Christianity Knowledge Base

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Universalism was founded as its own church....awhile ago, but has recently joined congregations mostly with the Unitarian church. Universalism has some striking differences between itself and much of mainstream Christianity, the most notable of these differences is that Universalism holds that there is no Hell in a Biblical sense, and that all who die will enter a sort of Purgatory place whether they were born again or not. The most common claim for this is that because God is so merciful, that they believe He cannot punish sin with infinite justice. Some also say that if god was to be so narrowminded or selfish; then most of the bible would be pointless; and that the existance of hell would not make him a kind or loving god. Many Christian universalists steadfastly oppose the act of teaching that there is a Hell, just as evangelical protestants often do with Universalism.

Universalist beliefs[]

As before, one of their most striking beliefs is that there is no Hell, because God is supposedly so loving that He would not judge anybody with infinite justice. Universalism can also sometimes be associated with a more pluralistic outlook on other religions, even going so far as to say that no religion is much better than another. 1 Universalism is often associated with the beliefs of Unitarianism since their congregations combined, but are not necessarily identical. Universalism has support from the Bible where is clearly states it. They happen to believe that parts such as "i am the way; the truth; none come but through me" was basically used to mean that he will guide you to heaven; as do parts like Acts 4:12; John 3:16 (Hint - He loved the world); John 3:18; and Ephesians 2:8/9.

Common Universalist arguments against Hell[]

Universalists generally use a few different arguments for their belief that there is no Hell. The Hebrew word for "grave" (Sheol I think) in the Old Testament can mean several things, and although the context of many verses in which the word is used seems to symbolize Hell or other similar ideas of punishment, (Might want to quote a few here) many Universalists hold that it never refers to anything close to Hell. Therefore, some universalists may claim that God never created Hell in the Old Testament, since they believe it never referred to it since they choose definitions of the word only when it does not refer to a hell-like place.

Universalists also hold that when Jesus spoke of punishment for those who would not believe in Him, (Someone please insert the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" verse and some verse referring to Jesus talking about those who were not born again) that the Greek word of "eternal" in this instance did not mean eternal, but since that word is synonimous with a non-eternal definition, that Jesus did not really mean eternal punishment. This is very difficult to resolve when the same word is used to describe God as eternal, and even more difficult to resolve when some instances of Jesus referring to Hell or a hell-related place did not use the word "eternal" at all.

Im pretty sure Universalists have more to say than this though, there's probably some more arguments out there.

"And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3: 6)

Others Objections to Universalism[]

Many Christians may feel that Universalism is somewhat dangerous for several reasons. For instance, if there is no Hell, there is less reason to fulfill the Great Commission. It appears that the wicked will be tormented for a finite time.

" "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Luke 3: 9) But the period spent in torment will com to an end for all souls,

"And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3: 6)

Even if one was sent to purgatory or whatever for not fulfilling it, one would end up in heaven anyway after a relatively short time. This is only short in comparison with eternity. Christian Universalism gives no clear teaching about how long Souls spend in purgatory. The prospect of an unspecified period in purgatory, perhaps longer than a human lifetime, should deter wrong doing. Who wants a life sentence in prison? This would apply to everyone who ever lived, so Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and many others like them would be chumming around in heaven after a finite time in purgatory according to universalism. Universalism does not specify how long this finite time would be though universalists would say that even Hitler does not deserve to suffer eternally as the suffering he caused though very great was finite. There would also be no reason to request someone to be born again urgently, as the other person may not see dodging a finite amount of time in purgatory as worth giving themselves up to Christ. The point of Jesus even coming in the first place also becomes suspect under Universalist thought, as we would not of needed a savior in the first place if there was nothing really awful to be saved from. The Biblical references to Hell may also not always use the word "hell" or words of timespan, and don't outline it as a purgatory-like place anywhere, making Universalist ideas entirely based on their own personal, non-inspired opinions. The list of objections is probably longer however.

Other links[]

CARM site on universalism
more specific on reason for objections.
Might as well throw another one down here