My take on Christian Universalism

So recently, someone approached me and shared many articles regarding Christian Universalism. I, being absolutely apathetic about such legalistic terminologies, was taken aback.

“What are all these?” I asked.

“You’re a Christian Universalist, bro,” she answered.

“I am?”

This thought kept me awake almost throughout the night. What does this mean? So I read up some articles about Christian Universalism. Some of Christian Universalist say that Christianity is the fulfilment of all the world’s religion. Well, I can’t deny that. But others say very opposing things about the Christian theology. Some Christian Universalist oppose the Godhood of Jesus. Some Christian Universalist oppose the Personhood of the Holy Spirit. Some Christian Universalist oppose the resurrection of Christ. Surely, all of these opposing views count as heresy. But what caught my attention is just how divided the people who claim to be “Christian Universalist” are. I mean, don’t they have a common understanding on the topic of salvation? Why the differences in doctrinal teachings?

I think I’m not going to dwell on all of these differences and debate on them one by one. Rather, I’m going to pen down my belief. My views may not be very matured, but at least, by God’s grace, I’ve had certain fundamental truths that I hold firmly to. Of course, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit who will guide me into all Truth, will guide me into a deeper understanding of God through my daily walk with Him.

So here’s my humble take on Christian Universalism. 1) I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, 2) I believe in the Trinity and the Resurrection of Christ, 3) I believe that there is no salvation without accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, 4) I believe that all will eventually be saved.

I Believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God

I think we’ve no problems with this. The Bible contains no mistakes. It is God-breathed (ref: 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It contains all the mysteries of God for us to uncover. It also contains all the mysteries of God awaiting our discovery. There’re no contradictions in the Bible. And we can use the Bible with full confidence that it will lead us to a better understanding of God.

I Believe in the Trinity and the Resurrection of Christ

Many Universalists have differing opinions on this statement. But my take is this: God is Three Persons in One. He is God the Father, who gave birth to Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not entirely God the Father because He is a living, breathing, entity, working alongside the Father. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is also a living, breathing, deity who is constantly interceding for us at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus had to rise from the dead if not the gospel that we preach will be pointless (ref: 1 Corinthians 15:14-19). If the sacrifice did not break the chains of death, we will have no eternal hope of overcoming death. If Jesus Christ isn’t the firstborn of all, and if He didn’t hold the keys of Hades, how will salvation come to all who put our hope on Him? How will we have a direct pass to God? How can we approach God with confidence? Surely, Jesus Christ must rise from the dead. And praise to God, He did!

I Believe that there is no salvation without accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour

I think the Bible is very clear on this point; the only way to salvation is through Christ (ref: Romans 10:9). But that’s when the Universalist worldview breaks down. How will people who have not accepted Christ in their lifetime, or people who have lived in communities who’ve not been reached by the gospel, or people who’ve lived before the time of Christ, proclaim that Jesus is Lord and believe that He was raised from the dead? I believe Paul has a very clear answer to that. When people like these do by nature what the law requires, they are a law for themselves. The requirements of the law are written on their hearts and their conscience bear witness. It is their hearts that will be judged and their consciences bearing witness for them at the time of judgement (ref: Romans 2:14-16). Now then, you might ask, that does not mean they proclaim Jesus as Lord and believed that He was raised from the dead, right? Truth is though, the Bible did tell us that when Christ comes again, all will see and recognise Him. Even those who pierced Him and had passed away. Even they will look to Christ and mourn (ref: Revelations 1:7). By recognising Him, I read it as recognising Christ as the Lamb of God who had been pierced for our transgression. And this, in turn, will make His death and resurrection irrefutable.

During the instant of judgement, all will look to Him and decide for themselves if they’d want to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. And when they believe and put their faith in Him, they will be saved; even they who’ve perished before knowing Christ in their lifetime.

I Believe that all will have the opportunity to be saved — even demons and fallen angels. In fact, the entire Creation will be saved.

*Edited on 15 Nov 2019 for clarity.
Just a note for clarity: All human beings will have the opportunity to be saved. All angels will likewise have the opportunity to be saved. And all of Creation will be liberated from the bondage of decay and brought to the freedom and glory of the Children of God.

Human beings are almost equal to angels. Sure, during our lifetime on earth, we might be lower than they, but at the resurrection, we will judge angels (ref: 1 Corinthians 6:3). Let’s put all of these obligations aside and consider our status — We are fellow servants under God (ref: Revelations 22:9). What does that mean? It seems absurd that only human beings will be saved and welcomed into the New Heaven and Earth. Consider our standing with angels and the fact that some angels have chosen to rebel and fall from God. Couldn’t they, who like us have free will, be saved? I mean, why would God be unfair to save human beings and not angels? God, who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, will extend His love to the entire creation which awaits liberation from its bondage of decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God (ref: Romans 8:21)! And aren’t angels part of creation? Aren’t animals part of creation? Aren’t planets and stones part of creation? Aren’t rivers and skies and mountains and trees and stars and the milky way all part of creation? They too will be liberated from the bondage of decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God!

