I can’t count the number of times I’ve read the claim that conditionalism was condemned as heresy at the Second Council of Constantinople. Most recently, I encountered the claim here. As usual, the assertion is not substantiated with an actual citation from the council.
To the best of my knowledge, the alleged condemnation comes from a section called The Anathematisms of the Emperor Justinian Against Origen. The relevant text comes exclusively from anathematism IX:
If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and of impious men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a restoration will take place of demons and of impious men, let him be anathema.
A few obvious observations:
1. Origen was not a conditionalist. This alone should be a tip-off that this portion of the council is unrelated to conditionalism.
2. What is condemned here is clearly universal restoration.
3. Conditionalists affirm eternal punishment. To anyone who disputes this, I suggest you read Henry Constable’s classic treatment of the subject, The Duration and Nature of Future Punishment (1871). The first chapter is entitled “Future Punishment is Eternal”.
Christopher Morgan makes this claim on page 197 of Hell Under Fire, which is interesting because just a few chapters earlier, Albert Mohler quotes the ninth anathematism while clearly explaining that it was directed against Origen’s universalism (this isn’t the only instance that certain authors of the book seem to be unfamiliar with the contributions of the other authors, but I’ll write about that later).
Humorously, this traditionalist blogger quotes the anathematism but replaces the clause about restoration with ellipses! I can’t help but think that’s at least slightly dishonest.
If anyone is aware of another part of the Council that explicitly condemns conditionalism, I’d be happy to see it. As for the only section that I’ve ever seen quoted in the defense of the claim, Justinian did not condemn conditionalism; he condemned universalism.