Note: This article is under construction and more definitions will be added to it as they can be prepared. Most of these definitions are from "A Pocket Cyclopedia, Brief Explanations of Religious Terms", written by John Wesley Hanson in 1892. Supplementary information has been provided from other sources for some of the terms. Each writer is responsible only for his own stated views, and does not necessarily reflect the views of other "Christian Universalists."
The definitions below, written by John Wesley Hanson in 1892, are the "average" beliefs of the denomination known as the "Universalist Church of America" at that time. (for more about the "Universalist Church of America" and its demise as a separate denomination, see the article What is Christian Universalism?)
Acceptable Year of the Lord.--Originally "the year of jubilee," Lev. 25, a year of release from slavery, debt, obligation, and of restoration of lands to those who had sold them. Applied to the Savior, Luke4:8, 19. Paul alludes to it, 2 Cor. 6:2.
Accursed. -- Doomed to destruction, excommunicated from the church, Josh. 6:17; Gal. 1:8, 9. [Hansons "Bible Threatenings Explained;" Paiges "Commentary;" Thayer's "Theology."]
Advocate.--In 1 John 2:1, Christ is called mans "Advocate." This is because he renders friendly service to man, as the medium of Gods grace. It is a gross perversion of Christian doctrine to understand the term to denote an attorney whose business it is to plead his own merits in mans behalf with a vengeful God. It is a figurative term to describe the labors of Christ for man. Parakletos, rendered advocate, denotes one who renders friendly service. [Paiges " Commentary; Thayer's "Theology;" Han sons "New Covenant."]
Age: Aion, aions, and aionian. -- Age, aion, an indefinite period of time, past, present, or future. This is the proper translation of aion, which in the common version is often improperly rendered world, always, and forever. The word occurs about 100 times, in its singular and plural forms. The adjective form of the same word, aionion, is found about 75 times: and is applied to zoe, life, 45 times; to fire, 3 times; to glory, 3 times, etc. Eternal, or everlasting, as generally understood, is an improper translation of aionion; in fact, we have no proper equivalent in the English language. Being an adjective and derived from the noun, aion, age, it cannot properly go beyond its meaning. [Emphatic Diaglott, Appendix]
The word rendered "everlasting," "eternal," "world" (often) in the New Testament, is some form of aion; that is, "age," "era," "epoch," etc. It never denotes, of itself, endless duration. (See "Everlasting," "Eternal.") It is applied, among other things, to the Jewish, Christian, and other future dispensations. "This world" (aion), "the world to come" (aion), mean the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and "eternal," "everlasting" (aionian) mean pertaining to those dispensations; that is, aion--lasting, or pertaining to the aion referred to. As "daily" cannot mean endless because its limit is defined by the noun "day," whence it is derived, so aionian cannot mean everlasting, inasmuch as no aion is without end. The worst possible rendering of aionian is everlasting. Every form of the word must denote a limited period, unless some term is associated with it to extend its meaning, as the aionian God. In that case the word is qualified by the noun, as the word "great" would be. [Hansons "Aion-Aionios.")
Agency, Divine. -- (See "Human Agency.") Strictly speaking, the Divine Original is not an agent. All things and beings are his agents or instruments. His eternal plan includes and comprehends all events. From star to atom, from the beginning to the end, nothing can occur to defeat his purpose or frustrate his plan. The freedom of the finite will, which he has bestowed on all the moral beings he has created, does not defeat the purpose of him who works all things after the counsels of his own will." His will is free and so is mans. God is a free sovereign and man is a free agent. Somewhere beyond human ken the two wills harmonize. The freedom of God and the freedom of man are both truths, and both will remain free until the finite shall be harmonious with the Infinite, and Gods will shall be everywhere obeyed. [Williamsons " Rudiments;" Brooks "New Departure"]
Agency, Human. -- (See "Divine Agency.") Man is a moral agent, and therefore responsible and accountable, and hence justly punishable for sin. This moral freedom is a fact ineradicably Written on his consciousness. His will is finally to be harmonious with the will of God, but always voluntarily. He is free within the orbit of his moral responsibility, and responsible within the orbit of his moral freedom. He can always do either right or wrong. He is a free agent, but not independent. His will is circumscribed by the Divine, he is God's agent, not his instrument. The agent is free, the instrument is not. The agent is intelligent, responsible, rational, moral; the instrument is not. The material universe is Gods instrument,--a machine; man is the free agent of God. [Williamsons "Rudiments; " Brooks "New Departure;" Lees "Birth from Above ;" Cones "Salvation."]
Ancient History of Universalism. -- The documents that survive from time early periods of the Christian Church prove that a belief in universal salvation was cherished by the immediate successors of the apostles. The very first of these writings contain nothing definite on the subject of human destiny, but universal salvation was announced very soon after time death of the apostles. It is now known that it was advocated by the Basilidians and Carpocratians (A. D. 120), the Valentinians (A. D. 130), the Sibylline Oracles (A. D. 150), Clemens Alexandrinus (A. D. 150-220), Origen (A. D. 185-250), Gregory Thaumaturgus (A. D. 270), Eusebius (A. D. 324), Titus of Bostra (A. D. 360-70), Athanasius and Basil the Great (A. D. 370), Gregory Nyssa (A. D. 370), Jerome (A. D. 380-90), Diodorus of Tarsus (A. D. 378-94), and many others. At the time of Origen it was the prevailing doctrine, as there was but one theological school in all Christendom that taught endless punishment and one that taught the annihilation of the wicked, while there were four in which universal salvation was taught. The doctrine was not condemned by any ancient ecclesiastical council, though an attempt was instigated by the Emperor Justinian (A. D. 553). Down to that date it was entirely "orthodox" to accept and advocate universal salvation. The doctrine was held unchallenged in the earliest years of the church after the apostolic era. [Ballou's "Ancient History of Universalism;" Beecher's "History of the Doctrine of Future Retribution."]
Angel. -- 'the Greek angelos is the original of "angel," also is sometimes "messenger" in the Bible. It occurs one hundred amid eighty-three times in the New Testament, and is applied to good and bad spirits, men, armies, fire, and even to qualities, and other agencies. Any messenger is an angel. It is applied to John, Matt. 11:10; to his disciples, Luke 7:24; to Jesus disciples, Luke 9:52; to the thorn in Paul's flesh, 2 Cor. 12:7; to the Hebrew spies, James 2:25; etc. Its highest meaning is disembodied, immortal spirits, which ultimately all human beings shall become (Matt.. 21:30; Mark 12:24, 25; Luke 20:34-38). The word in the Bible must be interpreted by its surroundings. [" Universalist Book of Reference."]
Anger. -- (See "Gods Anger," "Wrath.") in the Scriptures anger is both forbidden (Col. 3:8; Eph. 4:31; Eccl. 7:9; Prov. 12:16, etc.) and commanded (Eph. 4:26), -- "Be angry and sin not." These seemingly opposite injunctions are reconciled by remembering that, like God, men must be angry towards that which harms others, and not at others. Gods anger seeks the welfare of his enemies by destroying their enmity. Mans anger should be so aimed at the evil traits of his enemies as to transform them to friends. [Thayer's "Theology;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Anger, Gods.--(See "Anger," "Wrath."). The word anger as applied to God denotes his feelings towards that which hinders the welfare of his moral offspring, the progress of his kingdom, and also the consequences that follow transgression. It is the opposition of Divine Love to whatever would harm Loves object. In a being of infinite love and unchangeable good will, literal anger, hatred, wrath, is absolutely impossible. God cannot harm a being he loves; and to say he is angry is to use human words to describe what is apparent to an ignorant mortal, not what is real in the heart of God. The anger of God is often spoken of (Ps. 21:9; Nahum 1:2, 3; Eph. 5:6; John 3:36) ; but it is as explicitly declared that he unchangeably loves the very beings he is said to hate (Luke 6:35; Matt. 5:43-48). These are not contradictory statements: t hey are expressions of Gods determination to destroy in his children all that interferes with their progress and happiness. Gods anger burns to destroy that which harms his children, but not to injure them. God is angry with mans enemies, not with man. "Gods anger, wrath, hatred," says Dr. Adam Clarke, "may be called a Hebraism for his punishments." [Thayer's "Theology;" Hanson's Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Antichrist. --An opponent of Christ or Christianity. In the New Testament (1 John 2:18; 2 John 7; Matt. 24:24, etc.) it denotes the Gnostic heresy, false doctrine, etc.
Atonement, The. -- (See "Reconciliation.") Universalists utterly reject the many theories on the subject of the Atonement that have so long prevailed and disfigured Christian creeds. God never required, he never needed a sacrifice to reconcile him to sinners; for he was never unreconciled. He could not accept a substitute for the sinners punishment; for he holds every sinner accountable, and will exact the uttermost farthing from each transgressor, inasmuch as the penalty for every sin is dictated by infinite love and wisdom, and is the best possible thing for time sinner. To receive that penalty is essential to his highest welfare, to fail to inflict it would be a calamity to him. Accordingly Christ did not offer himself to "quench the Fathers flaming sword in his own vital blood," or to serve in any respect as time sinners substitute. He did not live and die to make God good; but because God was good he sent him. lie was not the cause, but the effect of the Divine Love. The unreconciled party was man; and Christ came to show man how God had always loved him, and through that love to win his heart to love the Father. That exhibition of the Fathers affection will continue to be displayed until all shall be converted to God. This is Paul's meaning (2 Cor. 5:19), "God was in Christ., reconciling the world unto himself." The New Testament (Established Version) contains the word " atonement" but once (Rom. 5:11), "By whom we have now received the atonement." The Revised Version does not contain the word, but properly substitutes "reconciliation." This is the better word. The whole subject is explained and illustrated in the Prodigal Son (Luke xv). Man is an estranged sinner. The endless and unchangeable love of God for him will incessantly be exerted in the work of reconciling him to itself, until it shall win his heart. Jesus Christ is the medium of producing the at-one-meat, the harmony of man with God. A single sentence defines the theme: God is at work reconciling his intelligent offspring unto himself, and he will ultimately win all souls to his love and service. [Ballou's "Atonement;" Thayer's "Theology."]
Attributes of God. -- (See "God.") Each Divine
attribute is a different expression of the same essential nature. "God is
love;" and his justice and mercy, instead of conflicting with one another,
are in perfect harmony. The Psalmist says: "Also unto thee, 0 Lord, belongeth mercy; for thou renderest to every man according to his work"
(Pa. lxii. 19), showing that mercy and justice demand the same, are alike.
The Divine Attributes are copartners, allies; they abet and aid one
another; they are all facets of one perfect chrysolite, phases of the one
perfect character. Gods justice is Loves justice ; his mercy, Loves
mercy; his power, wisdom, holiness, Loves power, wisdom, holiness. To man,
refracted by the clouds of time, the rainbow hues wear different colors;
but the white light of the unchanging Sun of Love shines always the same
from the heart of God. The Divine attributes are always in complete and
perfect harmony [Austin "On the Attributes;" Thayer's "Theology of
Baptize, Baptism, etc. -- "Immerse," "immersion," is the literal meaning of this word, originally a dyers word: to dip so as to change the color. But it is believed that any form of baptism, whether by dipping, sprinkling, or pouring, has the sanction of authoritative usage, and is legitimate. Universalists regard the rite as essential only to those who deem it essential. It is an outward sign of an inward reality, is merely symbolic, and should he observed by those who regard it as a duty, but is not obligatory on others.
The early Latins called John tinctor or dyer. The ancient Saxon styled him fullabtere or fuller. The word carries with it the sense of scouring, cleansing, changing the color. [Hanson's "New Covenant.")
Beelzebub or Beelzebul, the god of flies. This idol was anciently worshipped as one having charge of harmful insects. Applied to Satan, in Matt. 12:24--27, as prince of evil powers.
Belief is an intellectual assent to a conclusion compelled by the balance of evidence. A mere assent without evidence is not belief. Men are responsible for their beliefs only so far as they avail themselves of their opportunities. If they refuse to weigh the pros and cons and go wrong, they sin; if they are guided by the light attainable, they are without blame, even when they err. There is no guilt in a false belief if conscientiously reached; no virtue in accepting the truth, if it is not obtained by faithful efforts. Belief or unbelief in this world produces unhappiness or misery here, but produces no effect beyond the present life except as it results in conduct or misconduct. It is the duty of every one to examine all available sources of evidence, and to hold and faithfully promote whatever religious belief is acquired by honest investigation and sincere reflection.
Bible, The. -- The Scriptures contain an inspired revelation (see "Winchester Profession") of the purpose of God and of the duty and destiny of man. They are not plenarily inspired, but the substance of their teachings was imparted supernaturally; that is, from spheres above the natural. Their conclusions were not reached as men ordinarily arrive at truth, by reasoning, reflection, by deduction or induction. They are the highest source of religious truth. They are authoritative in all matters of faith and practice. The real meaning of the Bible is the Bible. The words of Jesus are of first value, all other parts of the word are to be interpreted by those words. [Atwoods "Revelation."]
Bible Proofs of Universalism. -- The foundation of the doctrine of universal salvation is the language of the Bible. It is found in the character, attributes, and nature of God as there described, especially in the doctrine of the Divine Paternity (see "Gods Fatherhood"), in the nature of punishment (see "Punishment," "Discipline"), in the character and life of Christ (see "Savior"), and in the following texts, which may he called the principal ones: Gen. 3:15 in connection with Heb. 2:14, 15; 1 John 3:8 and Rev. 20:14; Gen. 12:1-3, 21:15-18 with Acts 3:25, 26; Eccl. 12:7; Micah 7:18; Ps. ciii. 8, 9, 30: 5; Isa. 57:16; Lam. 3:31, 33; Ps. civ. 8, 9, cvii. 1, 136, 72:6, 8, 21:27, 86:9, 115:8, 9, 65:2, 23:1-6; Isa. 25:8, 55:22-24, 4:10, 11; Hos. 13:14; Matt. 1:21 and Ps. 2:8; Johns 3:35; Luke 2:10, 3:4, 6; John 1:29; Matt. 5:44, 45 and Luke 6:27-36 connected with Rom. 12:20, 21; Luke 15:11-22, with John 6:37-39 and 10:14, 16. Christ came to save all, Luke 19:10; John 4:34, 3:17; 1 John 4:14. He labors here and hereafter to effect that purpose, 1 Pet. 3:18-20, 4:5, 6. He has ample power to accomplish his mission, Matt. 18:18; John 17:2; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 3:20, 21; John 3:35. He will succeed, Isa. 53:10 ; John 4:34 ; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; and Col. 1:13-21. He will win all souls to himself in willing obedience, Heb. 2:9; John 12:31-33, 6:44, 45, 17:2; Matt. 11:27; John 6:37-40; Phil. 2:6-11 Rom. 5:12--21; Matt. 21:29-32; Luke 20:34-38; Mark 12:24-27; 1 Cor. 15:20-28, 42-58; 1 John 4:7-16; Rom. 13:10, 5:6-8; John 3:16, 17; and 1 John 4:9, 10. It is Gods will that all shall be saved, 1 Tim. 2:1-6; John 6:37-40. His will is to be accomplished, Job. 23:13; Prov. 19:21; Dan. 4:35; Ps. 90:3; Matt. 6:10. It is his pleasure to save all, Rev. 4:11; Eph. 1:9, 10. his pleasure shall be performed, Isa. xlvi. 10; Eph. 1:9, 10. His purpose is to save all, Eph. 1:9-14. His purpose will be accomplished, Isa. 14:24-27, 46:10; 2 Tim. 1:9. Gods promise is to save all, Gen. 11:3, 21:18, 26:. 3,4; 28: 14; Acts 3:25, 26; Gal. 3:8, 16. God will redeem his promise, Num. 23:19; Rom. . 3:3, 4; 2 Cor. 1:20. He has confirmed his promise by an oath, Is. 45:23; Heb. 6:16-20; 1 Tim. 4:10; Rev. 5:13, 21:24; Rom. 8:21; Heb. 2:8, 9; and many other passages, besides multitudes of indirect passages, and the general drift and tenor of the words and spirit of the New Testament, which indicate, imply and necessitate universal salvation. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Bible Threatenings, -- These are all to be interpreted by the nature and character of God. Love cannot work or tolerate final ill to its object, and the fact that "God is Love" illuminates all the divine threatenings, and not only predisposes but compels the mind to harmonize them with the essential nature of their author. Properly understood, they not only do not contradict, but they illustrate and demonstrate the goodness of their author. (See "Penalty," "Punishment." They are all the offspring of good will to the sinner, and are successful agencies in promoting the chief purpose of God in the creation of man, -- his ultimate welfare. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Birth, The New; Born Again, etc. -- (See "Human Nature," "Regeneration.") All human beings enter this life pure, innocent. "Of such (as infant children) is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). Children before the age of accountability need no new or second birth. But all who have sinned, and therefore all who have reached maturity, need regeneration, the new or second birth, the birth from above, which is not a miraculous or supernatural process, but consists in loving God and man. "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God, for God is love" (1 John 4:7). Whenever the soul turns from wrong, from selfishness and sin, and begins the divine life of love, the new birth has been experienced. The divine fiat has gone forth: "Doomed to be saved" "Ye must be born again," John 3:7. Every one must have two births, one of the body and one of the spirit. [Lees "Birth from Above;" Woodbridges "Christ in the Life."]
