We believe in universal salvation, the idea that there is no such thing as eternal hell or annihilation because God has planned the universe to produce a positive outcome for all people of all times. Hopeful prophecies in the Bible point to a future time of universal restoration and renewal (Mat. 19:28, Acts 3:21). The end of all things is a state of blessed reunion with God, the Creator — not eternal separation, misery, or destruction (John 12:32, Rom. 5:18, 1 Cor. 15:22,28, Col. 1:20, 1 Tim. 2:4-6). In the early Christian church, this was called apokatastasis — the reconciliation of all things — and it was recognized as an important teaching of the Gospel during the first few centuries of Christianity.
Our belief in the ultimate salvation of all is based on a strong trust in God’s omnipotence and benevolence. God is both powerful enough and loving enough to cause all souls to be rescued from a state of separation and returned to their intended state of unity and harmony with the Divine. All things that are good will be preserved and restored to their fullest manifestation, but all things that are bad will perish (Mat. 3:12, 1 Cor. 3:10-15). Since no human being is totally bad, no human will perish eternally. It is God’s plan to take what is good in each individual and multiply it, and replace the bad within us with an infusion of God’s divine goodness, until only the good remains.
God does not decide to condemn some people to hell because they sinned too much or they chose the wrong religious beliefs. Nor does God allow some people to remain in a hellish condition indefinitely because of making bad decisions of their own free will (Phil. 2:9-11). Negative experiences which happen to us are designed to produce learning and growth, for the advancement of the soul. It is through purgatorial “fires” of tests and trials that the human spirit is cleansed of negative attributes and attains a character that is compatible with God (Mal. 3:2-3, Mark 9:49, 1 Pet. 1:7).
Salvation is not through efforts by which we must earn God’s love and approval. On the contrary, God already loves us unconditionally and is merciful towards us. We are told in Rom. 5:8 that “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us”; and in Eph. 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” God’s grace extends to everyone and, as we read in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, God is not satisfied with even ninety nine percent of people being saved, but keeps searching until the last lost sheep (person) is saved (Luke 15:3-7).
Souls that leave this life on earth without experiencing salvation will have other opportunities for conversion, learning and growth after death (1 Pet. 3:18-20, 4:6). No one will ever run out of chances to return home to their Creator. Even the most evil beings who have ever lived can still be saved — and will be, in the fullness of time (Phil. 2:10). That is God’s promise!