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The Recognition of Universal Reconciliation - Part 2
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By Ernest L. Martin, December 1982
Edited by David Sielaff, August 2002

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Read carefully this extended but beautiful passage by Gregory,

“Hence, another meaning of subjection is understood by Paul as opposite to the common one. The exposition of the term 'subjection' as used here does not mean the forceful, necessary subjection of enemies as is commonly meant; while on the other hand, salvation is clearly interpreted by subjection. ... Paul mentions this in his Epistle to the Romans: ‘For if we have been enemies, we have been reconciled to God’ [Rom 5.10]. Here Paul calls subjection reconciliation, one term indicating salvation by another word. For as salvation is brought near to us by subjection, Paul says in another place, ‘Being reconciled, we shall be saved in this life’ [Rom 5.10]. Therefore, Paul says that such enemies are to be subjected to God and the Father; death no longer is to have authority. This is shown by Paul saying, ‘Death will be destroyed,’ a clear statement that the power of evil will be utterly removed: persons are called enemies of God by disobedience, while those who have become the Lord's friends are persuaded by Paul saying, ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: Be reconciled to God’ [2Cor 6.20]. ...

When all enemies have become God's footstool, they [the enemies] will receive a trace of divinity in themselves. Once death has been destroyed — for if there are no persons who will die, not even death would exist — then we will be subjected to him; but this is not understood by some sort of servile humility. Our subjection, however, consists of a kingdom, incorruptibility and blessedness living in us; this is Paul's meaning of being subjected to God. Christ perfects his good in us by himself, and effects in us what is pleasing to him. According to our limited understanding of Paul's great wisdom which we received, we have only understood part of it.

• Orat. in I Cor. xv.28

About the same time lived Diodorus of Tarsus. He was equally assured the Scripture taught the universal reconciliation of all to Christ—and that it would be accomplished through the power of Jesus Christ.

“For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetual, but they are to be tormented for a certain brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness without end awaits them. The resurrection, therefore, is to be regarded as a blessing not only to the good but also to the evil.”

• De aecon.

Then there was Theodore of Mopsuestia (a contemporary of Diodorus), who was the leader of the Christian university of Antioch. He was called by those who knew him as “the Master of the East because of his theological eminence.” His remarks are very pertinent.

“That in the world to come, those who have done evil all their life long, will be made worthy of the sweetness of the Divine bounty. For never would Christ have said ‘Until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,’ unless it were possible for us to be cleansed when we have paid our debts. ... Who is so great a fool as to think that so great a blessing [eternal life in Christ] can be to those who let arise [in their hearts] the occasion of endless torment.”

• Frag. iv

In other words, endless torment was to Theodore incompatible with the Gospel.

And most important to the issue is Jerome (c.400 C.E.). The reason for this is because he was a translator of the Hebrew and Greek testaments into the common Latin of the time. He was fully aware of all the original words involving a so-called “eternal” damnation that some translators today render as endless and unrelenting torments, but Jerome taught the redemption of all!

“Christ will, in the ages to come, show not to one, but to the whole number of rational creatures His glory, and the riches of His grace, by means of us [Christians]. The saints are to reign over the fallen angels, and the prince of this world, even to them will be brought blessing.”

• In Eph. ii.7

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