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. -- This sin consists in ascribing the works of Jesus to an evil spirit (Matt. 12:24). "Shall not be forgiven" (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28--30; Luke 12:10) is put in apposition with "shall be forgiven." "Neither in this world (aion) nor the world (aion) to come" means the Jewish and the Christian ages, and should be understood as teaching that the worst of all sins, both under the law and under the gospel, is committed by one who ascribes good deeds to an evil spirit. The Revision renders "is guilty of an eternal (aionian) sin" that is long enduring. This indicates the persistency of such a bad disposition. No sin is literally unpardonable, for "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).The language is a common Orientalism for saying that one thing shall be sooner than another, and not that either shall or shall not be. (See "Eternal," "This World and the World to Come," "Never.") [" Universalist Book of Reference;" Hansons "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Blood. -- (See "Blood of Christ.") This word and the blood of the Lamb," "blood of Christ," etc., in the New Testament are always metaphors. The efficacy ascribed to the blood of Christ belongs to his life, so that to be "saved by his life" (Rom. 5:10) and "saved by his blood" are synonymous sentences. "The words," he spake, "they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). The application of his blood means the influence of his life. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7) means his doctrine, his example, his sacrifice. As he says, "For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him" (John 6:55, 56). That this is not literal is shown by what follows: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." "The blood of the Lamb" is the life of Christ. The figure is drawn from the Old Testament. (Lev. 17:11, 9:22; also 1 Pet. 1:19--20; 1 John 1. 7). ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Thayer's "Theology."]
Blood of Christ. -- (See "Blood.") Ignatius said, A. D. 107, "The blood of Christ is love or charity." And Dean Stanley observes, in "Christian Institutions," "not the pain or torture of the cross is the blood of the life of Christ, -- for that was alike odious to God and useless to man, -- but the love, the self-devotion, the generosity, the magnanimity, the forgiveness, the toleration, the compassion, of which that. blood was the expression, and of which that life and death were the fulfillment." The blood of Christ is the life of Christ. It is never said "we are saved by the death of Christ," but that "we are saved by his life" (Rom. 5:10). ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Thayer's "Theology.")
Body, Animal. - this should be the language in 1 Cor. 15:44, instead of "natural body." The spiritual body is as natural as the psychical body. The "animal body" is contrasted with the "spiritual body."
Body, Resurrection of. -- (See "Spiritual Body.") Reason and revelation reject the idea of the resurrection of the material body. The exact particles, the same ultimate atoms of matter have been in many different human bodies at the time those bodies died. Used by one and returned to the elements, they have again and again been taken up and rebuilt into vegetable and animal forms, and consumed by human and other beings, and returned to Natures laboratory to be again and again, over and over again, used and returned, experiencing dissolution and reconstruct ion, so that the same particles of matter have belonged to many different human bodies when death disintegrated those bodies and set their constituents free. A bodily resurrection would find a hundred claimants for the constituents of the same body, each with a clear title. The doctrine contradicts common sense, -- and it is contrary to the Bible. Paul says (1 Cor. 15:37), "That which thou sowest thou sowest not the body that shall be;" (44) "It is sown [now and here,, not shall be in the grave] an animal [psuchikon], (not natural body), it is raised a spiritual body;" (50) "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of god, neither doth corruption [the animal] inherit incorruption." The animal body, at its dissolution, returns to its elemental conditions, never to be raised from death, and at the resurrection the spiritual body will alone exist. [Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Body, Spiritual. -- The spiritual body is already in existence (1 Cor. 15), "There is a natural [or animal (psuchikon)] body, and there is a spiritual body." (See "Animal Body.") The organization that will be the spirit's instrument in the immortal state, "the spiritual body," resides within the animal; and when the latter crumbles away, the former will act, as the organization of the butterfly emerges from that of the caterpillar. The animal body is the clay vesture of the spiritual, and bears some such relation to it as does the clothing to the body. The continuity of life is unbroken by death, but the soul is born at death into another condition of being. The spiritual body in every mortal being is waiting its birth into the new life. Its organization is perfect. "There is a spiritual body." It is immortal.
Bottomless Pit. -- Rev. 22:8. The rod should be abyss. There is no such term in the Bible as "bottomless pit."
Broad and Narrow Way, Strait Gate, etc. -- The strait gate is the entrance into the narrow way of obedience to the commands of our Lord, as Bynyan represents it in "Pilgrim's Progress." It denotes the exacting nature of his religion. The broad way is the wide road of neglect, in which the multitude goes. Dr. A. Clarke says, "The strait gate is doing to every one as you would he should do unto you." Dr. Abbott, "The spirit of real and hearty allegiance to Jesus Christ, by which we enter into him." [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Brotherhood, Human. -- As God is the Father of all mankind, all human beings are brethren, and each owes fraternal obligations to all. Deny the universal paternity, and the bonds of brotherhood are shattered. Admit God's universal fatherhood, and the basis is laid of morality, philanthropy, universal unity, and harmony. Universalism insists that God is the Father of each as he is of any; and, therefore, that every human being is a member of the one family, and is under perpetual obligations to love each and all, for all are links in the chain of universal brotherhood. This is the ethical feature of the fundamental fact of Christianity. Fatherhood demonstrates brotherhood. Neglect to recognize this is the open secret of all "man's inhumanity to man." When it shall be fully perceived and consistently practiced, the kingdoms of this world shall be the kingdom of Christ, and his will "shall be done on earth as it is in heaven." [Adams's "Fatherhood of God;" Hanson's "Prayer of Prayers."]
Change after Death. -- (See "Future Punishment," "Future Life.") Character depends on antecedent conduct, and is always determined by it; it cannot be arbitrarily changed; so that on entering the next state of existence all human beings will be essentially what antecedent behavior has determined. At the same time environment exercises a large influence in modifying thought and life. To lay aside "the law of the members," and that physical organization out of which sin grows, to have obliterated from the organization the soil from which alone "the works of the flesh" proceed, to be brought face to face with spiritual realities, must produce great changes in the spiritual status. Death will couch the film on the spiritual vision. Hence the Scriptures teach what reason perceives that Death will produce such changes in condition as must result in changed character. Paul says, "In the twinkling of an eye . . . we shall be changed." (1 Cor. 15:52.) Death itself produces no change of character arbitrarily or mechanically; but by removing the old and giving an improved environment, it renders improved character certain. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs;" "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Charity. -- This word, as we use it, in the sense of almsgiving, is not found in the New Testament. In 1 Cor. 13:and elsewhere it should be love, a more comprehensive term. It includes charity. The word as used by Paul means supreme love to God and universal love to mankind.
Child of Hell. -- (See "Hell," "Gehenna.") Literally "son of Gehenna." Looking on Gehenna, and familiar with its smoking abominations, its filth and horrors, to call a man a "child of Gehenna" was to say he was vile and corrupt. [Hanson's "Bible Hell."]
Children, Nature of. -- (See "Human Nature," "Infants." Every child begins its existence in a state of purity, innocence, sinlessness. It has capabilities for holiness and for depravity, but is neither holy nor depraved. It is innocent, like a lamb, not holy like and angel. The language of Jesus is "Of such (as infants) is the kingdom of heaven." "Total depravity," "native depravity," and like phrases are unscriptural, unreasonable, false. Every new-born babe is an angel in embryo. [Hanson's "New Covenant;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Children of God. -- By nature and by virtue of their creation in the image of God, all men are his children; but in a special sense they are said to be his children when they are like him, just as they are called children of disobedience, children of light, etc.
Children of the Resurrection. -- All human beings, 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; Like 20:35, 36. All are finally to become children of God by being children of the resurrection. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Christ. -- (See "Trinity.") There are Universalists who are Trinitarians, and regard Christ as God, but the denomination generally is Unitarian, and considers Jesus the Christ as the Son of God, subordinate and inferior to the Father. His exact position in the scale of being is not defined. There is a wide latitude of opinion tolerated. There are those who consider him as a mere man, great, good, but who achieved his precepts and his life by the exercise of his natural abilities and genius. Others ascribe to him pre-existence. The prevalent belief is, that he was supernaturally aided and endowed, -- a miraculous product, and possessing miraculous powers; that he obtained his truths by direct inspiration from God. The denomination, therefore, believes in the divinity of Christ. Opinion is divided on the question of his miraculous conception; but his birth, life, teachings, resurrection, and reappearance visibly after his death are held to be miraculous by the great mass of Universalists. His teachings are authoritative, his life was perfect, and he is the Savior of universal humanity; because his teachings and example will ultimately be voluntarily accepted and reproduced in every human being. He saves no soul by substituting himself for the sinner, by taking the transgressor's penalty; but by the power of his example, and the force of his religion in the soul. He is Lord of all, because his principles will so commend themselves to all as to win the willing obedience of all. [Crane's "Jesus the Christ;" Atwoods "Revelation;" Cone's "Salvation;" Woodbridge's "Christ in the Life."]
Christ's Sake, For. -- This phraseology, so often used by Christian people in prayer, is entirely repudiated by Universalists, and is without warrant. It only occurs once in the Bible (Eph. 4:32) in the Established Version, and not at all in the Revision, -- "in Christ" having been properly substituted. Asking God to grant favors "for Christ's sake" is to accuse him of not being willing to do for us, of his intrinsic goodness, that which he will grant on account of what Christ has purchased. An accurate rendering of the Bible gives no warrant for the language, and a proper feeling towards God should banish the phrase from Christian literature and the idea from Christian theology. God is more willing to give his children needed blessings than they can be anxious to receive. "For Christ's sake" is un-Christian language. [Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Christian. -- All those who accept Christ as an authoritative teacher, in whatever altitude of being they may locate him or whatever extent to his mission they may give, are entitled to be called Christian. Christians are those who accept his claims as they understand them, and are endeavoring to be his followers.
Church. -- The word literally means assembly, and is applied once to a mob in Acts 19:32. Usually it denotes a congregation assembled for worship. Sometimes it refers to all Christian believers (Eph. 5:25-27). Compare this with Titus 2:11-13; 1 Tim. 2:6; John 1:29. The church universal signifies all mankind (Eph. 1:22, 23, 5:30). The organized Christian church is a divinely appointed institution for the Christian education of mankind. For an elaborate and valuable discussion of the functions, ordinances, and value of the church from the Universalist standpoint, consult Rugg's "Church" and Lee's "Birth from Above."
Coming of Christ, Second, etc. -- The second coming of Christ was not to be a personal, but a spiritual coming or presence. It was declared by Jesus to be before some of those who heard him speak should die, in the very generation to which he spoke (Matt. 24:34; Luke 21:32; Mark 13:30), when the Jewish power and religion fell at the destruction of Jerusalem, and when the Christian dispensation was established. It has, therefore, already occurred; and those who are looking for his future advent are anticipating not a second but a third coming. ["Universalist Book of Reference."]
Consuming Fire. -- (Heb. 12:29) "Our God is a consuming fire." The consuming fire of God is the fire of love. It is inexorable, and will destroy everything in opposition to itself or the welfare of its object. The "orthodox" view represents God's consuming fire as consuming nothing, neither the sinner nor his sin. The Universalist view regards it as destroying sin and purifying the sinner. [George Macdonald's "Unspoken Sermons;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Conversion, Convert, etc. -- To turn from one belief and mode of life to another, -- the transformation produced by the Christian religion, not from a state of nature, but from a condition of sinfulness to one of goodness. [Lee's "Birth from Above."]
Correction. -- (See "Punishment.") Same as punishment, chastening, discipline. Job declares, "Happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty" (Job 5:17). The author of Proverbs says: "Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth" (Prov. 3:12). [Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Covenant. -- The real name of Scripture, not "Testament." The promise to Noah (Gen. 9:2-4) is a covenant; also the law given on Sinai (Deut. 4:13). The New Testament is the "Better Covenant" (Heb. 8:6, 8). The word means agreement, but is applied to several things in the Bible. Gen. 12:3 and 22:18 is the promise to bless all mankind, which Paul explains as the gospel (Gal. 3:8-17), which is to be of universal application.
Creed, Universalist. -- (See "Winchester Profession.")
Creeds. -- As tests of Christian character, or rigid formulas by which to measure and control opinion and thought, Universalists repudiate creeds. They regard them only as convenient statements of average sentiment, chiefly valuable as bonds of union, platforms describing the opinions of those who employ them. The Winchester Profession (which see) is the Universalist creed in this sense only. Some of its phraseology, such as "restore" (which see), and the utilitarian grounds on which obedience is based, are not accepted by all the denomination; but its principal declarations as to the character of God, the Lordship of Christ, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the duty and destiny of mankind, etc. are held by those who properly belong to the denomination. The "Profession" is the Universalist creed; because it states the views of the denomination, and is the platform on which the organization rests.
Damnation. -- (See "Resurrection of Damnation.") This word should always be, as in the Revised Version, condemnation, except in Mark 3:29, where the original is different, and the word sin or transgression should be used. It denotes the suffering consequent upon sin. "He that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16) is the correct reading. The meaning is, the self-condemnation of the sinner (1 Cor. 11:29; Rom 13:2; 14:23). See also "Never Forgiveness." [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Day of Judgment. -- (See "Judgment," "General Judgment.") This phrase sometimes means the Christian Dispensation, which began with the establishment of Christianity in this world, and will end when its awards shall have been announced and experienced and the kingdom surrendered to God. The Gospel Day, or the entire reign of Christ as king and judge, is the "day of judgment." In Matt. 12:36 the article is wanting, and the reading should be "a day of judgment" or trial. The words "day," "throne," etc., are figurative, and not literal language. In Matt. 10:15, "day of judgment" refers to the destruction of the Jewish state, which was to be more intolerable than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The day of judgment of those cities was when they were destroyed "by fire from the Lord out of heaven." So say Hammond, Clarke, Pearce, and others. John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world," teaches that the judgment is now progressing. The day of judgment of any individual or nation is when the awards of conduct or misconduct are being experienced. The "day of judgment" is ante not post mortem. ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Dead. -- Primarily absence of natural life; but in the Scriptures, sinfulness, that is, moral or spiritual death (John 5:25; Eph. 2:1; Rom 8:6, 11:15).
