Christian Universalism

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”     -John 12:32

There’s a buzzing question that everyone has in the Christian circle. Will your loved ones go to heaven and if you were to die today, where would your soul be? When thinking about such questions, one can’t help but feel a sense of fear and anxiety. Am I lost? Are you lost? Eternity is such a long time, so how do I spend that in a place of peace? These are very perplexing and deep questions, but when we lift the veil we can see that there’s something deep here. There’s something that people miss.

There are two movies right now that are causing a buzz of talk among people: The Shack and Come Sunday. These two movies create a huge question: what if we are all experiencing salvation and union with God? This is a very good question. As this pertains to thoughts in Christian circles, the Bible has to have some support for this idea. If these people are Christians, their theology must reflect scripture and have enough support to show that it is solid and not wavering.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” -John 12:32

If you’ve ever read the Bible or have ever come in contact with someone who celebrates Easter, you’ve probably heard of the resurrection of Jesus and heard of his ascension into the heavens. If you haven’t, here’s an overview of it. Jesus died, rose from the dead, taught for forty days, and then flew into the sky while the disciples were watching. Now, what does the verse above say? “When I am lifted from the earth, I will draw all people to myself”. Those are the words of Jesus, who predicted that he would rise into the heavens and all people would come to know him. This doesn’t say some, and it doesn’t give a formula of salvation. If we take it as is, it seems that Jesus is constantly bringing everyone closer to God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.     -2 Corinthians 5:17-19

Jesus spoke that all people would draw to him, so that must mean that all people are in Christ. If all people are in Christ, that must mean that we are all reconciled. When I think about the cross, I see Jesus there. I see him hanging in utter pain; this God-Man full of love. Even as the Roman guards were gambling for his clothes while he was dying, he forgave them. If Jesus really was God in a man, and his blood was needed to bring deliverance, doesn’t it seem kind of strange to say that we have to follow some formula for this to work? Doesn’t it seem strange that the power of God would be limited to “the sinners’ prayer”? Doesn’t it seem strange that Jesus died for all, yet so many people believe that if we don’t convert people they will burn for eternity?

For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.     -1 Timothy 4:10

One of the interesting perspectives I see here is that God is the savior of all people. God is especially the savior of those who believe, but it still says that God is the savior of all people. Every person has belief. As we in English say “God”, that word could be something else in another language. Language is a construct, so who can really say that someone doesn’t believe in God simply because of the word that they use?

My pastor cohosts a podcast called “Bad Christian” where they interview different people on theological ideas and try to get a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Recently, Joey was able to do a one on one interview with Brian McLaren. It was quite an insightful interview. While many people dismiss him as a heretic, he posed one good point under the idea of Christian Universalism. He asked, “Why would I cause someone to abandon their religion to follow mine if they’re doing what Jesus said and loving both God and their neighbor as their self.” I’ve personally been on this train of thought after reading his book A New Kind of Christian. In this book, there is a conversation between two friends where they dialogue about The Chronicles of Narnia. There’s a point in Narnia where Aslan, the Christ figure, tells Emeth after he dies, “Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.” Aslan is telling Emeth that even though he served a devil, he was serving Christ. That is quite a bold statement for Lewis to say.

When we deconstruct the idea of names and look at our actions, there are so many who serve God under different names. Jesus makes it very clear when he responds to a question “What is the greatest commandment?”. He says in Mark 12:29-31, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” If we are loving God in whatever name that be and loving our neighbor as ourselves, we seem to be serving the true God whom Jesus is talking about.

“All men are Christ’s, some by knowing Him, the rest not yet. He is the Savior, not of some and the rest not. For how is He Savior and Lord, if not the Savior and Lord of all?” Clement of Alexandria

“We can set no limits to the agency of the Redeemer to redeem, to rescue, to discipline in his work, and so will he continue to operate after this life.”  Clement of Alexandria

The above quotes are from one of the early church fathers. Clement of Alexandria was born in 150 AD. That’s about 120 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. To better put his life into focus, The Book of Revelation was written about 95 AD and John the Revelator died roughly around 100 AD. Clement was born 20 years after the last writer and Apostle in the New Testament died. He not only was an active part of the early church, but he acknowledged and uplifted universalism as an appropriate doctrine. By his understanding of Christ, Jesus redeems everyone. To add to his words, it seems to undermine the power of the cross to say that everyone isn’t under the covering of salvation. Like Paul said, this doesn’t mean that we should run to sin, but we should embrace the grace and work to be more like Christ: forgiving and loving all.

When the end of ages comes and when every last breath is created, it’s important to look at each of us the same. One of my favorite quotes is “I am the wave in the ocean”. When you get the opportunity, close your eyes and think of all of existence. Think of the universe. Think of God. Is God not here? Is God not in the sun? Is God not there in Saturn? Is God not there within you? Is every breath that you take not the same breath that breathed life into Adam and the same breath that hovered over the earth before life was created? You are a part of the vast ocean that is God. You cannot be separated because God is all in all. You can take yourself off of this earth just as you can take a jar of ocean water home, but you are still a part of this universe and God is still there just as the jar still contains ocean water even if it isn’t in the ocean. God is love. God is all. God is for all.

2 thoughts on “Christian Universalism

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I think we as Christians should not shun someone’s view because it doesn’t align perfectly with ours. We should listen to the atheist and others for understanding. We are here to help guide people to the promise not judge. But how can we lead a person if we don’t understand where they are coming from? You raised some great points. Thx for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate it! Love is the answer always. As God is Love, I will show others love. God loves all, so it’s our responsibility to take the call that as simple as “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself”. Thanks for the feedback! It brightened my day!

      Like

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