Four Views on Hell, Part III: The Case for Universal Reconciliation — The Works of George MacDonald (2023)

In the first two installments of this review of Four Views on Hell, the latest in Zondervan’s superb Counterpoint series, we examined the arguments for and against eternal conscious torment (ECT) and terminal punishment (aka annihilationism or conditionalism). Next, we turn to Part III, Robin Parry’s case for the doctrine of universal reconciliation (UR).

Mr. Parry, who holds a PhD from the University of Gloucestershire (UK), is the commissioning editor for Wipf and Stock Publishers and the author of several books, including The Evangelical Universalist (under the pen name Gregory MacDonald). “Christian universalism,” Parry writes, “is the view that in the end God will reconcile all people to himself through Christ…[s]in rots creation from the inside out, and humans need to be rescued from it and its consequences. Only God can deliver us…and that is precisely what he has done through the atoning work of Christ.”

Parry lists numerous Early Church Fathers of the first millennium who were adherents of UR, making the point that “universalism is an ancient Christian view that arises from impulses deep within Christian theology itself.” But rather than starting out with a series of arguments or proof texts, Parry establishes the criteria for judging the merits of any doctrine of hell. Since advocates for ECT, annihilation, or UR can each point to verses that appear to solidly support their viewpoint, Parry writes that “Everyone…who thinks that the Bible is not contradictory will need to interpret some passages in ways that run counter to their prima facie meaning.”

But there has to be an appropriate, objective framework for such interpretations. Parry’s position is that “the gospel narrative of the triune God manifest in Christ’s incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and return must be at the core of the interpretation of Scripture…a theological hermeneutic rooted in the gospel itself…” One’s doctrine of hell should fit comfortably into the grand metanarrative of the Old and New Testaments, and Parry spends the next nine pages hitting the highlights of that metanarrative.

“Christ is the norm for interpreting Scripture,” writes Parry, noting that in Colossians 1, “all things” are both created by and reconciled to Christ. And it can’t be that unbelievers are reconciled through damnation, because Paul makes it clear that reconciliation consists of ‘making peace through [Christ’s] blood…”

Christians, Parry points out, are all universalists on these key topics:

  • Creation: “God created all things;” and the “telos [destiny] of human creatures is, in community, to be filled with God…” The “question of universalism,” Parry notes, is “whether or not God will manage to bring all creation to the goal for which he intended it.”
  • The Fall: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). But “[w]ill God allow sin to thwart his purposes…[d]oes Christ undo all the damage caused by in, or does he only undo some of it?”
  • Redemption: Christ “represents all humans in his humanity” and “became human so he could heal [us] through his death and resurrection…Jesus died for all people in order to save all people…[w]ill the cross save all those for whom Christ died, or will his death [and resurrection] have been in vain for some people?

On the one hand, Parry notes, all have been redeemed by the risen Christ; on the other hand, a “Spirit-enabled human response to the gospel is still required…to share in the salvation already achieved in Christ.” And Parry observes that in Ephesians and Romans, Paul makes it clear that those “perishing today” are not necessarily eternally doomed; “children destined for wrath can become children of mercy.” The church today prefigures “the grander fulfillment in the new creation, when…all the nations and the kings of the earth bring their tribute into the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:24-27).”

“This,” writes Parry, “is a story for which universal salvation seems a fitting ending…the biblical story told in a non-universalist way ends in a tragic partial failure for God.”

(Video) Universal Salvation in Christ: A conversation with Professor John Milbank

In wrapping up his theological framework, Parry affirms that “if God is love, then God loves all his creatures…to love someone is to want the best for them…God will continue to love those in hell, desiring their best.” God’s love and God’s justice are not “in opposition to each other,” and hell must “be seen as a manifestation of divine goodness: of loving justice, and of just love.”

