Contend Earnestly: John 3:16: A Case for an Unlimited Reading of "World"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

John 3:16: A Case for an Unlimited Reading of "World"


I really want to clear up the common misconception of us that call ourselves “6 Point Calvinists,” that is, that we are really 4 pointers or 4 1/2 point Calvinists. Which to be honest, I have no idea what 4 1/2 points means. The reason that we call ourselves 6 point Calvinists is because it is not that we merely accept the idea of unlimited expiation but we also vehemently adhere to particular redemption, that is, that Christ also died especially for the elect. It would be the same as the understanding that God loves all humanity, but especially the elect and that the Holy Spirit calls all of humanity to repentance, but effectively the elect alone. This is what we adhere to in the understanding of the atonement. Christ died for all (John 3:16) especially the elect (John 10).

Also, what I don’t want this to turn into is posts that just start listing out Scriptures and expect the others to “see it how I see it.” I have had this done to me in regards to debating Arminians and it gets very annoying to defend a bunch of Scripture quotations without exegesis. Let’s just suppose that any verse that says, “Christ died for all” or “ransomed for all” needs some explanation behind it and so do any verses that say “Christ died for the sheep” and “Christ died for the many.” This will help this debate in many ways.

Turretinfan has decided to take on probably the most difficult passage for the strictly limited expiation Calvinist to defend, and rightly so, as one will hopefully be able to see through this post. Turretinfan’s position on this is: God so loved the world, that is, the elect of the world, that He sent His Son.


There are a lot of uses of the term world when we look at the Bible. The term is “kosmos” and is used in the New Testament many times to mean “the evil world system” (1 John 2:15-17); the actual earth (Matthew 13:35); all of humanity (Mark 16:15), etc. So, we have to come to this Scripture and try and find what this means here in this context. Turretinfan’s position is that this term, world or "kosmos", means “elect” but I just find that wanting, and here is why:

When we read the verse it starts by lumping all people together: God so loved the world. This is the “one class” of all people, all humanity. Then John starts to put people in different classes by saying “those believing will not perish.” The opposite would then come to mean that there are some who won’t believe and will perish. So we have two classes of people who make up the world; those believing and those not believing. Those who will have eternal life and those who will perish. I have heard Texans say the same thing: There are only two kinds of people in the world, those who are Texans and those who wish they were Texans. If the term “kosmos” means “elect” then we have a real problem. This would mean that some of the elect will not believe and will perish. It would read like this:

God so loved the elect, that He gave His only Son that those (referring to the noun “world”) who believe will not be like those of the elect (referring back again to the noun, “world”) who don’t believe and perish (here is the problem…neither of us believe that the elect can perish), but will have eternal life.

As you read the rest of the text down to verse 21, John continues to differentiate between those in the world that God so loved. He uses terms like: He who believes, and doesn’t believe (verse 18); those practicing evil and those practicing truth (verse 20,21). Notice where the Light came: the world. The light came into the “kosmos” because God loves the “kosmos” to save the “kosmos.”

Further, we find this same sentence structure and theological stance taken in John 12:47

If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:47

Interesting. Jesus tells us here the same that is told in John 3:16,17. Here though, he specifically speaks to the class of the people that made up the “kosmos” that do not believe. He specifically uses the same term and sentence structure that is used in John 3:17.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:17

So this would mean that if John was intending for the “kosmos” in John 3:16 to mean the elect, then we have a real issue here in understanding John 12:47, because that would speak to someone who is elect “not keeping” Jesus’ sayings.

But, to get a complete better understanding of all of this we have to go to the verse that explains this in simple terms: John 3:14,15

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
John 3:14-15


If we read John 3:16 in this context it makes a lot of sense. God provided a provision for all people to “look and be saved.” If you need to be reminded go back to Numbers 21 to get the full understanding. Moses puts this serpent up for all to see. Those believing, i.e. that look, will be saved. Those who are stiff necked and refused, died. Most will say that if Jesus died for all and all aren’t saved, then Christ failed. Did God fail if some didn’t look at the serpent? No. The person failed to recognize their provision and died in their sin of idolatry. This is the definition of the reprobate: those that don’t believe and die in their sin. Also know that if the serpent was only a provision for only those who would have looked, then Moses was a liar. He told the people in Numbers: Everyone who is bitten and looks upon the serpent shall be healed. If the serpent was only for those who would believe then Moses cannot make this remark to the people, it is an empty promise.

Again, this is a direct parallel. The serpent was for all that were bitten. If you looked, you were saved, if you didn’t look, you died. Now take this to John 3:16. Basically Jesus is telling us here: God so loved the world (all those bitten, or in this case sinned) that He gave His own begotten Son (He gave a redeemer, a greater bronze serpent, per se) that whoever believes in Him (whoever looks upon the redeemer, i.e. everyone who looks upon the serpent) shall not perish (like those whose redeemer was provided yet didn’t look upon the serpent) but have everlasting life (will be healed of their bite).

We also have the question of, “Was Christ a provision for each and every sin that I commit, or is Christ a payment for our sins in general?” Meaning: Did Christ have to die for each and every one of my lies, or did He die for the sin of lying and then apply His death to every one of our lies? The serpent clears this up. Was the serpent a provision for each and every person’s idolatry, or was the serpent a provision for the people’s collective sin of idolatry? The serpent was a provision for the nation’s sin of idolatry and then was applied to those who would look upon the provision. (penal payment)

If we read John 3:16 to mean that God so loved the elect, then we must say the same here in Numbers. God loved those elect, of the nation of Israel,and provided the serpent for those who would believe only, not for all. Numbers 21:8 could not be more clear for us:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”
Numbers 21:8

Notice God uses the term “everyone” to connotate that the serpent was for all people, not just some. Who was the death effective for? Those who believed and looked.
So, if you think that Jesus only died for the elect, then you have to read into Numbers 21 and also say that the serpent was somehow only for those who would look and was not a provision for all, even though God Himself says that it was for “everyone who was bitten.” The same can be said of us today: Jesus died for all who have been bitten (sinned) and all who believe in Him will have eternal life.

I think a thorough study of John 3:16, Numbers 21 and John 12:47 all point to the fact that this assertation by Turretinfan comes up wanting in the face of seeing the world, the “kosmos,” that John intended was not “the elect” but actually of all mankind. Especially since we can see that John 3:16,17 and John 12:47 are both thought of in the same light, by the same author with the same sentence structure. John really nails his point by drawing on Numbers 21 so that none can be confused with his intent of “God so loved the world” that is, all mankind.

Remember that John is giving the good news of who is included in this Love of God, namely, that God so loved all mankind, that is the good news of our God! We are not denying that there is a special love for the elect, but that is not the point of this particular passage, this passage deals with the love of the Father for all his creation, so much, that He sent the “kosmos” Creator, to die for the creation, because He loved it so much.

If you would like to take a look at some other theologian’s stances on John 3:16 here are a few:






110 comments:

orthodox said...

I haven't heard of this 6 point Calvinist, or whatever you want to call it before.

I would have thought that having admitted that John 3:16's "world" refers to everyone, then it would follow that God loves everyone in such a way that he would send His Son for them. And if he loves everyone in a way that would cause him to send His Son, then he wouldn't contradict himself in only effectively calling a portion. Why love people in a way that causes you to send your son to die for them, and then choose not to effectively call them?

Seth McBee said...

Orthodox.
You raise a good question,but for now I want this to stay on the topic of John 3:16 and the atonement question...not election or universalism...

We can discuss another time...

Albert said...

Seth, there is 4.5 Calvinist in the blogosphere though his blog has been dormant for many months already. Like James White, he is disliked by Roman Catholics because of his attacks on Roman Catholicism in his books. He himself is a former Roman Catholic. His name is Eric Svendsen.

Here is an overview of what he believes.

http://ntrminblog.blogspot.com/2006/08/time-to-stop-making-l-litmus-test-for.html

David said...

Hey Albert,

I know Eric, he and I have discussed some of this in the past.

My problem with the 4.5 language is whats half of a limited atonement? It makes no sense.

On the other hand the complete... I want to use a stronger word... lack of awareness in some quarters refer use the term 4 point Calvinism. But that's just... what word is coming to mind again ;-) ... more uninformed opinion too.

Check some of the information here:
Historiography

David

orthodox said...

You raise a good question,but for now I want this to stay on the topic of John 3:16 and the atonement question...not election or universalism...

You may not be able to escape. If your reading of a verse concerning the atonement ends up contradicting your doctrine of election, then I'm sure Turretinfan will pounce on it too. If you'd picked a different verse, you may have put it off for a while, but as it is, you've interpreted the verse to mean that God loves everyone in a saving way.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Seth, an excellent and captivating post with some very compelling arguments. It strikes me as odd that Numbers 21 is not more commonly examined, given that it is, as you say, a direct analogy made by Christ himself. I do have one criticism though:

Also know that if the serpent was only a provision for only those who would have looked, then Moses was a liar. He told the people in Numbers: Everyone who is bitten and looks upon the serpent shall be healed. If the serpent was only for those who would believe then Moses cannot make this remark to the people, it is an empty promise.

It seems to me that this argument only works if God is less than omnipotent. If God knows and has ordained in advance precisely who will look upon the serpent, and has determined to heal them and no others, then it is quite reasonable for him to say that everyone who looks upon the serpent shall be healed. Indeed, the serpent genuinely is only for those who will believe, since only those who will believe will look and be healed—even though it is proffered to everyone without exception. God has ordained the serpent as the means of healing everyone whom he has determined will look upon it. There is no necessary implication in the promise to the people that every single person will look upon it, and neither is it the case that every single person could look upon it from God's point of view (as if he had to be ready to heal potentially everyone, not knowing who would look). It is not as if God is merely reacting passively.

Nonetheless, I agree that Numbers 21 is a type of the crucifixion, and that it is a general mechanism of healing, capable or sufficient to save anyone who looks, regardless of how many, and regardless of who will. It is not a particular mechanism, as you say. It is penal, rather than pecuniary.

Again, good post; I am looking forward to the rest of your statements in this debate.

Regards,
Bnonn

David Ponter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ponter said...

Bnonn says:

It seems to me that this argument only works if God is less than omnipotent. If God knows and has ordained in advance precisely who will look upon the serpent, and has determined to heal them and no others, then it is quite reasonable for him to say that everyone who looks upon the serpent shall be healed. Indeed, the serpent genuinely is only for those who will believe, since only those who will believe will look and be healed—even though it is proffered to everyone without exception. God has ordained the serpent as the means of healing everyone whom he has determined will look upon it.

David: And so...?

You have not established how it makes God less than omnipotent if he provides a provision for all the people, while he has also ordained that only some be enabled to take up the provision.

How is your lead sentence there established?

Secondly, lets assume your lead sentence and see where it takes us: if a person has a singular and unalloyed intention to increase this man’s damnation, while saving this other man (again with an unmixed intention with regard to the respective men) and yet he “offers” and provides a remedy for the man whom he has no, absolutely no, intention, or design to save, that makes the offerer insincere. The one making the offer is a hypocrite. There can be no serious or even sincere offer. If your only unmixed unalloyed ‘intention’ is to increase their damnation, then that’s an ill-meant offer of what is supposedly a good thing. This way distorts the moral attribute of God’s goodness.

The only way to avoid that is to acknowledge that in some sense the offerer does design, or intend that both men should be saved. (Well of course some hypercalvinists will just assert that an in-intended gift still entails a sincere giver, but I cant take that seriously.)

