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Early church opposition to endless hell

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by ClementofA, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "Augustine himself, after rejecting apokatastasis, and Basil attest that still late in the fourth and fifth centuries this doctrine was upheld by the vast majority of Christians (immo quam plurimi)."

    "Of course there were antiuniversalists also in the ancient church, but scholars must be careful not to list among them — as is the case with the list of “the 68” antiuniversalists repeatedly cited by McC on the basis of Brian Daley’s The Hope of the Early Church — an author just because he uses πῦρ αἰώνιον, κόλασις αἰώνιος, θάνατος αἰώνιος, or the like, since these biblical expressions do not necessarily refer to eternal damnation. Indeed all universalists, from Origen to Gregory Nyssen to Evagrius, used these phrases without problems, for universalists understood these expressions as “otherworldly,” or “long-lasting,” fire, educative punishment, and death. Thus, the mere presence of such phrases is not enough to conclude that a patristic thinker “affirmed the idea of everlasting punishment” (p. 822). Didache mentions the ways of life and death, but not eternal death or torment; Ignatius, as others among “the 68,” never mentions eternal punishment. Ephrem does not speak of eternal damnation, but has many hints of healing and restoration. For Theodore of Mopsuestia, another of “the 68,” if one takes into account also the Syriac and Latin evidence, given that the Greek is mostly lost, it becomes impossible to list him among the antiuniversalists. He explicitly ruled out unending retributive punishment, sine fine et sine correctione.

    "I have shown, indeed, that a few of “the 68” were not antiuniversalist, and that the uncertain were in fact universalists, for example, Clement of Alexandria, Apocalypse of Peter, Sibylline Oracles (in one passage), Eusebius, Nazianzen, perhaps even Basil and Athanasius, Ambrose, Jerome before his change of mind, and Augustine in his anti-Manichaean years. Maximus too, another of “the 68,” speaks only of punishment aionios, not aidios and talks about restoration with circumspection after Justinian, also using a persona to express it. Torstein Tollefsen, Panayiotis Tzamalikos, and Maria Luisa Gatti, for instance, agree that he affirmed apokatastasis.

    "It is not the case that “the support for universalism is paltry compared with opposition to it” (p. 823). Not only were “the 68” in fact fewer than 68, and not only did many “uncertain” in fact support apokatastasis, but the theologians who remain in the list of antiuniversalists tend to be much less important. Look at the theological weight of Origen, the Cappadocians, Athanasius, or Maximus, for instance, on all of whom much of Christian doctrine and dogmas depends. Or think of the cultural significance of Eusebius, the spiritual impact of Evagrius or Isaac of Nineveh, or the philosophico-theological importance of Eriugena, the only author of a comprehensive treatise of systematic theology and theoretical philosophy between Origen’s Peri Archon and Aquinas’s Summa theologiae. Then compare, for instance, Barsanuphius, Victorinus of Pettau, Gaudentius of Brescia, Maximus of Turin, Tyconius, Evodius of Uzala, or Orientius, listed among “the 68” (and mostly ignorant of Greek). McC’s statement, “there are no unambiguous cases of universalist teaching prior to Origen” (p. 823), should also be at least nuanced, in light of Bardaisan, Clement, the Apocalypse of Peter’s Rainer Fragment, parts of the Sibylline Oracles, and arguably of the NT, especially Paul’s letters.

    "Certainly, “there was a diversity of views in the early church on the scope of final salvation.” Tertullian, for instance, did not embrace apokatastasis. But my monograph is not on patristic eschatology or soteriology in general, but specifically on the doctrine of apokatastasis. Thus, I treated the theologians who supported it, and not others."

    The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: The Reviews Start Coming In
    SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class journal research

    Ilaria Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp.)

    Scholars directory, with list of publications:

    Ilaria L.E. Ramelli - ISNS Scholars Directory


    Have you been decieved by your Bible translation?

    For the Lord will NOT cast off FOR EVER:

    Augustine's ignorance & error re Matthew 25:46
     
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  2. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    (A.) That's debatable. For example, both the RC & EO allow one to hope for universalism, though many don't just hope but believe it in spite of their church's position. Moreover many more would accept universalism if they weren't entirely ignorant of its positions, or were fully informed of the view. BTW, many others have rejected endless torments in favor of endless annihilation.

    (B.) It may have been true through the dark & middle ages when few people had bibles of their own & wouldn't have been able to read them if they did & to speak otherwise would have meant punishment or death. Not a point that is in favor of anti-universalism.