A Hell Compatible with the Gospel
The damned are in hell because of divine judgment, and the metanarrative of Scripture shows us that “[b]iblical justice is about putting wrong things right…[t]he primary end of God’s justice…is not punishment, but salvation.” Critical to interpreting conflicting passages in Scripture is the observation that “a specific pattern of divine punishment occurs again and again in the Bible, acquiring the status of a normative paradigm. This is the pattern of judgment followed by restoration.” Parry provides several examples from the Old Testament, and proposes “that we think of hell in precisely the same way…the punishment of the age to come follows the same pattern set throughout Scripture.”

UR demands a belief in the possibility of post-mortem salvation. “There are no biblical texts that say death is a point of no return,” notes Parry, “but neither are there texts that unambiguously say that one can repent after death.” But the notion that God “no longer want[s the damned] to turn from sin back to him” is not consistent with the God of the gospel, “who keeps on seeking a lost sheep ‘until he finds it.’”

Texts that Seem to Contradict UR
The best defense is a good offense, and over the next seven pages Parry addresses passages often cited by advocates for the doctrines of ECT and terminal punishment. I encourage UR skeptics to study them carefully. A good example would be Parry’s discussion of Matthew 25:31-46, which, like Stackhouse’s analysis in defense of terminal punishment versus ECT, notes that aionios—translated eternal, as in eternal punishment versus eternal life—can be used qualitatively as well as quantitatively. But does this then imply that eternal life is not in fact everlasting life? “Don’t panic,” Parry quips. “The life of the age to come is indeed everlasting. We know this not because Jesus called it aionios in Matthew 25, but because eternal life is a participation in Christ’s own incorruptible resurrection life (1Cor.15)…[but e]schatological punishment lacks any Christ-centered theological basis for being everlasting…to argue that both [eschatological life and punishment] must be everlasting is to go beyond the parable.”

The Free-Will Argument against UR
Approaching his wrap-up, Parry addresses the argument that, while “God desires to redeem all people, he does not wish to do so in such a way that violates their free will…[t]hose in hell are there not because God wants them to be there, but because of choices freely made.” Parry’s counter argument is similar to Thomas Talbott’s in The Inescapable Love of God; briefly, that freedom requires rationality, and once a human creature has full knowledge of the reality of God, it would be irrational to choose hell over heaven. Such a soul is essentially a slave to his emotions or delusions; if truly free to choose, he will always choose what is in his best interest; therefore he will choose God. Paul is perhaps the most powerful example of a man who, once divinely blessed with knowledge, turns 180 degrees from persecuting to serving and adoring God.

Parry’s Conclusion
Scripture tells us that “death will die, and God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).” Can this be “despite the damnation or destruction of many of his creatures?” [quotation from John A.T. Robinson]. As Parry writes earlier in his essay: no freaking way!

Commentary and Author Responses
That the icy reception with which UR has often been greeted in the evangelical community has started to thaw is evidenced by the absence of any chapter on UR in the previous edition of this book, published twenty years ago. As editor Preston Sprinkle observes in his Conclusion, “[p]opular-level writers like Rob Bell have done universalists a disservice by relying on emotional appeals and rhetoric;” and while Sprinkle does not agree with Parry’s conclusions, he sees his writing as “a game changer…Christians can no longer dismiss his view as unorthodox.”

Well, amen to that. I suppose anyone who has published under the pen name MacDonald has something of a home-field advantage on this website, although this writer remains an agnostic on the issue of whether all or only some are ultimately saved; but I can say, along with Sprinkle, that “I hope Parry is right.”

In 27 pages, Parry could hardly have been expected to address every verse that supports alternative doctrines, and (as we’ll see below), that leaves openings for the opposing authors. But, for me, such criticism doesn’t blunt the force of his argument. Parry’s power punch is his theological framework for evaluating alternative doctrines of hell—the idea that any vision of hell must make sense given the metanarrative of Scripture.

