Christian universalism is a school of Christian theology focused around the doctrine of universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be “saved” and restored to a right relationship with God. ( Wikipedia)
George MacDonald has been called a Universalist but I think that is too simplistic. I hesitate to label him so narrowly. C.S Lewis imagines a conversation with MacDonald about this during his bus trip to heaven in “The Great Divorce” (which I love). I write about it a little in my blog “What Good is Hell” ( see below) which you may find helpful. MacDonald discusses the subject but rather than forming a dogma or taking a firm theological side he takes a “what if...” approach. He starts from the heart of God as loving Father who is not willing that any of His children should perish. He who descended into hell once to deliver captives may do so again.
MacDonald does not view hell as punitive but remedial. He also does not see the cross as punishment endured by Jesus for our sins, but as God’s solution to defeat Satan and take away sin’s dominion over us with its consequences of death, sickness, poverty, alienation, captivity, etc. and to pay the “debt” incurred by the wages of sin.
He writes, “When we say that God is Love, do we teach men that their fear of Him is groundless?” He replied, “No. As much as they fear will come upon them, possibly far more. … The wrath of God will consume what they call themselves; so that the selves God made shall appear.”
What if hell’s fire is designed to purge away that which is incapable of entering or even seeing the Kingdom. All that enters the Kingdom must pass through fire consuming that which is combustible and revealing the “gold, silver and precious stones”. And so, some are saved by fire. There is no place to run from the Fire of God. The further we run from Him, the hotter it gets. The solution is to run towards Him, pass through the fire and come forth as gold.
It is His will that none should perish but that all might be saved. Then can we not pray, “Thy will be done.” Is it conceivable that His will ultimately should not be done?
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God who reconciled us to God through Christ…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ… not counting men’s sins against them.”