Originally posted by Una
The scripture reference is from:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me."
The door open to God the Father is only open through Jesus. Pretty short and to the point, you either believe in Jesus or you don't. If you don't then access to the Father is not granted.
The Greek dia
in this verse also can be translated as “by” or “by means of” or even “with.” I believe it points to divine action (charis
, grace), not yours. If you could accomplish this by the act or a decision of believing, that would still be an act—a work, a work of the head like getting the right answer on an exam.
NRS John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people in company with myself.” (pros
: to, toward, with, beside, in company with.) At that point, perhaps, people could choose not to go along...
Although Origen’s notion of universal salvation was rejected as heretical; St. Gregory of Nyssa’s version was not—although it never became part of ecclesial dogma. The Orthodox position seems to be twofold—
(a) One dare not limit God’s potential action be denying the possibility of universal salvation (or the possibility of a non-eternal “hell,” in which the soul is cleansed and healed in the fire of the Spirit—remember, in the east, salvation is “not hardly” treated as a juridical concept, but follows more closely the meaning of the Greek sozo
, which has more of a meaning to cure or make well than to grant pardon);
(b) One may not assert universal salvation as necessary, either.
Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement: : “For the early church salvation is not at all reserved to the baptized ... The Word [logos] has never ceased and never will cease to be present to humanity in all cultures, all religions, and all irreligions. The incarnation and resurrection are not exclusive but inclusive of the manifold forms of his presence.” (The Roots of Christian Mysticism
And: “For the highest spirituality (and theology) of the first centuries, God will be ‘all in all.’ Certain fathers granted that God would turn away from those who turned away from him. This is what Western Scholasticism was to term poena damni
, the penalty of damnation. Such a fundamentalist [sic] reading of the Gospels (which leads to speculation on the nature of the ‘worm’ and the ‘fire’ that will torment the damned) was denounced not only as external but as ‘absurd’ by the greatest representatives of early Christianity, for example by St Ambrose of Milan and John Cassian in the West, and in the East, quite apart from strict Origenism, by Gregory of Nyssa, John Climacus, Maximus the Confessor, and Isaac of Nineveh.
“For this last author, whose development of the doctrine of hell is undoubtedly the most important contribution to this subject in the whole of Christian theology, it is unthinkable and contrary to the very spirit of the Christian revelation that God should abandon anyone.”
“As a copious spring could not be stopped up with a handful of dust, so the Creator’s compassion cannot be conquered by the wickedness of creatures.” (Isaac of Nineveh; 7th century)