(Video) 150 Reasons for Believing in the Final Salvation of All Mankind - Erasmus Manford (Audiobook)

Sprinkle particularly focuses on Parry’s failure to address numerous verses that appear to support annihilation as a major theme of Scripture. But, to my mind, if we assume that the metanarrative is about God’s path to victory over sin and death and darkness, one can only choose between UR on the one hand and Burk’s take on ECT on the other. Under annihilationism—terminal punishment—God’s desire that none be lost and all saved has been thwarted, whether only one soul or billions have been destroyed. By contrast, what I’ll call the hard-core Jonathan Edwards/Denny Burk doctrine of ECT has a premise that keeping some number of sinful souls in eternal torment is necessary to “demonstrate eternally the glory of God’s justice.” Some—I hope many—of us might recoil at this notion as a low vision of God (was God less glorious before he created those fated for damnation, or is the spectacle of their torment purely for the benefit of the saints, who otherwise would fail to appreciate the full extent of his glory?), but at least the argument is logically consistent, given its dark premises. Parry’s argument for UR, by contrast, shows the victory of the God who utterly cleanses sin from the new heavens and new earth while achieving his desire that all be saved.

Anyone wrestling with Scripture must come to terms with the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, and Parry is no exception. The very first sentence of his essay defines UR as the view that “God will reconcile all people to himself” [italics added]. Later on, he writes “it is only as we respond in obedient trust to the gospel and are united to Christ by the Spirit that we participate [in the justification Christ has won for us]; a “Spirit-enabled human response to the gospel is still required if people are to share in the salvation already achieved by Christ.” [italics added]. Now, this subject is not the primary focus of Parry’s essay, but the juxtaposition of the three phrases quoted above pleases me immensely. While many there are fiercely debating “monergism” and “synergism,” the message of Scripture is, I believe, “Yes, God is sovereign, and yes, man has free will. Frustrated? Want a simple answer? Get over it!” Implicit in the lines above, it seems to me, is that Parry is comfortable living with that tension in his writing.

On the other hand, I’m less convinced when Parry explicitly deals with this subject in his Talbott-influenced counter to the free-will argument against UR, summarized above. It has always seemed ironic to me that C.S. Lewis featured George MacDonald as the man who meets him on the threshold of heaven in The Great Divorce, given that the premise of that book appears to be that many there are whose hearts have hardened and flee heaven to return to the hell their egos can’t bear to lose. MacDonald considered that possibility, but rejected it as an unimaginable defeat for God. Is that perhaps an Irish accent with which MacDonald greets Lewis?

In Romans, Paul reminds Christians that Christ’s death and resurrection has freed them from slavery to sin, but warns them not to return to it of their own volition. Here on earth people choose hell over heaven every day, with no deficit of knowledge concerning the consequence of their choices. Is it not possible that hearts can become so hardened that Lewis’ vision in The Great Divorce is the more accurate? Both Stackhouse and especially Walls seize on this point in their responses to Parry.

Two thoughts of my own in defense of Parry’s position: first, if it were possible for human hearts to remain hardened post-mortem, that would still leave us with the problem of a defeat for God. Would it not suggest a fatal defect in the design of human beings? Surely the Fall was not a surprise news-flash to the Almighty (“Boss, you’re not going to believe what’s happened in the Garden!”), who had, after all, already planned, from before the beginning of time to rescue man from the terrible consequences of his free-will decision to sin. The reason why “all things” will be reconciled to God in the end, a universalist would argue, is that God is a perfect creator, and Christ’s death and resurrection mean that it is not possible for us to end up, ultimately, as something less than human, as helpless slaves to sin.

The other argument I would propose, however, is to simply ask: as human parents, do we put respect for “free will” above our concern for the very life of our children? If even an adult son or daughter is descending, by freely made choices, into a morass of drug addiction that will inevitably end in a fatal overdose, which of us would say, “Well, wasting her life by choking on her own vomit at the age of 22 if awful and all that, but it’s her life, I just have to respect her senseless decision to die!” And, if you agree that you would not let that happen, are you a better parent than God? So what if God overrides a free will here or there? Seems to me there is ample Biblical evidence that he has done that more than a few times, at least on this side of the Great Divide.

I’d love for Parry to write more on this subject; but I digress. Let’s look at how Burk, Stackhouse, and Walls defend against Parry’s artful arguments for UR.