The Reformed do this by saying that God does truly and properly will the salvation of all men by will revealed.

Bnonn: There is no necessary implication in the promise to the people that every single person will look upon it,

David: But who says that? Who say God promises that every single person shall look at it and be saved?

The promise, however, is to all: IF they look upon it, they will be saved. It’s a conditional promise. Do you have a problem with conditional promises? It is a conditional promise to all, that if they look upon the serpent, they shall be saved.

Bnonn: and neither is it the case that every single person could look upon it from God's point of view (as if he had to be ready to heal potentially everyone, not knowing who would look). It is not as if God is merely reacting passively.

David: But thats just a simple caricature, Bnonn. Do you believe in the free and well-meant offer of the gospel? If you say no, I bet thats where a lot of this is coming from. If you say yes, then you don’t understand how all this fits.

Take care,
David

David Ponter said...

Correction: (Well of course some hypercalvinists will just assert that an ill-intended gift still entails a sincere giver, but I cant take that seriously.)

ILL not in.

Seth McBee said...

Bnonn.
I always enjoy your comments as you always are up to discuss instead of just stating comments and then never coming back...like others I know...

David hits most of it right on the head...

the one thing he left out that he probably left for me to answer is your very last statement.

You said:
It is not a particular mechanism, as you say. It is penal, rather than pecuniary.


I hope this will come out further in the debate...if it doesn't I will just post on it anyway, cause it would also answer Orthodox's in this same post.

I believe in penal, not pecuniary. With penal in mind, the serpent and Christ can be offered to all without distinction and there would be no double payment, nor would there be a universal redemption for all. Because penal, by definition, has conditions against the one that committed the original offense (i.e. idolatry in Numbers 21 and sin when speaking of all humanity)

In our case this condition is on our faith, given by God. We spoke about this in the Imputation Post. We see this perfectly in Numbers 21. Serpent risen for all, with the condition of looking upon it. We can then take this to the cross: Christ risen up for all, with the condition of faith. This, by definition, is penal.

You also ask about God's omniscience. Can't we just rebut that with Why did God create humans that would go to hell?

We both can answer that correctly, so just apply that same logic to the atonement. We do at some point, have to leave it in the secret will of the Father.

Hope this clears some things up...if not...ask again...and we can continue...

thanks again for stopping by.

Bob Hayton said...

For what it's worth, I thought Bnonn was basically agreeing with you guys. He was agreeing that the atonement was not a particular mechanism but was penal, as you guys say. That was agreement.

His first sentence was basically saying if you don't believe God is omnipotent, then your case is foolproof. Since He is, your argument doesn't totally wipe out the competition and win the day. It sounds like he hasn't really stated which side he's on in the overall debate yet.

I'm taking this all in and will be promoting the debate over on my blog.

For now, I wanted to say I can see how John 3:16 says God loves all people in such a way as to set up a sacrifice so that those who believe get saved. The sacrifice immediately applies to those who believe, but in a general sense allows for a universal bona fide offer of the gospel, because indeed God, the omnipotent & omniscient one, knew who would believe and designed the atonement to cover them and them only. Yet from our standpoint, like Moses, we don't know who will "look and live", so we lift up Christ to all men. This is why Bunyan's argument doesn't seem to hold much water to me. We can share the gospel to all, and all can believe, since the promise is for all who believe. We don't have to be assured we are elect, if we can believe, we know we are included.

Still though, I'm holding out on a final verdict. I want to do more studying on all of this.

Blessings in Christ,

Bob Hayton

Bob Hayton said...

By the way, good link on that "penal payment" point. It really helps explain things.

Seth McBee said...

Bob...thanks for coming over and giving us your thoughts...I always enjoy our conversations...

If I misunderstood Bnonn then, "oops"

But when he said, It is not a particular mechanism, as you say. It is penal, rather than pecuniary.
I figured that was directed towards myself...I could have been wrong...

Anyway...

Bob, also notice that in Numbers 21:8 it is God who is speaking so we need to see that this is what God intended. That the serpent was for everyone who was bitten and when those bitten looked, they would be saved.

I guess my question would still be: Why does it matter if God is omniscient and still offers a sacrifice for all?

Can't we ask the same question on the common call to all men?

If God is omniscient, and knows they won't repent, why does he tell them to repent and believe?

Any thoughts?

David Ponter said...

G'day Bob,

You say:
For what it's worth, I thought Bnonn was basically agreeing with you guys. He was agreeing that the atonement was not a particular mechanism but was penal, as you guys say. That was agreement.

David: Ah if so, apologies to Bnonn. The way he has it worded. He cites Seth and then says this argument only works if God is less than omnipotent. I assume he means Seth's argument only works if one takes a view that God is less than omnipotent.

Bob says:
For now, I wanted to say I can see how John 3:16 says God loves all people in such a way as to set up a sacrifice so that those who believe get saved. The sacrifice immediately applies to those who believe, but in a general sense allows for a universal bona fide offer of the gospel, because indeed God, the omnipotent & omniscient one, knew who would believe and designed the atonement to cover them and them only.

David: Sure thats been one way to read it. Some folk have expressed that the world here is unlimited, eg, John Ball but deby that any unlimited expiation or redemption is presupposed.

That raises other questions tho, as to what exactly is provided for the world. And so we come into the idea of a hypothetical sufficiency and a limited (as to external sufficiency) remedy being offered to the world, by God, nonetheless.

Take care and thanks
David

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Good morning gentlemen. Bob, thank you; you did correctly understand me. I was not intending to say that Seth was wrong, but rather that I don't think his argument in this case is good. Basically, I was pointing out that a distinction needs to be made between the nature of the redemption as having a universal scope of sufficiency, and the nature of it being proffered universally. The reason for this is that one can universally proffer a redemption which is nonetheless only particular in its scope of sufficiency. A universal tender does not seem to imply a universal sufficiency in and of itself.

As long as we believe in a particular application of the redemption by God—that is, we believe that salvation is by God's election; not ours—it seems to me that we can't really make an argument from the universal scope of the tender of that redemption to the universal scope of the sufficiency of it. This is not to say that the redemption is not universally sufficient, but rather to point out that this particular argument would appear to prove too much. If we say that God would be insincere to tender the redemption to all, but not make provision for all; then equally he would be insincere to make provision for all, but not apply it to all. That, really, is the only point I am making. Somewhere along the line we are going to be inconsistent if we assume that insincerity is entailed in this way.

David, you are correct to suppose that my position is one in which the gospel is not "offered" to everyone without exception. This is why I have avoided that word. Firstly, I have not seen anywhere in Scripture where it is offered. Secondly, I am prepared to quite strongly defend the notion that a genuine universal offer would make God a liar (assuming the normally understood meaning of "offer"). There really isn't any way around this, regardless of how ambivalent God is about the salvation of the lost (and I don't believe it is wise to speak of God in that way either). Since I have already made this defense, though, I would direct you toward my article 'Is salvation offered?'

Seth, my apologies if my previous comment was unclear. For what it's worth, I largely agree with your position; just not with your particular argument in this case. I also did not mean to suggest that you regard the atonement as pecuniary. I was actually agreeing with your assessment of it as penal.

Regards,
Bnonn

David Ponter said...

G’day Bnonn

Bnonn: Good morning gentlemen. Bob, thank you; you did correctly understand me. I was not intending to say that Seth was wrong, but rather that I don't think his argument in this case is good. Basically, I was pointing out that a distinction needs to be made between the nature of the redemption as having a universal scope of sufficiency, and the nature of it being proffered universally. The reason for this is that one can universally proffer a redemption which is nonetheless only particular in its scope of sufficiency. A universal tender does not seem to imply a universal sufficiency in and of itself.

David: Roger Nicole tried this one with his Sear catalogue analogy. Sears offers to sells these washing machines, to all and every person, and yet it knows it only has a finite supply. I never found that impressive. Our problem comes to this: God knowingly offers to the world a provision which he knows he has never made available or sufficient for the world. It breaks down even at the revealed will level. This side issue is complex for sure, and there have been rejoinders tabled against what I have said, but I do not believe they work. However, I don’t think this is he immediate point of the Jn 3:16 part of the discussion. We can say, “yes there is an apparent problem in this aspect of the question, but does the alternative “solution” work over and against our solution? We say no.

Bnonn: As long as we believe in a particular application of the redemption by God—that is, we believe that salvation is by God's election; not ours—it seems to me that we can't really make an argument from the universal scope of the tender of that redemption to the universal scope of the sufficiency of it. This is not to say that the redemption is not universally sufficient, but rather to point out that this particular argument would appear to prove too much. If we say that God would be insincere to tender the redemption to all, but not make provision for all; then equally he would be insincere to make provision for all, but not apply it to all. That, really, is the only point I am making. Somewhere along the line we are going to be inconsistent if we assume that insincerity is entailed in this way.

David: Thats a sort of: “well I may have this problem, but you still have this problem over here,” is it not?

We say that what God wills by will revealed does not contradict what God nills by will decree (Turretin). What is the problem is when there is a contradiction on the same volitional level. In the offer, the invitation to the world is to come to something that the offer can never sustain. God is not obligated by will revealed to apply it to anyone. But when God says by will revealed there is a sufficient remedy for all the world, when there is not, thats a little problem. :-)

Bnonn: David, you are correct to suppose that my position is one in which the gospel is not "offered" to everyone without exception. This is why I have avoided that word. Firstly, I have not seen anywhere in Scripture where it is offered. Secondly, I am prepared to quite strongly defend the notion that a genuine universal offer would make God a liar (assuming the normally understood meaning of "offer"). There really isn't any way around this, regardless of how ambivalent God is about the salvation of the lost (and I don't believe it is wise to speak of God in that way either). Since I have already made this defense, though, I would direct you toward my article 'Is salvation offered?'

David: Yes, your objection works itself out into other areas of your theology. I am betting you cant say God in anyway desires that all who hear the call actually come and be saved? So for all whom are called, it is not the case that God sincerely delights and desire that the called come? If so, your conception of God is outside the boundaries of mainstream Calvinism, in all its expressions, Bnonn. The fundamental problem and objection you have then goes back to your conception of God, and the denial of his complexity (and back into your conception of God’s straightline causality of sin... back into modern versions of supralapsarianism etc). And I doubt this discussion should go off into that tangent if it wishes to stay on track, and right now I am not willing to track down the line you are coming from, unless thats also a line Turretinfan wants to take as well. If thats the case, if turretinfan is, likewise, coming at this from a denial of the well-meant offer (hypercalvinism), then that means I and we will also have to change the basis of our responses, I would think.


Take care,
David

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Hi David; thanks for your comments. I agree this is rather outside the bounds of the topic, so I'd just like to respond to one point by way of clarification, rather than going deeper:

I am betting you cant say God in anyway desires that all who hear the call actually come and be saved? So for all whom are called, it is not the case that God sincerely delights and desire that the called come?

I do believe that, in some sense, God desires the salvation of all men. God is complex as well as simple; he may desire that all men be saved while having a superseding desire that some be damned for the purpose of his own glorification. The sense in which God desires the salvation of all is not the same as the sense in which God desires the damnation of some.

Similarly, I do believe that God sincerely desires that the elect come, and delights that they do. I'm not really sure why either of these issues are problematic to my position, though.

