man[Adam] condemns all men, One man[Jesus Christ] Justifies all men. 'For by Him WERE ALL THINGS CREATED, THAT ARE IN HEAVEN, AND THAT ARE IN EARTH' Coloissians 1:16. Now let's read the next passage in that context---'And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF WHETHER THEY BE THINGS ON EARTH, OR THING IN HEAVEN' Colossians 1:20. Once again, two universal statements are being made---All things CREATED BY CHRIST, All things RECONCILED BY CHRIST. 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. BUT EVERY MAN IN HIS OWN ORDER' 1Corinthians 15:22-23. Once again, two universal statements are being made---Every one dies in Adam and everyone will be made alive in Christ. 'For therefore we both labour suffer reproach becauise we trust in the living God, who IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of those that believe. THESE THINGS COMMAND AND TEACH' 1Timothy 4:10-11. These are the glorious truths we should be preaching and teaching to those who have not yet come to repent and believe in this eon, and in the eons to come. I will now address Mark 3:29--'But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never[G3756 ou] forgiveness'. Now here's Matthew 12:31 again--'But the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not[G3756 ou] unto men'. The same Greek word 'ou' is used in both passages. Here is the definition of that word from the Blue Letter Bible Lexicon--1)no, not; in direct questions expecting an affirmitave answer. There is nothing in that definition to indicate unending or a permanent condition. Con also stated that even if it's true that people will eventually be reconciled to God, that is not salvation. But if a person is reconciled to God, they are no longer under the wrath and condemnation of God and the Bible clearly says all will be reconciled---'AND ALL THINGS ARE OF GOD, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES TO THEM' and hath committed to us the ministry of reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:18-19). Reconcile means to make friendly again. If everyone is reconciled, then everyone is eventually rescued from wrath and condemnation. This is why the lake of fire is not the end for unbelievers, The Consummation is the end--'The last enemy to be abolished is death' 1Corinthians 15:26. Jesus Christ will abolish death by making everyone alive(1Corinthians 15:22-23). Death is not qualified in that passage. That means that death, whether physical death, spiritual death, the second death, death in any form is to be abolished. Death is what separates man from God. When death is finally abolished, there will be no seraration between God and man. God can then become All in all(1Corinthians 15:28). In closing, I believe I have made a strong case for Christian Universalism. Just like Con's position, I could have listed many more scriptures to support the salvation of all. Once again, PhilosChristos, thanks for accepting my debate challenge. This is my first debate, so I will have to learn how to separate my comments into paragraphs. Whether I win or lose this debate, it was a pleasure discussing and debating this topic with you.
Sovereign vs. moral desire
Pro dropped his original argument for universalism in the previous round, but he picked it back up in this round. Recall that I attacked his argument by showing it committed the fallacy of equivocation, and I gave two arguments for why God's desire for the salvation of all was a moral desire rather than a sovereign desire.
Pro denies that there is a distinction in God's desires and seems to believe that all of God's desires are sovereign desires. But he ignores my arguments to the contrary. I showed, from Proverbs 21:3 and Ezekiel 33:11 that God has desires that are not actualized, which proves that they are not sovereign desires (since sovereign desires are actualized).
I argued that God's desire for the salvation of all people cannot be a sovereign desire, but a moral desire, because in fact not all people are saved. Salvation and wrath are diametrically opposed. As I demonstrated from 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Romans 5:9, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, a person can be saved, or they can suffer the wrath of God, but they cannot do both. To be saved is to be saved from the wrath of God, so if a person has to suffer the wrath of God, then that person is not saved.
Pro responds by saying, "God or [sic] course has not yet accomplished this desire or will but God will accomplish this in the future in due time." But as I showed in the last round, even if God does eventually reconcile everybody to himself, it is still the case that not everybody was saved from his wrath. To be saved is to be saved from the wrath of God, so if a person suffers the wrath of God, then they were not saved. Universal salvation is false.
Pro's proof texts
Pro cites several scriptures in an attempt to show that all people will be saved. Even if we take these scriptures to mean what Pro thinks they mean, it will still not result in universal salvation. At best, all it will do is give us temporary punishment followed by eventual reconciliation. Pro has already admitted that some people will suffer the wrath of God in judgment. That means they will not be saved.
Pro's interpretation of Romans 5:18 fails to take into account Paul's whole argument in Romans 5. Paul is contrasting those who are in Adam with those who are in Christ. Verse 9 makes it clear that those who are in Christ will not suffer the wrath of God, yet Pro and I both agree that some people will suffer the wrath of God. It follows that not all people are in Christ. What verse 18 is saying is that through the one transgression of Adam, there resulted condemnation to all men who are in Adam, and through the one act of obedience of Christ, there resulted justification to all men who are in Christ. The context makes this clear. If Paul meant to say that all people whosoever are justified, then nobody would suffer the wrath of God. That is clearly not what Paul meant.
Paul makes the exact same point in 1 Corinthians 15:22. He says, "For as in Adam, all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive." All of those in Adam will die, and all of those in Christ will be raised to eternal life. But as we saw in Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, and Matthew 7:14, some will be raised to eternal life, and some will be raised to judgment, so Paul cannot mean in 1 Corinthians 15:22 that everybody will be saved, i.e. made alive, raised to life, etc. Notice what he says in the very next verse, when he expands on "all we will made alive." He says, "But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power." This is only referring to the resurrection to eternal life for those who are in Christ, not the resurrection of all people. So when it say in the next verse that the last enemy to be destroyed is death, Paul is talking about the last enemy of those who are in Christ. If we took Paul to mean that all people will find life, we would be explicitly contradicting what Jesus said in Matthew 7:14. He said, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Pro ignored that passage even though it completely refutes universal salvation.
It is curious that Pro would try to use 1 Timothy 4:10 as a proof text for universal salvation. It says Jesus is "the savior of all men, especially to believers." If universalism were true, then Jesus would be the savior of all men period. He wouldn't be a savior of one group in a different sense than he is a savior to the other group. Jesus is the savior of believers in the sense that he saves them from the wrath of God, so in what sense is he a savior to all men? In two senses: (1) in the sense that God delays his wrath against them because they are scattered among those who will be saved (Matthew 13-29-30), and in the sense that there is "no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus is mankind's only savior, whether he actually saves all people or not.
None of the passages Pro cites to support universal salvation are sufficient to establish his case. Moreover, Pro never refuted my argument that the salvation Jesus died for was a salvation from the wrath of God. Instead, he seemed to think that salvation means you won't suffer the wrath of God forever (though he never substantiated that definition of salvation). Since he acknowledges that people will suffer the wrath of God in judgment, it follows that universal salvation is false.
Thank you for coming to tonight's debate, and thank you rjohnson741 for the debate. BTW, you said you'd have to learn how to separate your comments into paragraphs. All you have to do is hit the enter button twice when you get to the end of a paragraph. Then you can start your new paragraph. Good luck on your future debates and welcome to DDO!