Kimel and Hart on universalism

Universalism is a leitmotif of Fr. Aidan Kimel’s blog, Eclectic Orthodoxy. In this post, he lists some writings that have been particularly influential in moving him toward the universalist position. As a bonus, Orthodox theologian David B. Hart pops up in the comments to offer his thoughts. Apparently DBH is also a convinced universalist!

I’m much less well-versed in the literature on this topic than Fr. Kimel and his commenters, and I don’t have a completely firm position on this. But as I wrote here, I think there is a trajectory toward universalism inherent in the Christian message. It’s also worth noting that hell, at least understood as “eternal, conscious torment,” has been rejected by many of the theological giants of recent history. In short, if God is a reality of unbounded, inexhaustible love, then it’s hard to see how the doctrine of hell–at least as it’s commonly expressed–can be maintained.

I’m pretty skeptical of human efforts to describe “the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell,” as Reinhold Niebuhr put it, but universalism (or at least hopeful universalism) has always struck me as more consonant with the spirit of the Christian gospel than preaching hellfire and damnation.

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