I have been doing some studying on the concept of universal salvation or reconciliation. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:
Origen was a 3rd century proponent of Universal Reconciliation. The belief in the eventual salvation of all humankind has been a topic of debate throughout the history of the Christian faith. In the early Church, universalism was a flourishing theological doctrine. Reconciliation is the main belief that distinguishes Christian Universalism from other forms of Christianity.
Various theologians, including Clement of Alexandria and Origen in the 3rd century, St. Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century, and St. Isaac the Syrian in the 7th century, expressed universalist positions in early Christianity. Though Gregory of Nyssa was a known universalist, he was never condemned. He was additionally declared “the father of fathers” by the seventh ecumenical council.
Modern universalists claim that universalism was the primary doctrine of the church until it was forcibly stamped out by the Catholic Church in the sixth century. Four of the six theological schools of thought in ancient Christendom supported universalism, and only one supported eternal damnation. Additionally, theological thought appears more varied before the strong influence of Augustine, who forcefully denied universal salvation. Some claim that Augustine’s rejection of the doctrine was an unwarranted side-effect of Platonist pagan philosophy, rather than a conclusion based on his study of the Scriptures.
It is interesting to note that two thirds of the early Christian theological schools and many of the most predominate theologians supported the concept of universal reconciliation prior to Augustine.
In the past I have mocked the idea of universal salvation but I don’t do that anymore. I have come to believe that most theologians are just men trying to form a human view of God that fits their personal beliefs. In studying this concept it looks to me that a minority fringe of Christian beliefs that took over the church about the time of Constantine forced the issue of universal damnation. I view this as much the same thing that is currently happening in the Republican party here in the U.S. where a radical fringes has hijacked the otherwise moderation party of history.
I am personally not a believer in the concept of God hating his creations and condemning them all to eternal agony. I just don’t see God that way. I see God as a loving God who wants the best for all of us. He came to us himself in the form of Jesus to teach us how we are to live and how to love him and our neighbors.
So, if push came to shove I would probably fall off the fence into the universal reconciliation camp. In a nutshell I believe that God truly loves each and every one of us and doesn’t think that we are just poor miserable sinners who he will eventually doom to utter and eternal agony. Instead he loves us all and just may eventually reconcile ALL of us to him. I will leave the spiteful and vengeful god to others and continue to believe in a loving God.