Jesus Creed

GregMacd.jpgRobin Parry’s major focus, in his book The Evangelical Universalist  , is a biblical case for universalism. He has a take on the Old Testament and then turns to macroscopic themes in the New Testament.

Here are his themes:
Jesus fulfills Israel’s calling in his own person.
Jesus’ death climaxes Israel’s exile.
Jesus’ resurrection climaxes Israel’s return from exile.
Jesus is the Second Adam.
Jesus reverses Adam’s curse in his death and resurrection and enables the restoration of humanity (Adamic humanity).
This restoration focuses on the church, but the church is a foretaste of the universal redemption to come. Thus, “all Israel will be saved” and the nations will flock to worship the Lamb on the throne.

A good example of these themes, a Second Adam text, is Romans 5:18-21:

5:18 Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. 5:19For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous. 5:20 Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, 5:21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As the First Adam brought sin “for all people” so the New Adam brought righteousness “for all people” (5:18). Thus, “Christ’s redemption is as wide as sin’s corruption” (79). 
Parry takes on the common view that the “all” who are justified are those who have faith and those who are in Christ and those who are the “many.” While I think “many” can be seen as “all” (it’s a Hebraism), Parry’s argument that the need for faith or in Christ refers to what may be the case for all someday is harder to show here. I’m with NT Wright here who says the “all people” refers to “Jews and Gentiles” but Parry argues that it also refers to each person in particular. I’m with him in seeing the universal redemptive impact of Jesus’ death and resurrection; his work undoes Adam’s work. Faith is necessary and Parry has to posit a post-mortem exercise of faith for his case to work.
Which also brings up the similar ideas in 1 Corinthians 15:

15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive15:23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. 15:24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. 15:25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26 The last enemy to be eliminated is death. 15:27 For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. 15:28 And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

What also needs to be observed here is that both sin and death are annihilated in this text. He closes this chp with extensive study of Rom 9–11 (“all Israel will be saved” means national Israel, though he is unconvinced this means every one in particular) and then the “every knee shall bow” text in Philippians. There he thinks we have another instance of redemptive universalism.
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