I definitely enjoyed our meeting. I wanted to include some additional
information why I lean toward Christian Universalism.
Here's a series of Videos that explain this point of view in further
Here are some quotations from Origen, one of the leading theologians
of the Early Church:
“Stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word, and the
healing power that dwells in Him, and this healing He applies,
according to the will of God, to everyman. The consummation of all
things is the destruction of evil…to quote Zephaniah: “My determination
to gather the nations, that I am assemble the kings, to pour upon them
mine indignation, even say all my fierce anger, for all the earth shall
be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the
people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the
Lord, to serve Him with one consent”…Consider carefully the promise,
that all shall call upon the Name of the Lord, and serve him with one
“Seeing, then, that such is the end, when all enemies will be
subdued to Christ, when death - the last enemy - shall be destroyed,
and when the kingdom shall be delivered up by Christ (to whom all
things are subject) to God the Father; let us, I say, from such an end
as this, contemplate the beginnings of things. For the end is always
like the beginning: and, therefore, as there is one end to all things,
so ought we to understand that there was one beginning; and as there is
one end to many things, so there spring from one beginning many
differences and varieties, which again, through the goodness of God,
and by subjection to Christ, and through the unity of the Holy Spirit,
are recalled to one end, which is like unto the beginning. --Origen, De
Principiis, Book I, Chapter 6, Sections 1 and 2, ANF, Vol 4
"...When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the
perfect restoration of the whole of creation is signified, so also,
when enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation
of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood
to consist." --Origen, De Principiis, Book III, Chapter 5, Section
7, ANF, Vol 4
“We think, indeed, that the goodness of God, through His
may recall all His creatures to one end, even His enemies being
conquered and subdued.... for Christ must reign until He has put all
enemies under His feet.”
Here are some quotes from Clement of Alexandria, who was in charge of
one of the theological schools of the early church:
“And how is He Saviour and Lord, if not the Saviour and Lord
all? But He is the Saviour of those who have believed, because of their
wishing to know; and the Lord of those who have not believed, till,
being enabled to confess him, they obtain the peculiar and appropriate
boon which comes by Him.
"..all things are arranged with a view to the salvation of the
universe by the Lord of the universe, both generally and particularly.
It is then the function of the righteousness of salvation to improve
everything as far as practicable. For even minor matters are arranged
with a view to the salvation of that which is better, and for an abode
suitable for people’s character. Now everything that is virtuous
changes for the better; having as the proper cause of change the free
choice of knowledge, which the soul has in its own power. But necessary
corrections, through the goodness of the great overseeing Judge, both
by the attendant angels, and by various acts of anticipative judgment,
and by the perfect judgment, compel egregious sinners to repent."
--Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book 7, Chapter 2, ANF, Vol 2
"1 John 2:2. 'And not only for our sins,'--that is for those
the faithful, - is the Lord the propitiator, does he say, “but also for
the whole world.” He, indeed, saves all; but some [He saves],
converting them by punishments; others, however, who follow voluntarily
[He saves] with dignity of honour; so “that every knee should bow to
Him, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the
earth;” that is, angels, men, and souls that before His advent have
departed from this temporal life. " --Clement of Alexandria,
Commentary on 1 John 2.2, Fragments from the Latin Translation of
Cassiodorus, ANF, Vol 2
Didymus, who was revered as the foremost Christian Scholar of the 4th
century, had the following to say:
Didymus argues the final remission of punishment, and universal
salvation, in his commentary on I Timothy and I Peter.
Of the Descent of Christ into Hades, he says,--as translated by
the liberation of all no one remains a captive; at the time of the
Lord's passion, he alone (the devil) was injured, who lost all the
captives he was keeping."
"For although the Judge at times inflicts tortures and anguish
on those who merit them, yet he who more deeply scans the reasons of
things, perceiving the purpose of his goodness, who desires to amend
the sinner, confesses him to be good."
"As men, by giving up their sins, are made subject to him
(Christ), so too, the higher intelligences, freed by correction from
their willful sins, are made subject to him, on the completion of the
dispensation ordered for the salvation of all. God desires to destroy
evil, therefore evil is (one) of those things liable to destruction.
Now that which is of those things liable to destruction will be
Gregory of Nyssa had the following to say
He asks: "What is then the scope of St. Paul's argument in this
place? That the nature of evil shall one day be wholly exterminated,
and divine, immortal goodness embrace within itself all intelligent
natures; so that of all who were made by God, not one shall be exiled
from his kingdom; when all the mixtures of evil that like a corrupt
matter is mingled in things, shall be dissolved, and consumed in the
furnace of purifying fire, and everything that had its origin from God
shall be restored to its pristine state of purity."
"This is the end of our hope, that nothing shall be left contrary
the good, but that the divine life, penetrating all things, shall
absolutely destroy death from existing things, sin having been
"For it is evident that God will in truth be 'in all' when there
shall be no evil in existence, when every created being is at harmony
with itself, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord;
when every creature shall have been made one body. Now the body of
Christ, as I have often said, is the whole of humanity."