However, I say this with the caveat that I certainly do not well understand what it means for God to desire and delight in things. These are human, passible analogies to divine, impassible attitudes.

Regards,
Bnonn

David Ponter said...

Bnonn says: I do believe that, in some sense, God desires the salvation of all men. God is complex as well as simple; he may desire that all men be saved while having a superseding desire that some be damned for the purpose of his own glorification. The sense in which God desires the salvation of all is not the same as the sense in which God desires the damnation of some.

David says: Well that is very good. That God in some sense, desires the salvation addresses the complexity you posted before. God can still desire the salvation of all men in such a way that his omnipotence is not questioned,nor his omniscience or anything like that. In the same way, God can sustain a provision for all without challenging his omnipotence either.

Take care,
David

Seth McBee said...

So...at the end of the day we have to ask...

If these are our presuppositions:

God loves all

God desires all to be saved

God calls all

(again, anyone reading this comment, know that I am not denying a special love for the elect, a special desire for the elect and a special drawing of the elect by affirming these others...common misconception)

What is the issue for God supplying a sufficient, actual sacrifice in His Son for all?

What is the underlying fear in advocating that when Scripture says, "ransomed for all", that, in fact, Christ died for all?

What is the hang up?

I think this question will actually direct the debate if Turretinfan will reply to this as well.

natamllc said...

Well,

bob hayton

since this is a debate, here goes nothing then!:::>

your words above:

[[The sacrifice immediately applies to those who believe, but in a general sense allows for a universal bona fide offer of the gospel, because indeed God, the omnipotent & omniscient one, knew who would believe and designed the atonement to cover them and them only.]]

That makes no sense to me! Are you saying by that that seeing Faith is a GIFT from God to believe in His Gift to the World, that some reject the gift of Faith and void personal penal expiation?

Maybe others have picked this up and I have just come to this portion and may find others ask this question and answer it. If so, well, I am coming in here just now and have not had the time to follow each posting.

If not, go ahead and ask me what I mean by my question if it is not clear. If it is clear, please explain how we got there in your words I put in brackets.

thanks

natamllc said...

Well dominic,

I am being reactionary, maybe foolish, you be the judge, but I want to touch on this statement:

here goes:::>

[[If we say that God would be insincere to tender the redemption to all, but not make provision for all; then equally he would be insincere to make provision for all, but not apply it to all. That, really, is the only point I am making. Somewhere along the line we are going to be inconsistent if we assume that insincerity is entailed in this way.]]

I will say now loudly, YES AND AMEN!

I would touch this thought dominic this way, GOD'S SINCERITY CAUSES DEMONS TO SHUDDER!

Their outcome is secure as mine is just as secure in a MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY!

So, there is no insincerity with Our God.

The insincerity comes from and out of very "sincere" evil fallen angels!

My way out in the field question by way of digression is, HOW SINCERE ARE THE ELECT ANGELS? They indeed are the ones sent to the HEIRS OF SALVATION:

Heb 1:13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

But now to the debate, I hope, as I go along now and read and read posts and observation posts the basis of this debate that Turrentinfan has brought out, I ask, is it on?

Is it?

I guess after I post this observation and continue to read more of the posters herein I may just be found foolish?

natamllc said...

Well, I guess I should stay in here and follow the posts.

Dominic, do you honestly believe this statement?

your words: [[he may desire that all men be saved while having a superseding desire that some be damned for the purpose of his own glorification. ]]

thanks

natamllc said...

Well now Seth!

yes and amen.

I would say, we need to pare down the presupposition a bit more.

Right now, if I be TF, I would not want to pose the position he has stated thus far.

Again, TF is no man's fool. I do believe he is coming into a position with the Eternal thereby able to speak as His Son's Ambassador and I venture to bet, he will speak.

But, a presupposition as to "world".

I would put one forth.

Waiting, waiting, TF, I too am waiting. :)

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Dominic, do you honestly believe this statement?

your words: [[he may desire that all men be saved while having a superseding desire that some be damned for the purpose of his own glorification. ]]


Yes natamllc, I do. I presume you do not? If not, why not?

natamllc said...

dominic,

hmmmm,

I am betwixt and between Seth's admonition to stay on point in here on the debate at hand.

Maybe after this one is exhausted and we all have a say we can ask Seth to let us duke it out on that one presupposition.

yes, you are correct, I do not believe that, no, not for a minute!

I cite one scripture, I know, I know, but I just can't help myself!!!:)

the one lost sheep.

David Ponter said...

I forgot this: no one has actually established any exegetical case yet that kosmos for John ever meant "the elect" or any cognate expression, eg 'some of all kinds of elect,' etc.

David

Seth McBee said...

David brings up a good point and one that I have been waiting for.

Many have tried to come up with other arguments from a Theological stand point, but I have yet been given any evidence that kosmos means anything besides the world of mankind

I suppose that Turretinfan will, when he gets a chance, but we have not seen this from any of the commenters...

Any want to take up this exegetically that kosmos means the elect?

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Seth, although I might change my mind, I currently interpret kosmos here as meaning "the world of the elect". I believe the implied focus here is indeed on the people whom God has chosen to save—but the stated context is the world, throughout the whole of which those people live.

Regards,
Bnonn

Seth McBee said...

dominic...
I hope you knew I wasn't going to let this comment pass without notice :)

Exegetically from John 3:14-21 tell me how this can be true? Especially in light of the explanations I have given from Numbers 21 and the surrounding verses in the context, and then also John 12:47.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

I thought that this interpretation actually fitted quite well with your own, Seth. I agree that the kosmos in view is universal; I'm merely adding the caveat that, by merit of the fact that God has only chosen to save some, those elect are an implied focus when speaking about said kosmos.

Bob Hayton said...

Natamllc,

I had said:

[[The sacrifice immediately applies to those who believe, but in a general sense allows for a universal bona fide offer of the gospel, because indeed God, the omnipotent & omniscient one, knew who would believe and designed the atonement to cover them and them only.]]

You replied with:

That makes no sense to me! Are you saying by that that seeing Faith is a GIFT from God to believe in His Gift to the World, that some reject the gift of Faith and void personal penal expiation?

Let me further explain my comment, hopefully it will make sense:

On the cross, Jesus specifically died for all the believing ones/the elect. But that death is also a demonstration of God's love for all by being the basis for which a universal offer of the gospel can be made to all people. There are benefits from Christ's death which apply to all, but specifically the atonement applies only to those who God will later give the gift of faith.

Note: this is only a commentary on that specific quote you gave of mine, which I must attest I'm not necessarily defending. I'm still evaluating that position. It just is one of the options out there.

Thanks, and God bless,

Bob Hayton

Bob Hayton said...

In my latest post on this whole issue, I link to this article by James White, which provides an exegetical treatment of John 3:16 which seems to do justice to the term "world" in a contextually honest way.

David Ponter said...

Hey Bob, I have seen this before and commented on it before. Lets try again.

Preamble. I detect in this argument from White a movement back and forth between world as an abstraction, the human race, the world of humanity, the kind of thing called Jew or Gentiles, one the one hand, to a fixed set of particulars, the redeemed, those individuals saved, on the other hand.

Realising this movement is crucial. It cannot be both. It cannot be an abstracted human race/world, and a sub-set of particulars at the same time. John Owen was actually the more consistent in all this: as he argued it was a set of particulars, namely the elect. He never made the dodgy or ambiguous moves to species or genus. I would say it is impossible that God in Christ meant world as species, the kind of thing called Human, or Gentile, or Jew.

To the argument:

White: Verse 16 begins with the assertion that God’s love is the basis of His redemptive work in Jesus Christ. God’s love for the world comes to expression in the sending of His unique Son into the world, and in the provision of eternal life for a specific and limited group. The same delineation and particularity that is found in the last phrase of v. 15 is repeated here.

David: so the provision is only for a limited group? It is not for the world?

White: The Meaning and Extent of kosmos: The great controversy that rages around the term “world” is wholly unnecessary. The wide range of uses of kosmos (world) in the Johannine corpus is well known. John 3:16 does not define the extent of kosmos. However, a few things are certain: it is not the “world” that Jesus says He does not pray for in John 17:9, a “world” that is differentiated from those the Father has given Him: “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours.”

David: Why is not the same world? The world in j17:9 is contrasted, not to the elect, but to the 11. The world, therefore, denotes all unbelievers, whom at this point Jesus does not specifically pray for.

White: It is not the “world” that is arrayed as an enemy against God’s will and truth, either, as seen in 1 John 2:15: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

David: Again, why should that follow? If the world of j3:16 is apostate humanity, it’s the same word as in 1j2;15; what is different is the nature of the “love” not the meaning of world. Surely anyone can see that the idea of "not loving the world" pertains to our inclination to follow the world rather than God?

White: Obviously, the “world” we are not to love in 1 John 2:15 is not the world God showed His love toward by sending His unique Son.

David: Well this is rather superficial. The world we are not to love, is the world we are not to set our affections upon, to covet, etc.

1j2:2:15-16: 15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

David: Surely common sense tells us that there is a sense where we love the world, ie the sinners of the world, to seek their salvation. Yet we do not love the darkness, the gloss of the world.

White: The most that can be said by means of exegesis (rather than by insertion via tradition) is that the world is shown love through the giving of the Son so that a specific, particular people receive eternal life through faith in Him.

David: I do not believe he has demonstrated this.

White: Since we know that not all are saved by faith in Christ, it is utterly unwarranted to read into kosmos some universal view of humanity:

David: That is ambiguous. If someone were to say that kosmos here means everyone who has lived, lives and will live, White may have a point. But here we are not saying that: rather it refers to living and apostate unbelieving humanity in opposition to God. This is actually where academic commentaries are heading. Thus world means all unbelievers, whether elect or not, living, in opposition to God.

Rhetorical question coming:

White: how is God’s love shown for one who _experiences_ eternal punishment by the provision of salvation for someone else?

[emphasis mine.]

David: that has no impact upon the definition of world as apostate humanity. Its *living* apostate humanity. The world here is not the world of hell or hades. Christ was not sent into hades, the realm of the dead.

White: Surely, then, this is a general use of kosmos, with more specific uses of the term coming in the following verses. That is, the common meaning of world that would have suggested itself to the original readers (Jew and Gentile), and this is born out by the parallel passage in 1 John 4, as we will see below.

David: Bob, he actually has not provided an argument here.

Cut cut

White: Verse 18 continues the point by insisting that the one believing in Christ is not condemned/judged (Greek: krinetai). However, the one not believing has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of Christ (both “has been judged” and “has not believed” are perfect tense, indicating a completed action that is not awaiting a future fulfillment). Just as Paul teaches that the wrath of God is continually being revealed against children of wrath, John tells us that the wrath of God abides upon those who do not obey the Son (John 3:36).

David: This is a keeper. I assume he means all unbelievers, whether elect or not? If so, this will compromise any possible future recourse to double jeopardy I would think.

Cut cut

White: English usage and tradition again conspire to rob the due force of the adversative hina clause: that is, many see “but that the world might be saved” as some kind of weak affirmation, when in fact the idea is, “God did not send the Son for purpose X, but instead, to fulfill purpose Y.” The hina clause expresses God’s purpose in the sending of the Son. It does not contain some kind of sense that “God did this which might result in that, if this happens....” While the subjunctive can be used in conditional sentences, it is also used in purpose/result clauses without the insertion of the idea of doubt or hesitant affirmation. The word “might” then is not to be read “might as in maybe, hopefully, only if other things happen” but “might” as in “I turned on the printer so that I might use it to print out this letter.” Purpose, not lack of certainty.

