Arguments in Favor of Biblical Universalism
Note from the editor of Tentmaker Publication:
Those who embrace Universal Salvation are often accused of believing in a doctrine which has no Biblical basis. The following pages will thoroughly refute such an opinion. Since the book from which this chapter came from was written in the middle of the ninteenth century, the English will be somewhat archaic, not as archaic, however, as the English of the King James Bible. The first couple of pages may be a little difficult to read, but it gets much easier after that.
The following chapters were put into electronic format by Gary Amirault on behalf of Tentmaker Publications in December 1998
UNIVERSALIST'S BOOK OF REFERENCE 1853 Edition
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF UNIVERSALISM.
A brief Statement of the Principal Arguments in favor of Universalism;
also, Objections to those Arguments, and Replies to those Objections.
We shall only state these arguments, objections, &c. in brief, and leave the reader to carry out the reasoning. We argue the truth of the doctrine of universal salvation from,
1. The NATURE, CHARACTER and ATTRIBUTES of GOD. The nature of God is LOVE. This love is infinite in degree unlimited in extent, and endless in duration. It therefore extends to every sentient being that ever did, does now, or ever will, exist in the universe. In character, God is kind, good, benevolent, merciful and just. God's attributes are omnipotence omniscience, omnipresence, infinite wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy and truth. Every quality, characteristic and attribute of God, is under the supreme control and direction of goodness or love. God is the primary cause of all things He is, therefore, the author of man's existence; and, consequently, his Creator. God never acts without a design. He must, therefore, have had some design in creating man. God is impartial. He has, therefore, the same design in creating all men, that he had in creating the first man. God is good; and no good being can act with a bad design. The design which he had in creating man, and the design which He has in creating all men, must therefore be good. To create beings for misery, would be to create them with a bad design. To create beings for happiness, would be to create them with a good design. Therefore, God created man for happiness; and the existence which he conferred upon him, he designed to be, on the whole, a blessing and not a curse.
OBJECTION. "This reasoning is a priori, and a priori reasoning on this subject is inadmissible; inasmuch, as by a regular process of a priori reasoning from the nature and character of God, we should come to the conclusion that God would have excluded all evil from the universe. But this he has not done; therefore, a priori reasoning from the attributes of God is inconclusive, and extremely fallacious."
ANSWER. It is not true that a course of a priori reasoning from the attributes of God would lead us to the conclusion that he would have excluded all evil from the universe. Let us see. God is the only infinite being in the universe. Only one infinite being can exist in the universe. God is the only standard of absolute perfection in the universe. God cannot create a being equal to himself. If, therefore, he creates beings at all, he must create them inferior to himself. Well, just in proportion as they are inferior to himself, just in that proportion they must fall short of perfection; and just in proportion as they fall short of perfection, just in that proportion they must partake of imperfection. Imperfection is an evil; and, as imperfection exists necessarily, hence God could not exclude all evil from the universe.
To this it may be replied, that "according to this reasoning, evil exists necessarily, and if the present existence of evil can be reconciled with the divine benevolence, the endless existence of evil can be as well and as easily reconciled with that benevolence."
Answer. The evil of imperfection undoubtedly exists necessarily, but it by no means follows that all evil exists necessarily. This subject has been involved in a great deal of obscurity and confusion, in consequence of the habit which philosophers and divines have fallen into, of classing all evils under one general head. Now, the fact is, that there are three different kinds of evils in the world. 1. Those which exist necessarily. 2. Those which exist by permission or appointment of God, for wise and benevolent purposes, 3. Those which may be said to be of our own procuring. Those of the first class must exist to a greater or less extent, as long as created beings are in existence, though they may constantly be growing less and less. For instance, man can never be as powerful as God; he can never be as wise as God, nor can he ever be as good as God. Yet, he may be, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, constantly approximating towards the perfections of God; but, after all, he will never attain to the point of absolute perfection. Those evils which exist by permission or appointment of God for wise and benevolent purposes, will of course be removed when the benevolent object of their existence is attained. Those which are of our own procuring will grow less and less as mankind progress in knowledge, wisdom and virtue. To suppose that any evils which are under God's control exist as an end (which they must, if they exist endlessly), is to impeach the goodness and benevolence of God. To suppose that those evils exist as a means of accomplishing more good than could otherwise be brought about (which is undoubtedly true), is to suppose that they are limited and finite and that they will eventually terminate in the good, to accomplish which, they exist.
But it will be said, "God has been just as good in all time past as he is now, and he is just as good now as he ever will be; and as he has in time past, and does now permit evil to exist, therefore, we have no proof but that such will always continue to be the case."
Answer. If we admit this reasoning to be correct, we have only to carry it out, and we overthrow the brightest hopes of all professing Christians. For instance, Christians hope to be eventually delivered from the power and dominion of sin; but, as they are subject to sin now, therefore they always will be. Christians hope to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God; but, as they are subject to the bondage of corruption now, therefore they always will be. Christians hope to be placed, eventually, beyond the reach of death; but, as they are subject to death now, therefore they always will be. Christians hope to be placed beyond the reach of pain, sickness and sorrow; but, as they are subject to these evils now, therefore they always will be. If the present existence of sin, sorrow, sickness and pain, can be reconciled with the divine benevolence, then, according to the mode of reasoning adopted by the objector, the endless existence of these evils can as well and as easily be reconciled with that benevolence. And, if the present existence of any evil which is under God's control proves that evil will exist endlessly, then the same argument will prove the endless existence of all evils which have ever been seen, felt or experienced, by man. In that case, what becomes of the hopes and expectations of all benevolent and good men? Again, this reasoning comes in contact with the plain declarations of the Bible. Sin is an evil, and it exists now; but the Bible instructs us to " behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." It assures us that Christ will "finish the transgression and make an end of sin.." Death is an evil, and it reigns triumphant over man now; but the Bible declares that "death shall be swallowed up in victory;" and that "the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed." Sorrow, sickness and pain, are evils, and they are experienced in a greater or less degree by all now; but the Bible affirms that the period will arrive when "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.." Man is a strange compound of good and evil, and who can doubt that God designed his present existence to be a mixed state of good and evil, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery? He who doubts this must doubt the evidence of his own senses. If God did not design this, one thing is certain, he has been most woefully disappointed. In view of the above considerations, it evidently appears that man is a progressive being; that the present is only the incipient stage of his existence, and that he is destined to rise higher and higher in the scale of intellectual and moral improvement, and approximate nearer and nearer to the perfections of his Creator.