On the Psalms, "Neither is sin from eternity, not will it last to
eternity. For that which did not always exist shall not last forever."
His language demonstrates the fact that the word aionios did not
have the meaning of endless duration in his day. He distinctly says:
"Whoever considers the divine power will plainly perceive that it is
able at length to restore by means of the aionion purging and atoning
sufferings, those who have gone even to this extremity of wickedness."
Thus "everlasting" punishment will end in salvation, according to one
of the greatest of the fathers of the Fourth Century.
He teaches that "when death approaches to life, and darkness to
light, and the corruptible to the incorruptible, the inferior is done
away with and reduced to non-existence, and the thing purged is
benefited, just as the dross is purged from gold by fire. In the same
way in the long circuits of time, when the evil of nature which is now
mingled and implanted in them has been taken away, whensoever the
restoration to their old condition of the things that now lie in
wickedness takes place, there will be a unanimous thanksgiving from the
whole creation, both of those who have been punished in the
purification and of those who have not at all needed purification.
"I believe that punishment will be administered in proportion to
each one's corruptness. Therefore to whom there is much corruption
attached, with him it is necessary that the purgatorial time which is
to consume it should be great, and of long duration; but to him in whom
the wicked disposition has been already in part subjected, a
proportionate degree of that sharper and more vehement punishment shall
be forgiven. All evil, however, must at length be entirely removed from
everything, so that it shall no more exist. For such being the nature
of sin that it cannot exist without a corrupt motive, it must of course
be perfectly dissolved, and wholly destroyed, so that nothing can
remain a receptacle of it, when all motive and influence shall spring
from God alone," etc.
Macrina the Blessed, born in 327 AD, said the following:
"The Word seems to me to lay down the doctrine of the perfect
obliteration of wickedness, for if God shall be in all things that are,
obviously wickedness shall not be in them."
"For it is necessary that at some time evil should be removed
utterly and entirely from the realm of being. For since by its very
nature evil cannot exist apart from free choice, when all free choice
becomes in the power of God, shall not evil advance to utter
annihilation so that no receptacle for it at all shall be left?"
In this conversation in which the sister sustains by far the
leading part, the resurrection (anastasis) and the restoration
(apokatastasis) are regarded as synonymous, as when Macrina declares
that "the resurrection is only the restoration of human nature to
its pristine condition."
On Phil. 2:10, Macrina declares. "When the evil has been
exterminated in the long cycles of the æons nothing shall be left
outside the boundaries of good, but even from them shall be unanimously
uttered the confession of the Lordship of Christ."
She said: "The process of healing shall be proportioned to
measure of evil in each of us, and when the evil is purged and blotted
out, there shall come in each place to each immortality and life and
In short, the teaching of Christian Universal Salvation was the
majority teaching of the church for the first 500 years, and was never
opposed until Augustine, and then it was denounced by the Catholic
Church as a heresy.
Here are some facts about the how it was felt by the Early Church:
1. During the First Century the primitive Christians did not dwell on
matters of eschatology, but devoted their attention to apologetics; they
were chiefly anxious to establish the fact of Christ's advent, and of
blessings to the world. Possibly the question of destiny was an open
till Paganism and Judaism introduced erroneous ideas, when the New
doctrine of the apokatastasis was asserted, and universal restoration
an accepted belief, as stated later by Clement and Origen, A.D. 180-230.
2. The Catacombs give us the views of the unlearned, as Clement and
state the doctrine of scholars and teachers. Not a syllable is found
at the horrors of Augustinianism, but the inscription on every monument
harmonizes with the Universalism of the early fathers.
3. Clement declares that all punishment, however severe, is
that even the "torments of the damned" are curative. Origen explains
Gehenna as signifying limited and curative punishment, and both, as all
other ancient Universalists, declare that "everlasting" (aionion)
punishment, is consonant with universal salvation.
So that it is no proof that other primitive Christians who are less
as to the final result, taught endless punishment when they employ the
4. Like our Lord and his Apostles, the primitive Christians avoided the
words with which the Pagans and Jews defined endless punishment aidios
adialeipton timoria (endless torment), a doctrine the latter believed,
knew how to describe; but they, the early Christians, called
did our Lord, kolasis aionios, discipline, chastisement, of indefinite,
5. The early Christians taught that Christ preached the Gospel to the
and for that purpose descended into Hades. Many held that he released
who were in ward. This shows that repentance beyond the grave, perpetual
probation, was then accepted, which precludes the modern error that the
soul's destiny is decided at death.
6. Prayers for the dead were universal in the early church, which would
absurd, if their condition is unalterably fixed at the grave.
7. The idea that false threats were necessary to keep the common people
check, and that the truth might be held esoterically, prevailed among
earlier Christians, so that there can be no doubt that many who seem to
teach endless punishment, really held the broader views, as we know the
did, and preached terrors pedagogically.
8. The first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian
doctrine ever given to the world was by Clement of Alexandria, A.D.
universal salvation was one of the tenets.
9. The first complete presentation of Christianity as a system was by
(A.D. 220) and universal salvation was explicitly contained in it.