David: The subjunctive is inherently “probable.” One cannot assert that a subjunctive with a hina clause entails certainty. It is a would, could, should, might idea. I consulted Wallace and Mounce on this years ago and there is one form of the subjunctive that denotes certainty when the Jews spoke in some instances of God. But there is no evidence that operative here. White has just imported way too much meaning into the subjunctive. When we were doing Greek, the question our prof told us is this: ‘when does the subjunctive denote certainty, so the question is not when does it denote probability.’

There is no evidence that the idea is that the “world” shall certainly be saved.

For example see NIV John 5:34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.

David: the same word forms are here. The subjunctive with a hina is used. Jesus told these things to the Pharisees so that they should be saved. No one would imagine that here it means that they certainly would be saved.

White: Of course, this immediately raises another theological question, however. Will God save the world through Christ? If one has inserted the concept of “universal individualism” into “world” in verse 16, and then insists (against John’s regular usage) that the same meaning be carried throughout a passage, such would raise real problems.

David: A little reductio there. If the subjunctive does not denote certainty here, then the reductio has no force.

White: However, there is no need to do this. When we see the world as the entirety of the kinds of men (Jew and Gentile, or as John expresses it in Revelation 5:9, every “tribe, tongue, people and nation” = world) the passage makes perfect sense. God’s love is demonstrated toward Jew and Gentile in providing a single means of salvation for both (Paul’s main point in Romans 3-4), so too it is that He will accomplish that purpose in the sending of the Son. He will save “the world,” that is, Jews and Gentiles.

David: This is again very superficial. Kosmos is not even mentioned in that passage. How can it therefore be used to define Kosmos in j3;16? Rev 5 speaks to the accomplished redemption of the elect, by way of metaphor for sure, and is not even hinting at a definition of world. And the idea that Kosmos for John meant the “gentiles” is being abandoned by good commentators today. Kosmos for John included the unbelieving Jews as much as it did the unbelieving Gentiles. John 1:9 the light that enlightens every man coming into the world. Here light versus darkness, as the recurring theme in John’s use of kosmos, which to him is dark and dead, needing life, yet which he includes the state of apostate Israel.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

David: Jesus did not come into the world of the Gentiles, exclusively. And on on it goes with John.

White: A Parallel Passage 1 John 4:7-10 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

David: Let me interrupt here: is this a different world than in say in 4:1,3, etc?

White: This passage provides us with a tremendous commentary, from John himself, on the passage we have just examined from his Gospel. The repetition of key phrases in the same contexts show us how closely related the two passages are. Both passages speak of God’s love; both speak of God’s sending of His Son and how this is a manifestation of God’s love; both speak of life and the forgiveness of sin, often using the very same words John used to record John 3:16ff. So how did the Apostle John understand those words? Here we are given that insight.

White: The fact that verse nine is meant to be a restatement of John 3:16 can be seen by placing them in parallel to one another:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world
1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us

John 3:16 that He gave His only begotten Son
1 John 4:9 that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world

John 3:16 that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life
1 John 4:9 so that we might live through Him

White: Once we see the clear connection, and recognize the background of John’s words, we can use 1 John 4:9 to shed light upon some of the key issues regarding the proper interpretation of John 3:16ff. For example, we concluded above that “world” meant the world of humanity, i.e., Jew and Gentile taken in kind and not in universal particularity (each and every person).

David: Note the terms here, not universal particularity, not each and every person. We are back to world/races being an abstraction. What does that mean “world of humanity”? Does it include any particular person? Are any reprobate persons comprehended in this world of humanity? This line, strikes me as suggesting that God in Christ is using the term ‘world’ as we finite creatures might, to speak in some generality of kind without any specific individual in mind. So like this: I might say “I love Americans.” Now you may point me to one American I do not love (for whatever reason). I can say, consistently, “Nope I don’t love him.” We could do this indefinitely. And all the while the statement could be true: “I love Americans.” I think Bnonn should appreciate this point of epistemology.

I can say that because I can separate the abstract genera or kind or species from any particular of the class. However, can God? Can God think of a class and not think of all the particulars in that class? If God meant to speak of the species, surely that would have been communicated. And then we come to the question: does John use kosmos to denote the species or even races (in abstractio) like that? No.

Is Jesus trying to assure Nicodemus by telling him that God loves all kinds of men? Now recall, an abstracted proposition does not pertain to any particular. Nicodemus could have no assurance that he was one of those particulars whom God loves.

The point then is not about stressing God's love for a species or for other races of men, simply considered.

White: This is confirmed by John’s rephrasing here, “By this the love of God was manifested to us.” The “us” in this immediate context is identified in verse 7, “Beloved, let us love one another,” i.e., the Christian fellowship, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles.

David: So kosmos does denote some particulars?? The movement back and forth from abstraction to particulars, but at no point are any reprobate particulars allowed to be included.

Why cannot John refer to “us” as we are humans too? As we are part of this world? Thus the “us” is qua humanity, who have been saved?

White: Further, the issue of the intention of God in sending the Son is further illuminated by noting the teaching of 1 John as well. That is, John 3:17 says it was the Father’s intention to save the world through Christ. This we know Christ accomplished (Revelation 5:9-10) by saving men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (this comprising the same group seen in John 6:37 who are given by the Father to the Son).

David: But again, Rev 5 never uses the term kosmos, and we know that a subjunctive here is not certainty.

White: 1 John 4:10 summarizes the entire work of God by saying that God’s love is shown in His sending Christ as the propitiation for our sins. This is paralleled here with verse 9, “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” This helps to explain the oft-cited words of 1 John 2:2. The “whole world” of 1 John 2:2 would carry the same meaning we have already seen: the whole world of Jew and Gentile.

David: The whole world, in abstractio or in particulars? No particular reprobate Jew or Gentile? When folk speak like this, of the “world of Jew and Gentile” it strikes me as just code for elect of all races.

White: [edit....] But in none of these passages do we find any reference to a work of Christ that is non-specific and universal with reference to individuals, let alone one that is not perfectly accomplished. God’s manifestation of His love does not fail.

David: to be clear, we are not saying that Christ’s mission is to non-specifics. We say it is to specifics.

David: So we go back to Jn 12. The exact same language is used with the same subjunctive-hina expression.

John 12:47 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

John 12:48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

The question that one should think about is this? What is the point of Jesus’ reference to his mission, not to now condemn the world, but to save the world? The answer is, that it answers the question why Christ does not condemn the man who does not keep the words of Christ. This hypothetical rejector stands as exemplar and representative of the world. He is not condemned because Christ did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it. He has to be part of the world Jesus did come to condemn. And common sense says the world is the same, as the world is not now condemned, because that same world is the object of Christ’s mission to save. And this also demonstrates that the subjunctive-hina does not denote certainty, as this man, whom Christ came to save–as he is part of the world–is to be condemned at the last day (v48).

Think about it. The only option–to deny the obvious force here–is to say that the hypothetical rejector is not part of the world which Jesus neither condemns nor came to save.

Hope that helps,
David

Seth McBee said...

Bob.
I am going to direct this towards you since you brought out the White exegesis in play...cause this is the same issue I had in the back of mind when I read his exegesis the first time, and when I was in your shoes of not knowing where I stood on the atonement. I thought I was convinced that it was only limited but then I still had these stupid verses that would ring in my ears and the exegesis of those I respect, i.e. James White, didn't really put me at peace.

Here is what I struggled with.

White says that kosmos doesn't mean all humanity but yet this still shows the love of God to all humanity. How?

Imagine if you went home to your family and told them (I know you have 4 girls so I am going to play on your emotions...sorry) "I bought you this pony for all of you because I love all of you" Yet, you in your mind, love your youngest 3 daughters more than your oldest and so, in reality, you really bought it for them and not your oldest. You never let her enjoy the benefits of the pony because you tell her, "I didn't mean all of you, but I only meant the 3 youngest." She asks, "How does this show that you love me then?"

What is your answer to her?

Wouldn't even the normal response for your oldest be to think that you bought this pony for all of them?

If Jesus was only for the elect, how does this show His love for the world? Seriously...how does that make sense?

I couldn't answer that question, so I continued to dig.

Seth McBee said...

Bob.
Question for you...and it's an honest one.

How does any unbeliever know that God loves them?

Either the reprobate or future believer?

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Seth, a question if I may.

How does your analogy of Bob's kids and the pony not equally apply to election? Let's assume that the redemption was universally sufficient in scope, so that all the kids really could play with the pony. Would we still not be able to liken election to Bob bringing this pony home and saying that it's for all the girls to play with, but then only giving the three youngest ones saddles and stirrups and reigns?

The obvious answer is that the oldest girl doesn't want to play with ponies because she is "too old for that stuff"— so even though she could play with it, she chooses not to. But then we are implying there is something intrinsic to the younger girls such that they do want to play with ponies—in which case the analogy fails, because we know that "no one seeks for God".

The fact is that particular redemption is what defines the intentions of God with regard to the atonement. Whether or not it can be applied to all people isn't really relevant to the question of whether it will be. We can say that the cross is for everyone in the whole world, meaning that anyone whatsoever can appropriate its redemption if they want to—but we know that the people who will want to have been chosen from the foundation of the world, and that they will want to because of God's regeneration and not anything intrinsic in them. Behind the universal sufficiency still stands God's limited intention of its application. And if his intention is to apply redemption only to the elect, then in what sense has he given his Son for the whole world without exception? That is to say, in what way has he loved the whole world without exception in the context of redemption?

This is why I suggest that, if we are to understand the world as a general class, we must still view that class as being merely the superset of the implied focus: God's elect people.

Regards,
Bnonn

David Ponter said...

Hey Bnonn,

No your readjustment is not a good analogy. There is nothing lacking in the gift of redemption. What can be lacking is the desire for repentance.

Rogers:

The main of the condemned passages the query refers to, runs not in the order therein set own, but as follows: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved;” that is, “Be verily persuaded in your heart that Christ Jesus is yours, and that you shall have life and salvation by him; that whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for you:” being in matter the same with what has been commonly taught in the Protestant churches, and, in words of the renowned Mr. John Rogers, of Dodham, (a man so noted for orthodoxy, holiness, and the Lord’s countenancing of his ministry, that no sound Protestants in Britain or Ireland, of what denomination soever, would, in the age wherein he lived, have taken upon them to condemn as erroneous) definition of faith, which we have as follows: “A particular persuasion of my heart that Christ Jesus is mine, and that I shall have life and salvation by his means; that whatsoever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for me.” Where one may see, though the difference in words be almost none at all, yet it runs rather stronger with him than in the Marrow.

Calvin:

Now they sophistically disport themselves over Matthew’s version of the genealogy of Christ. Matthew does not list Mary’s ancestors, but Joseph’s [Matthew 1:16]. Still, because he is mentioning something well known at the time, he considers it sufficient to show that Joseph sprang from the seed of David, since it was clear enough that Mary came from the same family. Luke emphasizes this even more, teaching that the salvation provided by Christ is common to all mankind. For Christ, the Author of salvation, was begotten of Adam, the common father of us all [Luke 3:38]. Calvin, Institutes, 2.13.3.