2. We argue the truth of Universalism from the NATURE Of MAN. Man is a physical, intellectual and moral being. He respects virtue, whether be practices it or not. He instinctively loves happiness and dreads misery. He is a progressive being, and is susceptible of very great cultivation, refinement and improvement. This being the nature of man, the period must eventually arrive when he will have learned, by his own experience, what course of conduct his own interest dictates to him to pursue; and, from his love of happiness and dread of misery, he will practice virtue on the one hand, and avoid the practice of vice on the other. Besides, sin in man has its origin in the flesh, or in his animal nature, and this animal nature is destined to be destroyed. Nothing but the spiritual nature of man can survive the tomb. Hence, in a future state of existence he will be free from those passions, appetites and desires, which in this world lead him astray and entice him from the path of virtue.
3. From the NATURE OF SIN and MISERY. Sin and misery are inseparably connected. Sin is a cause, and misery the effect. Sin being an act of a finite being, is, therefore, finite and limited. Of course, the effect must be limited also. Sin tends to misery, and misery to the death of the miserable. Therefore, sin and misery, instead of possessing a self-perpetuating power, carry with them the seeds of their own dissolution. Hence, sin and misery must eventually be brought to an end.
4. From the NATURE of HOLINESS and HAPPINESS. These also are inseparably connected. And both are qualities of the Deity; hence, they possess a self-perpetuating power, and are, therefore, ever-enduring in their nature.
5. From the NATURE and OBJECT OF PUNISHMENT. Punishment signifies correction. And correction signifies to reform and make better. It is prospective, and not retrospective. It is not revenge. It is not cruelty. It is not vindictive, but parental; and the fact of its being inflicted is a proof of the goodness of the Being who inflicts it, rather than an objection against it.
6. From the direct and positive teachings of the BIBLE. Our arguments from the Bible will be arranged under distinct heads.
1st. The doctrine of Universalism is based on the promises of GOD.
Gen. 3:15, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This language was addressed to the serpent, and this serpent is evidently an emblematic representation of the lusts, passions and desires of mankind. The seed of the serpent is sin.. James 1:15, "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." James 4:1 "From whence come wars and fighting, among you? come they not hence, even of your own lusts that war in your members? " A bruise upon the heel of man is not mortal, but a bruise upon the head of the serpent produces death. This text, then, plainly teaches that although man will receive an injury from the influence of his passions, appetites and desires, yet the seed of the woman will heal the wound, and destroy the cause which inflicted it. It is acknowledged that by the "seed of the woman," here, is meant Jesus Christ
Well, Christ is to destroy the serpent or devil and all his works. 1 John 3:8 "For this purpose the Son of man was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Heb. 2:14,15 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Who or what has the power of death? Answer: James 1:15, "Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."
God promised to Abraham that he would bless all mankind in his seed. Gen. 12:3, "And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 22:18, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This promise was renewed to Isaac and Jacob, Gen. 26:4, and 28:14.
OBJECTION 1. "These promises are on conditions; and, unless these conditions are complied with on the part of the creature, the promised blessing will not be conferred."
ANSWER. No conditions are either expressed or implied in these promises. If there were any conditions about it, God knew it; and he would not have promised in this unconditional manner, unless he had foreseen that all the conditions on which hung suspended the fulfilment of the promises would be complied with on the part of all who are included in the promise.
OBJECTION 2. "These promises relate only to temporal blessings to be conferred on mankind in this life.''
ANSWER. Thousands and millions of the human family have lived and died without ever knowing that such a person as Jesus Christ (who is the seed spoken of in these promises) ever existed; and, consequently, without ever receiving any blessing through him whatever. Now, to suppose that these promises relate to temporal blessings, is to suppose that God has made promises which he has never fulfilled, and never can fulfil. Besides, Peter understood these promises to relate to spiritual blessings, even to the salvation of men from sin. When addressing the murderers of Jesus Christ, he says, Acts 3:25, 26, "Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blest. Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." Again, these promises are expressly said to constitute the Gospel. Gal. 3:8, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would LEFT the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." If these promises constitute the Gospel, of course they must relate to the spiritual blessings to be conferred on all mankind.
OBJECTION 3. These promises are to all the families of the earth. If, therefore, only one out of every family is saved and all the rest are lost, it will be a fulfilment of the promise."
ANSWER. Peter understood by the phrase,, "all families," all mankind. Acts 3:25, "And in thy seed shall all the KINDREDS of the earth be blessed." Point us to an individual who is not related to any nation, tribe, kindred, tongue or people, and we will admit that he is not included in this promise. But, as there never was nor never can be any such person, hence every individual of the human race is included in this promise.
OBJECTION 4. "The unbelief of some men is so great, that these promises to them can never be fulfilled."
ANSWER. The unbelief of man cannot overthrow the faith of God, nor convert truth into falsehood. Rom. 3:3, 4, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? GOD FORBID: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar."
OBJECTION 5. "The penalty of God's law is endless misery and, as this penalty will be inflicted on those who do not repent in this life, and as thousands live and die unrepentant, hence those promises to them can never be fulfilled."
ANSWER. God has never annexed the penalty of endless misery to any law which he has given to man. Besides, there is no law of God, no penalty annexed to any law of his, nor any punishment ever threatened by Jehovah, which will prevent the fulfilment of these promises. Gal. 3:15-17, "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is CHRIST. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, CANNOT DISANNUL, that it should make the promise of none effect ." See also Gal. 3:21, "Is the law then against the promises of God? GOD FORBID." That there is an absolute certainty of the fulfilment of these promises, is further evident from Paul's testimony in 2 Cor. 1:18-20, "But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Sylvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea, For ALL the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen unto the glory of God by us." No language can more clearly ex press the fact, that in relation to these promises, as well as all other promises of God, there are no buts, nor ifs, nor ands, nor conditions, about it; but, on the contrary, they are yea and Amen; and are, therefore, absolutely certain and sure of being fulfilled.
2d. This doctrine is founded on the immutable oath of JEHOVAH.
God has pledged himself by his oath to fulfil his promises. Gen. 22:16-18, "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Isa. 45:22-24, "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed." Heb. 6:16-19, "For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, CONFIRMED IT WITH AN OATH; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail."
OBJECTION 1. "The quotation from Isaiah proves that some of those who will bow the knee to God shall be made ashamed, and the idea of shame is inconsistent with the idea of Salvation."
ANSWER. Are not those who are converted to the Gospel, and who are reformed by its influence, ashamed of their former course of conduct? and if they have ever been incensed against God, are they not ashamed of it, when they come to understand his character? Most certainly they are. But, surely, this is no bar to their salvation. The fact is, to bring the sinner to a sense of shame, is an important step towards his reformation and salvation. That the shame here spoken of, which will be experienced by those who have, been incensed against God, will be no bar to their salvation, may be seen by consulting Ezek. 16:62, 63, "And I will establish my covenant with thee (the Jews); and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done."