10. Universal salvation was the prevailing doctrine in Christendom as
as Greek, the language of the New Testament, was the language of
11. Universalism was generally believed in the best centuries, the first
three, when Christians were most remarkable for simplicity, goodness and
12. Universalism was least known when Greek, the language of the New
Testament was least known, and when Latin was the language of the
its darkest, most ignorant, and corrupt ages.
13. Not a writer among those who describe the heresies of the first
hundred years intimates that Universalism was then a heresy, though it
believed by many, if not be a majority, and certainly by the greatest
14. Not a single creed for five hundred years expresses any idea
universal restoration, or in favor of endless punishment.
15. With the exception of the arguments of Augustine (A.D. 420), there
not an argument known to have been framed against Universalism for at
four hundred years after Christ, by any of the ancient fathers.
16. While the councils that assembled in various parts of Christendom,
anathematized every kind of doctrine supposed to be heretical, no
council, for more than five hundred years, condemned Universalism,
had been advocated in every century by the principal scholars and most
17. As late as A.D. 400, Jerome says "most people" (plerique). and
"very many" (quam plurimi), believed in Universalism, notwithstanding
the tremendous influence of Augustine, and the mighty power of the
semi-pagan secular arm were arrayed against it.
18. The principal ancient Universalists were Christian born and reared,
were among the most scholarly and saintly of all the ancient saints.
19. The most celebrated of the earlier advocates of endless punishment
heathen born, and led corrupt lives in their youth. Tertullian one of
first, and Augustine, the greatest of them, confess to having been
20. The first advocates of endless punishment, Minucius Felix,
and Augustine, were Latins, ignorant of Greek, and less competent to
interpret the meaning of Greek Scriptures than were the Greek scholars.
21. The first advocates of Universalism, after the Apostles, were
whose mother-tongue the New Testament was written. They found their
Universalism in the Greek Bible. Who should be correct, they or the
22. The Greek Fathers announced the great truth of universal
an age of darkness, sin and corruption. There was nothing to suggest it
them in the world's literature or religion. It was wholly contrary to
everything around them. Where else could they have found it, but where
say they did, in the Gospel?
23. All ecclesiastical historians and the best Biblical critics and
agree to the prevalence of Universalism in the earlier centuries.
24. From the days of Clement of Alexandria to those of Gregory of Nyssa
Theodore of Mopsuestia (A.D. 180-428) , the great theologians and
almost without exception, were Universalists. No equal number in the
centuries were comparable to them for learning and goodness.
25. The first theological school in Christendom, that in Alexandria,
Universalism for more than two hundred years.
26. In all Christendom, from A.D. 170 to 430, there were six Christian
schools. Of these four, the only strictly theological schools, taught
Universalism, and but one endless punishment.
27. The three earliest Gnostic sects, the Basilidians, the
the Valentinians (A.D. 117-132) are condemned by Christian writers, and
their heresies pointed out, but though they taught Universalism, that
doctrine is never condemned by those who oppose them. Irenaeus
errors of the Carpocratians, but does not reprehend their Universalism,
though he ascribes the doctrine to them.
28. The first defense of Christianity against Infidelity (Origen against
Celsus) puts the defense on Universalistic grounds. Celsus charged the
Christians' God with cruelty, because he punished with fire. Origen
that God's fire is curative; that he is a "Consuming Fire," because he
consumes sin and not the sinner.
29. Origen, the chief representative of Universalism in the ancient
centuries, was bitterly opposed and condemned for various heresies by
ignorant and cruel fanatics. He was accused of opposing Episcopacy,
believing in pre-existence, etc., but never was condemned for his
Universalism. The very council that anathematized "Origenism" eulogized
Gregory of Nyssa, who was explicitly a Universalist as was Origen.
his errors are given by Methodius, Pamphilus and Eusebius, Marcellus,
Eustathius and Jerome, but Universalism is not named by one of his
opponents. Fancy a list of Ballou's errors and his Universalism omitted;
Hippolytus (A.D. 320) names thirty-two known heresies, but Universalism
not mentioned as among them. Epiphanius, "the hammer of heretics,"
eighty heresies, but he does not mention universal salvation, though
of Nyssa, an outspoken Universalist, was, at the time he wrote, the most
conspicuous figure in Christendom.
30. Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, who attempted to have Universalism
officially condemned, lived in the most corrupt epoch of the Christian
centuries. He closed the theological schools, and demanded the
of Universalism by law; but the doctrine was so prevalent in the church
the council refused to obey his edict to suppress it. Lecky says the
Justinian was "the worst form civilization has assumed."
31. The first clear and definite statement of human destiny by any
writer after the days of the Apostles, includes universal restoration,
that doctrine was advocated by most of the greatest and best of the
Christian Fathers for the first five hundred years of the Christian Era.
In one word, a careful study of the early history of the Christian
will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was least
the darkest, and prevailed most in the most enlightened, of the earliest
centuries--that it was the prevailing doctrine in the Primitive
All this is just some food for thought, to study and pray over.
Remember, Paul said that we know in part, and prophesy in part. None
of us know everything.