Death. -- Too much emphasis is often laid on death. It is a natural process in the progressive life of immortals. It is only the laying off of the soul's garments of clay, and does not destroy or reduce in number or ability the soul's opportunities for improvement. It does not end probation. It probably in all cases improves the advantages of the spirit. The holiest and best are handicapped by "the law of the members;" the worst are weighted and impeded by the animal nature. Released from it by death, the freed immortal will find larger abilities for good, and a kindlier atmosphere for growth than earth affords. In no instance is it a detriment or disadvantage. It was not originally the penalty of sin; wan not the unforeseen result of accident. It was a part of God's plan, as natural and beneficent as life, and in the career of man it is as much a blessing as birth; indeed, it is birth from mortality to immortality. It is but temporary in duration; for in all its forms, -- physical, moral, spiritual, the "second death," and all the many shapes it assumes, -- it is to be destroyed: "the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed" (1 Cor. 15:26). [Paige's "Commentary;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Death, Second. -- Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8. The primary meaning of second death in the Scriptures is the second destruction of the Jewish nation. The first death was the captivity. But "by accommodation" we may say that those who awaken out of sin, after having died in trespasses and sins, and then relapse, have died a second death. The language, however, literally refers to the second vastation of the Jews, after their first national death which was in the Babylonish captivity, and the second when Jerusalem was destroyed. But it was also applied to those who had once been aroused from moral death, and again died in trespasses and sins. There is no propriety in applying it to endless torment. ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Thayer's "Theology."]
Demons, Demoniacs. -- (See "Devil," "Satan.") The Jews of our Lord's time, as well as other ancients, regarded such diseases as insanity, idiotcy, epilepsy, etc., as caused by evil spirits, and those thus afflicted as possessed by demons. The word devil in such cases should be demon (see Revised Version), which is the word in the original. Jesus did not controvert the popular opinions, but did as skilful physicians now do, -- acquiesced in the delusions of the afflicted. His mission was not to teach medical science, but to heal the afflicted. [See Farmer on "Demoniacs," Lardner, Jahn, etc. Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Destroy Soul and Body in Hell. -- (See "Hell," "Gehenna." ) The word here rendered soul, psuche, should be life (Matt. 10:28), as it is properly translated in the Revised Version. Men can kill the body, but the life survives. But God has greater power than man; he is able to destroy the life as well as the body in Gehenna. So he is able to transform the stones of the street into children of Abraham (Matt. 3:9); but the ability to do either does not prove that he will do it. God's power is the lesson of the passage, and not his disposition or purpose. Fear not man but God, whose power is so great, is the sentiment of the passage.
Destruction. -- (See "Everlasting Destruction." [Hanson's "Bible Hell" and "New Covenant."]
Devil, Personal. -- (See "Satan," "Temptation.") The words "devil" (diabolos) and "Satan" (satanas), literally accuser, adversary, occur thirty times -- three times in the plural -- in the New Testament, and stand for the inducements that arise out of man's lower nature to draw the higher nature down; or, man's moral enemies and adversaries. Once it denotes an idol (1 Cor. 10:20-21). But the devil and his works are to be destroyed (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14) ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Discipline. -- See "Punishment.") All God's punishments are disciplinary; they are not only intended to improve the punished, but are so wisely designed as to result in improvement in every instance and in all souls. Hence the word rendered punishment in Matt. 25:46 (kolasin) signifies to prune, so that punishment is equivalent to chastisement, -- in Heb 12:7-8,11, paidia. Chastisement, discipline, punishment, are mutual equivalents. Hence, as Origen says (c. Cels. 6:25), even the fire of Gehenna is purificatory (basanon katharsin). "The original punishment," says Farrar ("Eternal Hope," p. 200), is a word, which, in its sole, proper meaning, has reference to the correction and bettering of him that endures." Clement of Alexandria defines kolasis as merikai paideiai. The punishments of God are never vindictive or even merely vindicatory, but always reformatory. He wounds to bless, and strikes to heal. [Farrar's "Eternal Hope;" Thayer's "Theology;" Hanson's "Aion - Aionios;" Paige's "Commentary;" Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Divinity of Christ.-- (See "Jesus," "Emmanuel," "Miraculous Conception." Also, please see "Jesus and the Trinity" for other views on this subject.) Christ is not God, but he is divine. He is not Deity, but he is a supernatural being. Some Universalists, however, -- a small number, -- regard him as a perfectly natural being; a mere man, though a perfect one, who became what he was through the legitimate exercise of his human faculty, which he had in common with other men. Others believe in his actual pre-existence, and that he came to earth from some higher sphere in which he had a conscious existence, and that he brought from that realm powers and abilities above those possessed by man, so that his entire life was far above the possibilities of unaided human nature. Most Universalists regard him as a perfect human being, who was created by a supernatural process and endowed with supernatural powers, and though in all respects human, he was in spirit and character divine; that he became a perfect example to men, who can copy and acquire his moral perfections, after having been shown the way; that he is, therefore, a miraculously created and endowed Example, Teacher, and Leader , who will ultimately be the Savior of the world. [Crane's "Jesus the Christ;" Woodbridge 's "Christ in time Life; Paiges "Commentary ;" Atwoods "Revelation;" Lee's "Birth from Above;" Cones "Salvation."]
Easter. -- Once used in the New Testament incorrectly for Passover (Acts 12:4). The word is from Eostre, a Saxon goddess. Formerly the resurrection of Christ was commemorated upon the day of the Jewish Passover, but the council of Nice ordered that it be kept in all Christian churches on Sunday. The Passover came on the fourteenth day of the first vernal full moon; Easter comes the next Sabbath after that full moon.
Election, Elect, etc. -- Certain persons are appointed, or by peculiar fitness come, to discharge special offices, possess certain privileges, or attain great excellence of character, and are thus called "elect." 2 John i.1, "the elect lady." The Jews were elected or chosen as agents of Providence; and other nations and persons fulfill certain purposes and objects, and are for that reason called elect. But all these are subordinate to the one end to which all are elected, -- the final favor and service of God. Seven classes are mentioned in the Scriptures as elect 1. Christ, Isa. xlii. 1; 1 Pet. ii 6. 2 Angels, 1 Tim 5:21; Heb. 1. 14. 3. The patriarchs, Rom. 9:27. 4. The Jews, Deut. 7:6, 7. 5. The prophets, Titus 1:I. 6. The apostles, Eph 1:4. 7. The Gentiles and all man kind, 1 Pet 1:1; 1 Thess i 4.
Emmanuel - (See "Divinity of Christ," "Jesus." Also, please see "Jesus and the Trinity" for other views on this subject.) This word means "God with us;" but this does not indicate that Christ was God. He was godlike, divine, but not Deity. Daniel signifies "God my Lord;" Elijah, ''God the Lord;" Ithiel, "God with me;" but the men who bore those names were never supposed on that account, or any other, to be Deity. Universalists generally accept the divinity of Christ, but not his Deity. [Cranes "Jesus the Christ;" Woodbridges "Christ in the Life;" Atwoods "Revelation."]
End of the World. -- This language is a mis-translation. The end of the world is not taught in the Bible. The Greek for world is kosmos, and that is never said to be destined to come to an end. The end of the aion is spoken of, and the translators of the Bible have erroneously given "world" and "eternity" as its English equivalent. It never means either, but always age or epoch. It is found both in the singular and plural. Sometimes it means the Jewish, and sometimes the Christian age, and sometimes past or future ages. In Matt. 24:3, our Lord prophesies the end of the Jewish age, and gives the signs that were to precede it, which he said would occur before the death of some of his auditors (xxiv. 6, 16, 33, 34). Campbell, Clarke, Wakefield, Newton, and all good critics render the words by the phraseology "conclusion of the age," ''consummation of the dispensation." The language is applied to the Jewish age more than thirty times in such passages as these: 1 Cor. 10:11, "The ends of the world are come;" Heb. 9:26, "Now once in the end of the world (age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." The correct rendering is "ends of the age," "end of the age." The Revised Version gives the true reading by printing "age" in the margin, as it should have done in the text. In every instance in the Scriptures in which the beginning or end of the aion is spoken of, it should be age. And the word never means eternity or world, but always a period of time, longer or shorter; as age, epoch, dispensation, or some equivalent term, the duration of which is to be determined by the context. There is no evidence either in nature or revelation that the material world will ever end. ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hansons "Aion-Aionios;" Tabors "End of the World."]
Eternal. -- (See "Everlasting")
Eternal Fire. -- (See "Everlasting" and "Fire" in this volume.) Fire is an emblem of purification, and consumes to purify. "Eternal," from aeon, an age, denotes indefinite duration, the extent to be determined by the subject treated. An eternal fire is one that burns, longer or shorter, until it accomplishes the purpose for which it was kindled. [Hansons "Aion-Aionios" and "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Eternal Judgment. -- (See "Judgment," "Day of Judgment.") Literally aionian judgment, or the judgment pertaining to the age ; that is, the Christian dispensation (Heb. 6:2). Its duration is not intimated in the words erroneously rendered eternal judgment. [Hansons "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Eternal Life, Everlasting Life. -- (See "Immortal Life.") this phrase does not mean endless existence of immortal blessedness in heaven. It denotes that condition of the soul that results from duties well performed and days well spent." (John 3:36, 6:47, 54) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." It is present blessing, regardless of its duration. (John 17:3) "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou. hast sent." It is not heaven hereafter, but the reward of goodness in this life. It may be possessed and forfeited. (Heb. 6:4) "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;" that is, not literally impossible, but difficult, for " all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27; Matt. 19:26). But the life in question may be had and lost ; and, therefore, the words do not signify endless existence. Jesus does not say, "He that believes in this world shall have endless happiness in heaven," but "shall have aionian life " here ; that is, the life of his gospel and reign. Its durable character, and not its mere duration is meant. The souls eternal happiness is described in the New Testament in other terms. [Hansons "Aion--Aionios."]
Evangelical. -- (See "Gospel") The Greek euggelion, good news, is the root and parent of this word. An evangelical Christian, therefore, is one who proclaims an evangel, glad tidings; and the more cheerful and joy-inspiring the form of faith, the better it is entitled to be called evangelical. A greater misnomer can scarcely he imagined than to style a system of religion that is full of gloom and horror evangelical. Only good tidings can be entitled to this description; and Universalists not only consider themselves strictly evangelical, but the most evangelical of Christians.
The word is derived from eu, good, and aggelion, news or message. Gospel is the Saxon rendering. Those who proclaim the best tidings, the most joyful news, are best entitled to the name.
Everlasting. -- (See "Everlasting Punishment," "Eternal Life," "End of the World," etc.) The words "everlasting," " eternal," " forever," and all the derivatives and reduplications of the word describing duration have the same meaning. They are translations of aion and aionios, which have the force of indefinite duration, to be determined by the subject with which they are associated. Aion means age, aionios age-lasting. The adjective cannot mean more than the noun. As "long" is to length, or "beautiful" to beauty, so is aionios to aion. The noun signifies limited, indefinite duration ; and the adjective, of itself, can mean no more. This is the usage in sacred and profane literature, in the Bible, and out of it. Sometimes, however, the word may have a figurative meaning, derived from the subject with which it is associated, from which it obtains a meaning it does not intrinsically possess. As the word "great," applied to fly, horse, and mountain, signifies different degrees of size, and all finite; but infinite when we say "the great God:" so " everlasting," "eternal," when applied to the priesthood of Aaron, the hills, and other temporal subjects, signify limited duration; but when applied to God acquire from that connection a meaning not in the words. The eternal God denotes the existence of Deity without beginning of days or end of years; not because "eternal," but because the word God possesses that meaning. This is found in the classic Greek, where the noun and time adjective are uniformly used in the sense of limited duration; and the same usage prevails throughout the Bible. Canaan was an everlasting possession (Gen. 17:8, xlviii. 4) the hills are everlasting (Gen. xlix. 26), the priesthood of Aaron was everlasting (Num. 25:13), the Jewish law was everlasting Lev. 16:34), the everlasting hills did bow (Rev. Ver., Hab. 3:6). Gehazi's leprosy (2 Kings 5:27), the servitude of bondmen ( Deut. 15:17; Lev. 25:46), Abraham's possession of his land (Gen. 13:15), the existence of Jerusalem (Jer. 17:25, xxxi. 40; Ps. xlviii. 8), Jonahs stay in the fish (Jon 2:6), Idumeas desolation (Isa. xxxiv. 10), and the Jews possession of Canaan (Jer. 7:7) were all to be everlasting, eternal. And yet, the Jews have lost their possession, the priesthood of Aaron has ceased, the Mosaic system has been abrogated, the house of David no longer possesses the throne, the Jewish temple is destroyed, Jerusalem has lost its eternal glory, the servants are freed from a bondage that was to last forever, Gehazis leprosy is cured, the smoke of Idumea no longer rises, the tooth of time will one day gnaw the last hill and mountain to dust, Jonah's everlasting imprisonment in the fish lasted but three days. These and other everlasting and eternal things have ended or will end, so that the usage of the word proves that its meaning is limited duration. When God is called eternal, everlasting, it carries time sense of unlimited duration, not because the adjective contains that meaning, but because the noun imparts it. In the New Testament the meaning is the same. The gospel is "everlasting" (Rev. 14:6); and yet the good news will one day no longer be news, when faith shall become fruition. Christ's kingdom is an "everlasting" one, will endure "forever," etc. (Heb. 6:20; 2 Pet. 1:11; Heb. vii.17, 21; Rev. 11:15, etc.); and yet the kingdom of Christ, of heaven, will cease when it "shall be delivered up to God the Father, and God becomes all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24, 25). The accurate definition of the word in all its forms is undoubtedly given by MacKnight, Scotch Presbyterian :"
These words being ambiguous, are always to be understood according to the nature and circumstances to which they are applied. The use of these terms, 'forever,' 'everlasting,' and 'eternal,' shows that they who understand these words in a limited sense, when applied to punishment, put no forced interpretation upon them." Schleusner says, "Duration determined by the subject to which it is applied." Professor Blackie: "It does not require any very profound scholarship to know that time word aionios does not signify eternity absolutely and metaphysically, but only popularly as when we say that a man is an eternal fool, meaning by that he is a very great fool." Canon Farrar: "There is no authority whatever for rendering it (aionios) everlasting." Charles Kingsley: "The word never is used in Scripture anywhere in the sense of endlessness. It always meant, in Scripture and out of it, a period of time." The meaning of time word in all its forms is indefinite duration. When connected with punishment, it means longer or shorter, but always limited duration. When the nature of punishment and the goodness of God are considered, it would be more absurd to consider punishment endless because called everlasting, than to say that "long" applied to a river, or "great" applied to a fly, means infinite. [Hansons "Aion-Ainoios," where this word is "exhaustively" treated, according to the language of Canon Farrar, in "Mercy and Judgment."]
Everlasting Destruction. -- (See "Loss," "Perdition.") This language is equivalent to great desolation, vastation. The word rendered destruction (olethros) occurs in but four places in the New Testament: 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Thess. 1:9; 1 Tim. 6:1. The passage in 1 Cor. 5:5 explains the word : "Deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." The purpose of the destruction was beneficent,-- the salvation of the soul. See "Everlasting."
