Larger, Wider, or Greater Hope?

In the 19th century. universal salvation was commonly referred to (at least by universalists) as the “larger hope” and less commonly (so I surmise) as the “wider hope.”

Seven or eight years ago I took to speaking of universal salvation as the “greater hope.” I do not recall if I read the phrase somewhere or whether my brain creatively trans­posed “larger” into “greater.”

While I’m tempted to conform my personal usage to the “larger” and “wider” usage, my personal attachment to the “greater” seems to be greater. Old habits are hard to break.

Which one are you—a larger, wider, or greater hoper?

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21 Responses to Larger, Wider, or Greater Hope?

  1. Hi Father Kimal. Thankyou so much for being brave enough to post this. There is a children’s song that says it all for me. Wide, wide as the Ocean, High as the heavens above, deep, deep as the deepest sea is my Saviours Love….(it goes on about being unworthy, which I would disagree with…)however this first line tells me how great is the heart of my eternal Papa. And it is His heart, not my faith, that shows me I too believe in the larger and wider reconciliation of all men to God. Not because we should have it. But because of Papas goodness to His children. And because we are told numerous times in scripture (26 times in psalm 136 alone!) that hope is eternal. And why have a hope that is eternal, except someone somewhere needs it? I cannot now look at eternal punishment for humankind; without abhorrence, as I think Papa does. What Papa would condemn their child to such a monstrous thing? Thankfully dealing with God is outside of time, and that is the key. For eons can exist within the twinkling of an eye in such a situation! For myself, love and hope show me that CHRIST truly showed us His Papas message. ‘I have not come into the world to condemn it (unlike us!) but to save it.’ And the worlds of God do not return to Him void. So I think we can leave ourselves safely in His hands.

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  2. sinkovski says:

    A quick question: what would you say our connection is with Adam and New Adam?

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    • We got the disease of death from one, and Eternal Life from the other!

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      • sinkovski says:

        All of us ? As in whole human nature and all human persons ? Unconditionally ?

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        • Yes. Read Romans. Chapter 5. As sin came via Adam to all, so when CHRIST died, He saved all, because all died with Him and rose with Him when He rose.

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        • dianelos says:

          sinkovski,

          You write:

          So, I had no vote in Fall and no vote in Resurection, right?

          We obviously have a vote in Salvation; the whole of Christ’s ethical teaching in the gospels is about how we should vote. But this is not a vote of putting a small piece of paper in a box but a vote of putting our whole life on Christ’s path.

          More difficult is to see how we had a vote in Fall. David Bentley Hart has recently written that to be a person made in the image of God entails having freedom and in particular one’s assent to one’s being. Is there a sense in which humanity (or the human spirit if you like) did assent to its original creation?

          As it happens there is way to read Genesis 3 that comports with that idea. After all the serpent did say the truth: It is by choosing to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (and thus by choosing to leave behind the innocent but ethically blind nature of an animal in order to become persons made in the image of God) that we entered the long and difficult path towards eternity and indeed theosis (to “be as gods” to use the serpent’s words). Indeed it is though the so-called Fall that we got the opportunity to become “perfect as our heavenly father is perfect” to use Christ’s words in the sermon on the mount.

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          • sinkovski says:

            I think you, Dianelos, understood what the gist of my questions is (sorry Princess).
            And I think that the idea I’m looking for is in Eden, so to say, and out of time and that it probably has something to the with the Lamb, Cross, Adam and Christ. I just can’t see how I’m related to each of them. Sorry I’cant articulate it better…

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          • David says:

            Dianelos, I note that your position here appears to imply that the fall is in some sense a positive feature of creation – or at least an inevitable consequence of the transition from mere animality to rationality.

            That kind of position has some pros and cons that I won’t go into here, but as you envoke DBH I thought I’d mention that DBH is quite clear elsewhere that he does not hold to that kind of position. In another post (linked to here) he is clear that the fall is ‘neither providentially necessitated nor tragically inevitable.’https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/dbh-on-st-gregory-of-nyssa/

            That’s not to say that the wider position that humanity in some sense eternally consents to its own temporal creation is incorrect – indeed DBH obviously holds to this despite rejecting the ‘fall as inevitable’ position. But the point is that humanity’s ‘consent’ to fall is not to be identified with its consent to its own creation.

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  3. Tom says:

    Honestly it’s the “only hope” I can see at this point, since all hope contemplated in any other terms turns out to undermine itself and implode. For how does one hope in a God who freely creates under any other condition? I refer to UR as “the Christian hope.”

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  4. dianelos says:

    I think “greater” works better than “larger”, for the simple reason that by its very nature goodness is about quality and not quantity.

    Having said said that I think one cannot reasonably doubt universalism if one assumes that theism is true. Simply put, theism makes no sense without universalism. Yet one can reasonably doubt that theism is true. The human condition is such that certainty about theism is not given to us. And it’s a good thing that it’s not given to us because if it were then we wouldn’t really be free to love and choose the good. So I think the greater hope is that theism is true, that the whole of reality is grounded on and partakes in a spirit of pure goodness. That’s the longing of our heart, that’s how we are made.

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  5. Herb Garfield says:

    I recently found myself interceding for the ignorant, a sort of grow up and smell the coffee; it is what is is;. an imperfect world run by the imperfect We don’t get to change the world I ended my prayer by saying ” I don’t like to say it, but it needed to be said.” this Shama of ancient Israel, feels too big even now sometimes, too deep We must live together universally is a most pluralistic world and no one we can save

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  6. David says:

    Hopier hope.

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  7. Tom says:

    If I had to pick from ‘larger’, ‘wider’, or ‘greater’, I’d pick ‘richer’. Just kidding! I’d probably go with ‘wider’.

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  8. JBG says:

    I would say the ONLY hope.

    The salvation of all creatures, the awakening and liberation of all beings, the deliverance of all into Paradise, that all become siddhas and achieve moksha—that is the ONLY hope.

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