OBJECTION 2. "The quotation from Hebrews shows that the 'immutability of God's counsel' was made known only to the 'heirs of promise.' "
ANSWER. We have shown that all the nations, families, and kindreds of the earth, are heirs of the promise. And the immutability of God's counsel, or the certainty of the fulfillment of these promises, has been made known to all the heirs who have believed in them, is made known to all who do now believe in them, and will be made known to all who ever will believe in them. The believer in these promises looks forward in prospect to the time when they will be fulfilled to all the heirs, and this faith imparts to him a hope, which is as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. If there are any who do not believe these promises, we have shown that their unbelief cannot make the faith of God without effect. The quotation from Isaiah proves, not only that every knee shall be brought to bow to God, but that every tongue shall swear, saying, Surely, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. Now, if there are any who will never have righteousness and strength in Jehovah, then, if God compels them to swear that they have, he will compel them to swear to that which is false.
3d. This doctrine is based on the determinate will of God.
It is God's will that all men shall be saved. 1 Tim. 2:1-6, "I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
OBJECTION 1. "The word will here expresses only God's willingness to have all men saved, and not his determination that they shall be."
ANSWER 1. The text does not say that "God is willing to have all men saved," but "God WILL HAVE all men to be saved." 2. That the word will here expresses a will of purpose or determination, is evident from its Scripture usage. In Matt. 8:3, Jesus says to the leper, "I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." John 5:21, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." John 6: 37, "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Rom. 9:18, "Therefore hath he mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom he will he bardeneth." Eph. 1:9, 10, " Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself." Eph. 1:11, "Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." See also John 6:38-40.
OBJECTION 2. "Although God may will the salvation of all men, yet his will may be defeated, as it was in the case of the Jews; of whom it was said, Matt. 23:37, " 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not."
ANSWER 1. To say "1 would," and to say "I will," are two very different things. The former expresses only a willingness, but the latter a positive will or determination.
2. The passage in Matthew only expresses the willingness of Christ; but the passage in 1 Timothy expresses the will of God. Christ came down from heaven not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him," John 6:38. Christ was willing that the cup of suffering might pass from him; nevertheless, he says "not my will, but thine, 0 God, be done." Matt. 26:39.
3. That the will of God, respecting the final destiny of his creatures, can never change, nor be defeated, may be seen from the following scriptures, James 1:17, "With God is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Job 23 13. ,"He is in one mind, and none can turn him." Prov. 19:2 1, "There are many devices in a man's heart: nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." Dan. 4:35, "He doeth accordingly to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand." Eph. 1:11, "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
4th. This doctrine is based on what the Scriptures teach respecting the pleasure of GOD.
God created all for his pleasure. Rev. 4:11, "Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Eph. 1:9, 10, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him."
OBJECTION 1. "This gathering in Christ, is spoken only of believers; and no reference is had to any others than believers in him."
ANSWER. Believers are already gathered in Christ, and as the text speaks of this gathering as something which is in process of accomplishment, but will not be consummated until "in the dispensation of the fulness of times," and as none only unbelievers have any need of being gathered in Christ, and as the phrase "things in heaven, and things on earth " was used to signify all created intelligences, hence, the text teaches the final ingathering of all lapsed intelligences in Christ; and reference is had in the text not simply to those who were, or would become, believers in this world, but to all mankind, whether believers or unbelievers.
OBJECTION 2. "It may be God's pleasure to gather all men in Christ; and yet his pleasure may not be accomplished."
ANSWER. God's pleasure will be accomplished. Isa. 46:10, I will do all my pleasure." Isa. 55:10, 11, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow, from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." In Isa. 53:10, we are told that, "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in the hands of Christ."
5th. This doctrine is based on the unalterable purpose of God.
From the quotation which we have just made, we learn, that "God has purposed in himself to gather together in one all mankind in Christ."
OBJECTION. "Although God may have purposed to do this, yet that purpose may fail."
ANSWER. The purpose of God can never fail. Isa. 14:24, "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed SO SHALL IT STAND." Verse 27, "The Lord of hosts hath purposed,and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" Isa. 46:9, 10, "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." See also verse 11, "I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposedit, I will also do it." We have seen that in Eph. 1:11, Paul speaks of "the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will."
6th. We argue the truth of Universalism from the testimony of all GOD's HOLY PROPHETS.
All the holy prophets have testified to the truth of this doctrine. Acts 3:20, 21, "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." We have seen that Moses taught the destruction of all evil, when he represented sin under the figure of a serpent, whose head the seed of the woman was to bruise. David says, Ps. 22:27, "All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the governor among the nations." Again, Ps. 86:9, "All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, 0 Lord, and shall glorify thy Name." He also said of Christ, Ps. 72:11, 17, "All kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him . . . . men shall be blessed in him, all nations shall call him blessed." Isaiah says, Isa. 2:2, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills: and all nations shall flow into it." By mountain is meant the covenant of the Gospel. Again, speaking of Christ in the name of God, he says, Isa. 49:6, "I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth." Again, he says, Isa. 25:6-8, "And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things fall of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from off all the earth: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
OBJECTION 1. "This has reference to the coming of the Messiah, and the establishment of the Gospel dispensation; consequently it must not be applied to anything yet future."
ANSWER 1. Allowing it to have reference to the establishment of the Gospel dispensation, there is no way of avoiding the conclusion, that it predicts the final results of the Messiah's reign. Before his reign closes, then, the veil of error is to be removed from the minds of men, death is to be swallowed up in victory, and tears are to be wiped from off all faces.
2. Paul quotes this language in 1 Cor. 15th chapter, and applies it to the resurrection; so that, if the objector is right, of course Paul must have been mistaken.
OBJECTION 2. "In verse 10 of this very chapter we are told that 'Moab shall be trodden down, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.' So that it appears there is to be some destruction, as well as salvation."
ANSWER. Whatever may be meant by Moab here, it is manifest that he was to be trodden down before the reign of Christ should come to a close. During Christ's reign he administers rewards and punishments; and when his reign closes, the dispensation of rewards and punishments ceases. Besides, in Jer. 48 we have a particular account of the punishment which was to come upon Moab; and a prediction of its final termination. Verse 47 reads as follows: "Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord."
Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant which God would make with the house of Israel. Jer. 31:31-34. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt (which my covenant they break, although I was an husband to them, said the Lord); but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." This language proves the eventual salvation of the whole Jewish race. But before this can take place, the Gentiles must first be saved; for Paul, in Rom. 11:25, 26, says that the Jews are not to come in "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved."
