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When they are in fashion, fads are never recognized as fads. Recognizing them as fads or, worse yet for Orthodox as deviations from genuine Tradition, would only serve to dismiss them from serious consideration.
I suggest that the latest interest in Universalism, the belief that everyone will eventually road to gehenna binary options saved, is the latest fad or, if preferred, that it is currently fashionable. Evidence of this may be found road to gehenna binary options the fact that the view is being promoted by a number of different people who have little contact with one another and with little else in common.
My review of the latter may be found here. Admittedly the conviction that everyone will eventually be saved including Satan and the demons has been expressed from time to time throughout Christian history as has the unrelated conviction that Christ is not fully divinebut, like the latter Arian opinion, the majority of Christians have decided to pass on it.
For people like the Orthodox who believe that God guides His Church and that therefore consensus matters, the solid fact of Christian consensus about the eternity of hell is surely significant. Orthodox scholars rarely stand on their hind legs and boldly proclaim that everyone will be saved. Metropolitan Kallistos thus begins by declaring the question open much like he recently declared the question of whether or not women may be ordained priests as open in the latest revision of his The Orthodox Churchand then proceeds to examine the evidence.
We will do the same here, and examine the Scriptures, road to gehenna binary options Fathers, and the teaching of the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Since this is a blog and not a book, the examination must of necessity be somewhat limited. We begin with the Scripturesand in particular with the Old Testament. Most discussions I have read about this topic tend to ignore the Old Testament road to gehenna binary options irrelevant to the subject at hand, but given the fact that the apostles would have consulted the Hebrew Scriptures for all subjects, this seems unwise.
In the Old Testament we find the following consistent themes:. In all of these road to gehenna binary options the Scriptural citations for road to gehenna binary options could easily be multiplied road to gehenna binary options see that although God loves everyone and judges with reluctance, He does nonetheless judge with severity those who persist in sin because He is implacably hates sin.
This binary theme of God as the lover of righteousness and hater of sin runs throughout the Old Testament. God is the judge of all road to gehenna binary options earth, and His punishing judgment and severity falls upon those who rebel against righteousness.
Some might suggest that these themes have little ultimately to do with the subject of hell, since the judgment threatened in the time of the Old Testament had to do with this life and not the next. Admittedly, the Old Testament texts do not deal much with the life of the age to come. But there is one text that does: There is therefore no reason to think that the judgments of God upon the sinner have no application to the life of eternity.
The theme of the age to come of course comes to the fore in the New Testament. And here, Christ speaks quite categorically: He warns of the impenitent being bound hand and foot and cast into the outer road to gehenna binary options where men will weep and gnash their teeth Matthew 8: If the Universalists are correct, then the worm will indeed die and the fire will indeed be quenched, but Christ here says the opposite. In His parable about Lazarus and the rich man, Christ explicitly says that there is a great gulf fixed between paradise and the place of punishment, so that none may cross over from the place to punishment into paradise Luke Granted that this is a parable and not a behind the scenes peak at eternity, it remains an odd thing to say if in fact everyone in the place of road to gehenna binary options will indeed eventually cross over into paradise.
One can debate the meaning of the word aionion if one likes, but the word must have the same meaning in both halves of v. If the life of the righteous is eternal, then so must be the punishment of the unrighteous.
One may assert that St. Paul proclaims universalism, but no one has ever suggested that Christ did. All of His words about the fate of men road to gehenna binary options the age to come are emphatic that hell is eternal, and contain not a hint of universalism. One cannot bypass this fact when promoting universalism, as many seem to do, but must rather explain why it is that Christ is so uncompromising in His words about hell.
Obviously one must interpret both Christ and His apostle so that their teachings are mutually compatible. And in fact St. Paul does indeed conform with his Lord, and teach that the punishment of hell is unending. Take for example 1 Corinthians 6: There is no suggestion that actually they will inherit the Kingdom of God after all, but only after a lot of suffering.
Or take for example Ephesians 5: Or take for another example 2 Thessalonians 1: Fragment of a fresco of the ninth scene of the Apocalypse, Dionysiou Monastery, Mt. And then there is the Book of Revelation. This Book is clear to the point of being almost lurid that the pains of hell are unending: Indeed, if a man wanted to express the concept of unending punishment, how much more emphatic than this could he get? One may, if one likes, presume to be more loving and road to gehenna binary options than the apostolic author of these words.
How such a view can be moral and consistent with belief in a loving God can and should be debated. But for Christians who believe the Scriptures, the truth of this teaching is sure. Our faith must be rooted in the Scriptures, not in our own views of whether or not we think something is consistent with love as we understand it. A belief in hell may or may not be consistent with love, but what is certain is that it is taught in the Scriptures, and this must be the deciding factor for us.
The upshot of all this may be summed up by John, the beloved disciple and the apostle of love: In 1 Corinthians This is compatible with the lost no longer being found in the new heavens or the new earth, but in the darkness outside, excluded from the Kingdom compare Matthew Here Paul is speaking of the possibility of all men enjoying eternal life, not of the certainty of their eventual salvation.