    (C.) In the early church, when they could read the Scriptures in their original languages, rather than English language KJV pro Endless Infernalism club mistranslated clones, there were, at times at least, many (or perhaps a majority) who rejected endless punishment:

    (1.) "Even Augustine, the champion of eternal torment said in his day, "There are very many (imo quam plurimi, which can be translated majority) who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments" (Enchiria, ad Laurent. c. 29). St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379) in his De Asceticis wrote: "The mass of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished." " Appendix Five

    "It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; not, indeed, that they directly oppose themselves to Holy Scripture..." Augustine's ENCHIRIDION, Chs. 97-122

    The context of the Augustine (c. 354-430 AD) quote in chapters 111 & 112 includes fallen angels & implies their ultimate salvation.

    (2.) "St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379) in his De Asceticis wrote: "The mass of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished." "(The Ascetic Works of St. Basil, pp.329-30...Conc. 14 De. fut judic)." Universalism and the Salvation of Satan

    "...many people...adhere to the conception of the end of punishment..." (Basil)

    (Basil’s short Regulae for his monks, 267 (PG 31,1264,30–1265,47) & by Symeon Metaphrastes, Or. 14 De iudicio 3,551–552. As quoted & cited in Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis, p.352).

    If there is an end of punishment to those punished, then what is left but universal salvation, even of devils?

    (3) John Chrysostom (c. 349-407 A.D.) "There are many men...thinking that hell is...temporary, not eternal..." (Homilies on Second Thessalonians 3 (NPNF 1 13:384)).


    (4.) "St. Jerome (c. 342-420 A.D.), the author of the Vulgate Latin Bible...writes: "I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its King, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures." The Church Fathers on Universalism

    Jerome says:

    "I know that many people interpret the king of Nineveh as the devil, saying that he, at the end of the world (on the grounds that no rational creature made by God should perish), descending from his pride, would repent, and be restored to his former place." [Commentary on Jonah 3:6-9] https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/46905/Amy_Oh.pdf?sequence=1

    Whether or not the reference to Ninevah is a misrepresentation by Jerome against his opponents, such as Origen, is unknown. What is known is that Origen (c. 184-254 AD) based his doctrine of universalism on the Scriptures, his favorite passage being 1 Cor.15:28:

    "This final phrase is a clear reference to 1Cor 15:28, Origen’s and Nyssen’s favourite passage in support of the apokatastasis doctrine.34" (page 15)

    "The eventual submission of humanity to God is a reference to Paul’s eschatological revelation in 1Cor 15:24–28, which is also a very universalistic passage, concluding with the presence of God as “all in all.” This will be one of the favourite passages of Origen in support of the doctrine of apokatastasis." (page 94)

    "Thus, at the end of all aeons, in the eventual apokatastasis, all will come to be, no longer in any aeon, but in God the Trinity, and in turn God will be “all in all.” The meaning of this Pauline sentence (1Cor 15:28, Origen’s favourite passage in defence of apokatastasis) is explained especially in Princ. 3,6,2–3. Here, Origen first deduces the definitive eviction of evil from the presence of God “all in all,” given that it is impossible to admit that God may be found in evil, as I have already pointed out; then, he examines:

    " "What is this “all” that God will be “in all”? […] It means that God will be “all” even in every individual creature. And God will be “all” in these creatures in the sense that whatever the rational intellect, freed from any dirtiness of sin and purified from any taint of evil, will be able to perceive, grasp and think, all this will be God […], and so God will be all for this intellect […], because evil will not exist any more: for such intellect, God, untouched by evil, is all. One who is always in the Good and for whom God is all, will no longer wish to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil […] After removing every sense of evil, only he who is the sole good God will become all for the creature returned to a state of soundness and purity […] and not only in few or in many, but in all God will be all, when at last there will be no more death, nor death’s sting, nor evil, most definitely: then God will truly be “all in all.” " " (page 168)

    Ilaria Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp.)

    The Christian Doctrine of <i>Apokatastasis</i>

    Scholars directory, with list of publications:

    Ilaria L.E. Ramelli - ISNS Scholars Directory

    >Believers and Supporters of Christian Universalism
     
  3. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    If everyone evil disappears, and all the evil angels,
    who will know ?
    (besides having no reason for a forum then)
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    Shepherd of Hermas speaks of the eternal hell, as does Justin Martyr as does the Didache.

    why do you keep posting these novels of references which don't deal with apokatastasis or hell as we see it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  5. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Where? I've read Justin Martyr was a Conditionalist, e.g.:

    Justin Martyr the Conditionalist


    One to three pages is a novel?

