“But we maintain that the Power of Christ’s Cross and of His Death is sufficient for Healing and Restoration not just now and for all future ages but even those of the past.”
– Origen of Alexandria
St. Jerome (342-420), the author of the Vulgate Latin Bible and whose jealousy got him into an ugly scandal that stained the church, writes: “I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its King, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures.”
Didymus writes: “Mankind, being reclaimed from their sins..are to be subjected to Christ in the fullness of the dispensation instituted for the salvation of all” (Comm. in 1 Peter 3).
St. Gregory of Nyssa (332-398), a bishop and a leading theologian says in his Catechetical Orations: “Our Lord is the One who delivers man (all men), and who heals the inventor of evil himself.”
Titus, bishop of Bostra was, “one of the most important church writers of his time.” Titus writes: “Abyss of hell is, indeed, the place of torment; but it is not eternal, nor did it exist in the original constitution of nature. It was made afterward, as a remedy for sinners, that it might cure them. And the punishments are holy, as they are remedial and salutary in their effect on transgressors; for they are inflicted not to preserve them in their wickedness but to make them cease from their wickedness. The anguish of their suffering compels them to break off their vices” (Lib. 1, ch. 32).
Diodore (c. 390), bishop of Tarsus and bishop of Jerusalem. In McClintock-Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (publ. Baker Book, 1969), we read of Diodore: “A teacher of great repute in the school at Antioch, and afterwards bishop of Jerusalem, was also a Universalist, who, in opposition to the then general prevalence of allegorical interpretation, strictly adhered to the natural import of the text in his many commentaries on the Scriptures. He defended Universalism on the ground that the divine mercy far exceeds all the effects and all the deserts of sin.”
Diodore wrote: “For the wicked are punished, 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, having no end awaits them. The resurrection, therefore is regarded as a blessing not only to the good but also to the evil.”
McClintock-Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature has this to say about the next church leader of the early church:
‘”Theodore, who is called the crown and climax of the school of Antioch and whose writings were textbooks in the school of Eastern Syria, was a prominent and influential Universalist. His theory was that sin is an incidental part of the development and education of the human race; that while some are more involved in it than others, God will overrule it to the final establishment of all in good. He is the reputed author of the liturgy used by the Nestorians, a church which at one time equaled in its membership the combined adherents of both the Greek and Latin communions. In the addresses and prayers of this liturgy Universalism is distinctly avowed.”
‘Schaff-Herzog’s Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge says that, “His influence for some centuries was more extensive than that of Augustine.” Theodore, of whom the average modern Christian does not even know ever existed, has this to say:
‘”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 has paid the uttermost farthing’ unless it were possible for us to be cleansed when we have paid the debt” (quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin).
Of John Cassian (c. 360-435), the Schaff-Herzog encyclopaedia says: “Under the instruction of these great teachers (i.e. Theodore of Mopsuestia and John Cassian, etc.) many theologians believed in universal salvation; and indeed the whole Eastern Church until after 500 A.D. was inclined to it.”
Theodoret the Blessed (c. 393-466), was consecrated bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria against his will. He was also a historian and continued the historian Eusibius’s work down to 428. McClintock-Strong says that he was, “a pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia, was also a Universalist holding the doctrine on the theory advocated by the Antiochian school.”
‘ Theodoret writes: “He shews the reason of penalty, for the Lord, who loves men, chastises in order to heal, like a physician, that he may arrest the course of our sin” (Hom. in Ezech. ch. 6).
Peter Chrysologus (435), bishop of Ravenna, in a sermon on the Good Shepherd, says the lost sheep represents, “The whole human race lost in Adam,” and that Christ, “followed the one, seeks the one in order that in the one he may restore all.”
Clement of Alexandria (Origen’s teacher) quotes (on a surviving fragment):
Ver. 2. “And not only for our sins,”–that is for those of the faithful,–is the Lord the propitiator, does he say, “but also for the whole world.” He, indeed, saves all; but some [He saves], converting them by punishments; others, however, who follow voluntarily [He saves] with dignity of honour; so “that every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth;” that is, angels, men, and souls that before His advent have departed from this temporal life.
This the “end” for creation (all of it) as apostle Paul himself writes this (conclusion):
“Because creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:21)
Finally, Lord Jesus Himself said,
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)