Parry goes on to argue that these texts do not disagree with the teaching of the Bible on judgement and hell, if we understand that hell does not last for ever. Judgement is corrective and restorative, rather than eternal and destructive. Parry acknowledges that it is retributive, but comments that it is both retributive and restorative at the same time. One example of this would be in 1 Tim. 1,
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Rom 5:18
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Col. 1:20
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:11
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.Justice is both being handed over to Satan and it is corrective. A similar but clearer statement is made in 1 Cor. 5:5,
hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
Second, Parry argues that God's justice must accord with our sense of justice. Here I divert from Parry and explain in my own words what I think he is saying.
We must think of God as a moral and ethical being. If we saw someone doing something that would lead to their death, we would forcibly prevent them from doing this action. We would forcibly prevent someone from committing suicide if we could. How much more then should God forcibly prevent us from doing something that would send us to an eternity of torment.
We would not stand by and watch our own children commit suicide and simply say that they had chosen it. If we cannot pattern our most loving and ethical relations after our sense of who God is, then of what value is our understanding of God.
So for Parry, universal salvation along with a consuming and corrective judgement for sin, best suits the scriptures and best meets what we understand the Bible to be telling us who God is.
The last point for Parry is that universal salvation best fits the metanarrative of the Bible. He sees the Bible as being composed of three central narratives. The first is the fall of humanity from immortality, the second is the exile of Israel, third is the death of Christ. Christ rises from the dead, Israel is restored o the land and humanity is saved from eternal death.
I would add to this that a strong argument for universal salvation is that in the Hebrew Bible there is no direct teaching of eternal conscious torment. If in fact, Old Testament sinners were punished with eternal conscious torment, it would have been without being warned of their fate. It appears that they were simply told that they would be destroyed.
So my question is whether Christ came to bring salvation to the few and eternal conscious torment to the many, or if he came in order that all may be saved.
I have a strong concern that this is a matter of exegetical stalemate, and I regret to see evangelicals presented with the notion that only one side of this debate is valid and tenable. I am personally agnostic on this issue, but I was impressed by the passages that Parry presented and the coherence of his argument.