Universal salvation, or universal reconciliation–in which, in my review of A Woman of the Pharisees, I said I believe–is considered heresy by most Christians. I am one Christian who doesn’t consider it that.
It is widely argued that the Greek word aionios, rather than meaning “everlasting,” refers to limited time, while kolasis (“punishment” in the KJV) means chastisement meant to correct a person. If this is true, the wicked, the “goats,” in Matthew 25:46 undergo corrective chastisement which occurs for a limited time, not for an eternity. Indeed, it may occur in the form of a second death (Rev. 21).
I said “if this is true,” but it’s difficult to see why it wouldn’t be true in the face of many things the Bible tells us. Jesus declared, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Will all people be drawn to Him after being corrected (as well as redeemed)? Does this not mean they will be drawn to Him for salvation?
In Jeremiah 3:17 we read, “At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts” (NIV). All nations? Sure, and why can’t this refer to all the people of all nations? All people drawn to Jesus, all people honoring the name of the Lord–and free from their evil hearts. Surely there is a nexus between the Jeremiah verse and what John points out in his first epistle: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (4:14). Gee, I thought He was simply the Savior of the elect–and, yes, those who are born again at the present time were elected–but John uses the phrase “Savior of the world.” Something universal seems to be on the horizon.
Do I not believe in Hell, then? No, I believe in divine judgment and in the second death (whatever it is).