Daniel said of Christ, Dan. 7:14, "There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him." He also taught that Christ "should make reconciliation for iniquity, finish the transgression, make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness." Dan. 9:24.
Hosea foretold the destruction of death and hell, and the redemption of mankind from their power. Hosea 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave (sheol, hell); I will redeem them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plagues; 0 grave (sheol), I will be thy destruction." Paul quotes this language in 1 Cor. 15, and applies it to the general resurrection of the dead. So that, instead of mankind being raised from the dead to be sent into hell, hell is to be destroyed at the resurrection.
7th We argue the truth of this doctrine from the testimony of CHRIST and his APOSTLES.
Jesus said he came "to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10. Not that which was in danger of being lost, but that which was lost. All mankind were lost. Jesus, therefore, came to save all mankind. He came to do or accomplish the will of God. John 6: 38, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." We have seen that God's will is that all men should be saved. The testimony of Jesus on this point is, John 6:39, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." This is not only the will of God respecting all who are given to Christ, but it is also his will that those who believe in the gospel should have everlasting life here in this world. John 6:40, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life." Compare this with John 5:24 and 17:3. Not any who are given to Christ then will eventually be lost. Well, how many are given to Christ? Ps. 2:7, 8, "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
OBJECTION. "In verse 9 of this psalm it is said, 'Thou shalt break them (the heathen) with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' This is inconsistent with the idea of their being saved."
ANSWER. We have already shown that Christ, during his reign as the Messiah, will administer rewards and punishments; and that when his reign ceases the dispensation of rewards and punishments will cease also, as he is not to deliver up his kingdom until be has put down all rule, and all authority and power; --until he has reconciled all intelligences to God, and brought them into willing subjection to him. However severe may be the punishment which he will inflict upon the heathen, they are eventually to become his inheritance, as God has given them to him. And we have seen that the will of God is, that of all which he has given Christ, he should lose nothing.
The heathen are given to Christ for an inheritance, and the utter most parts of the earth for his possession. Jesus certifies to the name truth. John 3:35, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." John 16:15, "All that the Father hath are mine." Paul says of Christ, Heb. 1:2, "Whom he hath appointed heir of all things." Well, has Christ the will and the power to accomplish the object of his mission? Matt. 28:18, "All power is given me in heaven, and in earth." John 17:2, "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out." John 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
Jesus taught that the subjects of the resurrection would be equal unto the angels, be placed beyond the reach of death, and be the children of God. Luke 20:35, 36, "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."
OBJECTION. "The word worthy in this text, implies that some will not be accounted worthy to obtain a resurrection from the dead."
ANSWER 1. This objection has as much force against the doctrine of endless misery as against Universalism. For if any portion of the human race will not experience a resurrection from the state of death, endless misery for them is of course out of the question. And the text proves conclusively that all who will be raised from the dead shall be holy and happy as the angels of God.
2. The word worthy must not be understood in such a sense as to make this text contradict other portions Of the divine testimony. But if we understand it to limit the number of those who shall be raised from the dead, it will contradict the testimony of Jesus himself, of Paul, and all the other scripture writers who have treated upon the resurrection. There is no doctrine more pointedly taught in the Bible than that there shall be a resurrection of all mankind from the dead. In immediate connection with this text, Jesus said, "All live unto God " (see verse 38); and he declared that he would "Draw all men unto him." Paul taught the resurrection of the dead, "both of the just and unjust " (see Acts 24:15); and in 1 Cor. 15:22, he says: "As in Adam all die, even so in, Christ shall all be made alive."
3. The parallel passages in Matthew and Mark say nothing about any worthiness. In Matt. 22:30, we read, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven;" and in Mark 12:25, "For when they shall rise from the dead they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven."
4. The language of the text was addressed to the Sadducees, and in the hearing of the Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in any resurrection, nor future life. The Pharisees believed in a kind of resurrection which was nothing more, however, than a mere transmigration. Some suppose they limited the resurrection to those whom they denominated "the just;" whereas others think they believed in a general resurrection of all mankind. In either case the testimony of Jesus in the text under consideration was pointedly against the opinions of both the Sadducees and Pharisees. In opposition to the doctrine of the Sadducees, he taught that there should be a resurrection of the dead, and a future life. In opposition to the doctrine of the Pharisees, if they held to a limited resurrection consisting in a transmigration of the soul into other bodies, He taught that the subjects of the resurrection would be equal to the angels of God. And in opposition to their doctrine, if they held to a general resurrection which would be a happy one to some, and a miserable one to others, he taught that all who should be raised from the dead would be holy and happy.
5. The question of the Sadducces, to which .the language of the text is an answer, did not relate to the number who should be raised from the dead, but to the condition of those who would experience such resurrection; and our Lord here teaches the general truth, that all the subjects of the resurrection will be introduced into a state of existence, where they will be holy and happy, and where they will be beyond the reach of death. Hence, those who admit the doctrine of a resurrection of all the dead, must allow that this text is a strong proof of the doctrine of universal holiness and happiness.
6. The word worthy may refer to the different degrees of value which is to be attached to the different orders of God's animal creation. As in Matt. 6:26, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" And in Luke 12:6, 7, "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." Such were the opinions, and such the habit of thinking of the Sadducees, that if they were brought to admit the resurrection of mankind from the dead, they might suppose that the resurrection of beasts, birds, insects, &c., and indeed all animal creatures, was equally as probable. Hence Jesus might have used the word worthy to signify value, and to limit the resurrection to that part of God's animal creation which he esteemed of sufficient value to be raised from the dead, viz., all mankind. At all events, it will not do to understand the text as limiting the number of the human race who shall be raised from the state of death, for reasons which have already been specified.
Jesus pointedly condemned the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matt. 16:6, "Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." The Sadducees, as we have seen, believed death to be an eternal sleep; and the Pharisees were extremely partial and exclusive in their views of God's character, government, dealings and purposes, towards the children of men. In other words, they were Partialists. Jesus, therefore, has left upon record a pointed condemnation of the principles and practices of Partialists.
Peter was taught, in the vision of the vessel like a sheet knit at the four corners, that all men came down from heaven (i. e., were created by one God who is in heaven); and will all be drawn up again into heaven; and to call no man common or unclean. See Acts 10:10-15, 11:5-10.
John says, 1 John 4:14, "We have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And he says the Samaritans said of him, John 4: 42, "We have seen him ourselves, and know this indeed to be the Christ, the Saviour of the world." And in 1 John 2:2, he says of Christ, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." He speaks of the record which God has given of his Son, and says, 1 John 5:11, "And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son." In verse 10, he says, that those who believe not this record make God (or treat God as) a liar. Now, if there are any upon whom God has not purposed to bestow eternal life, then if they believe he has not, of course they believe the truth. How then do they treat God as a liar? John teaches the destruction of all the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." He taught that all God's intelligent creatures will finally render spiritual worship to him. Rev. 5:1.3, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever." Rev. 15:4, "Who shall not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee." He also taught that a period will finally arrive when all tears shall be wiped away; when death shall no longer hold dominion over man, and when all sorrow, and crying, and pain, shall be done away forever. Rev. 21:4, "And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are done away."