How do we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son--not for Christ’s own private use, but that he might enrich poor and needy men? First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Calvin, Institutes 3.1.1.

David: There is no defect in the gift. Nothing is lacking in what has been provided in the redemption of Christ.

Now, that God may not enable someone to act on the gift is another question. But in terms of what is proffered to all, nothing is lacking.

David

David Ponter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ponter said...

Besides, I think Seth was speaking to the code language. That sort of secret code speech needs to be rejected.

David :-)

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Hi David—

I agree that nothing is lacking in the gift; that the lack is in us. However, we know also that that lack is only removed by God himself.

The gift of redemption has two parts: atonement, and faith. Both are gifts. We can focus on one, but it doesn't seem to me that, in so doing, we can wholly ignore the other.

For example, we might say analogously that Bob so loved his girls that he gave them a pony, that whosoever should play with it would have fun. But the pony is only one half of the gift. The ability to play with it is the other. The girls only want to play with the pony if they have a saddle to sit on—but Bob has only given three of them a saddle.

It is true that there is nothing lacking in the gift of the pony (atonement) in and of itself. But there is something lacking in the gift of having fun (redemption), because the pony is only one part of it. There is also the saddle (faith), which Bob only ever intended to give to three of his four girls.

Now it seems to me that it is redemption which is in view in John 3:16. Not just the atonement, but the purpose of that atonement. This is why I asked: in what way has God loved the whole world without exception in the context of redemption? Redemption is a single thing comprising two gifts: the atonement, and faith. It is therefore not sensible to say that God loved the whole world without exception as regards the atonement, but not the whole world without exception as regards faith. That would mean that God both did, and did not, love the whole world without exception as regards redemption.

Hopefully this clarifies where I am coming from.

Regards,
Bnonn

natamllc said...

David

for what it is worth, it didn't help me at all!

Could you feed me with squeezer and cream in more bite size amounts?

Thanks!

As for the pony analogy. That one went dead on arrival for me.

Can we not focus this debate to TF's assertion? Sorry Seth, possibly I am overstepping my bounds herein? You be the judge!

I am wondering with all this wandering if TF has not been frightened off, I doubt it though?

Dominic, your watered down version of the pony analogy just got it in hotter water than it was, by you.

Ok, I am a target! :)

But, someone, TF, hopefully, give an answer to the "world" in which we debate this issue of which "world" God sent His Son to die on a cross, a cursed cross at that to spin a legal note here, for, so we can get to Seth's conclusions. I want to die and go to Heaven and now I am troubled that I just my be betwixt and between doctrines and don't know if I have a chance to defend the Faith once delivered to the Saints?

David Ponter said...

Hey Bnonn


Bnonn: For example, we might say analogously that Bob so loved his girls that he gave them a pony, that whosoever should play with it would have fun. But the pony is only one half of the gift. The ability to play with it is the other. The girls only want to play with the pony if they have a saddle to sit on—but Bob has only given three of them a saddle.

David: In terms of the atonement model we are working from it’s a little different. There is redemption and there is the application of redemption. The redemption accomplished by Christ is offered to all conditionally. All that Christ did for one, he did for all. Its not the case that Christ did so much for this person, but less than so for his person, in the act of expiation and redemption, but then God acts as if he is offering all that was done for the first, to all men.

I still don’t see how what you say is relevant to Seth’s point as I see it. He was tackling the code language. We say here this is for you, but we don’t mean it.

Bnonn: It is true that there is nothing lacking in the gift of the pony (atonement) in and of itself. But there is something lacking in the gift of having fun (redemption), because the pony is only one part of it. There is also the saddle (faith), which Bob only ever intended to give to three of his four girls.

David: Beside the point. The gift is faith is not proffered. Redemption is. Redemption was fully accomplished. All that was necessary to save one, was accomplished for all. The remedy therefore is truly offerable. There is no code language here “this is the remedy to you,” where we have a secret understanding as to what “you” really means.

Bnonn: Now it seems to me that it is redemption which is in view in John 3:16. Not just the atonement, but the purpose of that atonement.

David: purpose as expressing which volition in God, decretive or revealed? We say the purpose is an active principle of the revealed will which seeks the salvation of the world.

Bnonn: This is why I asked: in what way has God loved the whole world without exception in the context of redemption?

David: In the way Calvin and Rogers outlined. A full remedy is now sustained and offered to all. God desires all to come to the salvation and provision in Christ.

Bnonn: Redemption is a single thing comprising two gifts: the atonement, and faith.

David: You will have to unpack that for me. Salvation comprises of complex elements, the objective work of Christ, the calling of the Spirit and the gift of faith. We can describe the whole salvation process as “redemption” ie deliverance accomplished. But that is not what is Seth is speaking to. What is being addressed is, is there an objective and full redemption accomplished which is truly applicable to all, or no? And then, when we say this provision is for “you” do we really mean “you”? Etc etc.

Bnonn: It is therefore not sensible to say that God loved the whole world without exception as regards the atonement, but not the whole world without exception as regards faith.

David: Why? You have not laid out the causal connection that I can see. Please do.

Bnonn: That would mean that God both did, and did not, love the whole world without exception as regards redemption.

David: That would also work against the broader Reformed idea that God’s compassion is both general and elective. The general compassion of God is still salvific, in that it seeks the salvation of reprobates as elect. This salvific love relates to the redemption wrought, else its absurd. God has a kind of compassion for a man’s eternal well-being, but yet there is no redemption, no cure, no remedy, that can speak to his well-being? Only on our model are the attributes of God in harmony.

So, by the revealed will of God, as expressing his compassion, he can love the world salvifically. By the decretive intention, he may love only some especially. No problem. The one redemption sustains both the general and the special aspect of this love.

And in a way this is all third order, as if world in Jn 3:16 is broader than the elect, but includes the reprobate, then everything I’ve said follows, what you said, follows not. What exegetical argument is there for delimitation of Kosmos there?

Bnonn: Hopefully this clarifies where I am coming from.

David: yes and no.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

David, thanks for your comments. I think I will wait to see how the debate progresses before responding further.

Regards,
Bnonn

natamllc said...

Hey David,

would it be fair to conclude that you are for universe, all, demonstration of God's Love to "know Him", Eternal Life?

David Ponter said...

natamllc said
would it be fair to conclude that you are for universe, all, demonstration of God's Love to "know Him", Eternal Life?

David says: If I understood the question(s) I would answer you.

Thanks,
David

natamllc said...

David

tacitly gladly!

You wrote I believe to Dominic an interesting back and forth between yourself and Dr. White.

By the way, do you know him?

Here's your bit above in question leading me to ask such a broad far reaching question of you:

[[
David: the same word forms are here. The subjunctive with a hina is used. Jesus told these things to the Pharisees so that they should be saved. No one would imagine that here it means that they certainly would be saved.

White: Of course, this immediately raises another theological question, however. Will God save the world through Christ? If one has inserted the concept of “universal individualism” into “world” in verse 16, and then insists (against John’s regular usage) that the same meaning be carried throughout a passage, such would raise real problems.

David: A little reductio there. If the subjunctive does not denote certainty here, then the reductio has no force.

White: However, there is no need to do this. When we see the world as the entirety of the kinds of men (Jew and Gentile, or as John expresses it in Revelation 5:9, every “tribe, tongue, people and nation” = world) the passage makes perfect sense. God’s love is demonstrated toward Jew and Gentile in providing a single means of salvation for both (Paul’s main point in Romans 3-4), so too it is that He will accomplish that purpose in the sending of the Son. He will save “the world,” that is, Jews and Gentiles.

David: This is again very superficial. Kosmos is not even mentioned in that passage. How can it therefore be used to define Kosmos in j3;16? Rev 5 speaks to the accomplished redemption of the elect, by way of metaphor for sure, and is not even hinting at a definition of world. And the idea that Kosmos for John meant the “gentiles” is being abandoned by good commentators today. Kosmos for John included the unbelieving Jews as much as it did the unbelieving Gentiles. John 1:9 the light that enlightens every man coming into the world. Here light versus darkness, as the recurring theme in John’s use of kosmos, which to him is dark and dead, needing life, yet which he includes the state of apostate Israel.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

David: Jesus did not come into the world of the Gentiles, exclusively. And on on it goes with John.

White: A Parallel Passage 1 John 4:7-10 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

David: Let me interrupt here: is this a different world than in say in 4:1,3, etc?

White: This passage provides us with a tremendous commentary, from John himself, on the passage we have just examined from his Gospel. The repetition of key phrases in the same contexts show us how closely related the two passages are. Both passages speak of God’s love; both speak of God’s sending of His Son and how this is a manifestation of God’s love; both speak of life and the forgiveness of sin, often using the very same words John used to record John 3:16ff. So how did the Apostle John understand those words? Here we are given that insight.

White: The fact that verse nine is meant to be a restatement of John 3:16 can be seen by placing them in parallel to one another:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world
1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us

John 3:16 that He gave His only begotten Son
1 John 4:9 that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world

John 3:16 that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life
1 John 4:9 so that we might live through Him

White: Once we see the clear connection, and recognize the background of John’s words, we can use 1 John 4:9 to shed light upon some of the key issues regarding the proper interpretation of John 3:16ff. For example, we concluded above that “world” meant the world of humanity, i.e., Jew and Gentile taken in kind and not in universal particularity (each and every person).

David: Note the terms here, not universal particularity, not each and every person. We are back to world/races being an abstraction. What does that mean “world of humanity”? Does it include any particular person? Are any reprobate persons comprehended in this world of humanity? This line, strikes me as suggesting that God in Christ is using the term ‘world’ as we finite creatures might, to speak in some generality of kind without any specific individual in mind. So like this: I might say “I love Americans.” Now you may point me to one American I do not love (for whatever reason). I can say, consistently, “Nope I don’t love him.” We could do this indefinitely. And all the while the statement could be true: “I love Americans.” I think Bnonn should appreciate this point of epistemology.

I can say that because I can separate the abstract genera or kind or species from any particular of the class. However, can God? Can God think of a class and not think of all the particulars in that class? If God meant to speak of the species, surely that would have been communicated. And then we come to the question: does John use kosmos to denote the species or even races (in abstractio) like that? No.

Is Jesus trying to assure Nicodemus by telling him that God loves all kinds of men? Now recall, an abstracted proposition does not pertain to any particular. Nicodemus could have no assurance that he was one of those particulars whom God loves.

The point then is not about stressing God's love for a species or for other races of men, simply considered.]]

my question then after a time to reflect on what you wrote above is again:::>

Hey David,

would it be fair to conclude that you are for universe, all, demonstration of God's Love to "know Him", Eternal Life?

11/15/2007 05:59:00 PM

thanks

David Ponter said...

Nat said:

You wrote I believe to Dominic an interesting back and forth between yourself and Dr. White.

By the way, do you know him?

David says: Which one?

Nat: Here's your bit above in question leading me to ask such a broad far reaching question of you:

David: text cut

Nat: my question then after a time to reflect on what you wrote above is again:::>

Hey David,

would it be fair to conclude that you are for universe, all, demonstration of God's Love to "know Him", Eternal Life?

David: I am still none the wiser.

David

Robin said...

I have to be honest here. I tried wading through some of these comments and the words got in the way! Have mercy on me, a poor sinner with only some college under her belt and no seminary!!

