In this talk, Ron puts humanity back at the centre of the cosmos. He begins by admitting that the cosmos seems to dwarf us human beings. We are intimidated by the scale of the universe and thus we can feel small. The universe’s immensity is framed by space and time: these are the dimensions that make the cosmos ‘big’ and us humans ‘small’. But then Ron explains how Einstein’s theory of relativity turned that world upside down. It turns out that light is the only constant, and space and time shrink the faster we approach the speed of light. All the time that Ron speaks, we were thinking about Jesus when he said, ‘I am the light of the world’…
Ron takes the debate over to mind vs. matter into language—which is where the mystery of mind is best revealed. He gives us a crash course in philosophy in ten minutes—and uses the colour 'red' to reveal the immense complexity in simply naming the world. The highlight though belongs to his one-year-old grandson, Levi—and he uses Levi's early experiments with words to celebrate the wonders of the mind at work through language and how we acquire it.
Is the mind a machine, or is it a soul? This is the fast emerging modern debate—which began slowly with the materialist world view but has accelerated in the era of Artificial Intelligence. At the end of this road, lies Jesus - who has set the archetype for what it means to be human—fully human. It is immensely helpful to consider this debate over the course of its history—and in this talk, this history is what Ron lays out.
This short talk climaxes our investigation of apokatastasis from a very unusual source—the book of James. James is not noted for his audacity or profundity as. theologian compared to Paul or John, but here we find possibly the most succinct summary of both the doctrine—and its consequences. Tony connects the passage to our psychology—and he does this by telling a story of his visit to the dark historical site of Port Arthur in Tasmania.
Our Hope & Hell series has raised a lot of interest; people like the ideas a lot but everyone has questions. We created a panel of three to address eight of these questions that our listeners sent in. In this talk, Ron, Andrew, and Tony give their responses in a free-flowing, exploratory, and honest dialogue. Mark Ridgway facilitates the dialogue.
As we continue to ponder the hope of 'apokatastasis', we confront some of the 'so what's' beginning with evangelism. At face value, it looks like a doctrine of 'universal salvation' makes evangelism unnecessary—why preach if everybody gets saved eventually anyway? Tony addresses this question by first changing the question—and then building a far bigger picture of 'salvation' into which we can place 'evangelism'.
Tony finally confronts the scary verses in this talk—the passages that at face value talk about hell, judgment, and wrath. Traditionally they have so gripped the dark imaginations of the church that they have totally overshadowed the even clearer verses that declare universal hope. But we need to answer the question—What do the 'Bad News' verses really say about eternal hell? What do they really tell us?
St Augustine laid the foundations for the doctrine of Hell in his epic tome the City of God. But did he get it right? Tony gives a penetrating diagnosis of where Augustine's thinking had 'code errors' that distorted the gospel and predisposed him to the idea of hell as never-ending torment. Unfortunately, the church of Rome validated his thinking and excluded the broader eschatology that we are now beginning to realise was the orthodoxy of the Patristic Fathers.
In this talk, Tony advances Gregory of Nyssa's picture of the Restitution of all things. The question of 'universal salvation' needs to fall onto a big eschatological landscape not onto a narrow one. Only then does it make sense. That is what Gregory does. Tony gives us a detailed summary of his epic eschatological vision of creation in 'On the Making of Man', which explores the profound implications of being made in the image of God.
Our second talk builds a richer view of 'judgment'. What house is God building? is a better question—and it immediately opens up a new view of judgment. Architects judge as part of their creative process. This positions 'judgment' out of the penal system and inside a creation system. Tony explores this new perspective in this talk.