Thursday, December 22, 2005

Prove it to me

I received the following comment a few days ago.

I would like for you to present a clear Biblical case for Universalism. Most theological stances are completely able to present their stances Biblically. Two that I have yet to see are: a Biblical presentation of Free Will in salvation; and a Biblical presentation of Universalism. How does Universalism reconcile itself with a God who kills man, woman, and child in the OT? Or a God that rejects Saul for not killing Agag and even all of the animals? I would like for you to stay on topic with your response in positively, and Biblically, defending your stance without defending it by attacking other stances. Truly defend it. I'm not interested in philosophical reasoning, or emotional reasoning; only Biblical reasoning.

I look forward to your response and will be checking back frequently

Hey, that's fair enough. It was polite and reasonable. Why not ask for the proof of a stance I have taken?

First, I have to admit to an oversight on my part. I thought I had stated this up front when I started the blog. But, as I looked back for it, I couldn't find that I had said it clearly enough. So, allow me to say it now. The intent of this blog is not to convince anyone of universalism or to "prove" universalism. I think it's an impossible task. No, I know it's an impossible task. I used to have an apologetics website (years ago). I've spent countless hours arguing with atheists who insist that I "prove" the existence of G-d to them. Can't be done. I've seen people spend hours and hours trying to "prove" evolution to Creationists or "prove" this or that particular doctrine to people who were violently opposed to it. Know what? There are still countless denominations within Christianity (even among those who would agree the Bible is literal and inerrant- how could that be? But we'll leave that to another post). There are still people who think the Earth is flat. There are people who think the Holocaust never happened. And there are people who think that man never walked on the moon. I will not waste my time trying to "prove" anything to anyone.

OK, now that I've said that, I am more than willing (in fact eager) to have discussions with people who want to explore truth together. I make no claims to have all truth or to have inerrant truth. I used to be a young-earther (believed in a literal 6 day creation). I used to be an evangelical. I used to believe that only Christians would go to heaven (as much as I hated to believe that). So, I am open to learning new things. I would love to discuss what I believe at this time and why with anyone who wants to listen with at least somewhat of an open mind.

The reasons for my belief in UR are myriad and include biblical reasons. I believe the Bible makes a great case for Universal Reconcilation. Many of the early church fathers did too. Hopefully, my friend would at least admit that UR is a reasonable possibility. The person who issued the challenge would like to limit me to a biblical proof. I'm not sure why philosophical reasoning or emotional reasoning would be out-of-bounds since G-d gave us mind and hearts to use to explore Him and His universe. I certainly do not believe that the Bible contains all that G-d ever expects us to know on any particular topic.

In my few months of looking into UR, I have put together some materials from differnt sources. Included in this (for my challenger) are 100 bible verses that point to UR (how much more biblical can you get). I'll say up front this is "proof-texting" and I deplore proof texting. Anyone can pull random verses out of the Bible and arrange them to "prove" just about anything one wants. The Bible has been used to condone slavery, misogyny and racism. When I read the Bible, I look for overall themes and try to reconcile anything I read with G-d's nature, which I believe to be one of Love.

Here's a link to the document. It's not well organized or pretty. But, it's a start. I also have a couple of good book recommendations in here for anyone really interested in exploring the subject deeply.

A Case for Universalism


Rick Harper said...

Due to the holidays, I haven't been able to read your document. However, I just downloaded it and will be reading it soon.

One other thing: you mentioned that it is impossible to prove the existence of God. This must mean that to you Christianity (as well as the belief in anything at all, including God) is just a blind leap of faith. Let me get this straight, and I'm not meaning to sound condescending (it is hard to tell with no facial expressions behind the typing), but you say that it is an impossible task to prove universalism, and that it is an impossible task to prove the existence of God; this sounds all too much like postmodernism with a small twist. On what basis aside from an emotional one do you hold your belief (from your post, "I used to believe that only Christians would go to heaven (as much as I HATED to believe that)" - caps added)?

Also, you said, "Hopefully, my friend would at least admit that UR is a reasonable possiblility." It seems to me that reason and logic have no place for your belief if it is an impossible task to logically, reasonably, and Scripturally prove universalism, much more the existence of God. You said, "I'm not sure why philosophical reasoning or emotional reasoning would be out-of-bounds since God gave us mind and hearts to use to explore him and his universe." I agree, as long as this reasoning is coherent and not contradictory to Scripture.

According to the Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 3:14-16 we should "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you."

I will read your document and respond soon. Thanks for giving me your time in this discussion. Also, my wife tells me that my typing sometimes comes off as rude; but know that I am not meaning to sound arrogant or rude in any way. I am actually smiling. haha!


Ross S Marshall said...

Ok, here is proof...

Here is another resource: My professor and I composed a 500 page (technical, for advanced students of theological biblical universalism) bible commentary on Universal ultimate reconciliation of all. See amazon under my name or
by Ross S Marshall, and Dr. George F Howe