Pessimistic universalism: rethinking the wider hope with Bonhoeffer and Barth

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This article considers Christian universalism. Responding to the charge that this universalism arises from an overly optimistic view of humanity that fails to take seriously evil and sin, or that it has an overly optimistic view of the omnipotence of God's love which impugns God's righteousness and undermines God's justice and holiness, the article advocates a pessimistic approach to Christian universalism, grounding the argument for universal salvation in the sin and unbelief of the Christian. The article draws on Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to support this case, and concludes by pointing to non-absolute actualistic anthropology as a means for making sense of the Christian life alongside the co-sinfulness of the Christian and the non-Christian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-510
Number of pages16
JournalModern Theology
Issue number4
Early online date3 Sept 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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