    "St. Justin Martyr's Corner is a debating subforum of The Ancient Way (TAW). Non-Orthodox are allowed to debate here."

    How do you see "apokatastasis or hell"? Do all EO see it your way, e.g. David Bentley Hart? Origen? Clement of A, Gregory Nyssa, the Sibylline Oracles, other ECF Universalists?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  6. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    This sounds like there were those who held to Scripture, but we must ignore them.....
    Is that a proper argument ?
     
  7. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I read somewhere that there were six 5 or 6 theological schools in the Early Church and that the only one that taught eternal punishment was in Rome. I do not know if this is true. If so, then perhaps how St. Basil ended up dealing with the doctrine that apparently was winning the day while he lived, was to come up his Third Kneeling Prayer, which at least asked for comfort for those in bondage and possibly even complete relief, as perhaps by his time the East felt that punishment was not fixed until the Final Judgment?
     
  8. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    I just read in his first apology he speaks of eternal hell.

    apokatastasis doesn't contradict hell. that's the main point that had been brought up that you either are ignoring or not getting.
     
  9. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Read your own post. You posted the answer, and it is not UR nor US.
     
  10. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    According to what definition?

    "Apocatastasis or apokatastasis (from Greek: ἀποκατάστασις; literally, "restoration" or "return") is the teaching that everyone will, in the end, be saved."

    Apocatastasis - OrthodoxWiki

    "restitution, restoration; especially : the doctrine of the final restoration of all sinful beings to God and to the state of blessedness — compare universalism"

    Definition of APOCATASTASIS
     
  11. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    and again, there is also the concept that all will be restored, sin, and death will be destroyed and all will be raised to life. however, for those who eternally desire sin, the salvation God gives is the torment. this is the understanding that has defended Nyssa.

    and we have already discussed this a few times in other threads.
     
  12. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How can salvation be torment? They are opposed.

    And why would God give something (salvation) if it results in torment? Why not spare others from this torturous saving?

    Who would eternally desire sin & its torments? It is mathematically impossible that anyone could reject Love Omnipotent forever. Given He continually seeks their blessed salvation & each free will choice has a 50% chance of going either way, how could anyone reject Him forever?
     
  13. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    ask Judas. Christ Himself says it would have been better had he never been born.

    and again, you are appealing to emotion.
     
  14. Cat Loaf You

    Cat Loaf You Active Member

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    So i guess Jesus was wrong in Luke 16:19-31 speaking about that rich man , church fathers must have known better .

    Also you might want to check out these

    Matthew 23:9
    And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

    Mark 9:48
    Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

    Matthew 25:41
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    Hebrews 12:29
    For our God is a consuming fire.
     
  15. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I call it reason. And backed up by Scripture & ECF. As for Judas:

    It's better for a man not to be born, but to die inside the mother, than to live an evil life. The evil man will suffer God's corrective punishment for his salvation. If he died before being born he would be innocent & not needing such a disciplinary action.

    A similar interpretation states:

    "Better had Judas not been born? Mt. 26:24 This passage does not say that it would have been better for Judas if his mother had never conceived him, only that he not had been born. There is a big difference. Ec. 6:3 says, ―If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years...but his soul is not satisfied with goodness...I say that a stillborn child is
    better than he. It could be the same with Judas; ―Woe to that man…it would have been good for that man if he had not been born [but stillborn]."

    https://www.tentmaker.org/books/hope_beyond_hell.pdf

    And for another take on the passage:

    Was it better for Judas had he not been born
     
  16. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nothing there denies the possibility of repentance & salvation. In Rev.20:11-15 those in Hades get out of Hades, so Hades (Lk.16:19-31) is not a place of unending torments.

