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Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a…
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Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell (edition 1988)

by Hans Urs von Balthasar (Author)

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224396,434 (3.8)None
This book is perhaps one of the most misunderstood works of Catholic theology of our time. Critics contend that von Balthasar espouses universalism, the idea that all men will certainly be saved. Yet, as von Balthasar insists, damnation is a real possibility--for others but also for ourselves. Indeed, he explores the nature of damnation with sobering clarity. At the same time, he contends that a deep understanding of God's merciful love and human freedom, and a careful reading of the Catholic tradition, point to the possibility--not the certainty--that, in the end, all men will accept the salvation Christ won for all. For this all-embracing salvation, von Balthasar says, we may dare hope, we must pray, and with God's help we must work. The Catholic Church's teaching on Hell has been generally neglected by theologians, with the notable exception of von Balthasar. He grounds his reflections clearly in Sacred Scripture, and in Catholic teaching. While the Church asserts that certain individuals are in Heaven ("saints"), it never declares a specific individual to be in Hell. In fact, the Church hopes that in their final moments of life, even the greatest sinners would have repented of their terrible sins, and be saved. Sacred Scripture states, "God...desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1st Timothy, 2:4).  … (more)
Member:djroga76
Title:Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell
Authors:Hans Urs von Balthasar (Author)
Info:Ignatius Press (1988), Edition: First American, 254 pages
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Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell by Hans Urs von Balthasar

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The premise of this book is fairly simple and plain and yet as with all things Balthasar it remains incredibly dense. Here are two quotes that capture a sense of what is being purported.

"... love hopes all things (1 Cor 13:7). It cannot do otherwise than to hope for the reconciliation of all men in Christ. Such unlimited hope is, from the Christian standpoint, not only permitted but commanded." (213)

"I would like to request that one be permitted to hope that God's redemptive work for his creation might succeed. Certainty cannot be attained, but hope can be justified." (187)

He covers a lot of ground in this small book and the tension he holds is commendable and I believe thoroughly biblical. This work is actually composed of three shorter writings. The first (Dare We Hope) is chronologically where he began to layout his thoughts on this controversial topic. The second (A Short Discourse) is a response to the critics of the first. The third and last portion is basically an epilogue comprised of two chapters dealing with 'apokatastasis' (i.e. universal salvation). Overall, this work definitely provides one with some thoughtful fodder for meditation on an oft neglected subject. ( )
  adamtarn | May 22, 2009 |
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This book is perhaps one of the most misunderstood works of Catholic theology of our time. Critics contend that von Balthasar espouses universalism, the idea that all men will certainly be saved. Yet, as von Balthasar insists, damnation is a real possibility--for others but also for ourselves. Indeed, he explores the nature of damnation with sobering clarity. At the same time, he contends that a deep understanding of God's merciful love and human freedom, and a careful reading of the Catholic tradition, point to the possibility--not the certainty--that, in the end, all men will accept the salvation Christ won for all. For this all-embracing salvation, von Balthasar says, we may dare hope, we must pray, and with God's help we must work. The Catholic Church's teaching on Hell has been generally neglected by theologians, with the notable exception of von Balthasar. He grounds his reflections clearly in Sacred Scripture, and in Catholic teaching. While the Church asserts that certain individuals are in Heaven ("saints"), it never declares a specific individual to be in Hell. In fact, the Church hopes that in their final moments of life, even the greatest sinners would have repented of their terrible sins, and be saved. Sacred Scripture states, "God...desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1st Timothy, 2:4).  

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