Jan 30, 2023
What are the consequences of affirming that God is infinite,
That could be said to be the underlying question of Father Aidan Kimel's book Destined for Joy: the Gospel of Universal Salvation (which was the theme of episode 57) where he lays out his vision of, and reasons for believing in, universal salvation.
In this episode we interview fr Aidan and discuss how he came to embrace universalism and what the deepest or best reasons for universalism are according to him.
Themes we discuss:
- the need for a "hermeneutic of God's unconditional love" when reading Scripture,
- how universalism may be said to continue a trajectory of progressive revelation within Scripture, in so far as it can be said that the seeds of universalism are planted in Scripture but come to fruition in the deepening reflection on the consequences of God's love as revealed in Scripture.
- whether the universalist analysis of human free will is compatible with a category of culpable moral wrongdoing.
Rough overview of the conversation (the time marks are approximate):
1-18 minutes: general introduction and a summary of fr Aidan's road to embrace universalism.
18 minutes: Peter asks whether the experience of holding funerals was an impulse for fr Kimel to move towards universalism (as it has been for Peter)?
24 minutes: Peter asks how fr Aidan views and interprets the "Gehenna-texts"?
28.30: Erik asks about fr Aidan's experience of whether preaching universalism changes a congregation?
32: Christoffer brings up the philosopher Bernard Lonergan, who talked about conversion as a form of "paradigm-shift": believing that God is unconditional love is a quite radical existential and psychological paradigm-shift if we would really embrace it, and not just "think" it.
35.30: How does the universalist analysis of free will relate to the category of culpable moral wrong-doing?
41:30: Purgatory as a both liberating and painful experience.
44.30: Arguments for universalism in Scripture?
51.30: The notion of "progressive revelation" and how that relates to the development of universalism.
58:30: Most interesting proponents of universalism in Church history?
Father Aidan Kimel's blogg: Eclectic Orthodoxy.
His book: Destined for Joy: The Gospel of Universal Salvation
Some universalists mentioned in the conversation:
Gregory of Nyssa (335-395)
Isak of Nineveh (613-700)
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)
Thomas Talbott (contemporary theologian who wrote the book The Inescapable Love of God)
David Bentley Hart (contemporary theologian, who has written an afterword in Kimel's book, and the book That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell and Universal Salvation).