Denny Burk
Burk, I think recognizing the power of how Parry has framed his position, starts out by arguing that Parry has conveniently tailored the Biblical metanarrative to support UR. For example, Burk tackles Colossians 1:16’s reference to God reconciling all things to himself. “The universalist rendering of ‘all’ fails to account for the immediate context;” he writes, because Paul subsequently warns the Colossians that they will only be reconciled “if indeed [they] continue in the faith…” The “conditionalism of verse 23 excludes unbelievers from the company of the reconciled;” so, therefore, “all” in verse 20 does not really mean all people, only believers. QED!

Or not! For a true Counterpoint junkie, it would be irresistible to offer the essay author the opportunity to respond to his critics (suggesting, of course, a near-infinite regress resulting in a tome too heavy to lift). For me, Burk’s critique is not at all persuasive. It is certainly true that one of the themes throughout Paul’s epistles is the critical importance of pressing on, of persisting in the obedience of faith. Salvation and sanctification are closely linked; my reading of Paul is that salvation is a process, and there is real risk as we run the race—not that any power in the heavens or below the earth can separate us from the love of God, but we ourselves can return to the slavery of sin. Paul does not tell the Colossians that failing to “continue in the faith” will doom them to everlasting torment; he is telling them that they won’t achieve salvation unless they persist. There’s a difference. Can their path to salvation be interrupted by moments of backsliding, and then resume? This passage doesn’t address that; but if you consider the state of the church in Corinth, Paul was definitely wasting his time if that is not the case.

(Video) Universalism: Dangerous? Correct? A conversation between Matthew J. Distefano and Frank Holzhauser

Burk objects to the notion that both Parry and Stackhouse support, that the metanarrative is about restoring a creation cleansed of sin. But all that is needed for the renewal of creation, Burk argues, is for sinners to be judged. And the notion that God’s wrath and justice are aspects of his love (remember that whole “God is love” thing?) meets with Burkian scorn. God’s anger isn’t just directed against sin, Burk writes, perhaps channeling Jonathan Edwards, but against sinners. “God’s wrath is not tantamount to love. It is what sinners need to be saved from (Rom. 5:9)…God’s wrath is his means of executing vengeance—not restoration—on his enemies (Rom 12:19)…God does not love those who are put into hell. On the contrary, his wrath means that he is angry at them forever (Rom 2:8).” This volley of proof texts has the ECT contingent on their feet cheering: Burk appears to have Parry in a full nelson: is it all over for the defender of UR?

The casual reader will assume that Burk has closely paraphrased Paul in these citations. Well, here are the verses cited, using the NIV:

Romans 5:9: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

Romans 12:19: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

Romans 2:8: But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

I don’t have room to present the full context, but I encourage you to read for yourself. Romans 5:9 does indeed talk of being saved from God’s wrath; but the purpose of that wrath is not therein defined. A UR apologist would simply say, you can be saved the easy way or the hard way, take your pick. Similarly, Romans 12:19 does say that God’s wrath is his means of avenging; but again, it doesn’t spell out whether that wrath is purely retributive or can also have some grander, nobler, restoring purpose. And the reference to Romans 2:8 is also dubious; I went to a variety of translations, including Young’s Literal and the KJV, and none of them read “eternal” wrath and anger. Now, Burk’s response would likely be that the preceding verse reads “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life,” thereby implying that the wrath and anger in 2:8 would be everlasting; but not only is that not definitive, there is still the question of whether aionios is being used quantitatively or qualitatively.

Toward the end of his response, Burk writes “The inability to travel out of torment into blessedness highlights the urgency of repentance before death. (Luke 16:30).” The irony of this particular citation—"The NIV reads, “'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'”—is that it’s from precisely the section of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man that, to me, conveys its core meaning: if we ignore the clear message of Scripture, no miracle, no heavenly messenger will make a difference. One would think that the verse cited bears on the “inability to travel out of torment,” but it does not. The notion that believers in UR feel no urgency to repent in this life is a straw man argument; I have never met anyone who espoused UR who had an inclination to spend any time in the torments of hell, and doubt that Burk has, either.

