Universalism: Will Everyone Go to Heaven?

By Julia Stager

ladder-of-divine-ascentThe logic behind it goes something like this:

  • God loves everyone and desires all to be saved.
  • Nothing can suppress the love or will of God.
  • Therefore all will be saved.

A common verse cited in support of Universalism is 2 Corinthians 5:19, “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” Other verses cited by Universalists are: Ezekiel 33:11, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, Romans 11:32, and 1 John 4:8.

If these were the only verses in the Bible referring to the inclusion and/or exclusion of souls in the after-life, the Universalist’s argument could be persuasive. But that is not the case. In Matthew 25:46 Jesus says, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Other verses refuting Universalism are: Matthew 7:13-14, 8:12, 10:28, 13:40-42, 18:8, Mark 3:28-29, 9:43–48, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and Jude 7.

The Bible taken as a whole presents a much stronger case against Universalism than for it.

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A partial truth is no truth at all. Universalism promotes its partial truths at the expense of the complete biblical truth. Christ himself refutes Universalism every time he speaks of Hell, and he spoke about it more than anyone in Scripture. Since Christ clearly taught that not everyone will go to Heaven, and that some will go to Hell, it is logically inconsistent to claim to follow Christ and also be a Universalist.

Personally, I don’t like believing anyone will suffer in Hell for eternity. But because I take God at his Word, and trust that God is good whether or not I understand how everything fits together, I must not try to improve on what Christ said. To not believe in an eternal Hell is to deny the truth God has revealed to us through his Word. It betrays a personal lack of faith in him as the Good and Sovereign Creator. We think of Hell as unfair, when in actuality God is far more fair than any of us…

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