The word is sometimes rendered from apolia, which is also translated "waste:" (Mark 14:4) "Why was this waste of the ointment?" also "perdition," (John 17:12) son of perdition; " also "perish," (Acts 8:20) ''Thy money perish with thee." When rendered destruction, as in Rom. 9:22, it denotes the same as olethros. This word is also rendered "die" (Acts 25:16), and "damnable" (2 Pet. 2:1), also "pernicious" (2 Pet. 2:2). It is found in the New Testament twenty times.
The word destruction is rendered twice from kathairesis (2 Cor. 10:8 and 13:10), and once (Rom. 3:16) from sumtrimma. The word never means unending suffering, it is synonymous with waste, loss, perish, etc. ["Universalist Book of Reference" Hansons "Aion--Aionios" and "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Everlasting Punishment. --(See "Everlasting" and "Punishment"), in which it is shown that the word "everlasting" denotes limited duration and punishment, remedial suffering. The phrase only occurs twice in the Bible: Dan. 12:2 and Matt. 25:46. In the former passage, it is expressly applied to the temporal affairs of Jerusalem. All forms of the word rendered everlasting are applied to the punishment of the wicked in the New Testament only fourteen times, in thirteen passages, on ten occasions: Matt. xii.32; Mark iii.29; 2 Pet. ii.17; Jude 13; Rev. 14:11, xix.3, 20:10; Matt. 18:8,xxv.41, 46; 2 Thess. 1:9; Jude 7; Heb. 6:2. If these passages had all been correctly translated, their meaning would be apparent. We should then read, "It shall not be forgiven in that aion, or that to come;" "in danger of aionian sin;" "blackness of darkness for an aion;" "aionian fire;" "the smoke of their torment ascends for aions of aions," or ages of ages; "her smoke ascends for aions of aions;" "tormented day and night aions of aions;" "the judgment of the aions;" "the penalty of aionian fire;" "aionian destruction;" "aionian fire;" "aionian chastisement." The meaning is, the fire, the judgment, the chastisement, etc., of the "aion" age, or dispensation referred to in the context. Aionian punishment or life terminates with the aion or age of which it is a part, and all aionian things will be followed by the indissoluble life ((akatalutos zoe), Heb. 7:16, that God may be all in all. [Hansons " Aion-Aionios."] NOTE. --The Revised Version omits eis aiona, rendered "forever," in 2 Pet. 2:17.
Evil.--(See "Sin.") Evil is relative, not absolute; limited, not endless; finite, not infinite. If man is its author, it must be limited; as an effect cannot transcend its cause: and if God is its author, it cannot be absolute; as there can be nothing in an effect not contained in its cause: and as God is infinitely good, he cannot be the author of infinite evil. Evil is like the staging of a building,-- essential to the progress of the edifice, but having no part in the completed work. It is necessary to imperfection. It is an accompaniment of development, progress. It is the shadow of good. It is not real, but only apparent, and will finally be "overcome of good" when "infinite perfection shall close the scene." [Thayer's "Theology of Universalism."]
Expiation. -- (See "Propitiation.") It signifies atonement, reconciliation.
Faith is composed of belief and confidence. It is trust in what reason has rendered probable. Christian faith is trust in the teachings of Christ. Salvation by faith is the happiness acquired by belief in future blessings. Faith creates no future reality; it reveals the future, and enables the believer to rejoice in its reflected light, it discounts the future. it brings blessings to come, near. Belief in Christ or his atonement, in this life, does not purchase salvation in the immortal world; but it renders the believer happy, because he perceives the future. "God is the Savior of all men," absolutely, but "especially of those that believe," because the latter anticipate that of which others remain ignorant (Heb. 11:1, 2, 8, 9).
Fall of Man. -- (See Human Nature.") The account of the origin of sin in the human family, recorded in Genesis, does not teach any for of fall. The record is an allegory, teaching that the moral sense in man was gradually developed, and that the act of transgression caused a rise rather than a fall. Before transgression man did not possess even natural modesty (Gen. 3:7); and after his sin it is related that he had ascended: (Gen. 3:22) "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" He began in Eden that career of progressive development that will carry him from a condition of characterless innocence to holiness. He has steadily gained from his beginning till now, and will go on forever. "Today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today." As an individual he often falls, but always to rise again, under the tuition of his infinite Teacher and Father. [Manley's "Commentary on the Old Testament."]
Fatherhood of God. -- The divine paternity, universal and inalienable, is the central truth of the Christian religion. God created all men in his own image, originally (Gen. 1:26, 27) and so far from having lost that image by the so-called "fall," man was still made in the same similitude eighteen centuries ago (James 3:9). He is called the child of the devil, of darkness, of sin, of light, when he resembles the qualities for which he is thus styled, but he remains Gods child. His heredity is from God. When he realizes his relationship he becomes characteristically, in a new sense, the child of God by adoption; but he is no more the object of the divine affection and solicitude than before. He ignores his sonship and disregards the duties it involves when he is prodigal and sinful, but he does not destroy the relationship. In the deepest degradation be can still say "My Father" and the Parent sees him in the unalterable relation to himself in which be created him, and calls to him, "My son, give me thy heart." (See Luke 15:11--32.) This call will be eternally heard, in all the vicissitudes of human existence and the duties and relations on which that call rests will exist until the family becomes holy and happy. God is the Father of every human spirit; he will always remain the Parent of each and all; he will forever exercise all the qualities that relationship implies; and the love displayed in Gods dealings with his family will finally win a corresponding love, resulting in universal obedience. An Ohio Baptist journal (April 6, 1881), the "Journal and Messenger," truthfully said: "If God is the Father of all men, Universalism can sustain itself against the world. . . . Beyond a peradventure every soul will finally be saved." God is a universal Father, and that fact is the guaranty and warranty of universal salvation. [Adams's "Fatherhood of God;" Hanson's "Prayer of Prayers."]
Fear. -- A proper incentive but a low motive to action. Often it means reverence instead of slavish terror (Prov. 8:13). Perfect love in the heart leaves no place for the "fear that hath torment." "He that fears," that is, is afraid, "is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:16-18).
Fire. -- (See "Consuming Fire.") An emblem of divine judgment. It destroys what is hurtful or useless, but purifies all that is of value. Origen first argued that fire is purifying (katharsin). The word is used in Scripture in both a literal and a figurative sense. The fire in Zion (Isa. 31:9) denotes figuratively the awfulness of the tribulation experienced by the JEws (Ezek. 22:18-22), but the "fire and brimstone" of Sodom is a literal use of the word. There are other uses; as, truth is meant, in Jer. 23:29; God's all-prevailing love, Heb. 12:29; the power of kindness to consume enmity; and the purifying effect of sufferings, -- "to salt with fire" (Mark 9:49). [Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Fire and Brimstone. --(See "Fire," "Consuming Fire.") In the Old Testament, fire and brimstone is always an emblem of earthly judgments. (Job 18:15) "Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation." (Ps. 11:6) "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest." (Isa. 34:9-10) "And the streams thereof (Idumea) shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch." In Revelation the coming woes of Jerusalem are described (19:20) under the same emblems. It was shortly to experience these calamities. (See Isa. 34) It is to be during "day and night," "on earth," etc. It never relates to after death judgments, but always to occurrences on earth. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Fire, Consuming. -- The apostle (Heb. 12:29) speaks of God as a "consuming fire." By this he means that his nature, love, will destroy whatever is hostile to it, -- sin, eveil, error, all that is adverse to the welfare of his children. One view of the Divine anger represents it as not only hostile to the welfare of its object, but as raging impotently. If so, it cannot be called "a consuming fire," for it consumes nothing. It does not consume sin, but perpetuates it, that it may torment its victim. It does not consume the sinner, but keeps him alive, that it may torment him forever; "burning continually, yet unconsumed." It consumes nothing. But as "God is Love" (1 John 4:8) and "a consuming fire," it follows that sin, error, suffering, all that is its fuel will be destroyed by it, and the souls of men, forever precious in God's sight, will be purified and saved "so as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:15). ["Unspoken Sermons," by George MacDonald, and Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Fire, Lake of. -- An emblem of severe calamity, judgment, discipline (Rev. 21:8), sometimes destruction (Rev. 20:13-14). This is the firest instance of its use in the New Testament. It originated in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24). The destruction of Jerusalem (see Isa. 34:10) is referred to by the "lake of fire." [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Forever and Ever, etc. -- (See "Everlasting" and "Eternal.") This phrase is rendered from the Greek aion, meaning aeon (eon), or age; plural ages or aeons, and ages of ages or aeons of aeons. Eternal duration is not expressed or implied in any form of the word. All the lexicons agree that aion means age; and, therefore, all forms of the word must signify limited duration, inasmuch as no number of periods of limited duration can make eternity. Charles Kingsley says: "It always meant, both in Scripture and out, a period of time; else how could it have a plural? How could you talk of the aeons, and aeons of aeons, as the Scripture does:" Uniform classic usage agrees with the Bible, in giving the word the meaning of finite duration. The feast of unleavened bread was to be observed forever; and the word is applied to the host of heaven, to a writing, to the smoke of Idumea, to the time the Jews were to dwell in Judea, to the duration of man's earthly existence, to the stones set up as a memorial in Jordan, -- and yet all these have ended or shall end. Dr. Beecher says, To give the words the meaning of endless duration "fills the Old Testament with contradictions, for it would make it declare the absolute eternity of systems which it often and emphatically declares to be temporary." Take the literal of Ex. 15:18, "The Lord shall reign from aeon to aeon, and beyond all the aeons." Call aion eternity, and we make the Bible talk nonsense; but give the correct word aeon, or age, and all is consistent. So Daniel 2:4, "Through the aeons and beyond them all." Read ages and the sense is perfect; but substitute eternities, and we pervert the Scripture. Jonah was in hell forever (2:6), he declared, after he had been in the fish three days. It is just as accurate to say that he was there for a literal eternity, as to say that eternal duration is meant in Rev. 20:10, "the smoke ascends forever and ever," literally ages of ages. All forms of the language denote an age or ages, long but limited duration. That this is correct is shown by the Greek fathers, who were Universalists. Origen frequently described future punishment as aeonian, but he taught universal salvation beyond it. Universalists believe in the literal rendering of the terms translated forever, etc.; but teach that they never of themselves mean endless duration [Hanson's "Aion - Aionios."]
Forgiveness. -- Punishment, adequate and just, being absolutely certain, is never forgiven. Forgiveness relates to sin, transgression, never to punishment. Jesus was announced as one who should "save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21), not from punishment. After the just consequences of sin have been experienced, always equally just and merciful, pardon restores the sinner to the moral status he occupied previous to sinning. "Thou was a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions" (Ps. 99:8). "Her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins" (Isa. 40:2). The Christian prays, "Forgive us our debts" (Matt. 6:12), that is, transgressions; never "Forgive the punishment merited." God forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin, but by no means clears the guilty (Ex. 34:7). ["Latest Word of Universalism."]
Furnace of Fire. -- (See "Fire," "Eternal Fire," "Gehenna") This phrase is often used in the Bible. It had been the custom in the Old Testament to call God's judgment a "furnace of fire." In Isa. 31:9, "Whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." Isa. 48:10, "The furnace of affliction." In Deut. 4:20 and 1 Kings 8:51, Egypt is called an "iron furnace." So in Ezek. 22:18-21, the house of Israel is called "brass, tin, iron, lead," to be melted in God's fiery furnace." Our Lord had this usage in mind; and Gehenna fire, etc., is used by him to denote the approaching judgments on Judea and Jerusalem. (Matt. 13:50) "Shall cast thee into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." This was literally fulfilled at his second coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, when the nation was overwhelmed. Wherever this language is found in the New Testament, it refers to the woes coming on our Lord's country and race. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained;" "Universalist Book of Reference;" and Paige's "Commentary."]
Future Life. -- (See "Resurrection.") The life of man is continuous. It is not even interrupted by the grace, or what we call "death." Death is simply sloughing the material body; and when the immortal part has divorced its material companion, the spirit continues its career, minus "the law of the members." Some Universalists hold that the future life will not be affected by past conduct; others teach that there will be positive punishment (See "Future Punishment"): but the prevailing view is that the consequences of the life on earth will, more or less, affect the beginnings of the life immortal; that the soul will begin the future in that condition, and with that character, with which it leaves earth. Some teach that there will be post-mortem sin and punishment; but the prevalent view is, that while the consequences of the earth-life will decide the beginning of the future life, there will be no sin, and only such punishment as results from the absence of development consequent on sin while on earth. "Death is but a step in man's progressive life."
Gehenna. -- (See "Hell") This is a
well know locality on the south of Jerusalem, where the Jews once worshipped the
idol Moloch. Children were roasted there as sacrifices (Josh. 15:8, 18:16; 2
Kings 23:10). So say Campbell, Schleusner, Stuart, Parkhurst, etc. The word
should not be translated hell, but should stand as Gehenna. It should no more be
rendered hell than should Babylon. In process of time this valley became the
receptacle of the filth and sewage of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31-32,
19:2, 6). Into this place bodies of criminals were thrown without burial; and it
became a place of horror to the Jews, who have great regard for their places of
sepulture. At length it became an emblem of sorrow, sin, calamity; and in the
twelve times the word is found in the New Testament, it denotes either first,
the literal place; or, secondly, those calamities of which it is a fit emblem,
-- but always of temporal duration. It is found only twelve times, used on eight
occasions, and always to Jews. Only Jesus and James employ it. Paul, who
:shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God," never warned the Gentiles
against it, in the thirty years of his ministry. Jesus never addressed it to
unbelievers but once, and then explained it as about to come in this life (Matt.
23:33). It is used to signify: --
I. Shameful death, severe punishment in this life (Schleusner, Farrar, etc.).
II. Literal fire in this world (Mark 9:43, 48).
III. The literal destruction of the bodies of men (MAtt. 5:22, 28:9).
IV. Clement, one of the earliest of the Christian fathers, uses it to describe his ideas of punishment, and yet he was a Universalist; which demonstrates that, in the early days of the church, the word did not signify a place of endless torment.
It means either a literal place of destruction, or it is an emblem of moral, civil, or spiritual calamities; but always in this life. It stands as Gehenna in the French Bible, Wakefield's translation, Improved Version, etc.
Farrar says (Preface "Eternal Hope"): "In the Old Testament it is merely the pleasant valley of Hinnom (Ge Hinnom), subsequently desecrated and defiled by Josiah; on this account used, according to the Jewish tradition, as the common sewarage of the city. The corpses of the worst criminals were flung into it unburied, and fires were lit to purify the contaminated air. It then became a word which secondarily implied (1) the severest judgment which a judge could pass upon a criminal, the casting forth of his unburied corpse amid the fires and worms of this polluted valley; and (2) a punishment, which to the Jews as a body never meant an endless punishment beyond the grave. Hell must be a complete mistranslation, since it attributes to the term used by Christ a sense entirely different from the sense in which it was used by our Lord's hearers, and, therefore, entirely different from the sense in which he could have used it."
Origen says (c. Celsus, 6:25) that Gehenna denotes (1) the Vale of Hinnom and (2) a purificatory fire (eis ten meta basanon katharsin)
The Jewish authorities say (Mishna), "the judgment of Gehenna is for twelve months." (Asarath Maamaroth) "There will hereafter be no Gehenna." (Emech Hammelech) "The wicked stay in Gehenna till the resurrection, and then the Messiah, passing through it, redeems them."
