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#586 AN ESSAY ON UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION; TENDING TO PROVE THAT THE GENERAL SENSE OF SCRIPTURE FAVORS THE OPINION OF THE FINAL SALVATION OF ALL MANKIND. Rev. John Brown (eighteenth century)

In UNIVERSALIST MISCELLANY, commenting on that work, William Vidler wrote,
"He considers the genuine import of the words and phrases which are thought to prove the endless duration of punishment, which he contends do not necessarily bear that sense, and he touches upon the usual topics of argument by which universalism has been defended."
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Great post eaglesway! :thumbsup:

Some people think that "love" only works when fear of eternal punishment is involved. In my humble opinion, that can't be right.

I feel the same way. A vast majority of believers believe that the threat of eternal punishment is necessary to keep people from backsliding and from being disobedient. There are times when the threat of eternal torment can scare people into dropping their bad habits and developing good habits. From my experience, the ET threat did help me overcome some addictions however it also gave me intense anxiety as well and made it difficult for me to love the Lord.  Whenever I think of the possibility of eternal punishment, I feel like I shouldn't have been born in the first place. If I think about it too much, it drives me insane. In other words, the threat of eternal punishment has been a double-edged sword for me.

I know what you mean. I think knowing that God's punishments are for our correction and that everyone will be saved is a much, much better way to make us feel that God truly loves us and that we are to keep his commands.
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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by gregoryfl on July 27, 2014, 11:09:40 AM »
Here's a little something to consider with this subject. Did Yeshua have free will? It depends on how one understand what should be the plain words he himself said:


Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.
(Joh 5:19)

I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.
(Joh 5:30)

If we say that Yeshua could do nothing of himself (which is different than saying he chose to do nothing of himself, if that were even possible), what would that say about his love for his Father? Is it any less because he could not even love the Father apart from the Father working his will in his Son to love him?


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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 08:08:01 AM »
God bless you bro. Just want to say, I respect the views of all who disagree. I'm posting a lot in this thread only because I am endlessly fascinated by it. It's a difficult subject for certain and I respect all those who see things differently. As EW if we saw things the same, it would be pretty boring, no? God bless all who have engaged in it.  :HeartThrob:
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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by saintwalee on July 27, 2014, 08:00:34 AM »
My thinker is starting to shut down for the evening! I will look at this again with a fresh mind tomorrow.

 :friendstu:
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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 07:40:20 AM »
Take a look at a story and this will explain what I see regarding choices and God's will:

God announces his judgment upon Solomon

1 Kings 11
11 So the Lord said to Solomon, "Because [f]you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.


Rehoboam was Solomon's son, the son who God said he would tear the kingdom out of his hand. But look at how God does this:


1 Kings 12
6 King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, "How do you counsel me to answer this people?" 7 Then they spoke to him, saying, "If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever." 8 But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. 9 So he said to them, "What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, 'Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?" 10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!' But you shall speak to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! 11 Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"

12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, "Return to me on the third day." 13 The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions." 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.


So Rehoboam was given a CHOICE: listen to the younger advisors, or the older advisors. He chose the former, to deal with Israel harshly. The result is that Israel revolts, and Rehoboam loses his control. At this point God comes back into the picture with this word to Israel:

1 Kings 12
 24 'Thus says the Lord, "You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me."'" So they listened to the word of the Lord, and returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord.


If I took out the first and last scripture, and only focused on the middle part, it would APPEAR that Rehoboam had a choice to make. Does that mean his choice was free? The Elders (much like the Apostles with regard to sharing the Gospel) URGED Rehoboam to treat Israel fairly. But his actions were STILL of the Lord, who brought about his plan from within Rehoboam's choices.

Did Rehoboam know this was happening? Did he feel the hand of God in his actions?

Here is my point: Just because scriptures urge people to grow in the faith, at the end of the day God is still in charge of who grows into the likeness of Christ. Romans 8:29 proves this. It happens according to the foreknowledge and predestination of God. All the admonitions of the Gospel to grow, are just as part of God's ultimate plan as the admonition to Rehoboam to treat Israel fairly. It doesn't mean that God isn't still predetermining the growth of his elect. That's what makes them elect.
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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 07:22:45 AM »
1. My answer was "Yes" because of the question "...can lead to major events". I don't see that all events lead to major events, no.