Seth, I don't think I get what you're saying in this post right through here:

'When we read the verse it starts by lumping all people together: God so loved the world. This is the “one class” of all people, all humanity. Then John starts to put people in different classes by saying “those believing will not perish.” The opposite would then come to mean that there are some who won’t believe and will perish. So we have two classes of people who make up the world; those believing and those not believing.
[break in context...] This would mean that some of the elect will not believe and will perish. It would read like this:

God so loved the elect, that He gave His only Son that those (referring to the noun “world”) who believe will not be like those of the elect (referring back again to the noun, “world”) who don’t believe and perish (here is the problem…neither of us believe that the elect can perish), but will have eternal life.'

You have now taken the world AND the separation of that world and compared them apple to apple. If the world means all mankind and John then breaks it down into those who believe and who don't believe, would it not be just as easily "logical" to say those who believe are the elect and those who don't aren't?

I don't like labels on man's beliefs. I do not believe that man has any say in their salvation. If I can just choose to take the salvation route, then where is God's deity and sovereign nature? Basically to say that man chooses is to say that God did no more than transport through the span of time, decide who was going to choose Him and THEN write His Book of Life. I don't think I serve a God so small He has to do that type of research before penning His book!! I don't know how many points of Calvinism that makes me!

I pray this debate will resolve some issues and not just confuse them even more.

In Him,
R

Seth McBee said...

robin
I think you accidentally misread me and the thoughts on this. I believe in the Five Points of Calvinism..I am a five pointer, plus 1.

So, I am not sure where you got that I didn't believe in unconditional election and Sola Fide. I am guessing this was part of your questioning when you said,

do not believe that man has any say in their salvation. If I can just choose to take the salvation route, then where is God's deity and sovereign nature? Basically to say that man chooses is to say that God did no more than transport through the span of time, decide who was going to choose Him and THEN write His Book of Life. I don't think I serve a God so small He has to do that type of research before penning His book!!

I assume that had something to do with my post...but not sure why you got this from it.

If you would like my views on these subjects read these two posts:
Unconditional Election
Sola Fide Intro
Sola Fide Part I
Sola Fide Part II

You also state:
You have now taken the world AND the separation of that world and compared them apple to apple. If the world means all mankind and John then breaks it down into those who believe and who don't believe, would it not be just as easily "logical" to say those who believe are the elect and those who don't aren't?


That is exactly what I am saying that John states. With the term world he is including all humanity as far as God's love and the showing of that love for all humanity by giving His Son to them. John then breaks down this world by saying that there are the believing and the non-believing. i.e. The elect and the rebrobate.

Does that clear things up a bit?

If not...ask again...

Thanks for dropping by.

Seth McBee said...

I wanted everyone to know also that I am trying to keep up with comments but gets difficult as one can tell...so if I have not answered a question that you would really like addressed, please ask again...

Also, I spoke to Turretinfan and he will be trying to get a post to me by Saturday, so be looking for it this weekend.

Just wanted you to know that neither of us are trying to dodge any of your inquiries.

natamllc said...

David,

Dr. White

And I might add, me too, none the wiser!

David Ponter said...

Yes I know of him. I have spoken to him at times, a long time ago. Nothing other than that.

David

Bob said...

The Biblical doctrine of Definite Atonement is one that is found in virtually every book of the Bible. We see it begin in Gen 3:15 and end in Rev 14:4b.

For some a difficulty arises in John's gospel from his extensive use of the word "world" (the Greek word kosmos). This word occurs in the NT 185 times, of which seventy-eight are in John's gospel. "World" is definitely a word John likes for it is used twenty-four times in his three epistles and three times in Revelation. In considering the doctrine of definite atonement in John, look at the various uses of the word "world":
1. Entire Universe
2. Physical Earth
3. World System
4. Humanity Minus Believers
5. Large Group
6. General Public
7. Jews and Gentiles
8. Human Realm
9. Non-Elect
10. Elect Only

This diversity of meaning must be kept in mind when studing the fourth gospel. Great care and skillful precision must be exercised in assigning a proper meaning to the word "kosmos" in each context. As the apostle John himself moves freely from one meaning to another, sometimes within the same verse (e.g. 12:47) one cannot automatically assume that the word always means every living person. Such would be a too-simplistic approach bordering on naivete.
So, for whom did Christ die? Jesus taught that he would die for: The Sheep; The Elect; All Kinds; The Given.

Ref: Henry; Gill; Calvin; Agustine; Luther; Edwards; Owen; Pink; Lawson; MacArthur; Sproul; Daniel; Berkhof; Boettner.

Bob, a serious student of the Scripture in south Alabama.

Seth McBee said...

Bob
I don't deny definite atonement and its purpose. But, I also affirm the universal scope and purpose of the expiation.

You have a lot of explaining to do how John 12:47 and John 3:16,17 do not imply the same usage of the Greek term "kosmos" especially in light of the fact that it is the same writer, using the same exact sentence structure quoting the same person, that is the Christ.

You have to give some evidence of John "moving freely from one meaning to another, sometimes within the same verse ."

By you showing that Christ died for the sheep does not deny that Christ also died for all...

David Ponter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ponter said...

Hey Bob, I wont comment on the definitions you gave or on some of the names you list. But you might find these of interest.

Martin Luther on 2 Peter 2:1

Martin Luther on John 1:29

Some Classic Calvinist Comment on Hebrews 10:29

Yet More From Calvin

Even More From Calvin

A Few Calvin Quotes

One of My Favorite Calvin Quotes

An Excellent Calvin Quote

Augustine on the Death of Christ

Bob said...

I'll not be baited.

Seth McBee said...

baited? Meaning what? You don't want to test your hypotheses?

Or read others that would disagree with what you are purporting?

Give me some clarity on your statement...

natamllc said...

Bob,

well, I commend you for your courage!

I too found it odd and find it uplifting that Seth focused on one of the two points I wanted to comment because of your broader than David Ponter's "world".

The issue of "FREELY MOVING" as you ascribe the Apostle John.

I was thinking that that model does not fit him so well and if he were here he might take issue with it as I do.

Consider the linear aspects, time and eternity.

I would say that "The Book of the Revelation" and those several places where the Apostle uses the word "kosmos" would be one of the areas TF would look seeing there is in my opinion no better place to find the sound round rock solid foundation for this debate. Afterall, no one spoke like John so that we in these days can debate John's understanding, loosely at best!

So with that, I lumped both oddities of yours together.

Need I clarify my two points further?

David, hmmmmmm, that makes more sense to me why you wrote those things to Dominic. But as you, none the wiser, none the wiser.

Make an unequivocal statement of fact, that you are as Seth just addressed Bob:

Seth: [[ ...don't deny definite atonement and its purpose. But, I also affirm the universal scope and purpose of the expiation.]]

With sincerity, I am just not there, "yet". This debate has great value to me and I do look forward to TF's game plan as he will it sounds, lay out for all of us to read and debate!

TF, bring it on, bring it on:)

Seth McBee said...

natamllc.

Can you try and be more clear on your comments, they are very confusing a lot of the time...

For instance...I don't know what you mean here, can you clarify?

I too found it odd and find it uplifting that Seth focused on one of the two points I wanted to comment because of your broader than David Ponter's "world".

natamllc said...

Seth,

yes,

I, when I read the "Alabama" Bob's comment, for the reasons I can develop, possibly not for the same reasons as yours, mind you, paused and pondered his words and focused on his comment about John moving freely throughout his writings,.... [[As the apostle John himself moves freely from one meaning to another,]], ....and how he used the Greek word "kosmos/world" on some occasions, several in the Book of the Revelation and on other occasions used other Greek Words bringing out other meaning to the text in the "revelation":

Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
Rev 1:2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.


I also was making the point that John, of all the writers, although he most likely died before Paul or Luke, had the best understanding given "spiritually" of these things we are debating right now in that the multi places he describes the earth's created heavens, the Eternal Heavens obviously and the world. The Gospel of John, isn't it in the early days as a Disciple, while the three books that bear his name are after developing relationship as he too made disciples and then The Book of the Revelation at the end of his earthly work as one of the 12 to which we need to heed too, that we too are "made" disciples? It seems the fulcrum turns this debate here at the specific placement of verse 16 of John 3 where he places that word "kosmos"/world, that, for which there is clear divergence on your part, David P's, mine and TF's and obviously others, dominic too, robin bob and bob, others?.

I felt like dominic captures my understanding best. As I said in the last post I made the statement that I am just not there "yet" where you said to Alabama Bob in reply:

"Seth: [[ ...don't deny definite atonement and its purpose. But, I also affirm the universal scope and purpose of the expiation.]]"

Here is what dominic said that I tend to embrace more so now: "dominic concludes a good argument in that portion above, of this debate in my opinion this way":::>[[Seth, my apologies if my previous comment was unclear. For what it's worth, I largely agree with your position; just not with your particular argument in this case.]]

My leaning is to specific world events and election, not a universal scope.

But I am, as Bob Hayton said above also, not settled yet which is which or why. I trust the debate as it develops on will bring at least clear positions to ponder and then a search of the Scriptures to see if these things be so.

I suppose you and David P. are closer together with that affirmation and in that same post above I asked David to be clear as to his position as you made clear yours?

Maybe he is as I and am not clear on it yet? Is he wiser for it? I don't know, I will wait it out and think it out with his every post:)!

TF is certainly clear on his position and from what I gathered, he told you so when you had your change which brought on this debate.

I am open minded to "your" change. This debate as it develops, 'hurry up TF', may just change my mind too.

Was that clear?

Seth McBee said...

Was that clear? Kind of, I guess.

I will let these things fall where they may...but I have to ask you another question about your last comment: What does this mean?

My leaning is to specific world events and election, not a universal scope.

natamllc said...

Seth,

I am coming to that!

Thanks for asking and being so open minded when others of other mindedness comment! This is quite refreshing.

But back to Calvin's commentary!

Bob from Al. said...

"moving freely from one meaning to another, sometimes within the same verse ." This is best illustrated by Jn 3:17 and 12:47. When Jesus said that His death would give life to the world, the word "world" could only mean true believers. Jesus certainly did not give life to those who die in unbelief. MacArthur says, "The statement in verse 17, 'that the world might be saved through Him,' proves that it does not mean everyone who has ever lived, since all will not be saved." In 12:47 the first "world" refers to the unbelievers who hear His words and do not keep them. Their judgment will come later. The second "world" clearly refers back to 12:44-46 which identifies believers.

The Sheep. Jesus emphatically asserted that He would lay down His life for the sheep. The sheep are those whom the Father gave to Christ before He entered the world.In short, the sheep are the elect of God, those who believe. Jn 10:14-15.
The specific "intent" of Christ's death determined the particular "extent" of it. The design of the cross was that Jesus would save His sheep, as opposed to those not His sheep (10:26). Hendriksen says, "It is for the sheep - only for the sheep - that the good shepherd lays down His life. Jesus dies for those who had been given to Him by the Father, for the children of God, for true believers.... It is also the doctrine of the rest of Scripture. With His precious blood Christ purchased His Church (Acts 20:28; Eph 5:25-27); His people (Matt 1:21); the elect (Rom 8:32-35)." Surely He didn't die in the same saving way for the goats (Matt 25:32-33) or the tares (Matt 13:30).

David Ponter said...

Bob from Alabammy says: "moving freely from one meaning to another, sometimes within the same verse ." This is best illustrated by Jn 3:17 and 12:47. When Jesus said that His death would give life to the world, the word "world" could only mean true believers.

