I was recently emailed by a Christian Universalist who’s name is “Alan”, so here’s part of my study related to the email that I found interesting. Now that it’s May 30th 2023 and the symposium is already over, I got the time to answer and compile my thoughts.
The past few days I was attending a business symposium as part of my day job with many PhD people there, longer than the regular 8-hour work day. There, I mentioned evangelism, soulwinning to a person studying the Hutterite Christian denomination. And another person, my mentor, a Dr. who I see as a father figure, said something along the lines of “We both even have the same religion”, to which I responded with “Christian”. Speaking of Christian, it’s good to see another Christian Universalist my friend! Another who believes that, like your subject line says, God who is Christ will save all people from their sins aka death.
My belief is that people who die go to Sheol, the realm of the dead, and stay there until they believe in Christ to be made clean of their sins.
I believe that Jesus died, as the Bible says. John 11:25. But indeed, there are people who call themselves “Christian” but are not actually saved, because they trust in their own good works rather than faith alone in Christ. Eventually, they will truly believe in Christ though.
John 19:30 mentions that Jesus “gave up His spirit” https://www.biblehub.com/john/19-30.htm
Noun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.
1 Peter 3:18 mentions how Jesus was “was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”. So giving up His spirit. But what’s interesting is how the spirit that keeps a human alive and the Holy Spirit are two different spirits.
in [the] spirit,
Noun - Dative Neuter Singular
Strong's 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Not everyone will believe in Christ before they die. Therefore, there will be people who die without having the Holy Spirit. Thus, what is the “breath of life” Genesis 2:7 that gives the atheist temporary life. It may be different from the Holy Spirit which gives believes aionian life, pertaining to ages.
So that’s what I think of when you reference the disembodied spirit.
As a fellow Universal Reconciliationist, you are probably aware like I am that many people have a false definition of death like “eternal conscious torment (ECT)”. The way I see it is, being tortured forever means that they’re alive, not dead. Like how can they feel physical pain? Would their physical nerve ends be regrowing? While it is suffering, at the same time, they would be alive. That doesn’t seem like “death’ at all!
So I think ECT is already part of Satan’s master deception, the “hellenized gospel” as my friend WhiteWings mentions from Tentmaker.
So I believe that ECT is a lie. However. I also believe that, even if someone were to believe in ECT, as long as they believe in Jesus Christ with faith alone, then they will be saved. Of course, preferably, they would be a Christian Universalist, but I believe that there are those who have the wrong definition of death like ECT yet are still saved.
Life = God = Truth (John 14:6)
Death = Disobedience to God = Sin (Romans 6:23)
Because life in another realm like spirit world would mean they are still living. Same with if they lived a life separated from God.
The “what if” makes me think. Like, I feel no matter what Jesus would have stepped in and mercifully sacrificed Himself to save us. But what if He didn’t? Then I think it’s like the atheist’s world, where people die and they cease to exist forever. That’s a scary thought to think about, dying with a net negative of sin. But as we know, atheists are wrong. And in that hypothetical scenario, if God was not merciful, then that’s not love and a contradiction since God is always love. So that’s why I feel like, in every scenario where God exists, Jesus will always come and die for us.
1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
So no matter what, death would always lose, because as long as God = life exists, everyone will be saved by faith in Him.
1 Peter 4:6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
In the past, I’ve interpreted this passage as Jesus going down to Sheol to preach to the dead. That way, those who did not have the chance to receive the Gospel, like maybe indigenous tribes or babies, would still hear the good news.
[For context, the question is whether people are conscious in Sheol like spirits without a human body or are asleep and do not wake up until after being saved]
In your viewpoint, that Jesus really died and did not think or feel or know anything, then it would have been impossible for Jesus to have the consciousness to preach to the dead. Hmmm… it makes me wonder how post-mortem salvation would work. Because, I think that there are people who do not believe in Christ until after they die. Yet, how will they have the chance to believe in Christ if they do not think or feel or know anything, like you say. How would they escape Sheol? I ask out of curiosity, because I am interested in learning more about your viewpoint. From the way you describe, resurrection is really glorified and awesome! Being not saved vs saved is not life with suffering vs life with joy, it’s no life at all vs a complete life of joy!
Whatever your hand
finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or
knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
The living are able to think and have the knowledge of hope, but the dead know nothing.
1 John 3:20 For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.
That verse would be proof that Jesus being God must know everything at all times at once. Yet, when He died, He descended into Sheol, where there is no knowledge. So how did He continue to have knowledge in Sheol?
In terms of God knowing everything, it’s interesting how Jesus submitted Himself and was taught carpentry by a human.
Philippians 2:6-8. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing. by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
The Bible is completely true and has no contradictions. Thus, if a human sees any “contradictions” then it’s actually a misunderstanding. Thus, not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally, as the Bible uses many metaphors with spiritual meanings. Here’s what I think:
Ecc 9:4-10 = literally true, dead have no knowledge
Luke 16:19-31 = spiritually true, since it’s a parable
[To add on to this, there are many human translations that have mistakes. The Word of God is absolutely true.]