We differentiate as to the bitter and the sweet. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about our feelings in the premortal life regarding our coming to mortality:. That experience occurred in the premortal life when you were informed that finally your time had come to leave the spirit world to dwell on earth with a mortal body. Joseph Fielding Smith , Recognizing that Jesus Christ was foreordained as the Redeeming Messiah before the foundation of this earth enables us to better recognize our dependence upon Him.
Without the Atonement of Christ, immortality and eternal life would not be possible. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that Christ is the central figure in the plan of salvation:. In making such covenants, the Lord offered blessings in exchange for obedience to particular commandments. A plan was laid out for us from the very beginning.
As we accept Christ in spirit and in deed, we may win our salvation. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His great plan of happiness see Abraham — Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained the roles Christ plays in the salvation of man:. No one of them stands alone; each of them ties into the other two; and without a knowledge of all of them, it is not possible to know the truth about any one of them.
The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion. It ransoms men from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the Fall of Adam. All men will be resurrected because our blessed Lord himself died and rose again, becoming thus the firstfruits of them that slept. He took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance. Eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God, is available because of what Christ did in Gethsemane and at Golgotha.
He is both the resurrection and the life. Immortality and eternal life are the children of the Atonement. Is not our best effort enough to return us to our Father? How can he save himself from his predicament? Not by any exertions on his part, for there is no means of escape in the pit. He calls for help and some kindly disposed soul, hearing his cries for relief, hastens to his assistance and by lowering a ladder, gives to him the means by which he may climb again to the surface of the earth.
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All being together in the pit, none could gain the surface and relieve the others. The pit was banishment from the presence of the Lord and temporal death, the dissolution of the body. And all being subject to death, none could provide the means of escape. The great joy and good news of the gospel is that we will live again because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ all obstacles can be overcome by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. Nelson shared his feelings about the Atonement:.
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Modern Church Series (6 vols.)
Advocates have also argued that suffering of sinners in hell or hell-like states will be long but still limited, not eternal. However, liberal and progressive Christians have often argued that the teachings of the historical Jesus did not mention exclusive salvation for a select few and have altogether rejected many sections of the Bible written by figures decades after the life of Jesus as man-made inventions that are to be taken with a grain of salt.
While not being a universalist per se, influential Christian philosopher Karl Barth , often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century,  spoke for a great deal of broadly traditional Christians when he wrote that salvation is centrally Christological. He asserted that in Jesus Christ the reconciliation of all of mankind to God has essentially already taken place and that through Christ man is already elect and justified; thus, eternal salvation for everyone, even those that reject God, is a possibility that isn't just an open question but should be hoped for by Christians as a matter of grace.
The most recent academic survey of the history of universal salvation is by Biblical scholar Richard Bauckham. He outlines the history thus:.
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In the first years of Christian history, researchers have identified six main theological schools concerning apokatastasis. Four of them were Universalists, one taught "conditional immortality" and the last taught Eternal hell.
Those that did not embrace the teaching, such as Augustine, acknowledged that it was a common enough belief among Christians of the day. Origen and a form of apocatastasis were condemned in by the Patriarch Mennas of Constantinople and the condemnation was allegedly ratified in by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Apocatastasis was interpreted by 19th-century Universalists such as Hosea Ballou to be the same as the beliefs of the Universalist Church of America.
While it applied to a number of doctrines regarding salvation, it also referred to a return, both to a location and to an original condition. Thus, the Greek word's application was originally broad and metaphorical. Some authorities believe these anathemas belong to an earlier local synod. The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia claims that the Fifth Ecumenical Council was contested as being an official and authorized Ecumenical Council, since it was established not by the Pope, but rather by the Emperor, because of the Pope's resistance to it.
The Fifth Ecumenical Council addressed what was called "The Three Chapters"  and was against a form of Origenism which had nothing to do with Origen and Origenist views. Popes Vigilius, Pelagius I —61 , Pelagius II —90 , and Gregory the Great — were only aware that the Fifth Council specifically dealt with the Three Chapters and they made no mention of Origenism or Universalism, nor spoke as if they knew of its condemnation, even though Gregory the Great was opposed to the belief of universalism.
Fredrick W. Norris maintains Origen may not have strongly believed in universal reconciliation at all. In an article on Apocatastasis in The Westminster handbook to Origen he writes that "As far as we can tell, therefore, Origen never decided to stress exclusive salvation or universal salvation, to the strict exclusion of either case. The most important school of Universalist thought was the Didascalium in Alexandria, Egypt, which was founded by Saint Pantaenus ca. Knight claimed that Clement of Alexandria expressed universalist positions in early Christianity.
