As I continue to work through this series on Christian Universalism, I think it is important to reiterate that the classic doctrine of Universalism (termed in Greek as apokatastasis) as developed by the Church Fathers and later Christians in the broad-stream of orthodoxy (Eastern, Catholic, Protestant) do not deny the existence of hell. Rather, the doctrine simply states that hell is provisional, or of an appropriate age, which ties into the biblical term most often associated with the fire of hell, namely that these fires are aionian (which has been dubiously translated as ‘eternal’). So, this series is intended to urge Christians in the mainstream of the historic strands of the Christian tradition to seriously consider this doctrine. As I have moved to embrace the Universal hope of the restoration of all things, what seems to me to be at stake is the total victory of God in Christ over all evil.
These things said, as I continue to work on some of the summary material most appropriate for a blog, I will continue to post resources. The fact of the matter is I can only provide an introduction to the topic. It will be up to the readers of this series to investigate the topic more fully. The encouragement I will urge my readers with is to not reject this concept off-hand – it is one thing to disagree with arguments that are understood, another thing entirely to dismiss them without understanding their substance.
Today’s post will provide some fantastic youtube interviews and lectures. The interview of Robin Parry is from a Protestant perspective and is probably the most accessible for those who aren’t necessarily theology buffs. However, the interview of Ilaria Ramelli, a Roman Catholic scholar and one of the preeminent experts on Universalism in the early church, and the paper delivered by the Eastern Orthodox scholar David Bently Hart are more thorough and theologically rigorous treatments of the question of Universalism.