John Stackhouse
Good Counterpoint manners call for starting with polite, if often faint, praise for the essay you are about to eviscerate, and Professor Stackhouse begins with an acknowledgement that there is a “pleasing symmetry” to God beginning with a perfectly good creation, and ending by entirely redeeming it (indeed there is!); and he adds that “one must grant that Paul sometimes enjoys speaking in such categories of ‘all’ and ‘all.’” (But mere wishful thinking to attach much significance to those ‘alls’!) A bit later, Stackhouse picks this up again in saying “each biblical use of ‘all’ has to be interpreted carefully, lest we interpret the reconciliation of all things to include, say, cancers or viruses, as well as the reprobate.” This seems a specious argument, however, since cancers and viruses are arguably entirely the result of sin, whereas man, while grievously tainted by sin, is still the direct creation of God, made in his image, and (unlike a virus) capable of repentance.

Certainly the power punch that Stackhouse throws is his emphatic insistence that “[t]here is nothing like a universalist hope evident in the Old Testament.” The primary strength of his essay in defense of terminal punishment is that the Old Testament is packed with imagery suggesting the utter annihilation of the wicked, who vanish from the world “like smoke from a window.” Not for nothing has annihilationism gained advocates, and Stackhouse puts some points on the board.

(Video) Christian Universalism Discussed: a 4-Way Discussion

But for me, there are two reasons why Stackhouse’s argument is not fatal to Parry’s case. First, no one doubts that the wicked will be utterly absent from the New Jerusalem; just as no one doubts that the “old man,” to use Paul’s phrase, must die and the “new man” be born again from above. The old man will indeed have vanished like the morning dew, and the new man will have taken his place.

Second, Parry does address the Old Testament in sketching out his metanarrative; this is the “pattern of judgment followed by restoration” “played out time and again for both Israel and the nations.”

Near the end of his response, Stackhouse picks up the free-will argument discussed above, making the point that “[s]in addles us to the point that we sincerely believe we are seeking our true interests in ignoring, or even rebelling against, God…sinners aren’t logical.” As I’ve argued, this is a valid point; but Jerry Walls makes it more effectively as the centerpiece of his response.

Jerry Walls
Jerry Walls is an advocate for ECT, but from premises that, to this reader, are radically different from Burk’s. “Eternal hell,” he writes, is neither a theological, philosophical, moral, nor metaphysical necessity. It is entirely contingentand need not be true…God emphatically does not need to damn some persons forever to display his wrath in order to glorify himself…[i]n my view, all persons are given every opportunity to repent and accept God’s saving grace, so none need go to hell forever.”

These are premises with which any advocate of UR would agree. But contemplate for a moment Walls’ statement that hell is not any sort of necessity. Roughly one hundred billion humans have walked the earth, so far. If hell is not a sort of divine Guantanamo Bay, housing Nero, Torquemada, Hitler, that guy who traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, plus a handful of others, then tens of billions are in eternal torment. And it’s not a necessity?

Well, the problem with such an objection is that it is based purely on human reason, which is only one leg of the stool; if tradition and Scripture lead to different conclusions, then so be it (which is why I am—for now!—agnostic on the matter of UR).

“The bottom line reason that I believe hell is eternal conscious torment,” Walls explains, “is that I believe Scripture teaches this. Some people will in fact remain separated from God forever, by their own choice.”

Walls admits that this is not “decisively clear from Scripture,” but believes that tradition tips the scales. He also concedes that UR provides the most satisfying ending to the Biblical metanarrative, but deeply disagrees with Parry (and Talbott) on the free-will argument, not only for Scriptural, but for logical reasons. Yes, if we gain a “full appreciation of the objective truth about God,” we flee to the Father’s welcoming arms. But, says Walls, consider how we gain that “full appreciation.” It comes only “as we progressively respond with trust and love to God’s self-revelation and internalize what he has revealed to us. This involves far more than processing information or intellectual content. It occurs, rather, as we come to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and allow him to form a character in us that reflects his own holy character.”

Well! That is not an argument to be lightly dismissed. Walls has thrown a staggering left hook, just as the bell rings to close out round three. Talk about cliffhanger endings!