We come now to the testimony of the apostle Paul, and we will arrange his testimony under distinct heads.
1. Paul taught that the salvation of the Gospel is God's free gift to man, and that no man can merit it by any act or volition of his whatsoever. Eph. 2:8, 9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." 2 Tim. 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
2. He teaches that the free gift of life is as extensive as the judgment to condemnation. Rom. 5:18, "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." This gift is eternal life. Rom. 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
OBJECTION. "This free gift is offered to all, but this does not prove that all will accept of it and be saved."
ANSWER. There is a great difference between offering to give a thing, and actually giving it. Nothing is said in the text about offering to give eternal life; but on the contrary, it is said, "The free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." This free gift is to result in justification of life to all to whom it came. But how can this be, unless it is eventually accepted by all?
3. Paul draws the parallel lines between the extent of sin and disobedience on the one hand, and the extent of righteousness and obedience on the other; and affirms that just as far as the one had extended, even just as far should the other. Rom. 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Parkhurst says on this text, "The word many in this verse, signifies the many; that is, the mass, the multitude; the whole bulk of mankind." Dr. Macknight says, "For as the word many in the first part of the verse, does not mean some part of mankind only, but all mankind, from first to last, who without exception are constituted sinners; so the many, in the latter part 0f the verse, who are said to be constituted righteous through the obedience of Christ, must mean all mankind, from the beginning to the end of the world without exception." No man is a sinner until he sins personally so no man will be counted righteous until he personally practises righteousness. Hence if, as Paul avers, righteousness will extend as far as sin has extended, then all who ever have or ever will practise sin, must eventually practise righteousness. And when all men practise righteousness, what will prevent their being saved?
4. Paul draws the parallel lines between the extent of sin on the one band, and of grace on the other; and affirms that grace shall extend as far as sin, and even abound over it; so that at last all shall end in righteousness and eternal life. Rom. 5:20, 21, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." The same number who have experienced death, as the consequence of their own personal sins, are to experience eternal life, as the consequence of their own personal righteousness; which righteousness is produced through the instrumentality of Jesus Christ. And grace is to abound over sin, in that the eternal life which is the consequence of righteousness far exceeds the death which is the consequence of sin.
5. He teaches that the whole creation was made subject to vanity, and that the same creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and be made to participate in the liberty of the children of God. Rom. 8:20, 21, "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." The same word which is here rendered creature is in verse 22 rendered creation. Dr. Macknight and other good critics say that the word here rendered creature and creation signifies "every human creature; ALL MANKIND." Rev. Thomas White translates the passage thus: "For THE CREATION was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it; in hope that THE CREATION ITSELF also shall be delivered. &c.
6. He taught the final salvation of the whole mass of both Jew and Gentiles. Rom. 11:25-32, "For I would not, brethren (Gentiles), that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part [not total blindness] is happened to Israel, until [here is a limitation of it] the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they (the Jews) are enemies for your (the Gentiles) sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [that is, God never repents of his gifts or calling]. For as ye (the Gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their (the Jews) unbelief; even so have these (the Jews) also now not believed, that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all " This last verse teaches that the mercy of God towards the Jews will extend as far as their unbelief has extended. We know not how any man of ordinary understanding can read the 11th chapter of Romans and not see that the evident design of the apostle was to teach the eventual salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.
7. He taught that Christ is Lord both of the dead and living and that, whether living or dead, we are the Lord's Rom. 14:7-9, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living." The dead and living comprise all mankind, consequently Christ is Lord of all.
8. He teaches that Christ gave himself a ransom for all; that he died for all; that he tasted death for every man; that he came to save sinners; that he died for us when we were sinners, and that he died for the ungodly. 1 Tim. 2:6, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." Heb. 2:9, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." 1 Tim. 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." 2 Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." Rom. 5:8, " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:6, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
9. Paul not only taught that God loves his creatures, even when dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:4, 5, but that there is no power in heaven above, nor on the earth beneath, nor in the universe of Jehovah, which can separate us from his love. Rom. 8:38, 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to COME, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
OBJECTION. Paul was speaking of God's love to Christians, and not of his love to all mankind."
ANSWER. He was speaking not only of God's love to Christians, but of his love to mankind in general, as is evident from Eph. 2:4, 5, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins." If God loves mankind even when dead in sins, will he ever cease to love them? If he is unchangeable, surely not.
If, then, there is any truth in the declaration of the apostle, which we have quoted from Rom. 8:38, 39, nothing can separate God's creatures from his love. Life cannot do it. If we should live through ceaseless ages, we cannot outlive the love of God. Death cannot. No; death cannot place us beyond the reach of God's love. Angels cannot. No; angels, whether fallen or otherwise, cannot do it. Principalities and powers cannot. No; there is no power in the universe that can do it. Things present or to come cannot do it. No; there is no circumstance of time, place or condition, now nor never will be, that can do it. Height nor depth cannot do it. No; we may speed our way upward with the velocity of lightning, and continue to ascend through the regions of space, till millions of ages have rolled around, but we could never reach the place where we should not be surrounded with the tokens and evidences of God's impartial and undying love. Or we may descend with the same velocity, and for the same length of time, into the regions beneath, but we could not go where "universal love " would not smile around and encircle us in its warm embrace. No creature can separate us from the love of God. No; we may imagine as many devils as we please, but no devil ever did or ever will exist which will possess the power to rob God of his children, or separate them from his love.
10. Paul taught the limitation, remedial design, efficacious nature, and benevolent object of all the divine chastisements. Heb. 12:5-11, "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what sun is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby."
11. He teaches that the grace of God brings salvation to all men. Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." Adam Clarke says on this text, "It cannot be said, except in a very refined and spiritual sense, that this Gospel had then appeared to all men; but it may be well said that it bringeth salvation to all men; this is its design, and it was to taste death for every man that its Author came into the world." He adds, "As the light and heat of the sun are denied to no nation nor individual, so the grace of the Lord Jesus; this also shines out upon all; and God designs that all mankind shall be as equally benefited by it in reference to their souls, as they are in respect to their bodies by the sun that shines in the firmament of heaven." In the margin of our large Bibles this text reads thus: "The grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared."