Whatever Gehenna means or does not mean, endless punishment is a doctrine that derives no support from the use of Gehenna in the Bible. [Hanson's "Bible Hell;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
General Judgment. -- (See "Day of Judgment," "Judgment.") The general "judgment" or "day of judgment" is (1) now (John 12:31; Isa. 43, 34; Jer. 9; Ps. 7; Zeph. 3.), in the present life, to continue into the next, during the Gospel Day, or the mediatorial reign of Christ. (2) It is a disciplinary proceeding; that is, its awards are reformatory, and so it is an occasion of joy to all who perceive its real character (Ps. 98). (3) It ends in the conversion and salvation of all who shall be subject to it. When the Son, who is the Judge, shall deliver up to the Father the work confided to him, God shall be all in all (1 Cor. 15). ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Gnashing of Teeth. -- (See Hell Fire.") A figure of speech denoting the vexation of the Jews when they should find themselves outside the kingdom of heaven, into which the Gentiles had entered before them. It relates to this world. [Hanson's "Bible Hell;" "Bible Threatenings Explained;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
God. -- The word by which Deity is named denotes a
personal being infinite in all his attributes, -- wisdom, power, mercy, justice,
goodness, holiness, etc., -- self0existent and eternal, without beginning of
days or end of years, the Creator of life and all things; omnipresent, and
therefore immanent in all beings and in all things. He governs all things and
all beings. Moral beings he governs by motives; while he is always employing his
attributes in the work of bringing them into harmony with himself, he respects
the finite will, and does not compel obedience. He has ordained a perfect moral
universe, and has instituted the requisite means, and his perfect attributes
guarantee the result. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinitely good, and
holy, universal holiness alone can satisfy him, and he will tolerate no other
result. The language of all moral beings should be: --
"From the, great God, we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, motive, guide, original, and end."
[Austin on the "Attributes;" Thayer's "Theology;" and Williamson's "Exposition and Defense."]
Gospel. -- (See "Evangelical.") This word is a modern form of the ancient Anglo-Saxon "God- spel," or "good spell," the latter word meaning sentence. Good and God were anciently synonymous. Literally the word means good news or glad tidings. The original Greek is eu, good, and aggelion, tidings. The word gospel cannot stand for anything but good news. (Luke 2:10) "A great joy to all people." Only that form of Christianity can be called evangelical which brings cheerful tidings; and the more joyful any presentation of Christianity is, the better is it entitled to be called evangelical. Universalists claim to be evangelical in the full and literal sense of the word.
Great Gulf. -- (See "Hell;" "Richman and Lazarus;" "Hades.") The chasm between the "rich man and Lazarus" was "fixed;" but two considerations show that it was to be of temporary duration. (1) "Every valley shall be exalted;" and (2) Hell (Hades), in which the great gulf is located, is itself to be emptied and then destroyed. (Rev. 20:13-14.) "Death and hell gave up the dead that were in them, and were cast into the lake of fire;" that is, destroyed. The great gulf is the chasm of separation between the Jews and Gentiles, which will disappear when "the fullness of the Gentiles comes in" and "all Israel is saved" (Rom. 11:11, 25, 27). But wherever it is, it must cease to be when the place containing it, Hades, is destroyed. [Hanson's "Bible Hell."]
Hades. -- (Hebrew Sheol). (See "Hell," "Rich Man and Lazarus.") These words occur sixty-four times in the Old Testament, Established version; and is rendered hell thirty-two times, grave twenty-nine times, and pit three times. The Revised Version properly retains Hades in the New Testament, and never renders it hell. [Hanson's "Bible Hell;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Hades occurs 11 times in the Greek Testament, and is improperly translated in the common version 10 times by the word hell. It is the word used in the Septuagint as a translation of the Hebrew word sheol, denoting the abode or world of the dead, and means literally that which is in darkness, hidden, invisible, or obscure. As the word hades did not come to the Hebrews from any classical source, or with any classical meaning, but through the Septuagint, as a translation of their own word sheol, therefore in order to properly define its meaning recourse must be had to the various passages where it is found. The Hebrew word sheol is translated by hades in the Septuagint, 60 times out of 63; and though sheol in many places (such as Gen. 35:35; 13:38; 1 Sam. 2:7; 1 Kings 2:6; Job 14:13; 17:13, 16, etc.) may signify kebor, the grave, as the common receptacle of the dead, yet it has the more general meaning of death; a state of death; the dominion of death. To translate hades by the word hell, as it is done ten times out of eleven in the New Testament, is very improper, unless it has the Saxon meaning of helan, to cover, attached to it. The primitive signification of hell only denoting what was secret or concealed, perfectly corresponds with the Greek term hades and its Hebrew equivalent sheol, but the theological definition to it at the present day by no means expresses it. [Emphatic Diaglott, Appendix] (see also Gehenna)
Heaven. -- Literally, the sky; but usually a state or place of happiness and holiness. The kingdom of heaven is a condition of purity. The most common use of the word is the state or place of the blessed beyond the grave. [Weaver's "Heaven."]
Hell -- See "Gehenna," "Hades," "Sheol," "Tartarus.") Hell is a translation of the Hebrew Sheol in the Old Testament, and the Greek words Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus in the New Testament. The original words sometimes denote the state of the dead, sometimes a literal locality near Jerusalem (Gehenna), and sometimes the consequences of sin; but always in this world. They never have reference to a condition of suffering beyond the grave. The word hell has become so polarized with error, that it should not stand in the Bible. The Revised Version has banished it from one half of the places in which it is found in the Bible; and in all the passages containing it, Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, or Tartarus should be substituted. [Hanson's "Bible Hell."]
Hell, brought down to. -- Great humiliation in this world. Kapharnaum had never been literally "exalted to heaven," but it had enjoyed great material prosperity in this world. To "be brought down to hell" (Hades) means a corresponding adversity. Only in this world could a city be brought down to hell (see "Hell"). Dr. A. Clarke says: "The word here means a state of the utmost woe and ruin and desolation, to which these impenitent cities should be reduced; for in the wars between the Romans and the Jews, these cities were totally destroyed, so that no traces are now found of Bethsaida, Chorazin, or Capernaum." So Babylon (Isa. 14) was brought down to hell (Sheol, Hades), denoting its overthrow. (See "Day of Judgment") [Hanson's "Bible Hell;" "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Hell, Child of. -- "The child of hell" (see "Hell") is one whose character is vile. Gehenna was a ravine into which was cast the rubbish, offal, and sewage of Jerusalem; and fires were kept burning there to prevent the accumulations from infecting the atmosphere. As the purpose of collecting the offal was to destroy it, and as the fires were for the purpose of purification, the thought of the sinner's improvement is not lost sight of even when he is called a "child of Gehenna" to indicate that his wicked heart resembles the smoking valley and its impurities. [Hanson's "Bible Hell;"]
Hell Fire. -- This phrase denotes the fire of Gehenna, the literal flame of the valley near Jerusalem, in which constant fires were kept burning to consume the offal and refuse of the city, into which criminals were cast, and which received the bodies of those who were slain when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies, as prophesied by our Lord, in Matt. 24, 25. It has no reference to punishment after death; or, indeed punishment anywhere else than in and near Jerusalem in the first century of the Christian era. The Revised Version places "Gehenna of fire" in the margin, to indicate the real meaning of "hell fire." [Hanson's "Bible Hell;"]
Holiness. -- This term not only denotes absence of sin, but positive, active goodness. Adam was innocent only, not holy. What an unstained sheet of paper is to a page containing the Lord's Prayer, innocence is to holiness. A babe is innocent; Christ was holy. All men are innocent at birth; all will be holy when all shall voluntarily have discarded sin and become obedient to God.
Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost. -- The Spirit of God; not a personality, but sometimes a personification. Not a part of a tri-personal Trinity, but a manifestation of the Father. "Holy Ghost" is an unfortunate, inaccurate, and unwarrantable phrase. The Holy Spirit is the influence of the Father, always present and always active, that will always continue to work with human spirits until it shall have recreated all in the Divine likeness. Sometimes in the New Testament the definite article is not found before "Holy Spirit;" in such instances the meaning is "a divine spirit." Personality is not meant when a personification is employed. The term generally denotes a divine influence from God.
Human Nature. -- (See "Nature of Children," "Infants.") The nature of man, human nature, is intrinsically pure. The only specimens we see are new-born children. The only perfect specimen earth ahs ever know, lived out through maturity, was "the man Christ Jesus," who was "tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin;" because he preserved unstained that nature which he, in common with all men, inherited. Such language as "poor human nature" has no warrant. Men may acquire sinful, corrupt characters, they cannot possess a sinful nature. Human nature is pure, sinless.
Immortal Life. -- (See "Immortality.") The soul's happy, immortal existence is stated in the Bible in unequivocal terms, by words that are not found connected with any thing that will end. (Heb. 7:16) "An imperishable (akatalutos) life." (1 Pet. 1:4) "An incorruptible (aphlharton) and unfading (amaranton) inheritance." God is immortal (aphtharto) (Rom 1:23; 1 Cor. 9:25). Man is immortal, incorruptible (aphtharsian, athanasian) (Rom 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:42, 50; 2 Tim. 1:10). (1 Tim. 6:16) "Who (God) only hath immortality." Now all these words were in common use when our Lord spoke; but they never connected them with anything of a terminable duration. These words, and not the variable and equivocal terms rendered everlasting, eternal, etc., describe the soul's duration and happiness beyond the grave. [Hanson's "Aion - Aionios."]
Immortality. -- (See "Immortal Life.") God only possesses immortality, but he has conferred it upon human beings. And the various terms in the New Testament that define man's endless existence not only carry the idea of interminable duration, but also of purity, incorruption. [Hanson's "Aion - Aionios."]
Imputation. -- (See "Righteous.") There is no foundation in Scripture or reason for the doctrine of "imputed righteousness;" that one can clothe himself with the righteousness of Christ, and wear it as an armor to defend himself form the wrath of God, or to enable him to possess a character he has not acquired by his own Heaven-aided efforts. Righteousness and character are synonymous terms.
Infants. -- See "Human Nature."
Inspiration. -- (See "Miracles," "Supernatural.") The doctrine of plenary inspiration, that God dictated the exact statements contained in the Bible, is rejected by Universalists. But with inconsiderable exceptions they believe that in a miraculous, supernatural manner God illuminated the minds of the prophet, seer, apostle, and, more than all others, of Jesus Christ; communicating truths to them in an especial manner. The doctrines they inculcate were revealed to them by the holy spirit of God. They did not obtain them by a process of thinking. The golden rule was not thought out as Euclid worked a problem, or Shakespeare a drama. It was supernaturally revealed to Jesus. Inspiration means supernatural light and guidance. The Scriptures are inspired, because they contain a revelation from God concerning duty and destiny, relating to God and man; and, therefore, they are beyond all other books authority in religious faith and practice. (Job 32:8) "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding." (2 Tim. 3:16) "All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine." [Atwood's "revelation;" Lee's "Birth from Above."]
Intercession -- In Romans 8:26, Paul represents the Spirit as "making intercession for us." It is here meant that as, moved by the Holy Spirit, men pray, it is the Spirit that intercedes, just as (Phil. 2:12-13) it is God that "works in us to will and to do," while we "work out our own salvation." The thought that God needs any one to intercede with him on man's behalf is repugnant to the Christian view of his character.
Intermediate State. -- This is a fiction of theology.
There is no intermediate state. Death is a natural step in the progressive life
of man. The soul has no period of unconsciousness, but passes from this life to
the next; is born into the immortal state out of its mortal conditions, just as
it enters this life from its antenatal state. "Purgatory," or a period of
unconsciousness between death and the resurrection, are theories for which there
is no foundation. At one time there was a small number of Universalists who
held, with the Rev. Walter Balfour, that mankind died into utter unconsciousness
with the disolution of the body and were resuscitated at the resurrection. But
Universalists now are agreed that there is no intermediate state, but that death
"Only a step
Out of a tent already luminous
With light that shines through its transparent walls."
Jesus. -- (See "Christ," "Savior.") Matt. 1:21; Acts 5:31; John 4:42.
Judgment. -- (See "Eternal Judgment," "Judgment of Hell," "Judgment to Come," "Judgment Day," etc..) The word "judgment" in the New Testament stands for the awards of conduct administered by Christ, who says (John 9:39), "For judgment am I come into this world;" that is, that his religion would manifest the real characters of men, and establish the principles by which rewards and punishments would be administered. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Judgment of Hell. -- (See "Hell," "Judgment.") Matt. 23:33. This imprecation refers to the doom prophesied in Jer. 19 and Isa. 64:24. It was to come on that generation. [Hanson's "Bible Hell."]
Judgment to Come. -- (See "Judgment.") This phraseology in the New Testament usually, if not always, means the consequences of wrong-doing very soon to occur, and always in this world, never in the future life. In Acts 24:25, when Paul "reasoned of judgment to come," the Greek word mello (about to be) is left untranslated in King James's Version. The judgment was soon to befall the royal governor, and it did soon descend upon him iu this world. The New Testament never describes the judgment to come as beyond the grave. [Hanson's "New Covenant."]
Justice. -- This attribute in God seeks to accomplish, what is just. It has no vindictiveness, but is ever active to establish what is right and to destroy whatever is wrong. It takes into account all relations and bearings, and acts with reference to the needs and interests of all concerned. A just law is one whose penalties will promote the fulfilment of the law. A just penalty is one that aids the law. The just law of God demands universal obedience. Endless punishment of one person would defeat the purpose of the law, and therefore would not be a just penalty. In fact, justice and mercy are harmonious. (Ps. 62:12) "Also unto thee, 0 Lord, belongeth mercy; for thou renderest to every man according to his work." Thus it is declared that the law is merciful because it is just. Justice is, therefore, not a blood-thirsty attribute demanding revenge, but a desire for the prevalence of justice, right. A just man is a kind, merciful, upright one. A just God is a being who is employed in accomplishing the prevalence of universal right and justice. The fact that God is just is a guaranty that he will adapt the penalties of sin and all human experiences to promote his purpose of universal good. Justice in God and man is the synonym of goodness. [Thayer's "Theology of Universalism."]
Kingdom of Heaven, of God, of Christ, is never the perfect state after death; it is the reign of Christian principles, the prevalence of Christianity in the human heart and in the world. This will be seen when its description in the New Testament is recalled. It is a net that gathers good and bad fish (Matt. 13:47); it is composed of foolish as well and wise virgins (Matt. 25:1); it is ground that yields tares as well as good plants (Matt. 13:25); it is to end by being surrendered to God by its ruler, Christ (1 Cor. 15:24). Heaven contains nothing impure or imperfect, and it will never end; but "the kingdom of heaven," "the kingdom of God," is imperfect and of temporal duration. It is therefore in this world. [Weaver's "Heaven."]
Last Day. -- refers to the resurrection day, when it was supposed the dead would rise. Martha says (John 11:24), "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." The words also occur in John 6:39, 40, 44, 54.
Last Days. -- (2 Tim. 3:1.) The end of the Jewish Church.
Last Judgment -- See "Judgment," "Day of Judgment."
Latter Times. -- (1 Tim. 4:1.) Dr. Clarke says, "any times consequent to those in which the church then lived."
Law, God's. -- God's law, to which all human beings are amenable, is the same as that announced to Adam. (Gen. 2:17) "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die." It is a law that every one can understand and comprehend, for it, demonstrates its nature and character in its rewards and penalties. Paul describes the punishment of disobedience as "a darkened understanding and alienation from God" (Eph. 4:18), and " death in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Jesus gives a portrait of the sinner in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), and so does Moses (Deut. 30:15-19). The first transgressor fully experienced it (Gen. 3:17-19), as did Cain, the antediluvians, the diluvians, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. Paul declares that in the olden time "every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward" (Heb. 2:2). This is true of all in every age. Punishment inevitably follows every transgression, and reward accompanies each worthy action; and reward and punishment continue until their purpose is effected. "God's law is perfect, converting the soul" (Ps. 19:7). In no instance, therefore, can punishment be without end; but it will continue, here and hereafter, until its purpose is effected in the purification of all souls.