(Video) Toxic theology scarred him early. But, he has recovered. An interview with Dr. Boyd Purcell

Next week, Walls takes center stage with his essay, Hell and Purgatory. Until then, buy Four Views on Hell and be ready to join in the debate!


What is the universalism view of hell? ›

Christian Universalists disagree on whether or not Hell exists. However, they do agree that if it does, the punishment there is corrective and remedial, and does not last forever.

What is the annihilation view of hell? ›

Annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality. Thus those who do not repent of their sins are eternally destroyed because of the inherent incompatibility of sin with God's holy character.

What does the Catholic Church teach about universal salvation? ›

In Christian theology, universal reconciliation (also called universal salvation, Christian universalism, or in context simply universalism) is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God.

Is Universalism a religion? ›

Universalism is a religious denomination that shares many of the same beliefs as Christianity, but it does not accept all Christian teachings. Its followers believe that all persons can find salvation and that the souls of all people are in a constant search for improvement.

What did the Greeks believe about hell? ›

Ancient Greeks didn't believe in postmortem judgment because the Greeks didn't have a concept of heaven and hell. They saw the afterlife as a cheerless phase. Q: Who was Charon?

How is the hell described in the? ›

In its archaic sense, the term hell refers to the underworld, a deep pit or distant land of shadows where the dead are gathered. From the underworld come dreams, ghosts, and demons, and in its most terrible precincts sinners pay—some say eternally—the penalty for their crimes.

What is the message behind annihilation? ›

The characters in Annihilation also, in many ways, represent the five stages of grief. Yes, there's a sense of “self-destruction” in that one's identity is destroyed, but it's also a specific experience of death.

What is the message of annihilation? ›

The Legacy of Annihilation

Ventress told Lena, it is an entirely human phenomenon to seek, intentionally or not, self-destruction. That impulse, to seek annihilation, is within us at a biological level.

What does the Bible say about the universal Church? ›

Definition: The Universal Church derives its definition from the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit. The key verse on this is 1 Cor. 12:13,"by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body." We see from this passage that the church is like the physical manifestation of Christ, i.e., his body.

What is the universal purpose of goods catholic social thought? ›

The universal destination of goods is a concept in Catholic theology, by which the Catholic Church professes that the goods of creation are destined for mankind as a whole, but also recognizes the individual right to private property.

What is the point of universalism? ›

Universalism is important because it is a view about the shared characteristics of all humans. It is particularly necessary to reiterate that there are such qualities in a world where ugly divisions between groups have once again become apparent.

What are the 4 universal religions? ›

Major Universalizing Religions

Most of the largest religions today are universalizing religions. The four largest universalizing religions are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

Does the Bible support universalism? ›

Contrary to what many would suppose, universalism, understood as above, receives strong scriptural support in the New Testament.

What is universalism in simple words? ›

Universalism is the philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in universalism.

What are the four stages of hell? ›

  • 2.1 Death.
  • 2.2 The Last Judgment.
  • 2.3 Heaven.
  • 2.4 Hell.

What are the types of hell? ›

These divisions go by many different names, and the most frequently mentioned are as follows: Sheol (Hebrew: שְׁאוֹל – "underworld", "Hades"; "grave") Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן – "doom", "perdition") Be'er Shachat (Hebrew: בְּאֵר שַׁחַת, Be'er Shachath – "pit of corruption")

What happens in the third layer of hell? ›

In the third circle, the warm comforts of gluttony are punished with icy sleet, where sinners howl like hungry dogs; the mud and slime is a reflection of their excess.

What did the Greeks call hell? ›

Tartarus, the infernal regions of ancient Greek mythology. The name was originally used for the deepest region of the world, the lower of the two parts of the underworld, where the gods locked up their enemies. It gradually came to mean the entire underworld.

What religions believe in a hell? ›

Among other non-Christians, however, beliefs that there are places of eternal reward and punishment after death are not as widely held. Roughly half or fewer of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews believe in heaven. And roughly a third or less of Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews believe in the concept of hell.