12. He taught that there is a moral power in goodness, which renders it sufficient to overcome and subdue all evil. Rom. 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." This shows us that evil is limited and bounded by goodness: and that it can be subdued and overcome. Who can doubt that God, who is infinitely good, will overcome it and bring it to a final end?
13. Paul expressly declares that God is the Saviour of all men and states the fact of his trusting in him as such, as the reason why he suffered reproach. 1 Tim. 4:10, "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe." By believing that God is the Saviour of all men, the believer enjoys a special salvation which the unbeliever knows not of. But God could not be said to be the special Saviour of the believer, unless he is the Saviour of all mankind. For, if God is the Saviour of none but believers, there would be nothing special about their salvation; that is, nothing by which it would be distinguished from the salvation of anybody else, as nobody else would be saved.
14. He teaches the destruction of all enemies to God and man even the last enemy, death. 1 Cor. 15:26, "The last enemy shall be destroyed, death." 2 Tim. 1:10, "Who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light." Death is here declared to be the last enemy. If death is the last enemy, certainly there can be no enemy after death. And if the last enemy, death, is eventually destroyed, then man will have no enemy. And if the time ever arrives when man will have no enemy, what will prevent his being holy and happy?
15. He not only teaches the destruction of death, but he also teaches the destruction of that which has the power of death; and the final deliverance of those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb. 2:4, 15, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." What has the power of' death? James 1:15, " Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Sin, then, according to the apostle, is eventually to be destroyed and banished from the universe of God.
16. He also taught the destruction of the grave or hell; and that mankind will gain a complete victory over the powers of death and the grave, and that death shall be robbed of its sting and the grave of its power. 1 Cor. 15:55, "0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave (hades), where is thy victory?" These are questions which involve their own answers, and the language implies that both death and hades are to be destroyed.
17. He taught the final ingathering, or reheading, of all men in Christ. Eph. 1:9, 10, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him."
18. He taught that at last every knee would be brought to bow at the name of Jesus, and every tongue to confess him Lord. Phil. 2:9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him (Christ), and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
OBJECTION. "Although all will at last bow the knee to Christ, and confess him Lord, yet on the part of some it will be a forced submission; and, therefore, the text does not prove universal salvation."
ANSWER. All this is mere assertion. Nothing is said in the text about one class of men bowing the knee in any different manner from my other class. And, for aught the text says to the contrary, it will not only be done by all, but by all alike, in the same manner, in the same spirit, and with the same sincerity. Indeed, nothing but a willing subjection of mankind to Christ, and an honest and sincere confession of him as Lord, would be to the glory of God, which Paul says the bowing and confession spoken of in the text shall be. Besides, in 1 Cor. 12:3, we are told that "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost;" and in Rom. 10:10 "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." If all men, therefore, finally confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, of course all will be saved. If the reader will consult Col. 1:19, 20, he will see that all mankind are not only to bow the knee to Christ, and to confess him Lord, but they are to be reconciled to God. This proves that their subjection, so far from being forced, will be voluntary; and that the confession spoken of will be from the heart.
19. He taught the final reconciliation of all intelligences to God. 2 Cor. 5:19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." Col. 1:19, 20, "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell: and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Professor Stuart says, "Things in heaven, earth, and under the earth, is a common periphrasis (paraphrase) of the Hebrew and New Testament writers for the universe." All intelligent creatures, then, in the universe are finally to become reconciled to God. Then, of course, there will be nothing in the way of their salvation.
20. Paul draws the parallel lines between the extent of natural and moral death on the one hand, and of immortal and spiritual life on the other; and shows that all who had or would experience the former, should eventually experience the latter. 1 Cor. 15:22, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Dr. Belsham says on this text, "The apostle's language is so clear and full with respect to the final happiness of those who are thus raised, and that their resurrection to life will be ultimately a blessing, that the generality of Christians have supposed that he is here treating of the resurrection of the virtuous only. But that is not the fact. He evidently speaks of the restoration of the whole human race. All who die by Adam shall be raised by Christ; otherwise the apostle's assertion would be untrue. The case then would have been this: as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall a select number, a small proportion, be made alive. But this is not the apostle's doctrine. His expressions are equally universal in each clause. ALL die in Adam. The same ALL, without any exception, without any restriction, shall by Christ be restored to life, and ultimately to holiness and everlasting happiness."
OBJECTION. "The resurrection spoken of here is a resurrection of the body merely. It is, therefore, only a physical change, and does not imply that those who will be thus raised will be saved."
ANSWER. How do men die in Adam? Adam here signifies earthy man. Every man is an earthy man. Well, as in the earthy man all die, even so in Christ (the heavenly man) shall all be made alive, Now, how do men die in the earthy man? They die both physically and morally. Rom. 5:12, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Natural death is the result of a mortal constitution, which every man has. Moral death is the result of sin, which every man commits. Well, as in the earthy man all die physically and morally, even so in Christ shall all be made alive physically and morally. Besides, the apostle shows that all who are raised from the state of death will be raised from "corruption to incorruption," from "dishonor to glory." This certainly shows that the change to be effected by the resurrection is something more than a mere physical change. Nor does the apostle give the least hint or intimation, in the whole chapter, that any who are raised will be miserable thereafter; but, on the contrary, he speaks of it as a change to be effected upon all mankind, and upon all alike.
21. He teaches that all who have borne or shall bear the image of the earthy man, shall also bear the image of the heavenly man 1 Cor. 15:49, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
22. He teaches the resurrection of all the dead from corruption to incorruption, from weakness to power, from natural to spiritual, from dishonor to glory; and the change of both the living and the dead from mortal to immortality. 1 Cor. 15:42-44, "So also is the resurrection of the dead; it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." 1 Cor. 15:51-54, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (for the trumpet shall sound); and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written [see Isa. 25: 6-81], Death is swallowed up in victory." It is often assorted that there is no change after death; but, if there is any truth in the declaration of the apostle in these texts, the most important change which will ever be experienced by man will take place after death. Man, therefore, in the resurrection world, will be a very different being from what he is here. All reasoning, then, upon the subject of what man will be there from what he is here, is entirely out of the question.
23. He taught that out of God, as the great author, origin, source, and fountain, all things have proceeded; and that into him, as the great centre to which they are tending, Shall all things return. Rom. 11:36, "For of him (God), and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen." And who cannot respond, Amen?
