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A Pious Hope Rather Than a Dogmatic Certainty

The redemption of the entire cosmos is a scandalous idea that faces significant objections. It shocks our sense of justice — doesn't Hitler deserve punishment? It seems to undermine ethics — don't our moral choices have eternal consequences? Universalism has had its adherents, but it's always been a minority position in the church. Most important of all, there are many texts... that speak of hell and judgment.

For these reasons universalism is best seen as a pious hope rather than a dogmatic certainty. You have to be crazy to teach it but impious not to believe it. On the one hand, the most presumptuous thing we can do is claim to know the mysteries of God. Judgment is his alone. Still, the psalmist [in Psalm 139:1–12, 23–24] rejects the dualist notion that anything exists outside the presence of the omnipresent God of infinite grace and perfect love. Which is to say that we rightly long for the day when death will be destroyed and God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

- Daniel Clendenin, Journey With Jesus blog for July 17, 2011

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