One question that often arises from skeptics of universalism is whether or not they believe in the eventual redemption of Satan and demons. Now some universalists do not believe in the redemption of fallen angels, some do, and some are simply agnostic on the idea. Typically non-universalists rightly point out that the strongest judgment language in the Bible is leveled against fallen angels. And if a universalist maintains that the ultimate fate of creation is restoration and renewal it can’t possibly mean all of creation (individually) will be redeemed because we are told emphatically that demons will not be. I personally agree with the strength of this argument however I think that there are some Biblical grounds to believe that the fate of fallen angels is not set in damnation.
Before I lay out my case however, I must admit that while I want to believe in the existence of demons (I think it ties together the theology of the Bible more coherently), I find it quite difficult to do so. The reason being that I cannot really see the value of allowing such beings to interact with humans is. This aside, I want address some biblical evidence for the possibility of the redemption of fallen angels.
Jesus did not die for angels. The Bible is very emphatic that God became man to save man, and so I think it is difficult to speculate on the nature of the reconciliation of angels. I do not think however, this should dissuade us prima facia from accepting that they can be. Only that the Bible is our story not theirs and their role in it is only the intersection between both stories. So to argue about the possibility of the redemption of angels I think we need to focus on the nature of God which will be the same to angels as it is to us. My primary argument will be two-fold. One, the telos (purpose, end, goal) of all creation is good. Two, if anything in creation cannot contribute to that end it is destroyed.
In the beginning God declares creation good (Gen 1:31). In the end it is declared that creation will be good (Rev 21:4). In the Colossian hymn we are told that Christ is before all things, created all things, sustains all things, and is the means of the restoration of all things (Col 1:15-20). This I think is not anything new to Christians. God wants good things for His creation, and is making that happen. The problem I think the conventional view that demons are beyond redemption faces is that such a being, one beyond the possibility of being good, has no role in God’s purposes for creation and so it seems ought not to continued to be sustained in existence by Christ. In the Old Testament when there is not one righteous in a city is when God acts to destroy it, but if there are those who are righteous it is spared. But more to the point, in the flood story we read
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Here God decides to blot out humanity because “every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually” is this not what traditional theology holds about demons? These fallen angels work only evil with no possibility of good? If such a thing is true, it seems to hold that God would not permit them to exist, much less let them roam the earth and do damage to His other creation. The only reason that such a state of affairs can be I think is if like us, fallen angels still have a part to play in the telos of the universe. God permitted the continuing of the human story because of the hope seen in Noah, and because of the redemption God had planned in Christ, because while we were pursuing evil continually our race was not beyond hope. If we were then God would have destroyed us and I think we intuitively know that that would be right of God to do. Now perhaps angels have a different sort of will than our own which permits them to actively rebel against God in a way that we don’t comprehend, but that does not change the active facts of God which are that God creates that which is good and is committed to the good of anything He creates. Therefore it is my opinion that to hold that fallen angels are beyond the possibility of redemption is to say that Christ sustains evils in the universe which are outside the scope of His purposes and redemptive power for the universe. Such a thing to my mind is at best nonsense and at worst a form of dualism. If demons were darkness beyond the possibility of light, the God in whom there is no darkness at all, would not permit their continued existence.