24. Finally, he teaches the subjection of all intelligent beings to Christ; and, finally, their and Christ's subjection to God; that God may become the all and in all of his creatures. 1 Cor. 15:24-28, "Then cometh the end, when he (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till be hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. Arid when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that did put all things under him, that God may be all in all." This testimony very plainly asserts the following facts. 1. All things, that is, all beings, are to he brought into subjection to Christ. This work is now going on. It is a progressive work, but will eventually be consummated. In Heb. 2:8, 9, Paul says, "Thou (God) hast put all things in subjection under his (Christ's) feet, for in that he put all in subjection tinder him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." 2. There is but one exception to this universal subjection, and that exception is God. 3. Christ is to put down all rule, and all authority and power. Of course, when this is accomplished, the devil will have no rule, nor authority, nor power. 4. Christ and all mankind are finally to become subject to the power, the authority and the government of God. As we have shown that mankind are not only to become subject to God, but are to be reconciled to him, of course there will then be no rebels against God in the universe; either in will, wish, desire, or action; but the spirit of God, Who is love, will pervade the hearts and minds of all his creatures, and he himself become all in all. Then God's will and purpose respecting the final destiny of his creatures will be accomplished. His promises will be fulfilled, his oath performed, and his counsel established. Christ will see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; and the highest and holiest wishes and desires of the hearts of all God's rational creatures will be gratified.
8th. We argue the truth of Universalism from the negative testimony of the BIBLE.
The Bible not only teaches the doctrine of universal salvation in positive terms, but it gives the lie direct to the opposite doctrine.
1. It teaches that the anger of God, so far from enduring endlessly, endures but for a moment. Ps. 30: 5, "For his anger endureth but a moment." Isa. 54:8, "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."
2. It expressly declares that God will not be always wroth, and that he will not retain his anger endlessly. Isa. 57:16, "For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth." The reason assigned is, "For the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." Ps. 103:8, 9, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; he will not always chide, neither will he retain his anger forever." Mic. 7 :18, "He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy." Ps. 89:30-32, "If his (David's) children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes; but my loving kindness will I not utterly take from them nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Lam. 3:31-33, "For the Lord will not cast off forever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his tender mercies."
9th. We argue the truth of this doctrine from inferences, which are plainly deducible from several facts, which are explicitly stated in the BIBLE.
We infer the truth of this doctrine,
1. From the fact that God is the Creator of all men. Acts 17: 26, "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Rev. 4:11, "Thou (God) hast created all things." If God is the Creator of all men, he created them for wise and benevolent purposes, he has conferred on us an unasked existence, and he will see to it that that existence does not result in a curse.
2. God is the Father of all men. In Num. 16:22 and Heb. 12:9, he is called the "God and Father of the spirits of all flesh." In Matt. 6:9, we are instructed to call him "our Father." In Mal. 2:6, the prophet asks, "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? "In Matt. 23:9, Jesus says that, "one is our Father, which is in heaven." In Acts I7:22, Paul calls the idolatrous heathen "the offspring of God." And in Eph. 4:6, he says, "There is one God and Father of all." A good father would never make the existence of his children a curse. If, therefore, God is the Father of all mankind, he will never make any portion of them miserable, any further than is for their ultimate good.
3. God is good, and his goodness is universal. Ps. 145:9, "The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." Ps. 119:68, "Thou art good, and doest good." If God is good to all now, he always will be; and, hence, he will do good to all now, and in all coming time. Consequently, he will never inflict any positive evil upon any.
4. God is wise. Ps. 104:24, "0 Lord, how manifold are thy works; in wisdom thou hast made them all." Rom. 16:27, "To God only wise be glory." If God is wise, he can devise the best possible plans; but to devise a system of moral government, which would result in the endless sin, rebellion and misery, of the subjects of that government, would not be the best possible plan; therefore, God has devised no such plan.
5. God is holy. Lev. 19:2, "For I the Lord your God am holy." Rev. 4:8, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty." If God is holy be must be opposed to evil any further than that evil can be made subservient to the production of good. But endless evil could result in no good; therefore, God will not permit endless evil to exist.
6. God is just. Isa. 45:21, "A just God, and a Saviour." If God is just, he will punish and reward all moral agents according to their works. But endless punishment would not be according to the works of men. Therefore, God will not inflict such punishment upon any.
7. God is merciful. Ps. 62:12, "Unto thee, 0 Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his works." Ps. 107:1, "His mercy endureth forever." In the 136th Psalm David asserts no less than twenty-six times that the mercy of God "endureth forever." The same thing is asserted more than fifty times in the Bible. For God to inflict endless pain upon any of his creatures, would leave no room for the exercise of mercy. Therefore, asheis merciful, and always will remain so, he will inflict Do such pain on any.
8. God is omnipotent. Rev. 19:6, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." If God is omnipotent, there is no power in the universe which can be arrayed against him which he cannot overcome. His plans and purposes, therefore, cannot be defeated. And as all his plans are wise, benevolent and good, hence good and only good must be the final result to all his creatures.
9. God is love. 1 John 4:8, "God is love." Love prompts its possessor to do all that lays in his power to promote the good of the objects of love. God has an abundance of power to promote the good of his creatures, for he is omnipotent. He has the disposition to do so, for he is love. Hence, good to all must be the final result.
10. God is impartial. Ps. 145:9, "The Lord is good to all." In James 3:17, it is said of the wisdom which cometh down from above, that it is "without partiality." If God is impartial, he has never purposed the endless happiness of some of his children, and the endless unhappiness of the rest.
11. God is unchangeable. Mal. 3:6, "I am the Lord, I change not." James 1:17, "With whom (God) is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." If God is unchangeable, he will endlessly remain what he has been in all time past, and is now. And as he always has, and does now, seek the good of his creatures, therefore be always will.
12. We infer this doctrine from the representation which is given of the Gospel by the inspired writers. The term Gospel signifies good news. The angels who announced the birth of the Saviour, said, Luke 2:10, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people." The Gospel is called "the everlasting gospel," Rev. 14:6. The "gospel of the grace of God," Acts 20:24. The "gospel of peace," Eph. 6:15. The gospel of God," Rom. 1:1. The "glorious gospel," 1 Tim. 1:11. And, the "gospel of our salvation," Eph. 1:13. It is called the "new covenant," Heb. 8:8. Said to be "better than the old," Heb. 8:6. To be founded on better promises, Heb. 8:6. Said to be "the ministration, not of condemnation and death, but of life and peace," 2 Cor. 3:6-11. If this is a correct representation of the Gospel, certainly such a glorious system could not reveal nor contain the doctrine of unmerciful wrath and never-ending
13. From the character, conduct and teachings, of Jesus Christ. He was the great founder of the Christian religion. He was benevolent, and even mindful of the physical wants of man, Mark 8:1-9. He was tender-hearted and sympathizing. He wept at the grave of Lazarus, John 11:35; raised the widow's son, Luke 7:12-15; healed the physical maladies of men, Matt. 12:0-13; and mourned and wept over Jerusalem, Matt. 23:7-39, and Luke 19:41. He was mild, forgiving and forbearing to Peter, who denied him, Luke 22:61, 62; to Thomas, who would not believe him, John 20:24-29; to the woman taken in adultery, John 8:3-11. He taught that we must love and forgive our enemies, Matt. 5:44, and 6:14, 15. He taught that we must forgive, not seven times only, but seventy times seven, Matt. 18:21, 22. He prayed for his enemies and murderers, Luke 23:34. And, at last, he freely offered up his life as a sacrifice on the altar of humanity. The whole conduct, and character, and disposition, and teachings, of Jesus was in accordance with the spirit of universal love and benevolence. He was actuated by none of the spirit of revenge, wrath or cruelty. How, then, can it be supposed that he believed and taught the cruel and unmerciful doctrine of endless torments?
