Your website is very enlightening. I feel as though I've experienced an enlightenment by reading your website on Christian Universalism.
I've been "a believer" (of the first resurrection) for some time. I grew up conservative Southern Baptist (and still am...or was after reading your site). I have been under the thought of a Calvanism/Armenian mixture for about three years. I was originally an Armenian but adopted some Calvanistic beliefs; the one thing in Calvanism that I never could resolve in Scripture is the lie of "limited atonement." In my study of Calvanism, one of my seminary friends said that "all" does not necessarily mean "everyone that ever existed" but rather "all the elect." But, even though I didn't say it to him, I thought that if that's the way it was, then surely it would have been written as such. After all, God knows we're dumb as sheep and He would definitely make sure that He was clear on such an important matter as Salvation.
I have been occasionally researching the salvation of God in order to find answers to my questions because I had come to the point where certain aspects of Calvanism and Armenianism were both true.
In my search (which recently restarted fervently), I decided to have a "quick" reading on Christian Universalism. I did a search on it at Google.com and your site popped up. The site was well organized and had much information, so my reading began there.
Now I feel like I've been to the woodshed or knocked in the head/chest/heart with a 2x4. It VERY hard to change a mind set after 20+ years of believing that even though God was merciful, *somehow* an infinite punishment was part of His "divine justice."
I don't remember if I read it in your website or not, but one thing that was important in my thought process in relation to overcoming the "justice and judgment of God" is that ALL THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE there is NOT ONE instance (that I'm aware of) where God's punishment/judement (1) lasted infintely, (2) was not meant to bring people to repentance, (3) was not mean to bring ALL people back into fellowship with Him. Thus, ALL (EACH ONE OF) God's judgements are meant to bring people BACK TO HIM--not SEPARATED FROM God. Since this is true, and since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then ALL OF God's judgements and punishments have the SAME purposes and NO MORE.
One thought I had when dealing with whether or not there was a place of infinite torment (misinterpreted as Hell in the New Testament) was to answer the question with the Old Testament. It is important that Scripture be used to answer questions regarding other Scriptures. The "grave/sheol/hell/gehenna" in the New Testament MUST (NOT OPTIONAL) be interpreted as the same word(s)/concept(s) as in the Old Testament. God is the same yesterday today and forever, so if there was a place of infinite torment/punishment, then He would have talked about it in the Old Testament; especially considering the degree of importance/severity of such an infinite place. Furthermore, if there was such a place, then SURELY and WITH CERTAINTY, God would have told Moses when Moses was IN GOD'S PRESENCE on Mount Sinai. It is reasonable to conclude that God would have definitely have spoken extensively of such an infinite place IF it existed. He would speak of it because His "infinite love" for His creation would have obligated Him to do so. "For there is nothing new under the sun."
It is very important to stress the concept that many instances of the word "eternal" in the New Testament are the Greek word for "Age." This was a key point in my understanding in the overall discussion. This point should be extended and further supported if you have time.
I thought of another question (or thought) for the questions page or some other place in your site. Since God knew that all His creation would be saved in the end, then why did he allow Adam and Eve (man) to fall? Because it shows ALL humankind how much God loves His creation, especially the people. For God to know that man would fall and that He would sacrifice Himself as the atoning sacrifice for ALL creation is the GREATEST testimony and the greatest evidence of the degree to which God loves His creation. Man may not have been created only for God's pleasure, but God's sacrifice also tells the heavenly, created angels how much God loves them, too. For ALL things are His creation, and He loves ALL his creation. And He proved that love by creating man, whom He knew would fall into sin away from Him and whom He knew He would sacrifice His life for. Knowing this, He still died for us. For this is THE GREATEST evidence of love in all eternity.
Continuing, God's love is great and above all Greatness, so which is of greater love: To knowingly and purposefully create something that falls into corruption and then redeeming ALL that is created therein; or to knowingly and purposefully create something that falls into corruption and then redeem only a part of it? The greatest love would be to redeem ALL of it because to redeem that which is most corrupt proves to be the most loving, the most kind, the most merciful action of all because it does not deserve to be redeemed.
The part of "Objections to Universalism" was almost PARAMOUNT in my understanding of Christian Universalism. In fact, this was the second part that I read. The first thing that I read was the brief introduction to the basics of Christian universalism to gain the overall idea. But I read about the objections secondly because if ever I was to be convinced, then that is where it would be; if that part couldn't convince me or make me take a second, serious look at my interpretations of Scripture, then no other part of your website would have "meant much" to me or even had been read.
This is all very interesting because I've been praying for 5 years now that God would lead me to the Truth of salvation. I guess it took God that long to prepare me for what I have read and am slowly coming to believe now regarding HIS salvation. Praise be to God!
In Christ, David
"For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but
that the world might be saved through him, (John 3:17)." “For as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, (1 Cor. 15:21).” "For
as by one man's disobedience [the] many were made sinners, so by the obedience
of one [Jesus] shall [the] many be made righteous, (Rom. 5:17-18).”