While there is great hope that all men may be saved, the Church declares that Universalism is a heresy. Why is this? Cannot God save all people? Will not all change their minds when confronted with God in His fulness?
In answer to the last question, I believe that it is not a matter for our salvation to know that God is, even the demons know this, it is about loving God. This love can only be properly seen when the presence of God is not completely manifest. It is the servant who obeys his master when the master is not present is the true servant. This servant can be trusted as a son and becomes a son to the master because he shares the master’s interests as his own. Christ, although present, does not manifest Himself in the fullness of His glory that our love can be tested to be shown true and given freely; not something given by the force of His presence.
Can God save all people? Yes, if they are willing to be saved. No, if they are not. God cannot force salvation on man who is unwilling to be saved, that is to live the life of God in its fulness. If God did so man who not be free and thus would not be able to live the life of God, who is free. Man would lose salvation immediately his salvation is forced upon him. Man must be free to forever refuse salvation.
Perhaps time will heal all men? Perhaps this may be true but two issues arise. God has limited time for man on earth to a few years. He could not abide with man’s evil forever. Man’s faith must to tested in body because man is both soul and body. When man is separated from his body, he is judged because it is the life of the complete man that is tested, man in the flesh, and not man as a soul only. No this latter man can only wait for the final judgement to confirm his lot when reunited with his body on the last day. This point raises the second issue and reason against universal salvation. God lives beyond time and space and for us to share in the fulness of His life we too must live beyond time and space. Our lives will no longer be in time, our lives will no longer be subject to change. Without change there can no longer be repentance nor change of mind, so those apart from Christ will eternally remain so. There can be no salvation without time coming to an end. That is why the Saints are waiting to be perfected with all of us in the consumption of time. In an instant we will be taken up and your eternal destinies decided. If we remain in time and change we can never share the fulness of God’s life.
What of the Saint’s teaching that we go from glory to glory? Does this not imply change? In a sense it does but this must be taken in perspective. Using the analogy of a blackhole from the perspective of an external observer someone falling into the blackhole disappears almost in an instant. However, from the perspective of one falling into the blackhole the process takes almost an eternity. Thus, from the perspective of God, time ends and our reward is given in an instant. However, from the perspective of limited man, it takes and eternity to receive the eternal gift. Thus, man sees himself going from glory to glory throughout eternity constantly receiving the fulness of life in God that was given in an instant without change. The sinner suffers inversely.
So, for the possibility of the salvation of any means the potential of eternal suffering for those rejecting this salvation during their lives on earth. One is associated with the other and man must have his freedom. Salvation cannot be without the possibility of damnation. If this were so then God would have arranged it as such but He cannot deny Himself.