    Even of the rich man in Hades (Lk.16:19-31) it is not stated how long his torments would last while there. Or denied that they could end while still there. Nor is it denied he could be saved while still in Hades. The rich man's Saviour is in Hades:

    "If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in the nether-world (Sheol = Hades), behold, Thou art there." (Psalm 139:8)

    The rich man is called "son" (literally, "child") :

    Lk.16:25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things

    "Here, too, was one who, even in Hades, was recognised as being, now more truly than he had been in his life, a “child” or “son of Abraham.” (Comp. Luke 19:9.) The word used is the same, in its tone of pity and tenderness, as that which the father used to the elder son in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:31), which our Lord addressed to the man sick of the palsy (Matthew 9:2), or to His own disciples (John 13:33)." Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    The rich man in Hades is receiving the Word of Truth from Abraham. If not to lead those there to repentance & salvation, why would anyone in Hades be receiving such truths.

    When it is implied that the rich man is where he is due to his lack of compassion for his fellow man, in particular Lazarus, he responds positively by turning his attention from himself to his brethren still alive & requests that they be warned about Hades. Is the rich man turning from his selfishness & showing concern for others?

    The story speaks of a great gulf fixed stopping the transfer of persons from one place to the other place. It does not say this gulf will remain in place forever. Only that at that moment in time it was so. Possibly the chasm barrier refers to the unrepentant state of those in Hades, & that once they repent the barrier stopping any individual from leaving is removed. Nor does the passage deny the possibility of salvation to the rich man in Hades while he remains there.

    " “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” "

    " "So even if we made the mistake of trying to extract from the details of this parable a position on the issue of whether there will be further chances, there still wouldn’t be much cause for taking this passage as supporting the doctrine of no further chances with any force at all. For as long as the [one] who believes in further chances sensibly allows for the possibility that, while punishment is occurring, those suffering from it can’t just end it any time they want, she can make perfectly good sense of the words this parable puts into the mouth of Father Abraham. After all, if a road has been covered with deep enough snow drifts, we’ll tell someone who must drive on that stretch of road to get to where we are, “You cannot cross over from there to us.” We’ll say this quite properly and truthfully, even if we know full well that the road will be cleared in a few days, or that, in a great enough emergency, a helicopter could be used to get across to us even today, if, say, we’re at a hospital. [But doesn’t that show that there is a sense, then, in which they can cross over to us? Yes, there’s a perfectly good sense in which they can, and a perfectly good sense in which they cannot. For enlightening and accessible explanations of the meaning of “can” and related words, I recommend Angelica Kratzer’s “What ‘Must’ and ‘Can’ Must and Can Mean” (Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (1977): pp. 337-355) and example 6 (“Relative Modality”) of David Lewis’s “Scorekeeping in a Language Game” (Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1979): pp. 339-359.]"

    The duration, nature, intensity & purpose of the torments the rich man was suffering are not revealed in this story. His torments there could have lasted less than 5 minutes.

    Luke 16:19-31 rich man in "hell"
     
  17. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, it's your interpretation based on parts of a few Fathers, a few guys who are not Fathers, and modern scholars. if you were really rooted in reason, especially when debating us, the 5th Council would end this discussion. plus every council afterwards which affirmed the 5th. there is nothing really reasonable about what you have been posting.
     
  18. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Already addressed here:

    Have you been decieved by your Bible translation?

    For the Lord will NOT cast off FOR EVER:

    Augustine's ignorance & error re Matthew 25:46


    v. 49 "For everyone will be salted with fire."

    Nothing there says tortures are endless. Instead it refers to a fire and worm. And a fire that is not quenched can end or burn out on it's own, as proven by:

    "Let us see how the word "asbestos (unquenchable) was used by the Greeks. Strabo calls it the lamp in the Parthenon, and Plutarch calls the sacred fire of a temple "unquenchable," though they were extinguished long ago. Josephus, the Jewish Priest who saw the destruction of Jerusalem says that the fire on the altar of the temple at Jerusalem was "always unquenchable" abeston aei, yet he was there when the fire on the altar was forever extinguished. Eusibius, the church historian who lived in Constantine's day says that certain martyrs of Alexandria "were burned in unquenchable fire." The fire was put out within an hour! Homer speaks of "unquenchable laughter" asbestos gelos, (Iliad, I: 599)"

    Bible Threatening Explained

    Nothing there says they stay in Gehenna for endless ages, so can't come out. Neither does it say that while in Gehenna there is no salvation. In the book of Revelation the gates into the city of God are always open. God says He is making "all" new (21:5).

    Unquenchabe is limited not endless...ancient examples given here:

    A key to Universalism

    "Mark 9:43: "into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire." First, the word "unquenchable" in the Bible is translated from the Greek word asbestos which simply means "not quenched." In itself, that is not the same as "not ABLE to be quenched" or "unquenchable." It is similar to God's judgments being without appeal "until they have finished all his plans:"

    "The fierce anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all his plans. In the days to come, you will understand all this.."(Jer 30:24)."