Which Greek god lives in hell? ›

Hades, Greek Aïdes (“the Unseen”), also called Pluto or Pluton (“the Wealthy One” or “the Giver of Wealth”), in ancient Greek religion, god of the underworld.

What is hell summary? ›

hell, Abode of evildoers after death, or the state of existence of souls damned to punishment after death.

What are the characteristics of hell? ›

The biblical descriptions of heat, bondage, darkness, thirst, worms, pain, flogging, fire, etc. are symbolic -- perhaps symbolizing the emotional pain of being separated from God. Two characteristics of Hell that are mentioned throughout the Christian Scriptures are fire and darkness.

How is hell described in Christianity? ›

Hell is the dwelling place of those who reject God irrevocably, whose alienation from God is a permanent expression of their own ill-used freedom, and whose suffering is at once physical (burning by fire) and spiritual (deprivation of God).

What did the ending of Annihilation mean? ›

Eventually, Lena finds a way around the alien: She coaxes it into taking a grenade, destroying her own mimic in order to survive. But the end of the film suggests that she's been fundamentally altered by the experience (her eyes glow as she returns to the real world).

Who is the main villain of Annihilation? ›

The Shimmer is the main antagonist of the science fiction horror mystery book Annihilation and its 2018 film adaptation. It is a mysterious extraterrestrial entity that arrives on Earth via meteorite and begins scrambling and combining the DNA of everything it touches.

Why did Josie turn into flowers? ›

It's heavily implied that she turned into one of the sculptural flower people. Just before she vanishes, she starts to sprout plant life from her skin, flowers literally blooming from her self-inflicted scars. In the moment, it seems as if she is submitting to the strange gravity of Area X, letting it transform her.

Why did Lena cheat Annihilation? ›

She's having an affair with a guy named Daniel. Though we are shown that Lena is happily married to Kane, the nature of their relationship pushes her to cheat on her husband during his calls of duty. Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) – She's a psychologist who is suffering from cancer.

Is Annihilation a true story? ›

Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction psychological horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.

Does Annihilation mean destruction? ›

an act or instance of annihilating, or of completely destroying or defeating someone or something: the brutal annihilation of millions of people. the state of being annihilated; total destruction; extinction: fear of nuclear annihilation. Physics.

What does the Universal Life Church believe in? ›

Beliefs and practices

The Universal Life Church has only one belief. They believe in that which is right and in every person's right to interpret what is right. The Universal Life Church has no creed or authoritative book such as a Bible.

What are the four characteristics of the Church? ›

The words one, holy, catholic and apostolic are often called the four marks of the Church.

What is God calling us to in his universal call? ›

The Second Vatican Council spoke of the “universal call to holiness” (Lumen Gentium, V). Being called to holiness means being called to love God and others. The universal call to holiness means God doesn't call some people to be saints, but all people.

What are the 4 principles of Catholic social doctrine? ›

Recent papal teaching has identified four major principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity, the common good, and solidarity.

What are the four sources of Catholic social teaching? ›

Four Catholic Social Teaching Sources. Catholic ethics commonly draws on four major sources. They are Scripture, tradition, reason and experience. When popes and bishops teach on social justice issues they will typically draw on some, or all of these sources.

What are the four senses of vocation? ›

Although your specific calling will be unique to you, there are four 'categories' of vocation that the Church uses to help us discern God's plan: marriage, single life, priesthood and religious life. In each of these four ways of life, God calls us to freely and generously respond to his call.

What are the examples of universal beliefs? ›

20 Beliefs All Happy People Share
  • They believe that anything is possible. ...
  • They realize that happiness does not have a monetary value. ...
  • They don't sweat the small stuff. ...
  • They believe that, in life, there are no accidents. ...
  • They accept ownership of the past without being bound by it.

What is an example of the universalism value? ›

Many different things have been claimed to be of universal value, for example, fertility, pleasure, and democracy. The issue of whether anything is of universal value, and, if so, what that thing or those things are, is relevant to psychology, political science, and philosophy, among other fields.

