Why is there weeping and gnashing of teeth if the burning of the tares is a benign experience, an
immersion in Holy Ghost fire?
Universalist Hosea Ballou protests that tares can be transformed
into wheat. Since even the most abject sinner can be born again and
made into a righteous man, what a waste it would be to burn the
"Who did Christ come to save? The righteous? No, he came not to call the righteous, but
sinners to repentance. If tares can be converted into wheat, which must be supposable according to
common opinion, then it would be a waste to cast away or burn the tares. He that said, 'Gather up the
fragments that nothing be lost,' will never burn tares, if he can convert them into wheat, as easily as he
could feed the multitudes which he did with so small a quantity of provision."
(Hosea Ballou, Notes on the Parables of the New Testament, pp. 70-71).
Tares can become wheat, the most hardened sinner can repent and be
born again, but there is a time limit on the process.
There is appointed a day of salvation: "Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in
the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:. . ."
(Hebrews 3:7-8). If it doesn't happen when it can happen, then it didn't
happen: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment:. . ." (Hebrews 9:27).
Eternal damnation is not only a New Testament doctrine:
"Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever." (Psalm 81:13-15).
“The sinners in Zion are afraid;
Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites:
'Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?'” (Isaiah 33:14).
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:2).
Why is the contempt "everlasting" if the damned are either annihilated and forgotten, or if God intends to save them
also, by some undisclosed post-mortem salvation plan not revealed in scripture? Annihilationists and universalists point out that the scripture
words translated 'forever,' such as the Hebrew olam and the Greek aionios, need not always mean 'forever' but can sometimes mean 'ancient' or 'for
a lengthy but finite stretch of time.' This is a valid point but leaves
the reader puzzled when the annihilationist or universalist consistently understands
these words to mean 'forever' when applied to 'life,' but 'for a
lengthy but finite period of time' when applied, in the same passage,
to damnation. Certainly the age over which the Messiah reigns is
without terminus: "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever
[aion]; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:33).
As a rule these people do believe that the joy of the redeemed with
their Savior knows no end. They do not believe the blessed enjoy only a
temporary respite between aeons of non-existence. Without these Bible words to lean upon, how do they
God wills that all men be saved:
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
(1 Timothy 2:3-4)
According to universalist Hosea Ballou, the plain Bible fact that God wills all to be saved requires, as a
necessary consequence, that God also wills for all men to be born again. Because God's will cannot be frustrated,
therefore all men will without fail be born again:
"As it is impossible for any one to enter into
the kingdom of God except he be born of the water and of the
spirit, if it were the will of God that all men should be
saved, it must then be his will that all men should be born
"As has been shown, this being born again is of
the will of God, and not of the will of man. Therefore there
can be no more uncertainty, as to the event, than there is of
the accomplishment of the will of God, which St. Paul says, is,
that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of
(Hosea Ballou, Notes on the Parables of the New
Testament, pp. 60-61).
God's will cannot be frustrated by any force acting against Him.
However God does not force the chickens to gather beneath His wings,
much as He desires them:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Gandhi in Hell
In his promotional video for the book 'Love Wins,' Rob Bell tells the story of an art show at his church.
The art show featured a work incorporating a quote from Gandhi, to which someone had attached a note: "Reality Check:
he's in Hell." Rob Bell's response was incredulity: Really? "Gandhi's in Hell?
He is?" He expects others to share his inability to accept this notion. This
is a man everyone knows to have advocated
non-violence, a man known to have influenced Martin Luther King, so how
could he be in Hell?
Mohandas Gandhi's religious affiliation is often misconstrued. This man, by his own
admission, would have been content to touch the hem of Annie Besant's garment:
"I was a mere boy practically unknown to anybody. I would have been
more than satisfied if I could have touched the hem of the garments
of Madame Blavatsky and her distinguished disciple." (Mohandas Gandhi,
quoted in Sir C. P. Ramaswami's biography of Annie Besant, quoted by Arun Shourie at the Voice of Dharma site).
Gandhi was a Theosophist. Did he ever get beyond this? He certainly dressed to look the part of a Hindu holy man, but then the
Theosophists always did like to play dress-up.
Watching the cook toss onions into the stew, who would not then
expect to taste onions on sampling the stew. It would be
silly to respond with wonderment: 'Onions! In the stew! How can
this be? All foods must really, at some higher level of reality,
boil down to onions.' But if you saw the cook toss them in, how
could they not be in there? The Theosophists made one big pot of
stew out of all the world's religions. They tossed them all in
there, or at any rate their favorite parts, like the Sermon on
the Mount. You can find the Sermon on the Mount in Theosophy,
because it's one of the ingredients of this syncretistic world
religious stew. To be sure the Theosophists expected the stew
would come out the same whichever set of ingredients one starts
with; but so thinking involved them ultimately in forgery, and
always in unconvincing exegesis. The Sermon on the Mount was
delivered by Jesus, not by any other.