    As for an immortal worm that never dies, some ECT commentators say it refers to the immortal soul. ECTers can't agree amongst themselves what it means & Jesus didn't elaborate. In Isaiah 66 the worm is spoken of in the same verse that speaks of "corpses". So, they could be eating dead bodies during the millennial age eon.

    "Perhaps unbeknownst to many traditionalists who cite this verse...Jesus is quoting Isaiah 66:24 here, in which it is said explicitly that it is corpses being consumed by fire and maggots—not living beings. Those traditionalists who are aware of this nevertheless insist that the worm is depicted as never dying and the fire as never going out. But this is not what these idioms communicate."

    "The phrase “does not die” is used several times in the Hebrew scripture and does not mean will never die (Genesis 42:20; Exodus 30:20; Jeremiah 38:24). It means that someone or something will not die at a particular time or in a particular context."

    how do people who believe in eternal torture in fire

    So such references could be about eating sinners sins or evil flesh nature till it is gone.

    "Interesting aside, for what it may mean to anyone... Maggots are making a comeback in modern medicine. They gently debride wounds in a way no surgeon, however subtle, could possibly achieve. (Medical Maggots™ (maggot therapy, maggot debridement therapy, MDT, biotherapy, biosurgery, biodebridement, larval therapy) | Monarch Labs - Advanced Wound BioSurgery) They nibble away the dead and decaying cells, allowing healthy, new, regenerated cells to thrive instead. Maggots only eat dead tissue, leaving the living tissue to thrive. I think there's a big parallel there, but maybe I'm taking the "book of nature" to extremes. My husband's doctor at Mayo told me they had them there, available by prescription only--special hygienic ones, of course! :lol: "

    "All these things we consider to be bad (by knee-jerk reaction at least) can also be seen as good--judgment, brimstone (aka sulfur & also used in medicine then and now), even maggots. Fire also is used in scripture as symbolic of purification--and we mustn't forget the nature of our God, who is, we're told, "a consuming fire."

    Login

    "Now, salt too, just as the divine fire, is associated with the eschatological test in Mark 9:49, a text I have already analysed, where this fire is presented as purifying and performing the disinfecting function of salt: “all will be salted by this fire,” if they have lost their salt in this life." (Ilaria Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp., p.53)

    "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there [Gehenna] until you have paid up the last cent. The word - until - unmistakably confirms Gehenna is of a limited duration. Once the penalty is exacted, release follows, but not before. Note He addressed these words to a mixed audience of believers and unbelievers (Mt. 5:1;7:28; 8:1). (See also Mt. 18:34-35)." http://www.tentmaker.org/books/hope_beyond_hell.pdf

    Jn.1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
    42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

    John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  19. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Those that believed in universal restoration such as St Gregory of Nyssa, basically believed it on the same principle as those that did not. The difference is the restorationists believed in the hope that God would eventually be successful in extracting the natural soul from its vices, while the others believed the melding of the soul with its evil passions cannot be seperated in every case, their free will will not allow for it making them always cling to their passions. St Gregory always believed the wicked soul was attracted to opposites. The natural soul attracted to God but repelled in the opposite direction clinging to its vices

    Here is what St Gregory of Nyssa wrote:

    ..... . Certainly, in comparison with one who has lived all his life in sin, not only the innocent babe but even one who has never come into the world at all will be blessed. We learn as much too in the case of Judas, from the sentence pronounced upon him in the Gospels; namely, that when we think of such men, that which never existed is to be preferred to that which has existed in such sin. For, as to the latter, on account of the depth of the ingrained evil, the chastisement in the way of purgation will be extended into infinity ( greek word apeiron, on Infants early death)