Right but my point is that God must still influence mundane events. I didn't say ALL mundane events, even though I believe all events are predetermined.

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2. Does God know everything? Yes. Was every little thing that ever happens planned out in predetermination?


I want to be clear about this though. I don't mean to say that God has PLANNED out every thing. James 1 says that God does not tempt man to sin. But he did lead Jesus to the mountain to be tempted of the Devil, and his success was also predetermined.

Pre-planning is a different issue from predetermination. Predetermination simply means that everything you do will happen as God knows it, and therefore no choice you make is free from such foreknowledge of God. It must happen as he already knows it will.

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However, I would still contend that there can be free will, and thus free choices that allow for growth, within certain limitations, that still provide for God's predetermination, or will.

Can any choice be free from God's foreknowledge? If not, then no choice is free from predetermination.

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However, if everything is predetermined, planned, written; than can we really "grow" unto a perfect man? Does the mere act of performing in the play create in us the New Man? For that matter, would a limited amount of free will allow for us to grow into the perfect, new man? Would it hinder that growth? I could see how performing in the play could create in us the new man

That's a good question. It's not so much that we are actors in a play. We are clay pots. God takes the clay and forms the pot. That's the comparison I see. Think of a tree. Does a tree have free choices to grow or not to grow? You just water it and it grows, doesn't it? Where does it come from that growth requires free will, when plenty of things grow without it?

Here is an example from a human point of view, rather than a tree: If God decided to suddenly implant all scientific knowledge in your head in a single instant, did that growth in knowledge require your cooperation or free choice, if God made that decision?


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These verses would seem to indicate free choices; "..tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...". But I can see that being tossed about as part of the play, having to go through that as the student becoming perfect.

Why would it indicate that?


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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by saintwalee on July 27, 2014, 07:08:29 AM »
So for God to make sure that major events happen, like conversion, wouldn't he find it necessary to make sure all the dominos are aligned, even the mundane ones that lead to the conversion?

For the second question, that would mean that no choice is free from predetermination according to God's foreknowledge right?

1. My answer was "Yes" because of the question "...can lead to major events". I don't see that all events lead to major events, no.

2. Does God know everything? Yes. Was every little thing that ever happens planned out in predetermination? I don't want to answer "Yes" to that, because that would imply that we are just merely actors performing our parts in a play. I, as well as many I'm sure, have thought about this very thing. It could be, I'm not denying that possibility, especially in the light of these verses:

Rom 9:19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,


However, I would still contend that there can be free will, and thus free choices that allow for growth, within certain limitations, that still provide for God's predetermination, or will. However, if everything is predetermined, planned, written; than can we really "grow" unto a perfect man? Does the mere act of performing in the play create in us the New Man? For that matter, would a limited amount of free will allow for us to grow into the perfect, new man? Would it hinder that growth?

I could see how performing in the play could create in us the new man. If I were to liken it to going to college to learn a trade, I would actually have to attend the classes and perform the work so that the knowledge would become engrained in me, to create that which I was schooled for.

The Perfect Man
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:


These verses would seem to indicate free choices; "..tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...". But I can see that being tossed about as part of the play, having to go through that as the student becoming perfect.

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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 06:39:48 AM »
I've found that the big elephant in the room in a discussion like this is God's foreknowledge and the implications that has with respect to free choices. Explanations range from straight up Open Theism, diminishing Gods power in that area, or really complex explanations to do with levels of existence, explanations I can't figure out what they mean.
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Discussions on Universal Salvation / Re: God's Will
« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 06:26:44 AM »
So for God to make sure that major events happen, like conversion, wouldn't he find it necessary to make sure all the dominos are aligned, even the mundane ones that lead to the conversion?

For the second question, that would mean that no choice is free from predetermination according to God's foreknowledge right?
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