The Universalism of George MacDonald
God will not conquer evil by crushing it under-foot-any god of man's idea could do that-but by conquest of heart over heart, of life over life, of life over death, of love over all.
I believe that justice and mercy are simply one and the same thing. [I believe] such is the mercy of God that he will hold his children in the consuming fire of his distance until they pay the uttermost farthing, until they drop the purse of selfishness with all the dross that is in it, and rush home to the Father and the Son, and the many brethren, rush inside the center of the life-giving fire whose outer circles burn.
When souls have been ill-taught about God, the true God will not let them gaze too long upon the Moloch which men have set up to represent Him. He will turn away their minds from that which men call Him, and fill them with some of his own lovely thoughts or works, such as may by degrees prepare the way for a vision of the Father.
All those evil doctrines about god that work misery and madness have their origin in the brains of the wise and prudent, not in the hearts of children.
I believe that no hell will be lacking which would help the just mercy of God to redeem his children. Take any of those wicked people in Dante's hell, and ask wherein is justice served by their punishment. Mind, I am not saying it is not right to punish them, I am saying, justice is not, never can be satisfied by suffering-nay, cannot have any satisfaction in or from suffering. Human resentment, human revenge, human hate may.
In God shall we imagine a distinction of office and character? Every attribute of God must be infinite as himself. Mercy, for example, cannot be temporary but eternal.
And what shall we say of the man Christ Jesus? Who, that loves his brother, would not, upheld by the love of Christ, and with a dim hope that in the far-off time there might be some help for him, arise from the company of the blessed, and walk down into the dismal regions of despair, to sit with the last, the only unredeemed, the Judas of his race, and be himself more blessed in the pains of hell, than in the glories of heaven? Who, in the midst of the golden harps and the white wings, knowing that one of his kind, one miserable brother in the old-world-time when men were taught to love their neighbor as themselves, was howling unheeded far below in the vaults of the creation, who, I say, would not feel that he must arise, that he had no choice, that, awful as it was, he must gird his loins, and go down into the smoke and the darkness and the fire, traveling the weary and fearful road into the far country to find his brother? -- who, I mean, that had the mind of Christ, that had the love of the Father?
It cannot be that any creature should know him as he is and not desire him. He is always, and has ever been, sacrificing himself to and for his creatures. It lies in the very essence of his creation of them.
I do not myself believe that mere punishment exists anywhere in the economy of the highest. I think mere punishment is a human idea, not a divine one. But the consuming fire is more terrible to the evildoer than any idea of punishment invented by the most riotous of human imaginations. Punishment it is, though not mere punishment, which is a thing not of creation but destruction: it is a power of God and for his creature. As love is God’s being and creative energy in one, so the pains of God are to the recreation of the things his love has made, and sin has unmade.
Every soul that is ultimately lost is a defeat of the love of God.
Those who exalt free choice believe God must operate only within the sphere of our sovereignty.
God has to answer to himself for his idea; he has to do with the need of the nature he made, not with the self born choice of the self ruined man. His candle yet burns dim in the man's soul; that candle must shine as the sun. For what is the all pervading dissatisfaction of his wretched being but an unrecognized hunger after the righteousness of his father. The soul God made is thus hungering, though the selfish, usurping self, which is its consciousness, is hungering only after low and selfish things, ever trying, but in vain, to fill its mean, narrow content, with husks too poor for its poverty stricken desires" (excerpt from: ''The Voice of Job'' as found in: Unspoken Sermons, Second Series by George MacDonald)
Justice requires that sin should be put an end to.
Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin. The only vengeance worth having on sin is to make the sinner himself its executioner.
more to come.....