Christ is truly the Road to gehenna binary options of all men 1 Timothy 4: John the key to enjoying this salvation is acceptance of Jesus as Lord and God. John is emphatic that Jesus came to save the whole world, and equally emphatic that a man must believe in Jesus to be saved. Universalism destroys this fundamental apostolic binary. We turn now to a brief look at the Fathers.
Here is not the place to enter into a detailed examination of what these ancient Christian writers wrote, and what they meant by it, and whether they would be happy to be thus hauled into court as witnesses for Christian universalism.
In the case of Origen, we may doubt this road to gehenna binary options Presumably this excluded promoting this teaching on blogs. In the vast array of the Fathers, only a few are regularly cited: Gregory of Nyssa along with his mentor Origenand Isaac the Syrian.
We note in passing that road to gehenna binary options have debated whether or not Gregory of Nyssa may be considered a universalist in the sense we are discussing. Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos argues in his book Life After Death that Gregory of Nyssa did not in fact contradict the view of the Fifth Ecumenical Council that the punishments of Gehenna were unending. Where such scholars disagree about patristics, I am happy to walk away quietly and leave the question open.
But even if Gregory of Nyssa did actually teach that all will be saved, his was still simply a single individual opinion.
It could be, as some suggest, that many other Fathers have written from a universalist perspective. Being a parish priest and not road to gehenna binary options patristic scholar, I have not read everything written by the Fathers, would be happy to hear their voices, especially set in context, finding out in which book or essay they wrote their universalist opinion.
But that Gregory of Nyssa and Isaac road to gehenna binary options Syrian are the only ones constantly quoted by proponents like Ware and Hart does little to bolster the view that many of the Fathers thought like this. One always hears about Gregory and Isaac, and hardly ever road to gehenna binary options anyone else. It is difficult to not to conclude that Gregory with his mentor Origen and Isaac the Syrian and few others stood over against the vast consensus of practically everyone else.
At the risk of opening up a game of duelling patristic citations, in the east one might quote from St. Then in the west we may quote from St.
He appears to refer to an existing consensus, which rejected the apokatastasis taught by Origen. This consensus would later come to be expressed in the canons of future Ecumenical Councils. The views of the Fathers are important, but perhaps not as important as the traditions of these Councils, for an Orthodox thinker may disagree with St.
John Chrysostom, but he may not disagree with the conclusions of the Ecumenical Councils and still regard himself as genuinely Orthodox. When we look at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, we find associated with it a series of fifteen anathemas directed as heretical teachings of that day associated with the name of Origen.
Though no one doubts Origen was condemned by the Council his name road to gehenna binary options included along with Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius and other ancient heretics in Canon 11considerable doubt attaches to whether the fifteen anathemas were the genuine work of the Council.
Some suggest that they were the work of bishops meeting before the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Either way, the Council Fathers certainly knew of them and approved of them as even Metropolitan Kallistos acknowledgessince they condemned Origen by name, lumping him road to gehenna binary options with other ancient heretics. These anathemas therefore may be allowed to stand as illustrative of why the Council Fathers anathematized Origen in Canon Origen of course produced much good work in his day St.
The abiding point of the anathemas therefore has to do with Origenism as it was known in the sixth century road to gehenna binary options its erroneous teachings, and less to do with the historical figure of Origen himself.
What was it that the Church was determined to anathematize? We gain road to gehenna binary options idea from looking at the fifteen anathemas themselves. Clearly the doctrine of apokatastasis considered here appears in Origenistic dress. Augustine would not have been much mollified, nor St. Nor would Justinian, who called the council: It is possible, I suppose, that although the Emperor seems to have rejected the notion of apokatastasis in principle, the Council Fathers accepted it in principle, and only anathematized it because of its Origenistic framework, but this seems a bit of a stretch.
If the Council Fathers had no problem with apokatastasis as such, one wonders why they mentioned it at all in their condemnation of Origen. Consider, for example, the stich for the Vespers of the Sunday of the Road to gehenna binary options Judgment: One may lament this reading of the Council as some do and spend much effort trying to correct it and promote universalism as a live option perhaps even rehabilitating Origen.
But surely an age-long Orthodox consensus has a weight of its own? For centuries Orthodox Christians have believed that the doctrine of an ultimate apokatastasis was off the table, and this cannot be ignored.
It is a narrow and legalistic reading of our tradition that that ascribes authority only to the pronouncements of the Ecumenical Councils, as if road to gehenna binary options not explicitly condemned by them were live options. Liberal scholars, of course, are happy to dismiss centuries of tradition and belief as the ramblings of the ignorant and uneducated, but pious Orthodox will give this tradition its due weight.
And when the Scriptures are so clear, and when the consensus of the Fathers so weighty, and when the occasions when the Ecumenical Councils which considered the question all point in the same direction, we may conclude that we have found the mind of the Church.