(i) What do we believe about Hell?
Hell – Our Belief in Hell
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20, KJV)
Some Christian Universalists don’t believe in Hell. This is “not” so with us as we follow the “same” interpretation of “Hell” as “Purgatorial” (especially 1 Peter 4:5 – 6) toward the “unsaved” as the earliest Christian theological schools (especially the ones whose mother tongue or first language was Greek as it’s with New Testament Scripture) taught.
This focus from history is shown a little in image (all these images are from Wikipedia unless stated otherwise).
(ii) Eternal Hell – Its Origin
“In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six theological schools, of which four (Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, and Edessa, or Nisibis) were Universalist, one (Ephesus) accepted conditional immortality; one (Carthage or Rome) taught endless punishment of the wicked. Other theological schools are mentioned as founded by Universalists, but their actual doctrine on this subject is not known.” – “The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge” by Schaff-Herzog, 1908, volume 12, page 96
If you notice carefully, eternal hell history only comes from the theological school at Rome which taught in “Latin” (and not based on the Original Surviving Language of the New Testament Scripture which is Greek).
Please also notice that “Tertulian & Augustine” (from the theological school at Rome) are called “Latin fathers of the church” who believed in ‘eternal Hell’ while the Greek fathers of the church such as “Clement or Origen” from the “Alexandrian” school believed in “purgatorial Hell”.
Some eternal Hell theologians often misquote (Clement of Alexandria or even St. Iraneous of Lyons) by claiming that these believed in eternal hell by translating their works which contain the equivalent phrase “aionion kolasin” (as found in Matthew 25:46) to mean “everlasting punishment or fire” instead of “age-during fire” causing a biased claim in their ‘scholarly write ups’.
Please note that the ‘other quotes’ of Clement of Alexandria clearly speaks of purgatorial Hell only and never an eternal Hell which is almost “never” quoted by such eternal Hell theologians.
Can we understand?
Also, please read up the ‘father of church history’ (Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea) himself to understand ‘earliest Christian history’ without “bias”.
Wasn’t Clement Of Alexandria specifically mentioned to have inherited the “apostolic seed” by Eusebius in his book? Please refer to image testifying to that from a popular translation.
Who did Eusebius mention a lot in “high” regard even as ‘endorsed by the authority of the earliest church’ in his infamous book ecclesiastical history?
Was it the eternal hell theologians (Tertulian and the School at Rome) or much more ‘greatly’ of (Clement of Alexandria, Origen & the theological school at Alexandria)?
Please ask your ‘professor’ to realise this and any post analysis is biased since many of the books were lost after Eternal Hell Christianity out of Rome exerted dominance via military power too post conversion of emperor Constantine.
Thus, whom Eusebius considered as authority in doctrine stands (e. g. he writes that Origen ‘rejected prebystery’, had ‘false’ claims stored up against him by Jealousy of the local bishop Demetrius & Origen was invited to teach doctrine by the Bishops of Jerusalem & Palestine where the Gospel was born where these bishops would sit like students to learn doctrine).
Please refer to attached images to see this fact from a popular Eusebius’ translation:
Despite Origen’s errors in ‘pre-existence of souls and transmigration’ (if he actually taught this as his later writings were translated and commented heavily by his theological enemies). Regardless, rest assured that Clement of Alexandria, his teacher NEVER taught it, these remains “Origen’s errors only if true”.
Clement clearly taught Christ centered universalism and purgatorial Hell as per the “apostolic seed” past down to him at the Alexandrian school. This is the “same” truth we preach.
Here’s a Christian universalist quote from Eusebius himself:
Eusebius of Caesarea lived from 265 to 340 A.D. He was the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and a friend of Constantine, great Emperor of Rome. His commentary of Psalm II says:
“The Son ‘breaking in pieces” His enemies is for the sake of re-molding them, as a potter his own work; as Jeremiah 18:6 says: i.e., to restore them once again to their former state.”
P/S: How about eternal Hell theologians?
Even two major eternal Hell theologians (below) from that “earliest time period of the church” testify that ‘universalim in Christ only’ (via purgatorial Hell whose punishments are “not” endless) is the “majority” doctrine among “Christians at that time & in their areas too” (implied) in two infamous quotes below (we identify with these unknown Christians whose names got lost in history, hence “anonymous Christian” as per our understanding of it independent of the popular Catholic theologian Karl Rahner’s meaning of this term):
St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379) in his De Asceticis wrote: “The mass of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished.” I point out that he is not classified as a Universalist.
Augustine (354-430 A.D.), ‘one of the four great Latin Church Fathers (Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome and Gregory the Great), wrote:
“There are very many in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments.”
Jerome (is known to contain both quotes, eternal hell vs purgatorial hell for the unsaved) and theologians are often confused regarding his position on the matter (if they honestly consider his writing without bias).
It’s probable that Jerome believed in Universal Reconciliation but due to fear of the authority of Rome (West, which was rising to power at that time), he pretended to agree theologically to Rome at times while kept his Universal Reconciliation hope much to himself as he learnt it from the great Eastern exegetes of the church aforementioned.
Example, to quote:
Jerome, who revised the old Latin Translations and translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, lived from 340 to 420 A.D. In his comments on Zephaniah 3:8-10 he says:
“The nations are gathered to the Judgment, that on them may be poured out an the wrath of the fury of the Lord, and this in pity and with a design to heal…. in order that every one may return to the confession of the Lord, that in Jesus’ Name every knee may bow, and every tongue may confess that He is Lord. All God’s enemies shall perish, not that they cease to exist, but cease to be enemies.”
Athanasius, called the Great Father of Orthodoxy, writes:
“While the devil thought to kill One [Christ], he is deprived of all those cast out of hades, and he [the devil] sitting by the gates, sees all fettered beings led forth by the courage of the Saviour.”
Again, Jerome comments on Isaiah 14:7, saying:
“Our Lord descends, and was shut up in the eternal [Olam/Aionion] bars, in order that He might set free all who had been shut up… The Lord descended to the place of punishment and torment, in which was the rich man, in order to liberate the prisoners.”
(iii) Aion or Eon
Here’s a fact regarding this Mistranslation of the word Aion:
Do you know that even Satan is described by this exact ‘same’ word for his ‘duration’ as ‘god’ (in 2 Corinthians 4:4) and in other instances it is used to describe aspects regarding God (Ephesians 3:21, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 3:18, Jude 1:25) in Holy Scripture?
So, if ‘aion’ means ‘forever’, is Satan god forever or do we conveniently manipulate & insert the word world here where in fact the Greek Word for World (e. g. Kosmon) exists but is ‘not’ used in this verse?
Who is ‘honestly’ translating then?
Please consider the write ups below too for edification regarding this:
Other Useful Links:
Thank you for reading & Peace to you!