The Universality of God's Love
Here is what what the outline says about Abelard:
The Cross as Moral Example
Peter Abelard: The Cross Illustrates God's Love
The incarnation, the life and death of Jesus illustrates God’s love for humanity and moves us to love of God. This love is what saves us.
“the purpose and cause of the incarnation was that Christ might illuminate the world by his wisdom, and excite it to love of himself”
“our redemption through the suffering of Christ is that deeper love within us which not only frees us from slavery to sin, but also secures for us the true liberty of the children of God, in order that we might do all things out of love rather than out of fear. . .”
And here is what the outline says about Origen:
Origen: All of Creation Must Be Restored to God
Origen proposed that all will be saved (Universalism) because he could not accept the Gnostic-like view that there would be a realm of Good and a realm of Evil existing side by side for all eternity:
- The idea that God and Satan would rule over respective kingdoms for all eternity [is] a flawed dualism.
- The final redeemed version of creation cannot include a hell or kingdom of Satan. In the end, all of creation must be restored to God.
Also under Universalism, the outline mentions John A. T. Robinson (the radical English theologian of the 1960’s), who proposed that all will be saved because in the end, no one will reject the overpowering love of God:
This is also the viewpoint of Madeleine L'Engle, who is one of my literary and spiritual heroes. (There's a great interview with Madeleine L'Engle at Amazon.com.) She writes, "All will be redeemed in God's fullness of time, not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ. All the strayed and stolen sheep. All the little lost ones."
“May we not imagine a love so strong that ultimately no one will be able to refrain himself from free and grateful surrender?”
“In a universe of love there can be no heaven which tolerates a chamber of horrors.”
Sadly, Madeleine L'Engle's universalism is why many Christian bookstores no longer carry her books. Many Christians today have the same problem Jonah did: they refuse to accept the possiblity of God's love or mercy outside their own religious framework. Fundamentalists will rigorously defend the literalness of Jonah's journey in the belly of the great fish but miss the entire point of the book: the universality of God's love.
I like these views of atonement and salvation because they affirm both the truth of the Christian faith (but not its exclusive hold on truth) as well as the inclusiveness of God's love.