These claims have been controversial since they were first made. Gregory of Nyssa was declared "the father of fathers" by the seventh ecumenical council and some traditional and modern Greek orthodox scholars dispute Pierre Batiffol and George T. Knight's claim that Saint Gregory of Nyssa and Saint Macrina the Younger , who were brother and sister, believed or taught universal salvation.
However, Gregory of Nyssa, in his book Sermo Catecheticus Magnus , described: "The annihilation of evil, the restitution of all things, and the final restoration of evil men and evil spirits to the blessedness of union with God, so that He may be 'all in all,' embracing all things endowed with sense and reason. He further stated, "when death approaches to life, and darkness to light, and the corruptible to the incorruptible, the inferior is done away with and reduced to non-existence, and the thing purged is benefited, just as the dross is purged from gold by fire. In the same way in the long circuits of time, when the evil of nature which is now mingled and implanted in them has been taken away, whensoever the restoration to their old condition of the things that now lie in wickedness takes place, there will be a unanimous thanksgiving from the whole creation, both of those who have been punished in the purification and of those who have not at all needed purification.
One of the undisputed teachers of universal reconciliation is St. Isaac the Syrian , monastic theologian and bishop of Nineveh. The Universalist John Wesley Hanson stated that even after eternal hell became the normative position of the Church, there were still some Christian thinkers during the Middle Ages who embraced Universalist ideas. In his Schaff article George T.
If ideas about the salvation of all souls after purgatory existed in early Christianity, they did not resurface in the Reformation, although figures such as Erasmus rekindled interests in the Greek Church Fathers , and early advocates of universal salvation, such as Origen, became more broadly known as new editions of their writings were published. Michael Servetus ' writings also fall into a form of universalism in this period.
The period between the Reformation and Enlightenment featured extended debates about salvation and hell. Joachim Vadian and Johann Kessler accused the German Anabaptist Hans Denck of universal salvation, but he denied it, and recent research suggests that this is not so. Prominent universalists of this time also include the Cambridge Platonists in seventeenth-century England such as Peter Sterry. The rise of ideological Calvinism , which taught that God neither sought out nor wanted salvation for all mankind and strictly held that divine omnipotence meant that God created those that he foresaw damnation for without mercy, fueled an intellectual counter-reaction in which universalist-like doctrines that God intended all of humanity to be saved and will extend grace to most of humanity gained appeal.
Arminianism and Quaker doctrine received much attention, although Christian universalism was still a fringe phenomenon in terms of scholarly thinking of the time. George Whitfield in a letter to John Wesley says that Peter Boehler , a bishop in the Moravian Church, had privately confessed in a letter that "all the damned souls would hereafter be brought out of hell".
In , the Universalist Rev J. Day published an article "Was John Wesley a Restorationist? Biographers of Wesley reject this claim. Universalism was brought to the American colonies in the early eighteenth century by the English-born physician George de Benneville , attracted by Pennsylvania's Quaker tolerance.
North American universalism was active and organized. This was seen as a threat by the orthodox, Calvinist Congregationalists of New England such as Jonathan Edwards , who wrote prolifically against universalist teachings and preachers. During this time, famous German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher became one of the most well known religious thinkers to teach universalism.
Though he somewhat shared John Calvin 's view of predestination , he interpreted the concept of an all-determining will of God to mean that, through God's might, power, and foresight, humanity as a whole is fundamentally united in God's view and that every single person will eventually be drawn into His irresistible influence. Other examples include English theologian Henry Bristow Wilson , who took somewhat of a universalist viewpoint in his part of the famous work Essays and Reviews and became condemned in the Court of Arches an ecclesiastical court of the Church of England only to soon receive vindication when the Lord Chancellor overturned said condemnation.
Frederic Farrar 's famous series of sermons in Westminster Abbey in , published in print form as Eternal Hope a year later, disputed the traditional views of damnation and punishment. While highly influential Protestant theologians Karl Barth and Emil Brunner both didn't strictly identify as universalists, they each wrote in detail about how they viewed complete salvation extended to every single member of mankind as being not just a distinct possibility but something that should be hoped for by all Christians.
He also addressed the relationship between love and universalism in Love Alone is Credible.