Life. -- Physical existence, but also, real living, resulting from devotedness to one's highest interests. The apostle says (Rom. 8:6), "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." see Matt. 10:39, 16:25.
Lose his Soul. -- (See "Destroy Soul and Body in Hell," "Perdition," "Loss, Lost, etc.") This language should be "lose his life." The Revised Version so concedes. Dr. Adam Clarke says: "On what authority many have translated the word psuche (Matt. 16:24-26) in the 25th vers 'life' and in this verse 'soul,' I know not, but am certain it means life in both places. If a man should gain the whole world - its riches, honors, and pleasures - and lose his life, what would all these profit him, seeing they can only be enjoyed during life?" [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Loss, Lost, etc. -- A state of sinfulness. The prodigal was lost (see "Perdition"), but he was found. The piece of silver, the sheep were lost, but they were found; and the parables state that the loss only continued "until" the lost objects were found. All loss is temporary, never final, and is to be followed by restoration. (See Luke 15.) Judas was "lost" out of the apostleship, while the eleven were "kept." The words "lost," "lose," etc., are from apollumi, which is also translated "destroy," "perish," "marred." (Matt. 8:25) "Lord, save us, we perish." (Matt. 10:6) "The lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mark 8:35) "Whoever will save his life shall lose it." (Matt. 18:11) "The Son of man is come to save that which was lost." The word contains no reference to "final loss." (See "Lose his Soul.") [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Love. The real divine essence, the harmonious combination of all the attributes of God. Each trait of God's character is one angle. Love is the infinite crystal. Nothing God does or is, is contrary to perfect love. The penalties to sin he ordains ; the punishments he inflicts; the experiences he allows his creatures to undergo; everything that occurs in time and eternity, all are conceived and executed, begun and ended in love, and will accomplish results of good to all. Justice, wisdom, mercy, truth, power, all are parts of this "central sun of all God's glories joined in one." "God is love" is the gospel's epitome, its alpha and omega, its beginning and end. Human character approaches perfection as it resembles the divine love. He who loves is born of God, and knows God just as far as he loves. God loves all outside of himself; and man will eternally approach, though he can never reach, God, as he loves his Father supremely and his kind and other beings universally. "He that loves not knows not God, for God is love " (1 John 4:8). "Every one that loves has been begotten of God, and knows God" (4: 7). [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Man is created, in every instance as at the first, in the image of God; and he is, therefore, the child of God. He owes his Creator and Father filial obedience. He is pure, innocent, until he sins. When he sins, he goes contrary to his nature. Were he born depraved, it would be natural for him to sin; and the worse he became, the more natural would be his conduct. But wickedness is well called unnatural, inasmuch as it is contrary to every faculty of man's nature. He has the germ of every quality of the purest angel, and is on his way through all vicissitudes from the innocence of infancy to the purity of angelhood.
Miracles. The general understanding of " miracle " among Universalists is a work wrought in strict accordance with the laws of God, but above and beyond contemporary human knowledge and ability; though some regard miracles as violations of nature's laws. The words "signs," " wonders," "powers," are better renderings of the original terms. Universalists accept the New Testament accounts of healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, raising the dead, and other remarkable deeds ascribed to Jesus, and usually called miraculous, but do not think they were in violation of the law of God. They believe that Jesus did what is related of him by a power specially conferred upon him for that purpose; that his whole life was a miracle, supernatural, that is, not unnatural, but higher natural, that God's higher laws were employed to suspend the ordinary procedure, as magnetism suspends gravitation in floating a needle on water. They accept the record of the life of Christ in the gospels as historically accurate. (See "Miraculous Conception.") The word miracle is a translation of two Greek words, rendered sign fifty-one times, token ouc, miracle thirty-one, wonder four, power seventy-seven, etc. Sign or power conveys the accurate idea of the original better than "miracle " as ordinarily understood. [Paige's "Commentary."]
Miraculous Conception. (See "Miracles.") While some Universalists understand the account of the birth of Christ as teaching that he
was naturally born, but that God gave him a special ante-natal endowment, and
others regard the account as a highly wrought statement of events that were
purely and perfectly natural, the prevalent view is, that God specially
interfered with the ordinary processes of nature for the purpose of creating a
new and higher type of humanity, just as he has specially interfered in the
natural world whenever a new species has been created. That is, that the birth
of Jesus Christ can only be accounted for on the theory that he was a supernatural being. To them, the so-called "miraculous conception" of the "last
Adam" is as credible as is the account of the creation of the " first Adam."
Both, from God's side, are perfectly natural, though supernatural from man's
side. No law was violated; but, in harmony with the laws of God, the Creator
created the progenitor of a new order of spiritual life, as described in Matt.
1:and Luke 1:Still, the differences of opinion above noted prevail among our
people, with the preponderance in favor of the last named view. (See
"Divinity of Christ.") [Paige's "Commentary."]
Mission of Christ. (See "Savior.") Jesus Christ was foretold by the prophets and seers of the ages preceding his advent. He was endowed with faculties and supernaturally aided, so that he not only taught perfect truth, but gave a perfect example. His mission is to deliver all mankind from sin by the power of his truths believed and practiced, and by the force of his example reproduced in all other lives. He makes known to men the disposition of God and the duty of man, and illustrate both in his own life and death; and he will finally save all souls through the influence ol his example copied by all [Crane's "Jesus the Christ;" Lee's "Birth from Above ;' Cone's "Salvation."]
Modern History of Universalism -- Every age of the church has listened to the utterance of the true faith, though during the dark ages the voices proclaiming it were few and faint. With the dawn of the Reformation they were multiplied, and spoke in all the most enlightened parts of Christendom. In the Episcopal Church in England and her colonies, in Germany and elsewhere, the doctrine was heard in pulpits and printed in books. And about 1770 it began to attract the attention of the world, particularly in America, as a distinct movement. It came to this country through five channels: 1) the Mystics, A.D. 1636; 2) the Dunkers, A.D. 1719; 3) the Moravians, A.D. 1735; 4) the Episcopalians, A.D. 1754; 5) the Congregationalists, A.D. 1750. Its advocates among these branches of the church were able and saintly men. But it was not until the landing of John Murray in America (A.D. 1770) that the movement began which resulted in the Universalist Church. He first preached in Good Luck, New Jersey, and afterwards extensively in the United States, chiefly in Gloucester, Mass., where the first church of the name was organized, Jan. 1, 1779. From this time until the present the denomination has grown steadily, until it now numbers (1891) 717 clergymen, 41,177 church members, and places of worship valued at $8,975,034. It has 29 State conventions, 11 colleges and academies valued at $3,000,000, and convention funds amounting to $545,960. But its central doctrine, once almost universally derided and discarded, is now professed by thousands in other churches, while its spirit has leavened and modified the creeds of Christendom. The reader will be interested and instructed in consulting on this subject, "Universalism in America," by Richard Eddy, D.D., Boston: Universalist Publishing House, two volumes. An admirable work.
Natural Depravity. Depravity is sinfulness; and all sin is voluntary, acquired. Man is not naturally depraved. He is by nature sinless, innocent. (See "Human Nature," "Man," "Children.") The Scripture never declares "men were all born out of the way," but that "they are all gone out of the way." They could not have gone out of the way had they not been born in the way. All depravity is a voluntary departure from the original purity. " God made man upright, but he has sought out many inventions " (Eccl. 7:29). Sin is his invention, his departure from the purity of nature. Native, natural depravity is an impossibility.
Natural Man, in the New Testament, is a mistranslation; it should be animal man. In 1 Cor. 15 the contrast is not between the natural and the spiritual man, but between the animal and the spiritual. [Hanson's " New Covenant."]
Never Forgiveness. In Mark 3;29, " hath never forgiveness " is a mistranslation. The correct rendering is, "hath not forgiveness to the age, but is involved in an age-long transgression." The word "never" is not in the text. Even Augustine taught that this is not an endless doom. He says (Lange's "Commentary on Matthew," pp. 227-229), "For it would not be truly said of some, they are forgiven neither in this age (seculo) nor in the future, were there not some who, though not in this, are in the future." (See "This World and the World to Come," "Sin against the Holy Ghost.") If those spoken of were literally never forgiven, it would be contrary to verse 28, which says, "All sins shall be forgiven," etc. It is a strong expression, to denote the inexcusable sin of ascribing the deeds of Jesus to an evil spirit. [Hanson's "Aion-Aionios " and "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Omnipotence. (Sec "Purpose of God," "Promise of God.") God is almighty. There is nothing he wishes to do that he cannot do and will not ultimately perform; and as his nature is love, his power is impelled by love;' so that all that love desires, omnipotence will execute. God's omnipotence necessitates universal salvation. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Omniscience. (See "Will of God," "Pleasure of God.") God is all-wise. He can devise means to accomplish whatever he desires ; and as his nature is love, his wisdom is impelled by love; so that all that love desires, omniscience will devise means to execute. God's omniscience necessitates universal salvation. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Pardon. (See "Forgiveness.") Deserved punishment is never forgiven, but pardon always relates to sin, transgression. The idea that is so frequently urged, that the just desert of sin is endless punishment, but that it is forgiven, pardoned on repentance, has no warrant in the Scriptures. The proper penalty of sin is wisely, justly, mercifully adjusted ; and it would be a calamity to remit any portion of it. After it is fully received, the sin of the sinner is pardoned. Human governments pardon punishment, for they lack wisdom to fix a perfect penalty; but "God's law is perfect, converting the soul" (Ps. 19:7). [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained;" Nye's "Universalism;" Cone's "Universalism;" Bisbee's "Universalism."]
Paternity, Divine. See "Fatherhood of God."
Penalty. (See "Bible Threatenings," "Punishment.") The penalty of a wise law must aid in the fulfilment of the law, and cannot defeat its purpose. The law of God aims at universal obedience. But if the penalty of disobedience were endless punishment, it would defeat the purpose of the law. God has ordained that the penalty of disobedience shall not only punish the transgressor, but shall accomplish his welfare by resulting in his conversion. The Psalmist declares (Ps. 19:7), " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." The law that does not convert is imperfect. But God's law is perfect. Its penalties must, therefore, be so wisely adapted as to convert. To fail in one solitary instance would stamp the law of God with imperfection. Penalty, therefore, is always employed by the perfect God and Father of all as a beneficent agency, and it will contribute towards the accomplishment of the end on which infinite love is resolved, " the one divine event to which the whole creation moves." [Hanson's "Bible Proofs" and "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Perdition (see "Loss") is equivalent to loss or waste, or great sinfulness. It never denotes remediless depravity. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Perdition, Son of: Matthew 26:24 - The case of Judas has an important bearing on the ultimate destiny of the human race and all creation. If it were well for Judas if he had not been born, then there can be no justification of all mankind (Rom. 5:18) or reconciliation of all creation (Col. 1:20). If he is ultimately justified and reconciled it is well that he has been born. The solution of this difficulty will help us to see the bias which pervades our translations. They deliberately recast the sentence and give it a meaning quite foreign to the text. The Lord speaks of Himself as "Him", and of Judas as "that man". It were ideal for the Lord if Judas were not born. The Lord's impending suffering is in view, not the punishment of Judas, whose ultimate destiny is not under consideration. ["Concordant Commentary on the New Testament" by A. E. Knoch]
Perish. -- This word means literally, to die; figuratively, moral desolation, or vastation. In Luke 13:3, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," refers to those who had been killed by the fall of the tower of Siloam, and others who were slain by Pilate; and our Lord assured his hearers that if they did not reform they would experience a similar fate in the approaching troubles. Dr. Adam Clarke says, "This prediction was literally fulfilled when the city was taken by the Romans." Barnes adds: "this was remarkably fulfilled; many of the Jews were slain in the temple, many while offering sacrifice, thousands perished in a way similar to the Galileans." Perish never denotes endless, or even after-death sufferings. Its frequent meaning is moral and spiritual torpor, resulting from error and sin. ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Pleasure of God. It is the divine pleasure that all souls shall achieve holiness, and the pleasure of God is to be accomplished. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Probation. Each moment of existence is probationary to the next, today shapes to-morrow, but no time can decide the endless future. The will of every moral being must always be free, and at any moment the wrong can be abandoned and the right adopted. In no sense is this life a slate of probation for eternity. Life is a school; the first of a series of educational processes to extend through all the eternal years. Neither reason nor revelation declares that the eternal future depends upon the few brief years of this imperfect state of being. The prodigal sinner, even when "dead" and " lost" (Luke 15.), retains his obligation and ability to return to his allegiance to the Father; and however far the wandering sheep may wander, or that priceless treasure, the human soul, may be lost, it will be sought "until found." Had God, as he has not, hinged eternity on time, he would be a fiend and not a Father. [Gorton's "Endless Opportunity for all Souls."]
Probation, Second. -- There can be no such thing as a "second probation," as there is no first. Probation is perpetual. As long as the soul continues a moral being and the laws of the spiritual realm are unchanged and God is unchangeable, probation will last for each and for all. [Gorton's "Endless Opportunity for all Souls."]
Promise of God. God has promised the ultimate deliverance of all mankind from sin and sorrow, and the promise of God will be fulfilled. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Propitiation. (See "Atonement.") Paul and John employ this word as Universalists understand it, in the sense of mercy-seat. The propitiatory sacrifice, Christ, is not offered to placate God, but to reconcile man to his Father. John says (1 John 2:1, 2; 4:10), "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Christ was the effect and not the cause of God's love. He came not because God was angry with man, but because God loved man. He came to reconcile man to God, not God to man. Paul thus employs the word (Rom. 3:25), "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." (See also Heb. 9:5.) Christ came to propitiate men, to reconcile them to their loving and always reconciled Father, and not to transform God's hatred for all into love for a part of mankind. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). " Christ throws a zone of mercy round the world." Guthrie. Propitiation and reconciliation are synonymous. [Hanson's "Bible" Threatenings Explained."]