David: Lets put John 6 there in context: John 6:32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Jesus here that the Father gives them–the pharisees–true bread from heaven. This bread is his life (v17). The point is not that some are actually fed, but like the gift of manner to the Jews, Christ is the gift if life to these same Jews, indeed to the world. You probably wont agree with this until you work through this little phrase in those two verses: "but it is my Father who _gives_ >>you<< the true bread..." How can that be?

Bob from Alabammy says: Jesus certainly did not give life to those who die in unbelief.

David: But thats exactly what Jesus says above. It’s the meaning of the “giving” that is the issue here. Boston and the Marrowmen realised that this refers to the deed of gift of Christ to the world. They got that expression from the Marrow book. Thats closer to the biblical dynamic here.

Bob from Alabammy says: MacArthur says, "The statement in verse 17, 'that the world might be saved through Him,' proves that it does not mean everyone who has ever lived, since all will not be saved." In 12:47 the first "world" refers to the unbelievers who hear His words and do not keep them. Their judgment will come later. The second "world" clearly refers back to 12:44-46 which identifies believers.

David: Why does Mac say that? The subjunctive with the hina does not all by itself mean certainty and infallibility. I can scan and show you the pages from Wallace or Mounce on the nature of the subjunctive if you like. Secondly, there is nothing in the text that indicates John is equivocating on the meaning of world here. The unbelieving man is part of this world. Why does not Christ condemn this man? Because Christ did not “come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.” That is the exact answer. What you would have is something like this, and I will use names to make the point clear: why is John not condemned? Because I came here not to condemn Sally, but to save Sally, however, John will be condemned at the last day. If worlds are equivocal here, that sort of conclusion has to follow. But it is obviously the wrong conclusion we are supposed to draw. Thus it is: why is John not condemned? Because I have not come to condemn John to but to save John. However because John rejects me he shall be condemned at the last day. The point is, we are to extrapolate this to all the “johns” of this world.

And I would refer you to Calvin himself on this: Calvin and Christ’s mission to save the world

Take care,
David

natamllc said...

OK Dave!

That was clear, thanks, hopefully Alabama Bob saw it like I did!

sadly for me, I am now a bit wiser.

You Dave?:)

natamllc said...

Dave,

might I draw from you your understanding about something in John 12 and the Greek word used and one Greek word used twice in Scripture by the Apostle Paul and another word Paul uses?

It might help prepare me for what TF is going to submit to this debate on John 3:16??

Tim said...

This is probably a simple enough question for you guys to answer, but I will ask anyway and hope that I can understand. If Christ died for the whole world as it would seem under unlimited atonement, then why only give the new birth and all the gifts of the Spirit only to the elect? I am not seeing what the point would be at this time. If God chooses who, when and where someone will be effectually called then why not limit the atonement? Maybe it seems that if it were not universal to all then it would put God in a rough spot, meaning why not offer it to all knowing that most can not take it. Would not the answer to that though be something along the lines of who are we to question God, He will have mercy on who He chooses and what is that to us anyway.

David Ponter said...

Hey Tim,

Why questions are tricky things at time. I could say, why does God send the offer of the gospel to the reprobate? Why does God love the reprobate in any sense when he has ordained their destruction? Why does God permit sin? Why did he put a tree of life in the garden when Adam's destiny was already fixed?

Why would we think these things about God? Because we think its biblical. If the world of Jn 3:16 does comprehend apostate humanity, non-elect inclusive, then your ‘why’ questions are unnecessary.

One should be careful with expressing ‘why’ questions as a priories before addressing the biblical text and the process of determining the texts meaning independent of our "why" questions.

I would encourage you to scope out God's Indiscriminate Proposals of Mercy

So to your questions, yes we do believe in unconditional election, and the effectual call.

And to then flip the questions on their heads: why not? Why could not God use an unlimited expiation to effect the salvation of his elect? Why could not God use an unlimited expiation to ground the free offer (as a limited expiation cannot)? And so on and so on.

Any ‘why’ question can be flipped on its head, and so we must be careful not to shape or determine our theological endeavors on general ‘why’ questions like that.

Thats my sincere opinion for what its worth.

Take care,
David

natamllc said...

David, Dave?

Which is better for you?

To my request.

Can I draw you out and establish your understanding on some issues raised in the exchange with Alabammy Bob and you?

Why not?

David Ponter said...

Hey Nat,

Naa I think I will pass on that. I want to see what Turretinfan has to say, if he has anything to say, so I will wait for that.

If you want to know why, shoot a note in the comments section on the theology online blog. I will then get your email addy from that. And tell me your real name and then I will reply and explain why I deline.

Thanks
David

natamllc said...

David P.

My name is michael.

I don't know why some of the comment fields don't allow me to post my first name.

I post in various blogs, some as michael and some as natamllc.

Yes, I agree, I too am waiting for TF to bring forth his side of the debate.

Thanks anyway. You never answered my earlier question though?

Do you position yourself on the side of Seth?

michael

Bob said...

John Calvin writes in his Institutes, "Through Isaiah he still more openly shows how he directs the promises of salvation specifically to the elect: for he proclaims that they alone, not the whole human race without distinction, are to become his discilples [Isa. 8:16]. Hence it is clear that the doctrine of salvation, which is said to be reserved soley and individually for the sons of the church, is falsely debased when presented as effectually profitable to all."

Bob said...

From John Gill's Commentary on John 6, "Verse 33. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,.... In the way and manner just now mentioned: and which clearly points out Christ himself, who may be called "the bread of God"; to distinguish him from common bread, and to show the excellency of him, and that he is of God's providing and giving, and which he would have his children feed upon:

and giveth life unto the world; a spiritual life, which he is the author, supporter, and maintainer of; and eternal life, which he gives a right unto and meetness for, and nourishes up unto; and this not to a few only, or to the Israelites only, but to the Gentiles also, and even to the whole world of God's elect: not indeed to every individual in the world, for all are not quickened now, not shall inherit eternal life hereafter; but to all the people of God, in all parts of the world, and in all ages of time; of such extensive virtue and efficacy is Christ, the bread of God, in which he appears greatly superior to that manna the Jews instance in."

David Ponter said...

Alabammy Bob,

I will leave off Calvin as its off topic. Its not that you are reading him right, but thats for another day.

But to Gill, I will say, with respect mind you, so what? It only once again assumes what needs to be proved? Gill's exegesis is so outdated. And the idea that John meant world in three different senses in 3:17 and 12:47, as physical world, reprobate world, elect world is just plain incredible.

But now to the text of John:

John 6:32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who, gives you the true bread from heaven.

Its the bit in bold, Bob, that needs to be address. It seems to me that Culverwell and others of his tradition are closer to the truth on this: the objective gift of life to the world.

David

Bob said...

Ah, so you dismiss out of hand that with which you do not agree. Culverwell and others? Get real.

David Ponter said...

Hey Bob,

Actually I have not just dismissed your argument out of hand. I have tendered quite a few arguments to you and others already.

I said at the beginning of my reply to you that you would not be able to process my argument until you deal with what it means that life has been given to the pharisees. I know until you do so, you will not be able to see where the weakness lies in your reading of world and giving.

by others I mean folk like Ball, Arrowsmith, Boston, Candlish, C Hodge, Dabney, Shedd and many others; as well as Calvin.

Take care,
David

Anonymous said...

Who was given the bread of heaven, the world or God's chosen people?

Why not give the true bread then only to the elect?

Seth McBee said...

Anonymous.

The reason is that in the context the crowd was asking:

“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ ”


This was the question posed by the crowd, NOT the disciples. So, Jesus speaking to the whole crowd, says what?

Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.

You have to, listen, have to read into this theologically if you are going to take this in another way than was the crowd would have taken it as, namely, that God was providing them all with the bread from heaven.

It goes back to my pony argument with Bob Hayton...look for it above.

Bill said...

If I may be so bold to ask what is probalbya silly question, but if world here means everyone then are we saying that God loves everyone in a saving way?

Bill said...

probalbya = probably a

Seth McBee said...

Alabama Bob.
You need to start reading the comments more fully. You keep arguing the fact that we don't believe in limited atonement. We do in fact, believe in limited atonement. But, we also don't believe that it is only limited, we believe that it was LITERALLY sufficient as well, meaning, that Christ paid for the sins of the whole world.

Someone, at some point, has to show why I need to take kosmos as something other than the original Greek purports.

Here is what Kittell's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament speaks of Kosmos...which by the way is the most respected NT Dictionary there is:

Contents: A. Non-biblical Usage: 1. κόσμος == That which is Well Assembled; 2. κόσμος == Order between Men; 3. κόσμος == Order generally; 4. κόσμος == Adornment; 5. κόσμος == World I, Development and Meaning of the Greek View of the Cosmos; 6. κόσμος == World II, God and the Cosmos for the Greeks; 7. κόσμος as World in the Sense of Earth, Inhabited World, Humanity. B. κόσμος in the LXX. The Concept of the Cosmos in Judaism. C. κόσμος in the NT: 1. General. κόσμος in the Sense Adornment; 2. κόσμος == World I, as the Universe, the Sum of all Created Being; 3. κόσμος == World II, as the Abode of Men, the Theatre of History, the Inhabited World, the Earth; 4. κόσμος == World III, as Humanity, Fallen Creation, the Theatre of Salvation History.

Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (3:868). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.


Please enlighten where there is even one instance where world in the Greek means "world of the elect"

Seth McBee said...

Bill.
Never a silly question in these testings of Scripture, especially if you are trying to work out your understanding of Scripture or understand someone else's understanding of Scripture.

So, with your question:

If I may be so bold to ask what is probalbya silly question, but if world here means everyone then are we saying that God loves everyone in a saving way?


I want to be careful cause this can take us into a long and twisted path. I will tell you that 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 show us that somehow in God's will he desires all to be saved.

If I may, and you are truly interested in this, I will point you to another blog to read up on this. This desire of God is something that most early reformers adhered to.

Here is the link:

God's Will for the Salvation of All Men

This can be a long study for you, but I think allows us to understand how God can have his Son pay a penal debt and yet not have everyone turn to Him. This in part is described in Deuteronomy 29:29, in that, the secret things belong to the Lord

We cannot know how this specifically works out.

Hope this helps.

Bill said...

Seth,

Thank you for that link and I will read it to get a better understanding on these things.

One more thing though that I would like to clarify in my own mind please. Is it agreed that the text says that “whosever believes” are the chosen one’s of God? So the only argument is does “world” address every individual that has/is/will exist?

Bob said...

To repeat: world meaning elect; Jn 3:16,17b; 6:33; and 12:47b. It's all about context. If you believe that Christ died for all in the same way, then you are biased to that. You have to prove that. If it were true, then there would be none in Hell and none would go there as Christ's substitutionary death would save all. Clearly this is not Scripturally supported. On maybe you have a diminished view of the Trinity and the way it works together in harmony with God electing, the Son dying, and the Spirit regenerating. There is some benefit to the non-elect from the Cross, but it is far from the relationship of Christ to his bride, the church, the elect, the believers. The benefit to the non-elect, the reprobate, the lost is that of common Grace rather than special Grace shown to the elect.

If God loves all equally how is "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated" explained? Rom 9:13. Is Esau saved? Or Ps 7:11 "God is angry with the wicked every day". Or Rom 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and un righteousness of men,who hold the truth in unrighteousness". There are hundreds more verses, but you get the idea. Or?