14. From the influence which the Gospel exerts upon the character, conduct and feelings, of its recipients. What a mighty and an astonishing change it wrought in Paul! His partial and exclusive sentiments and feelings were exchanged for the utmost liberality of opinion and feeling. The Gospel changed his enmity to love, his bigotry to charity, and his Partialism to Universalism. It wrought the same happy change in all who received its truths into good and honest hearts. A belief in the Partialist God, and in the Partialist doctrine, could never have produced such effects. Hence, Partialism is not the doctrine of the Gospel.
15. From the nature of God's law and its requirements of man. It is the great law of love. It requires that we love God with all our soul, might, mind and strength, and our fellow-men as ourselves, Matt. 22:36-40. But how can we love God in the manner required, unless he is a lovely being? And how can he be a lovely being, and at the same time inflict unending pain upon his own helpless and dependent offspring? Again, how can we love our fellow-men as ourselves, if we believe God hates a portion of them? We are bound to imitate God. We are commanded to imitate him as dear children, Eph. 5:1. If, therefore, God hates a part of mankind, we are bound to do so likewise. The very fact, then, that we are required to love our fellow-men, universally, proves that God loves all, and will do good to all.
16. From the effects which the Gospel produced on those who believed it. They were saved, Rom. 8:24, and 1 Cor. 1:18, they were blessed, Gal. 3:9; they had peace and joy in believing, Rom. 15:18; they were enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Peter 1:8: their joy was full, John 15:11; and they entered into rest, Heb. 4:3. A belief in a partial God and in a partial salvation could not produce such effects, nothing short of a belief in God as the Father, Friend and Saviour, of all mankind, could do it.
17. From what the Scriptures teach respecting faith. It is the substance of things hoped for, Heb. 11:1; and it works by love, and purifies the heart, Gal. 5:6. But no man can hope for endless misery to be true; and, hence, that doctrine is not the substance of things hoped for. Therefore, a faith in that is not the faith of the Gospel. All hope for the truth of Universalism; hence, Universalism is the substance of things hoped for, and, therefore, a faith in Universalism is the faith of the Gospel. Again, Partialism, or a faith in the doctrine of endless misery, does not work by love, but by fear; hence, it is not Gospel faith. But Universalism does work by love, and not by fear; therefore, to believe in Universalism is to believe the Gospel. Once more; a belief in Partialism does not purify the heart, but serves rather to harden it and to blunt the finer feelings of human nature; hence, it is not the true faith.
Universalism does purify the heart and beget a principle there of universal benevolence and philanthropy to man; therefore it is the true faith.
18. From what the Scriptures teach respecting hope. It enables its possessor to purify himself even as God is pure. 1 John 3:3. It is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. Heb. 6:19. On the purifying nature of this hope the remarks made above on faith will apply equally as well here. They need not, therefore, be repeated. This hope is called "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast." But how could it be so if the thing hoped for depended on the fickleness of man? Man is too frail, and erring, and helpless a being to found such a hope upon. And nothing short of a belief in God as the Saviour of all, and the absolute certainly of the accomplishment of the thing hoped for, could impart a hope to man which would be as an anchor to his soul, both sure and steadfast.
19. From what the Bible teaches respecting the confidence which we ought to repose in God. We are repeatedly commanded to trust in God. To do so, is enjoined upon us as a sacred and imperious duty. Prov. 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart." Ps. 62:8, "Trust in him at all times, ye people pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." Ps. 40:4, "Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust." Prov. 29: 25, "Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." Isa. 26:4, "Trust ye in the Lord forever." Ps. 9:10, "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee." Job 13:15, "Though he slay me yet will I trust in him." In Job 22:21, we are required to " make ourselves acquainted with God, and be at peace." Jesus enjoins upon us to repose the most unlimited trust in God, and to take no anxious thought for the future. Matt. 6:25-34. But if' God is as he is sometimes represented to be by the believers in endless misery, how could we trust in him? And if that doctrine is true, how could we help being anxious in regard to the future? The fact is, nothing but a belief in the universal paternity of God, and that he is the Friend of all, will enable us to repose that trust in him whichherequires at our hands.
20. From what the Scriptures teach respecting prayer. We are commanded to pray for all men, 1 Tim. 2:1; to pray for our enemies even for those who, despitefully use us, and persecute us, Matt. 5:4 to pray in faith; for we are told that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14:23; to lift up holy hands and pray without wrath and doubting, 1 Tim. 2:8. But how can we pray in faith for the salvation of all men, unless we believe that all will be saved? And why pray for all men if God has determined that some shall not be saved, or if we believe that all will not be saved? The fact that we are required to pray for all men, and to do so in faith, nothing doubting, is a strong proof of the doctrine for the truth of which we are contending.
21. Finally, we infer the truth of this doctrine from the fact that it is in accordance with the highest and holiest desires and expectations of all benevolently disposed and good men; and that the opposite doctrine does violence to the intellectual powers of man, and is repugnant to the better feelings of his nature. Just in proportion as the feelings of mankind become refined and elevated, and as their intellectual powers are cultivated, and light and knowledge increase, just in that proportion will this doctrine spread and prevail.
The entire book is being keypunched and will one day be made available on the internet and possibly in print form. We have many other books and articles pertaining to the wonderful subject of the Salvation of All mankind which are available for free download at the Tentmaker Ministries internet site located at:
Some articles and books which might be helpful for the reader who desires to study this subject further are:
An Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott
Aion by J.W. Hanson
The Bible Hell by J.W. Hanson
Bible Threatenings Explained by J.W. Hanson
Time and Eternity
The Power of Life and Death in a Four Letter Greek Word--Aion by Gary Amirault
The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment by Thomas Thayer
Hope for All Generations and Nations by Gary Amirault
No-Hell Bibles by Gary Amirault
100 Scriptural Proofs that Jesus Christ is the Savior of All Mankind by Thomas Whittemore