Comment: I used to...

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I used to...

...hold the eternal, concious torment view of hell; but I am leaning more and more to share the views of an early church father, Gregory of Nyssa (he helped develop the Trinity doctrine and formulate the Nicene creed), that all things will be reconciled to Christ, as it says in Collosians, etc. I believe that God's love never fails, always hopes, etc. (I Cor 13) and that he will never give up on any lost sheep or prodigal. Some will wander in the wilderness of a self-imposed hell, but God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and His punishment is restorative in nature, throughout the patterns of Scripture. True -- the hell texts then have to be more closely analyzed to see how they fit into the universalism presented in other passages; but when you go to the Greek, the aionion term translated by some as eternal/everlasting can actually mean 'pertaining to the age to come'. So 'eternal' life/punishment can instead mean 'the life/punishment of the age to come', not specifying a duration but rather in which age they occur.

Those who take the usual 'eternal' translation at face value in the hell texts have a similar exercise to perform, taking a closer look at and trying to explain the universalist passages such as Colossians 1. No matter which view you hold--ECT, annihilationism, universalism--there will be a set of 'problem texts' you have to deal with in some way to fit into your view.

I believe the end of the story is good, and there is no expiration date to God's love.

See 'The Evangelical Universalist' by Gregory Macdonald (Robin Parry) or 'The Inescapable Love of God' by Thomas Talbott if you're interested. Also, George MacDonald's 'Unspoken Sermons'.