Punishment. (See "Forgiveness," "Everlasting Punishment," "Future Punishment.") God's punishments are instituted to prevent sin and reform the sinner. They are (1) inevitable. "He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong that, he hath done" (Col. 3:25). "Though hand join in baud, the wicked shall not be unpunished" (Prov. 11:21). "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt continually" (Isa. 57:20). "God will by no means clear the guilty" (Ex. 34:7; Num. 14:18 ; see also Prov. 13:15, 11:31; Ps. 119:165). There is no escape from the penalty of transgression. (2) Punishment is the medicine prescribed for the cure of sin. It not only aims to cure, but prescribed by the infinite physician and adapted by omniscience and omnipotence to the desired end, it will in all cases be successful. This is taught in Matt. 25:46: " These shall go away into everlasting punishment." The word here rendered "punishment" is kolasin, which is thus defined : Greenfield, "Chastisement, punishment;" Hedericus, "The trimming of the luxuriant branches of a tree or vine to improve it and make it fruitful;" Donnegan, "The act. of clipping or pruning, rest rid ion, restraint, reproof, check, chastisement;" Grotius, "The kind of punishment which tends to the improvement of the criminal, is what the Greek philosophers called kolasis or chastisement ;" Liddell, "Pruning, checking, chastising, correction;" Max Muller, "Do we want to know what was uppermost in the minds of those who formed the word for punishment? The Latin paena or punio, to punish; the root pu in Sanscrit, which means to cleanse, to purify, tells us that the Latin derivation was originally formed, not to express mere striking or torture, but cleansing, correcting, delivering from the stain of sin." As "Everlasting" (which see) denotes limited duration in the Bible and "punishment" signifies pruning, correction, improvement, everlasting punishment (aionion kolasin) can have but one meaning, temporal, limited suffering, ending in reformation. The word rendered punishment in Matt. 25:46, has always had this meaning. Says Plato ("Protagoras," Sect. 38, Vol. I. p. 252), " No one punishes (kolazei) the wicked looking to the past only, simply for the wrong he has done; that is, no one does this thing who does not act like a wild beast, desiring only revenge without thought. Hence he who seeks to punish (kolazein) with reason does not punish for the sake of the past wrong deed, but for the sake of the future ; that neither the man himself, who is punished, may do wrong again, nor any other who has been punished" (see "Law of God"). Archdeacon Farrar says that "in this instance the substantive kolasis is a word which in its sole proper meaning has reference to the correction and bettering of him that endures." Professor Plumptre: "It carries with it, by the definition of the greatest of Greek ethical writers, the idea of a reformatory process. It is inflicted for the sake of him who suffers it." Everlasting punishment (kolasin aionion) does for the soul what pruning does for the tree, improves it; what the crucible of the refiner does for the gold, refines it. God's punishments are those of a Father. They are administered to destroy sin and reform the sinner. Endless punishment is a contradiction of terms. Endless revenge is a supposable association of words; but endless punishment is as contradictory as cold heat, white blackness, or evil goodness. What our Lord means by aeonian punishment is discipline to continue till its purpose is accomplished in the sinner's reformation. Here may be noted an objection to this view. It is said that " inasmuch as the life and the punishment are defined by the same word in Matt. 25:46, they must be of equal duration. If the punishment is not endless, the life is not; if the life is, the punishment must be." But this does not follow. In Hab. 3:6, we read: (Revised Version) "The everlasting (aionion) hills . . . his ways arc everlasting " (aionion). Here the mutable hills and the immortal God are described by the same word. So in Rom. 16:25, 26, the ages of the past then closed and God himself are defined by the same term in the same sentence, the "aionion times" and the "aionion God." One is temporal and the other eternal, though both are defined by the same word. These passages explain Matt. 25:46. The life and the punishment are not of equal duration, though described by the same word; for the adjective aionios, rendered everlasting, acquires its meaning, in any instance of its use, from the quality of the substantive with which it is connected. Says Archdeacon Farrar of this objection : "This is absolutely no argument whatever, and ought never to be heard again." And Prof. Tayler Lewis remarks of Matt. 25:46 : "These shall go away into the punishment (the restraint, imprisonment) of the world to come, and those into the life of the world to come; that is all we can etymological^ or exegetically make of the word in this passage." Thus the soul's immortal destiny does not depend on so equivocal a word as aionios. (See "Immortal Life.") In the Bible punishment is disciplinary. [Hanson's "Aion-Aionios" and "Bible Threatenings Explained;" "Universalist Book of Reference;" Bisbee's "Universalism."]
Punishment, Future, is not taught in the Old Testament. (See Warburton, "Divine Legation," iii. ; Jahn, " Archaology," 398 ; Milman, "History of the Jews," i.; Campbell, etc.) All Universalists agree to this. But some think the doctrine is taught in a few New Testament texts, and that it is the plain teaching of reason and philosophy. Others deny that it is the subject of revelation, but that the probabilities point to the continuance of the consequences of sin into the future life. Others, it is believed comparatively few, hold that the consequences of conduct on earth do not extend beyond the grave. All agree that retribution is certain and of limited duration, but disagree on the question of postmortem punishment. Universalists do not recognize the distinction sometimes made between Restorationists and Universalists. (See "Restorationists.") [Brooks's "New Departure."]
Purpose and Will of God. God has willed, purposed universal holiness; and his will, purpose, is destined to fulfilment. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Ransom. The ransom paid by Christ was not, as the old theologies taught, a price paid to the devil to rescue man from his power, nor a price paid to divine justice to slake God's infinite thirst for the sinner's damnation. Both these theories violate every principle of justice and equity. To punish Christ for man's sins is what a just God could never do. Man is a slave of sin, and Christ is a ransom figuratively only, as he lived and died to deliver man from its power. He ransoms, that is, redeems or saves the sinner from his sin. God is represented as saying (Hos. 13:14), "I will ransom them from the power of death." As this language docs not mean that God paid a price to death to deliver man, neither does similar language denote that Christ literally paid a price to secure man's welfare; the meaning in both cases is redemption, deliverance. [Thayer's "Theology."]
Rationalism. (See "Reason.") This term usually denotes a system of religious thought that rejects revelation, inspiration, and the miraculous; but it should mean a system that accepts revelation, inspiration, and the miraculous on rational grounds. Properly understood, Christianity is a rational religion. The Universalist is a Christian rationalist. While there are Christians who deride reason and accept an irrational theology, and while there are those who reject the Scriptures and walk by the light of unilluminated reason, the Universalist finds that reason supplements revelation and that revelation complements and re-enforces reason. His system is Christian Rationalism, a rational Christianity. He does not accept a doctrine that his reason does not sanction, nor one that revelation condemns.
Reason. (See "Rationalism.") Man's guide and authority is reason. While there, are conclusions he must adopt that are above reason, he cannot receive or believe what is contrary to reason. Even a genuine faith must have reason as its foundation. The faith faculty in man, by which he soars into regions where reason cannot go, builds on reason as its basis. The Bible is authority; and every doctrine it teaches is authoritative, because rational inquiry has ascertained that its claims are valid and authentic. Even it must be judged by this tribunal. An unreasonable tenet, a statement or doctrine contrary to reason, were such found in the Scriptures,as they are not,could not be accepted. For example, the miracles of I lie New Testament, regarded as in harmony with laws above and beyond the scope of human knowledge, are reasonable. If we cannot see how they were wrought, it is easy to understand that there are laws above those we observe, as the law of the lodestone is above the law of gravitation, in obedience to which they were performed. Reason is man's inseparable light, whose guidance he must never disregard, must always follow. An unreasonable doctrine of religion is always a falsehood.
Reconciliation, Reconcile, etc. -- (See "Atonement.") The New Testament always represents man as reconciled to God, never God reconciled to man, by the life and death of Christ. The apostle says (Rom. 5:11), "By whom we have now received the reconciliation;" in the King James Version, "atonement:" but the word is not in the Revised Version, which has properly substituted "reconciliation." Man is unreconciled to God through sin; and he, the alienated party, is the only one to be reconciled. All the labors of Christ are directed to the work of elevating man to harmonious relations with God, who always did and always will sustain the attitude of reconciliation to man. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Redemption is the equivalent to salvation (which see). Jesus is the Redeemer because he is a Savior. To redeem is to save or deliver from sin, error, sorrow. Christ redeems men (1 Pet. 1:18). Paul says, "We have redemption," which is forgiveness (Eph. 1:7).
Regenerate. (See "Renew," "New Birth.") To be regenerated is to be born again, not miraculously, but naturally. As the first generation of each person was a perfectly natural process, so the second must be. To be born anew is to be as one was at the first; and regeneration consists in loving God supremely and man universally. Regeneration is the beginning of a new and better life in the soul. "Regeneration" occurs twice in the Bible (Matt. 19:28 ; Tit. 3:5). [Thayer's "Theology."]
Renew. (See "Children," "Human Nature," "Infants.") All men must be renewed, that is, restored to their condition when new, which is to say, that human beings begin life in a condition of purity, sinless-ness. Men could not be made good when " renewed " if human nature were " depraved," corrupt. To be renewed is to be made as when new. [Thayer's "Theology."]
Repent, Repentance. The Greek for "repent" is metanoeite, and signifies a radical change of disposition and character. Reform is the better word. John's real language is, "Reform, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The reason for repentance was not that hell might be escaped, but that the happiness of Christ's reign may be enjoyed. All sinners must reform, and reformation is the supreme demand of the gospel. Children do not need repentance, for they were created pure ; but all adults must reform as the prime condition of beginning the higher life. When God is said to have repented, it means that he changed his course of proceeding. When it is said (Rom. 11:29), "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance," the thought is that they are never regretted, are fixed and unchangeable.
Reprobate. Counterfeit, impure. Jeremiah says (6:30), "Reprobate silver shall men call them." So evil men are like spurious coin, "abominable, disobedient, unto every good work reprobate " (Tit. 1:16). The word in the New Testament means corrupt, and never, as the word is employed theologically, foreordained to evil.
Restore, Restorationists, Restitution, etc. (See "Future Punishment.") The use of the word "restore" in the "Winchester Profession" (which see) conveys an erroneous impression, and the term "Restorationists" applied to some Universalists is inaccurate. All mankind cannot be restored "to holiness and happiness," for the sufficient reason that all mankind were never holy and happy ; and it goes without saying that it is impossible to restore the entire race to a condition it never occupied. (See "Holiness.") Nor for the same reason can Universalists properly be called Restorationists. The latter term usually designates those who believe in post-mortem discipline. The words were first employed by those who believed that the whole race were originally holy and happy in their "federal head," Adam, an utter fiction, and an idea not supposable or even thinkable, that they fell from that estate, and are to be restored to their original status quo. No Universalist entertains any such thought; and, therefore, strictly speaking, "Restorationalist" is a misnomer. The "restoration of all things " (Acts 3:21, Revised Version) denotes the universal allegiance of all men to God.
Resurrection. There are two meanings to this word : a literal rising from physical death, or living beyond the death of the body; and a figurative, a moral or spiritual awakening. (See "Resurrection of Damnation.") The latter is referred to in Luke 14:14, "the resurrection of the just," or righteous. The meaning of such passages may be ascertained by reading Isa. 65:17-25, 66:20-24; Dan. 12:1-37 ; Matt. 13:40-43, 16:27, 28; Luke 21:28-33. The prophets foretold the exaltation, lifting up, anastasis of the just on the establishment of the reign of the Messiah; and Jesus taught the same doctrine. His disciples were to be exalted by fidelity to his teachings. This is the meaning of "the resurrection of the righteous," though it is supposed by some to teach that obedience in this life will give the soul a greater blessedness in the next state of being. Whether taught in this language or not, the doctrine is no doubt, true. The literal resurrection (Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40; Matt. 22:23-33 ; 1 Cor. 15) is of all mankind to immortal holiness and happiness. 1. "The dead (all) are raised." 2. They are immortal: "they cannot die any more." 3. They are pure, holy : "equal to the angels of God in heaven." This doctrine astonished the hearers of our Lord (Matt. 22:33); because the Pharisees believed in a partial salvation, and the Sadducees in no resurrection, and the Pagans accepted similar views. Universal salvation is the only doctrine that could have astonished such an audience. The literal resurrection is described in John 11:24. The word when applied to the future existence not only means living again, but also a higher life, such being the meaning of anastasis.
Resurrection of Christ. The Christian religion is based on the visible resurrection of Jesus the Christ alter his death. Some Universalists think it was his spiritual body that was seen; others, that he reanimated the crucified body. Either view may be held; but the fact that he was seen alive, after his physical death, is the fundamental fact on which Christianity is based, and is held by Universalists. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Resurrection of Damnation. (John 5:29.) (See "Resurrection.") "Damnation" should be "judgment." This is not the final, or an after-death resurrection, but the spiritual awakening (anastasis) produced by the advent of Jesus. The "all in the graves" does not include all men, but only " those who had done good and those who had done evil." This language excludes all infants, who have never done either good or evil. It is a similar resurrection to that described in Ezek. 38.: "the valley of dry bones," which is explained as "the whole house of Israel," in this world. The entire account in John 5, where this language "resurrection of damnation" is found, describes events that occurred then, as the words "now is," in verse 25, show. This is the view taken by Dr. George Campbell, Lightfoot, Doddridge, Whitby, and others. (See "Damnation.") [Hanson's "Bible Threatening Explained ; " "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Revenge is forbidden (Lev. 19:17, 18; 1 Pet. 3:9). It consists in returning evil for evil. Forbidding it to man, God is incapable of it. This fact alone should protect every Christian mind from the doctrine of endless torment.
Reward. The life beyond the grave is in no sense the reward of right living here, except that a soul developed in good here must begin the future with larger capacities for good and for happiness. But the reward of well-doing is immediate. The " eternal life " resulting from obedience to God is in this world. " This is eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Rich Man and Lazarus. -- These are characters in a parable, the rich man representing the Jewish priesthood, and Lazarus the Gentiles. (See "Great Gulf," "Hell," etc.) All the scenery and characters are parts of a parable describing the subsequent condition in this world of the characters referred to. [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Righteous. -- Strictly speaking, there is not a
perfectly righteous man in the world, for "there is no man that liveth and
(Ecc. 7:20); "there is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). Even Jesus disclaimed righteousness when he said, "Call me not good; there is none good but God" (Matt. 19:17). And yet the term is frequently used. There are those who are in the scriptural sense "righteous." Who are they ? Those who are aiming towards the right, who are endeavoring to do what is right. The right-minded are righteous. "Imputed righteousness" is a theological fiction. Righteousness could no more be imputed than health or sickness. The man who is facing heavenward, Godward, is righteous. Righteousness and character are interchangeable terms.
Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, not escape from deserved punishment. One can never be saved from endless punishment or irretrievable suffering; for with a just and merciful God controlling the universe one can never be exposed to such a fate. Universal salvation means universal holiness, no less. Salvation is character, growth out of sin into holiness. [Thayer's "Theology."]
Satan. -- (See "Devil.") The meaning of the word is adversary. Its ordinary use is to personify evil as an enemy of mankind. It is not a personal being, but a personification. "Satan," "the devil," are words sometimes used to signify a semi-omnipotent evil being who is a rival of the Almighty for the control of the moral universe ; but these ideas are gross misapprehensions of a metaphorical use of language to denote human adversaries, or that which is inimical to human welfare. ["Universalist Book of Reference."]
Saved. -- This term (see "Salvation," "Savior ") is used variously. (Luke 13:23) "Are there few being saved?" (literal rendering) refers to deliverance from the coming woes on the Jewish nation. See verse 26, where those who ask the question say, " We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets " (Luke 13:26); that is, they asked if few should be delivered from the approaching calamities of the times. The word often has a similar meaning. It chiefly, however, denotes deliverance from sin and its consequences, into holiness, a work Jesus came to accomplish. But it never denotes, in the Bible, escape from endless torment, or even from deserved punishment of any kind. [Paige's " Commentary;" Thayer's " Theology."]
Savior. Jesus is a Savior, not because he is a substitute for the sinner's punishment, or is a way of escape from the consequences of the sinner's guilt, but because his truth, his example, accepted and reproduced, will deliver from the thraldom of sin. Christ is a universal Savior, because he will finally elevate all souls out of sin into holiness (1 Tim. 4:10 ; John 4:42 ; 1 John 4:14).
Second Coming of Christ. -- This has already taken place (Matt. 24:24-31, 16:27, 28, 10:23 ; Rev. 1:3, etc.) He came in the generation living at the time of Jerusalem's destruction. [" Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's " Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Shall not find me. This language was addressed to the sinful Jews, (John 8:21) "You shall seek me and not find me, and you will die in your sins; where I go, you cannot come." But similar words were also addressed to the disciples (John 13:33), "As I said unto the Jews, ' Where I go, you cannot come;' so now I say to you." True, he said to Peter, "You cannot follow me now, but you shall follow me afterward;" and so he said to the Jews, (Matt. 23:39) "You shall not see me till you shall say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord !'" The evident meaning is, in both cases, that the separation was to be but temporary. [Hanson's " Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Sin. -- (See "Evil.") Whatever is contrary to man's nature, voluntarily done by man, is sin. He was created innocent, pure; and the law of his moral nature is violated whenever he does wrong. Conscience is God's voice in the soul, never silent; and whenever man goes contrary to its dictates, he sins. But the consequences of sin are finite, and will end.
