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Final judgment in the light of inclusion

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If all people are already reconciled to God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:18), then why a final judgment when Jesus returns? And why, as a result of that judgment, will God cast out some if all are already included? We note Scripture's use of "casting into outer darkness," "separating sheep from goats" and similar phrases to speak of circumstances related to the final judgment. We acknowledge that such phrases are symbolic. But symbolic of what?


In answering this and related questions, I've found help from Episcopal priest-theologian Robert Farrar Capon in Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus. In this book, Capon analyzes Jesus' parables, which speak frequently of judgment and hell. Following are illustrative quotes. I recommend a careful reading of the whole book for the details, including Capon's careful scriptural argumentation. For a related article from theologian Baxter Kruger, click here.
The [final] jud…