That said, I firmly believe that even animals will be saved. Consider how the young of the raven cry out to God in prayers for their lack of food (ref: Job 38:41), wouldn’t all other animals do the same? Even ravens who have been associated with death and dark omens can pray to God. How much more other animals? How much more our pet dogs, cats, elephants, horses, deers, donkeys, etc? How much more the entire creation?

Sure, they will not be of equal standing with humans who were made in the image of God. But they will have a special place in the heart of God. So much that God expresses His concern for them at the thought of destroying a city or, for the matter, saving a city like Nineveh, “in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals (ref: Jonah 4:11).”

Therefore, Jesus Christ, in His awesome work at the cross, saved, liberated, and brought the entire creation to glory. Hence, the gates of heaven must not be shut (ref: Revelations 21:25). Nothing impure will enter it, nor will anything shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (ref: Revelations 21:27).

You might ask, how is it Universalist if nothing impure can enter it and only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter it? Then I’d tell you, the Universe is the Lamb’s book of Life. Everything created is in it. Everything.

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3 thoughts on “My take on Christian Universalism”

  1. So you believe in the inerrant word of God, but you think hell will be empty? I don’t think Scripture gives us that option. Never mind the devil and demons, even those who don’t believe are condemned. We might not like the idea of hell, but it is simply an expression of God’s justice and wrath at sin. Everyone in hell will deserve to be there; no one in heaven will deserve to be there. God won’t save those who don’t want to be saved or don’t think they need saving.

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  2. I believe that the first three statements are correct but that the fourth is very wrong. The Bible clearly states that some are not saved and that they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

    Revelation 20:11–15
    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (NIV84)

    This passage cannot be ignored. To say that the universe is the book of life (what does that mean anyway) and that everyone’s name is in it contradicts this passage.

    2 Peter 2:4–10
    4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
    Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; (NIV84)

    Notice that Peter says that the flood is an example of “what is going to happen to the ungodly.” How can it be an example of it isn’t? Who goes into the lake of fire if not those that were disobedient? Who?

    Hebrews 6:1–3
    Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so. (NIV84)

    The writer of Hebrews says that the idea of eternal judgment is one of the elementary teachings. It is a doctrine that we must keep. It is a huge foundational understanding. We must listen to God and decide before we die. That is the plan of God. Those that died before the flood did not have a written message from God to listen too, so the faithful that lived then were given to hear the message from Christ himself, and then they could choose, but for the rest we have no excuse. We must listen to God and be fearful of judgment. If there is no judgment then what does the Bible teach? What is the point of the whole thing?

    Psalm 49:20
    A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish. (NIV84)

    The man without understanding perishes, but what of the man with understanding? Clearly this passage is contrasting those that live with God and those that perish for lack of understanding.
    What we do matters. It is not just a question of our “position” in heaven. Revelation chapter twenty talks of those that are cast into the lake of fire, and we cannot ignore that warning.

    Peace, my brothers, and sisters,
    Mark

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  3. Hi Mark and Robert,
    Thank you for the comments! 🙂 Firstly, I must say I’m humbled by your knowledge and your heart to exchange your ideas with me. Sure, I did mention that my views aren’t matured and it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit guide me to deeper understanding. 🙂

    That said, I believe where you two are coming from. Of course, I’m not saying there will be no judgement. I’m not saying there will be no hell. I think that’s where both of you misunderstood me. Or maybe I did not mention it clearly. I said, at the instant of judgement, all must look to Christ and decide for themselves. Some will choose to put their faith on Christ, some wouldn’t. And we know that from the scriptures too. I doubt I’ll need to quote for you.

    That said, if there are some who, by their willful desire, choose to not put their faith in Christ even though they’ve seen Him in all His glory, they would have chosen eternal condemnation. I’ll not touch on the lake of fire here because that’s not the point. Point is, salvation is offered to all. Even those in Sheol. But the ultimatum is their decision at the resurrection — this will either lead to eternal life or the second death.

    Mark, I’m not arguing here. I’m just stating my belief since someone asked me to. So I hope you respect this and not confront me. That’s basically what my take on the topic is.

    Of course, when I said that all will be saved, I think I didn’t make it clear. Maybe I should. I meant, all will have the opportunity to be saved. The gates of heaven must be left open. But in the realm of eternity, logic and decisions were fixed. I’ll spare you two from the long argument here. But I’m open to a discussion on facebook or email or something. Who knows, we might even build each other up in the faith. 🙂

    That said, my take on Christian Universalism encompasses that of judgement and eternal death. It encompasses the concept of hell but it takes also into consideration that heavens’ gate must be open. Ultimately, God hopes that those outside will be saved. But due to the concept of eternity, they can’t enter heaven though its gates are opened.

    So, to answer you, Mark and Robert, hell is not empty. The serpent will be there. People will be there. That’s what I believe in.

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