    Moreover, as every being is capable of attracting its like, and humanity is, in a way, like God, as bearing within itself some resemblances to its Prototype, the soul is by a strict necessity attracted to the kindred Deity. In fact what belongs to God must by all means and at any cost be preserved
    450
    for Him. If, then, on the one hand, the soul is unencumbered with superfluities its advance towards Him Who draws it to Himself is sweet and congenial. But suppose, on the other hand, that it has been transfixed with the nails of propension so as to be held down to a habit connected with material things,—a case like that of those in the ruins caused by earthquakes, whose bodies are crushed by the mounds of rubbish; and let us imagine by way of illustration that these are not only pressed down by the weight of the ruins, but have been pierced as well with some spikes and splinters discovered with them in the rubbish. What then, would naturally be the plight of those bodies, when they were being dragged by relatives from the ruins to receive the holy rites of burial, mangled and torn entirely, disfigured in the most direful manner conceivable, with the nails beneath the heap harrowing them by the very violence necessary to pull them out?—Such I think is the plight of the soul as well when the Divine force, for God’s very love of man, drags that which belongs to Him from the ruins of the irrational and material. Not in hatred or revenge for a wicked life, to my thinking, does God bring upon sinners those painful dispensations; He is only claiming and drawing to Himself whatever, to please Him, came into existence. But while He for a noble end is attracting the soul to Himself, the Fountain of all Blessedness, it is the occasion necessarily to the being so attracted of a state of torture. Just as those who refine gold from the dross which it contains not only get this base alloy to melt in the fire, but are obliged to melt the pure gold along with the alloy, and then while this last is being consumed the gold remains, so, while evil is being consumed in the purgatorial fire, the soul that is welded to this evil must inevitably be in the fire too.... In such a manner, I think, we may figure to ourselves the agonized struggle of that soul which has wrapped itself up in earthy material passions, when God is drawing it, His own one, to Himself, and the foreign matter, which has somehow grown into its substance, has to be scraped from it by main force, and so occasions it that keen intolerable anguish.....
    ..Such as we spoke of in the previous parts of the discussion, when we said how many were the passions, sprung from evil, which are so hard for the soul to get rid of, when they have infused themselves into the very substance of its entire nature and become one with it. When such, then, have been purged from it and utterly removed by the healing processes worked out by the Fire, then every one of the things which make up our conception of the good will come to take their place; (ON THE SOUL AND RESSURECTIon).

    To be continued...


     
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  20. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Now here is what the Shepherd of Hermas says, which basically is the same identical doctrine as St Gregory, with the exception that some refuse to change and put off their vices. Hermas here is explaining how the church is built up and explains the various discarded stones:

    "But those whom they rejected and threw away, who are they?" "These have sinned, and desire to repent, therefore they were not cast to a great distance from the tower, because they will be useful for the building, if they repent. They then that shall repent, if they repent, will be strong in the faith, if they repent now while the tower is building. But if the building shall be finished, they have no more any place, but shall be castaways. This privilege only they have, that they lie near the
    tower...
    But the white and round stones, which did not fit into the building, who are they, lady?" She answered and said to me... These are they that have faith, but have also riches of this world. When tribulation cometh, they deny their Lord by reason of their riches and their business affairs." And I answered and said unto her, "When then, lady, will they be useful for the building?" "When," she replied, "their wealth, which leadeth their souls astray, shall be cut away, then will they be useful for God. For just as the round stone, unless it be cut away, and lose some portion of itself, cannot become square, so also they that are rich in this world, unless their riches be cut away, cannot become useful to the Lord.... But they that fall into the fire and are burned, these are they that finally rebelled from the living God, and it no more entered into their hearts to repent by reason of the lusts of their wantonness and of the wickednesses which they wrought. , I asked her further, whether for all these stones that were rejected and would not fit into the building of the tower that was repentance, and they had a place in this tower. "They can repent," she said, "but they cannot be fitted into this tower./...
    Yet they shall be fitted into another place much more humble, but not until they have undergone torments, and have fulfilled the days of their sins. And they shall be changed for this reason, because they participated in the Righteous Word; and then shall it befall them to be relieved from their torments, if the evil deeds, that they have done, come into their heart; but if these come not into their heart, they are not saved by reason of the hardness of their hearts."


    In both instances of St Gregory and Hermas there is a requirement of 'kolasis' that is pruning or amputation, to discard and cut off sinful vices. Christ said it is better to pluck your eye out or cut your hand off and enter into the kingdom maimed than be casted out. In Hermas the difference is the free will does not allow for the discarding of the dross. Hermas admits that some will eventually repent and be brought into a humbler place. In St Gregory this idea is confirmed but only in the interval period. In some of his writings the degree of virtues differ so all are not equal 8n heaven but in his Ressurection treatise it says this will be done away with and all will have an equal footing at the banquet feast. Both have the same doctrine but one has hope all will succeed in coming to their rightful state while Hermas teaches some simply will not, they are too attached to their passions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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