James (Annoyed Pinoy) and I have been having a conversation about the Trinity. At this point in the conversation, James raised the ideas of human afterlife and the Second Coming of Christ. This post will be dedicated to having that conversation about human afterlife (or, as James referred to the topic, “universalism, ” meaning roughly, everyone goes to heaven). [To follow our other conversation which is about the Second Coming (or, as James called the topic, the “apocatastasis,” meaning roughly, “the restoration” of all things as in Acts 3:21) see this post.]
James: Btw, someday we can discuss the issue of universalism/apocatastasis.
Mike: Okay. This post will be for the universalism conversation, if and as you decide to continue it. And this other post will be for the apocatastasis conversation.
James: The issue isn’t as important to me as the doctrine of the Trinity since I believe that one is less likely to go to hell if she believed in the Trinity even though she mistakenly also believe in some form of universalism (as serious as the error is). In comparison to someone who believed in eternal punishment, yet denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The issue of the Trinity is much more essential. I’m not saying that only those who believe in both doctrines (Trinity and eternal punishment) can get to heaven. Since perfect doctrine isn’t what saves anyone. Rather it is Christ who, by His Grace, leads people into exercising saving faith in Him.
Mike: You have six sentences in this section. The sixth was your best. In fact, you should strike the first five and start anew with the sixth. Going to heaven when we die is the ultimate salvation of this life, but Christ means to “save” us all through this life – every hour of every day of it if we will allow Him. Saving faith is that which redeems us from our sinful ways and strengthens us to live for His glory and the good of those around us.
James: I’m only saying that those who don’t believe in both doctrines are in jeopardy of not being saved. Let me say that I haven’t always held to eternal punishment. I used to hold to annihilationism (the best work in defense of it would be Edward Fudge’s “The Fire That Consumes”).
Mike: There is no annihilation. We are all going to heaven, though we won’t all land in the same place there. Those who walk closest to God here will walk closest to Him there. This is what Jesus had to tell the mother of James and John when she sought for them a shortcut.
Living for Christ is what matters. Whole-hearted repentance is the only appropriate response for what He has done for us. Living righteously is what causes His light to shine through us (Daniel 12:3). Blessed are those who are humble, contrite of spirit, and who tremble at His word (Isaiah 66:2).
Everyone Is Going to Heaven (one page)
It’s your turn, James, whenever you’re ready.