What is the critique of universalism? ›

As already noted, the core of Hägerström's critique of universalism is a rejection of the idea that value judgments are true or false. Instead, he argues that they are connected to the highly material conditions of people and groups.

What 4 religions believe in the same God? ›

And yet, despite the manifest differences in how they practise their religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God. The founder of Islam, Muhammad, saw himself as the last in a line of prophets that reached back through Jesus to Moses, beyond him to Abraham and as far back as Noah.

What do all 4 religions have in common? ›

The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ' Not always the same words but the same meaning.”

Do Unitarian Universalists believe in the Bible? ›

They found only a few references to hell, which they believed orthodox Christians had grossly misinterpreted. They found, both in the Bible and in their own hearts, an unconditionally loving God. They believed that God would not deem any human being unworthy of divine love, and that salvation was for all.

What religion is the universal Church? ›

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) (Portuguese: Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, IURD) is an evangelical charismatic Christian denomination with its headquarters at the Temple of Solomon in São Paulo, Brazil.

What is the problem of universals and why is it a problem? ›

The problem of universals is an ancient question from metaphysics that has inspired a range of philosophical topics and disputes: Should the properties an object has in common with other objects, such as color and shape, be considered to exist beyond those objects?

What Christians believe in universalism? ›

In Christian theology, universal reconciliation (also called universal salvation, Christian universalism, or in context simply universalism) is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God.

What are the main characteristics of universal religion? ›

Universalizing religions offer belief systems that are attractive to the universal population. They look for new members and welcome anyone and everyone who wishes to adopt their belief system. Universalizing religions have many diverse members, who come from different ethnic backgrounds, hence the term universal.

Do Unitarian Universalists believe in hell? ›

What do Unitarian Universalists believe about heaven and hell? Some believe in heaven. Few probably believe in hell except for the hell that people create for themselves. Some UUs believe in reincarnation, and some believe there is no afterlife.

Is there a concept of hell in Christianity? ›

In traditional Christian doctrine, hell was conceived as a place, generally beneath the earth, where the wicked would be punished for eternity. There would be both psychological torment – at our knowing we had lost the opportunity for salvation – and physical ones inflicted by the Devil and his demons.

What is hell according to Jesus? ›

Hell is a place of judgment.

The unrighteous will be condemned to a place of blazing fire and utter darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (See Matt. 13:24-30,36-43, 47-50; 22:1-14; 25:14-46.) Jesus called this place “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt.

Can Christians be Unitarian? ›

Yes, some Unitarian Universalists are Christian. Personal encounter with the spirit of Jesus as the Christ richly informs their religious life.

What God do Unitarians believe in? ›

Unitarianism rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity, or three Persons in one God, made up of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They typically believe that God is one being - God the Father, or Mother. Jesus was simply a man, not the incarnate deity.

What do Universal Unitarians believe in? ›

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth, guided by a dynamic, "living tradition".

What is the true name of hell? ›

The Christian doctrine of hell derives from passages in the New Testament. The word hell does not appear in the Greek New Testament; instead one of three words is used: the Greek words Tartarus or Hades, or the Hebrew word Gehinnom.

What is the real meaning of hell? ›

: a nether world in which the dead continue to exist : hades. (2) : the nether realm of the devil and the demons in which condemned people suffer everlasting punishment. often used in curses.

What is the story behind hell? ›

In its archaic sense, the term hell refers to the underworld, a deep pit or distant land of shadows where the dead are gathered. From the underworld come dreams, ghosts, and demons, and in its most terrible precincts sinners pay—some say eternally—the penalty for their crimes.

Do Catholics believe in hell? ›

Catholic Church doctrine affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. The souls of sinners descend into hell, where they suffer "eternal fire", the Catholic catechism states.

What is hell called in the Bible? ›

Different Hebrew and Greek words are translated as "Hell" in most English-language Bibles. These words include: "Sheol" in the Hebrew Bible, and "Hades" in the New Testament. Many modern versions, such as the New International Version, translate Sheol as "grave" and simply transliterate "Hades".

Who created the God? ›

No one created God. God got created as the universe grew and changes. God is the cumulative energy of the universe.


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