Sin against the Holy Ghost. -- (See "Never Forgiveness.") The sin here described consisted in ascribing the wonderful works of Jesus to an evil spirit (Matt. 12:31, 32). The language cannot be literal, because we are told that all other sins shall be forgiven just as positively as that this one shall not be. This would leave only one class of transgressors unforgiven. Manifestly "shall" and "shall not" are to be understood with allowance. Campbell says the expression is "a noted Hebraism," to teach that one event is more likely to occur than another, and not that either shall or shall not come; just as Jesus says: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away;" and "not seven times, but seventy times seven." It is a strong form of affirmation, preceded by a negative statement to strengthen it. The plain meaning is, any other sin is more excusable than this. Newcome says : "It is a common figure of speech in the Oriental languages, to say of things, that one shall be and the other shall not be, when the meaning is, that the one shall happen sooner or more easily than the other." (See "This World and the World to Come.") [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained ; " "Universalist Book of Reference."]
Sin, Original -- This term, as ordinarily understood, has no meaning. Each man's first transgression is his original sin, and he is responsible for and affected by no other. Adam's sin had no more influence on his posterity than his virtuous acts. "Original sin" is a theological fiction. [Ballou's " Atonement."]
Sin unto Death. -- (1 John 5:16, 17.) An offence under Jewish law for which literal death was the penalty; a capital offence.
Son of God. This phrase and "Son of man" occur about eighty times each in the New Testament. All men are sons of God; but Jesus is the Son, because he was " the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person."
Spirits in Prison. It is thought by some, that this language (1 Pet. 3:19) teaches that Christ in person went to the under-world and proclaimed the gospel to souls there. Others think that Jesus pre-existed before his advent, and spoke the truth through I ho mouths of wise and holy men. But the general view among Universalists is, that the spirit of Christianity is here meant; that it was heard by those who, before Christ, proclaimed spiritual truth that the prison means the human body in which the immortal spirit is confined; that "the spirits in prison" are human beings in this world. The language is difficult of interpretation, but any one of the above views may be properly held. [Paige's " Commentary."]
Strait Gate, The, (Luke 13:23; Matt. 7:13, 14) denotes the difficult task of obeying the Golden Rule, or the exacting nature of the religion of Christ. The strait or narrow gate is the entrance to the Christian life. Few enter it, and the many follow the broad way that leads to moral death. [Hanson's " Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Supernatural. (See "Miracle," "Inspiration.") There are Universalists who deny the supernatural: but the prevalent view is, that while the course of events is according to well-known law, there have been occurrences outside the course of nature ; that is to say, not contrary to or in violation of the laws of nature, but above all that is known of nature's laws, not unnatural, but supernatural. The raising of Lazarus was a supernatural act, but wrought by one who possessed a knowledge of laws superior to that law which held the dead in the grave. All the miracles of Christ were performed by one whose supernatural knowledge enabled him to take advantage of laws unknown to others. The law of gravitation would cause a needle to sink in water; the law of magnetism overcomes the law of gravitation. Jesus wrought miracles by law; but the acts were supernatural, because of knowledge and abilities conferred upon him by God for the special purpose of aiding his divine mission. The miracles of Christ, his birth, his wonderful acts, the truths he revealed, his reappearance after death, were not unnatural, but supernatural.
Tartarus. (See "Hell Fire," "Eternal Fire," etc.) Tartarus occurs only once in the New Testament (2 Pet. 2:4), and the writer employs a fable to illustrate his theme. In the apocryphal book Enoch there is a long account of fallen angels; and Peter alludes to the story just as writers often do now, not to endorse the statements of the book, but to illustrate the subject of his epistle. So writers now refer to Aesop or classic story, to illustrate a truth. The three words in the New Testament translated hell ought to stand as the names of real or imaginary localities, Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus. Had they done so, no reader would think of giving to them the meaning so long ascribed to the word hell, but would understand them as meaning the grave, or state o the dead, the vale of Hinnom, or the heathen's imaginary prison-house in the future world, or the consequences of sin, or sorrow, or calamity in this life. The Universalist regards hell as signifying the consequences of sin, severe but salutary, to endure as long as sin endures, but to end with the reformation of the sinner. [Hanson's "Bible Hell;" " Universalist Book of Reference."]
Temptation. (See "Temptation of Christ.") The sources of temptation are the animal nature. Sinners are drawn away by their passions and enticed (James 1:14). Temptation is not sin; but sin is perpetrated when the will yields and a prohibited act is committed. Virtue is temptation resisted. Jesus "was tempted in all points as we are" (Heb. 4:15), but he did not sin, because he successfully resisted all the inducements that assailed him.
Temptation of Christ. (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13) This is an allegory, and is not to be taken literally; it is symbolical and not historical. So say Lunge, Olshausen, Neander, and others. Jesus "was tempted in all points as we are" (Heb. 4:15). He was, therefore, tried by the tendencies of the animal nature, which he possessed in common with all his brethren; but he was without sin, because he did not yield to their suggestions and promptings. "Every man when tempted is drawn away by his own lusts," says James (1:14). Satan, the devil, the tempter, is the animal nature, "the law of the members," that assails the moral, the spiritual nature (see "Devil," "Satan"). In our Lord's temptation he seems to have been assailed by hunger, self-reliance, and ambition. The allegory describes the conflict that was waged within, as he decided the course of his life. It was subjective and not objective, and so represents the conflict that all experience between "Two opposite desires ; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys, And the more noble instinct that aspires." [Paige's " Commentary."]
This World and the World to Come. (See "End of the World," "Never Forgiveness," "Eternal Damnation.") This phraseology is found in Matt. 12:32; Mark 3:29; and Luke 12:10. The literal rendering is, " neither in this nor the coming age," that is, the Mosaic or the Christian. But these two ages will both end, and be followed by " the dispensation of the fullness of the ages." The meaning is, that the sin of ascribing the good deeds of Jesus to an evil spirit would he the worst of sins, whether judged by the principles of Judaism or Christianity, and not that it would be literally unpardonable sin. Locke says ("Notes on Galatians "), "The kingdom of God under the Mosaic constitution was called aion outos, this age; or, as it is commonly translated, this world. But the kingdom of God under the Messiah is, in the New Testament, called aion mellon, the world or age to come." Pearce says in his "Notes," "Neither in this age nor in the age to come." So all commentators. The world (or age) to come will end when Jesus delivers up his kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:21), so that the "aionian, sin" spoken of here is not to be of eternal duration. Besides, no sin is literally unpardonable, for (1 John 1:7) "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." Dr. Adam Clarke says, "Though I follow the common translation, yet I am fully satisfied the meaning of the words is, neither in this dispensation, namely, the Jewish, nor that which is to come. Olam habo, the world to come, is a constant phrase for the times of the Messiah, in the Jewish writers." Gilpin: "Nobody can suppose, considering the whole tenor of Christianity, that there can be any sin which, on repentance, may not be forgiven. This, therefore, seems only a strong way of expressing the difficulty of such repentance." ["Universalist Book of Reference;" "Bible Threatenings Explained ;" Tabor's "End of the World."]
Tophet. A place in the valley of Hinnom (Jer. 19:14, 7:31; 2 Kings 23:10), named from toph, the Hebrew word meaning drum, because drums were beaten to drown the cries of infants sacrificed to Moloch there. It came to be used to signify the horrors of sin.
Trinity. -- (See "Jesus and the Trinity" for other views on this subject.) Some of the early American, like many of the ancient, Universalists were Trinitarians; but so far as is known, all professed Universalists are Unitarians. (See "Christ.") While there are multitudes in Trinitarian churches who accept the distinguishing idea of Universalism, the denomination is Unitarian. Differing as to the pre-existence of Christ and as to his actual rank in the scale of being, on which most do not dogmatize, all are substantially agreed in rejecting the Trinity and in ranking the Son as subordinate to the Father. Some of the texts relied upon are these: John 14:31, 5:17-30; 7:1-52; 8:12-17; Matt. 20:17-19; 13:53-58, 24:36; 27. [Crane's "Jesus the Christ;" Thayer's "Theology."]
Undying Worm, The. -- The figure of the worm that dies not is derived from the worms that preyed on the offal in Gehenna, the receptacle of the filth of Jerusalem. They were always at their work until their natural food was consumed. But as that long ago was eaten, the worms have ceased from being. But their work was beneficent,. They prevented putrefaction and corruption from producing disease. And as they are analogues of the penalties of sin, the consequences of wrongdoing, it should be plain that the latter are beneficent, and will result in purification. (See "Punishment.") [Hanson's "Aion-Aionios," "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Universal Salvation. -- This phrase is synonymous with universal holiness, universal obedience to God, for it means universal deliverance from sin. Salvation is not from "hell" nor from deserved punishment, but from sin (Matt. 1. 21). Any man or woman who believes that God will at some time in the future succeed in eradicating sin and rendering all souls holy and happy, is a Universalist, whatever else is believed or disbelieved.
Universalism. -- The doctrine of the ultimate holiness and happiness of all mankind, whether punishment is believed to be confined to this life or continues after death.
Universalist Profession of Belief. -- (See "Creed," Winchester Profession.") The Universalists in their General Convention in 1803, in Winchester, N.H., adopted the "Winchester Profession," which see.
Universalists. -- Who are Universalists? All those Christians who accept the doctrine of the final salvation of all mankind. The distinction between Universalists and Restorationists is not recognized by Universalists. There are those who believe in universal holiness and happiness on rational grounds alone (see Frances Power Cobbe's "Doomed to be Saved"); but the denomination reaches the conclusion of the final holiness and happiness of all from the teachings of Scripture, corroborated by the deductions of reason. There are Universalists in all the denominations; that is, those who repudiate annihilation and endless punishment, and cherish the hope of the salvation of all. The Universalist denomination is principally in the United States.
Unpardonable Sin. -- (See "This World and the World to Come," "End of the World," "Never Forgiveness," "Eternal Damnation," etc.) [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained."]
Unquenchable Fire. (See "Fire," "Consuming Fire," etc.) " Quenchless, inextinguishable fire " never means a fire that shall burn literally without end, but one that burns until it accomplishes its purpose. This is the meaning of the language both in profane and sacred literature. Strabo (book ix.) calls the lamp in the Parthenon at Athens "inextinguishable," though it was long since quenched. Plutarch speaks of the "unquenchable fires" in the temples at Delphi and Athens, which, in the very next, sentence, he says had sometimes gone out. Eusebius (" History," lib. vi. cap. xli.) declares that Kronon and Julian were burned in unquenchable fire, though it expired when their bodies were consumed. Isaiah (66:24) applies the term to the burning of men's "carcasses" in this world, from "one new moon to another." Jeremiah (17:27) refers it to the destruction of "the palaces of Jerusalem." Josephus ("Jewish War," book ii. chap, xvii.) says the fire in the temple "was always unquenchable," though when he wrote, it had already expired. Canon Farrar ("Eternal Hope") observes, "The expression is purely a figure of speech, as in Homer's Iliad,' 16:123." Origen: "All, even Peter and Paul, must pass through this fire, and ordinary sinners must remain in it till purged ... a figurative representation of the moral process by which restoration shall be effected." Endless fire was never thought of by those who employed the expression, but a fire that should burn till it had accomplished its purpose, when it would expire. Dr. Hammond correctly says, "They put fire to the windward side, that creeps on and never gives over till it hath consumed all the chaff, and so is a kind of asbestos pur, a fire never quenchable till it has done its work." [Hanson's "Bible Threatenings Explained " and "Aion-Aionios;" " Universalist Book of Reference."]
Vengeance sometimes means punishment, regardless of the feelings of him who punishes. It refers to God as anger and hatred are applied to him, because no other word describes the phenomena seen by man, and not because God does or can cherish the feeling which, in God or man, is reprehensible.
Vicarious Suffering. In one sense the sufferings of Christ were vicarious; they were in man's behalf as are the mother's in behalf of the child. But they were not instead of man. They were in no sense substitutional. Love suffers for its object, and in a sense experiences vicarious sufferings. But one cannot receive the punishment due another. The blood of Christ was shed as was the blood of all martyrs, for liberty and truth, as an example. He bore the sinner's burdens in his heart, but he sacrificed himself to teach the great lesson of self-sacrifice. Only as his followers possess his spirit are they profited by him. "If any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). In the true sense of the language vicarious suffering is impossible. [Thayer's "Theology."]
Will of God. (See "Omniscience," "Omnipotence.") God's will is that all souls shall be delivered from sin (1 Tim. 2:1-6). As his will is moved by infinite love, which is his nature. (1 John 4:8), and as he is omnipotent, his will must be accomplished. (See Job. 13:13; Prov. 19:21; Dan. 4:35.) What God wills, he purposes; what he purposes, he accomplishes. [Hanson's "Bible Proofs."]
Winchester Profession -- (See "Creeds," "Universalist Profession of Faith.") This is the platform on which the Universalist denomination stands: --
I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination, of mankind.
II. We believe there is one God, whose nature is love; revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.
III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected; and that believers ought to maintain order, and practice good works, for these things are good and profitable unto men.
The word "restore" is objected to by some, as failing to state the exact opinion of any; and the utilitarian ground-work of conduct at the end of Article III. is not accepted by all; but these declarations are regarded as expressive of the average sentiment of the denomination.
Woe. The better form of this word is "alas." It is not an imprecation in the New Testament, but an expression of sorrow and regret; sometimes in the Bible compassion and sympathy (Matt. 24:19). It also is used to threaten punishment, as Hab. 2:6-9; Zech. 11:17
Word, The. The Logos, rendered Word, denotes the divine energy or wisdom incarnated in Christ. In the account in John 1, we should read "God was the Word" instead of "the Word was God ;" that is, the divine wisdom was so embodied in Christ, that by a figure of speech he can be called the Logos or Word, or The Wisdom.
Worms. Referred to in connection with the valley of Hinnom, where they were found in the offal cast there. Our Lord uses them as analogues of the judgments visited on sinners; and to justify their use they must, like their prototypes, exercise a purifying influence. The "undying worm" in Gehenna has long since performed his work and died. Gehenna is a green and flowery vale a type of the heart in which the work of judgment has been wrought, and of all hearts when the purpose of God shall have been accomplished. All God's Gehennas are beneficent agencies of good.
Wrath of God. (See "Anger.") As men understand anger, and as men are controlled by wrath, God is incapable of wrath or anger. He is unchangeably kind toward every human being. His love is without variableness or even the shadow of change (James 1:17). The emotion of wrath ascribed to him denotes the severe measures he adopts toward the sinner for his good. It is the severity of love that will have the welfare of the sinner. Unchangeable love can never be exercised by literal wrath. ["Universalist Book of Reference."]
Wrath to Come. Wrath about to come, impending vengeance, is the exact
rendering of this language in the New Testament (Luke 3:7). It refers to
those judgments that were soon to be visited on the wicked. It also denotes, in
any age, the consequences of wrong-doing, not in the eternal world, but now and
here. It is not literally wrath. The sinner so regards it, but the God who is
exercised by the emotion is and can only be moved by love. Anger can be ascribed
to God only by a figure of speech. Pearce says, "The punishment to come in the
destruction of the Jewish state." Livermore : "Impending destruction soon to
fall on the Jewish nation." " Wrath" denotes those severe judgments that seem to
their victims dictated by hate, but are impelled by love. Literal wrath is
impossible to God. What seems mere anger to man is because he fails to see the
purpose and effects of the divine judgments. ["Universalist Book of Reference;" Hanson's "Bible