I'll comment no more unless there is a personal attack.

natamllc said...

Rereading the posts above I want to quote some things Dr. White puts forth, in this comment section, however and by whomever they were inserted though hereon:

Dr. White:

[White: This passage provides us with a tremendous commentary, from John himself, on the passage we have just examined from his Gospel. The repetition of key phrases in the same contexts show us how closely related the two passages are. Both passages speak of God’s love; both speak of God’s sending of His Son and how this is a manifestation of God’s love; both speak of life and the forgiveness of sin, often using the very same words John used to record John 3:16ff. So how did the Apostle John understand those words? Here we are given that insight.

White: The fact that verse nine is meant to be a restatement of John 3:16 can be seen by placing them in parallel to one another:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world
1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us

John 3:16 that He gave His only begotten Son
1 John 4:9 that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world

John 3:16 that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life
1 John 4:9 so that we might live through Him

White: Once we see the clear connection, and recognize the background of John’s words, we can use 1 John 4:9 to shed light upon some of the key issues regarding the proper interpretation of John 3:16ff. For example, we concluded above that “world” meant the world of humanity, i.e., Jew and Gentile taken in kind and not in universal particularity (each and every person).]

I will be succinct and hopefully clear as I make another parallel to what White is addressing here for the student learning to "rightly divide" Scripture.

This part from Dr. White's excerpt then:

"This passage provides us with a tremendous commentary, from John himself, on the passage we have just examined from his Gospel."

Statement, Michael: "yes this passage does provide us with a tremendous commentary from John himself...!"

Here is why I say that.

John here at 1 John, 2 John and 3 John writings are well along in his aged and seasoned ministry.

My parallel hopefully shows how "seasoned" and "learned" by the school of the Holy Ghost this Apostle had come along in his ministry to the "Holy Christian Church".

It also should be an alert to putting to death our human pride when we are faced with perference for one another as more important than our own position or opinion.

The parallel then found this way:

John 3:16
Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


1John 3:14-17
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
1Jn 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1Jn 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1Jn 3:17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Please note in verse 14 and 15 the English word "life" is the Greek word "ζωή"
"zōē"
""dzo-ay'""
From G2198; life (literally or figuratively): - life (-time). Compare G5590.


And then note that in verse 16, hence my parallel, First John 3:16, the English word "life" is
"ψυχή"
"psuchē"
""psoo-khay'""
From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

And also note that the English word "lives" in verse 16 of 1 John 3 is also the same Greek word:

ψυχή
psuchē
psoo-khay'
From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

I would say that is tremendous when considering all the debating going on.

God "expects" His "ELECT ONES" to "lay down their lives for one another".

I do not see anywhere in Scripture where we are called upon to do that for unbelievers.

For unbelievers though, we are to give warnings!

I would stand corrected on that assertion?

Michael

Let me go just a bit farther Seth?

There are several Greek words translators use when rendering them into that one WORD: "LIFE".

ZAO
ZOE
PSUCHE
PNEUMA
BIOS
BIOTIKOS
HELIKIA.

An interesting aside to see one additional WORD, if you please is that one word BIOS.

It is used I believe 11 times.

Let me quote three hopefully to open your mind to wonderfulness of the Glory of God.

1.

Mar 12:41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
Mar 12:42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
Mar 12:43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
Mar 12:44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

to live on/"bios".

2.

1Ti 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1Ti 2:3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
1Ti 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


quiet life/"bios"

3.

2Ti 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2Ti 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2Ti 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2Ti 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

civilian pursuits/"bios".

Michael

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Bob—

Firstly, regarding the supposition that, if Christ's sacrifice was universal, there would be no one in hell: this only holds true if the atonement was pecuniary, rather than penal. A penal substitution would not entail this conclusion. There are good reasons to think that Christ's atonement is general, and sufficient to save everyone without exception, even though it is only applied to specific people. I am sure Seth will get into those reasons later in the debate, but in the mean time, I would direct you to my own brief consideration of the topic.

Secondly: no one has suggested that God loves everyone equally. What has been suggested is that God does love everyone in some sense, but the elect in a different and additional sense. So you are attacking a strawman. If you examine the sociolinguistic context of the sorts of statements like, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated", you will see that the term "hated" here does not imply a venemous, complete dislike, but rather a significantly lesser love.

Having said that, however, I think we should define precisely what "love" means. It seems to me that biblical love is an attitude toward someone founded in the desire what is good for them. This means that when we love our children we sometimes punish them severely, because we know this is good for them. Supposing this definition, it is certainly the case that God does desire what is good for everyone without exception, because that is part of his nature as holy and good. And it is obviously good for everyone to have eternal life. But this does not imply that God will give everyone eternal life, since he is just and wrathful also. He has chosen some to reveal the glory of his justice and wrath, just as he has chosen some to reveal the glory of his graciousness and mercy (the elect).

Regards,
Bnonn

Seth McBee said...

Alabama Bob.
I have been as nice as I can be without calling you a complete ignorant of the conversation, that is where that ends...here is your personal attack and you can comment where needed.

We have asserted over and over again, that we do not say that God loves all equally. We have also asserted how we believe in particular redemption, over and over again.

You will not listen

I have been waiting for you to come up with any actual argument for what we have been stating. I have a good idea for your comments, READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT.

I am sick of your statements that don't address what we are saying. You are like a deaf man that turns his back on the one talking and then turns around and says whatever he wishes.

Then you attack...like we have a problem with the Trinity. You must be a HYPER CALVINIST if you want this Trinity aspect to stick...

By your standards:

God elects/loves some, the Holy Spirit calls some, Jesus dies for some.

Let me ask you a question.

Do you believe in the common call to all? Do you believe that God loves all in some way?

I am going to assume you will say yes to these or you are by definition a hyper Calvinist.

If you said yes, then it is you whose understanding of the Trinity is not in union, not ours.

God loves all, especially the elect
The Holy Spirit calls all, but draws especially the elect.

then it would only make sense, in this union, that Jesus Christ would die for all, especially the elect.

If you say that Jesus only dies for the elect, that is not in union with the rest of the Trinity.

Here is my favorite quote on this issue:

“Then there is the argument from the Trinity. It is argued that if Christ died for all men equally, then there would be conflict within the Trinity. The Father chose only some and the Spirit regenerates only some, so how could the Son die for all men in general? Actually, this argument needs refinement. There are general and particular aspects about the work of each member of the Trinity. The Father loves all men as creatures, but gives special love only to the elect. The Spirit calls all men, but efficaciously calls only the elect. Similarly, the Son died for all men, but died in a special manner for the elect. We must keep the balance with each of these. If, on the one hand, we believe only in a strictly Limited Atonement, then we can easily back into a strictly particular work of the Father and the Spirit. The result is Hyper-Calvinism, rejecting both Common Grace and the universal Free Offer of the Gospel. On the other hand, if the atonement is strictly universal, then there would be disparity. The tendency would be towards Arminianism – the result would be to reject election and the special calling of the Spirit.”

Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism (Good Books, 2003), 371.

natamllc said...

Bnonn

wow, I was thinking about this as well.

I hope what I will say adds to and not take away, you all be the judge?

Love.

Interesting.

I will make an assertion and then come back and point to it.

As I repeat, we are not all at the same "spiritual" maturity at any given time.

For instance, let me use our dear friend the Apostle Peter and him for a biblical answer to my statement on maturity.

Starting with those famous questions.

Please note now that "Jesus" asks "three questions", two of them the same but all three answers are different!

Also, Peter, answers every question Jesus asks with the same answer. It is this same Peter who Jesus "foretold" the future too, "see you in Galilee Peter, after I am raised from the dead".

Scripture text:

Joh 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
Joh 21:16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."
Joh 21:19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."


I will start backwards and give the answers first.

first answer, FEED MY LAMBS.
second answer, TEND MY SHEEP.
third answer, TEND MY SHEEP.

In the first question Jesus asks Peter, Jesus uses the Greek Word:
"ἀγαπάω"
""agapaō""
ag-ap-ah'-o
Perhaps from ἄγαν agan (much; or compare [H5689]); to love (in a social or moral sense): - (be-) love (-ed). Compare G5368.


He also uses the same Greek Word in the second question.

In His third question to Peter, seeing Peter is getting into his flesh, He asks him, my paraphrase now: PETER, SO YOU LOVE ME THE WAY YOU LOVE ME? I LOVE YOU THAT WAY TOO THEN!

In the third question Jesus uses the very same Greek Word Peter uses each and every time he answers Jesus.

That word is:

"φιλέω"
"phileō"
fil-eh'-o
From G5384; to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while G25 is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much as G2309 and G1014, or as G2372 and G3563 respectively; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specifically to kiss (as a mark of tenderness): - kiss, love.


Now, let it be noted that each and every time Peter discusses LOVE from Acts forward to his epistles bearing his name, he never uses that word phileō again.

Why?

My answer: BECAUSE ON THE DAY OF PENTACOST THE HOLY GHOST FILLED PETER's spirit, soul and body WITH THE LOVE OF THE HOLY FATHER SENT THROUGH CHRIST AND HE WAS "MADE ALIVE" IN CHRIST!

Someone more learned than I in these things I would ask to develop the meaning that one word, phileō, has with regard to one's flesh and then how it does not apply to the REGENERATED SPIRIT OF MAN WHEN GOD MAKES HIM A NEW CREATURE REANIMATING AND CONJOINING HIM TO CHRIST MAKING HIM NOW THE HOLY DWELLING PLACES OF THE MOST HIGH?

I quote the "Virgin's" Song:

Psa 46:4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
Psa 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.


Michael

Turretinfan said...

I see there are 80-some-odd number of comments here. Most seem to be directed to SDM. If anyone wants to direct me to anything I really ought to respond to, I'd appreciate it.

Are there hanging questions/comments that demand an answer but I've overlooked?

I see, SDM, that you've asked sort of a question about whether, if we accept three "alls" why wouldn't we accept a fourth. I think the main part of the answer is that we don't see any basis for a hypothetical atonement in Scripture.

Natamllc, I think you said you're waiting, but I'm not sure for what you're waiting - or perhaps the wait is over in light of my most recent post.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF

You say it so well my friend!:)

I am now awaiting the rebuttal Seth promised. Maybe a bit premature. I can start thinking if you want, and come up with something?

natamllc/michael

Seth McBee said...

bill.

I feel as though this is a set-up question, I hope I am wrong.

those believing

Yes, those are the elect. No one can believe unless they are the elect.

You also asked:

So the only argument is does “world” address every individual that has/is/will exist?


This here is not the intent of the term kosmos.

Let me explain. When Jesus tells us that the world will hate us, does He mean every individual that has/is/will exist? No, that is not what Christ is saying. He is saying that the world, those in the world that you are living, will hate you. So, Jesus is speaking of individuals there, but as a whole.

Same is to be understood with kosmos in John 3:16. Kosmos is understood as all of humanity at any given point, world denotes those who are alive and in opposition to God, in darkness.

So, when speaking of John 3:16 we are not purporting that John is saying that God sent Christ for those who were already in hell. They had their chance to turn to God in their life. So, they have no warrant to call upon God now that they are in hell.

Does this make sense? If not, I think the best understanding is really focusing on how Christ used world in John 15:18,19

The reason is because he is definitely speaking of individuals hating us, the elect, not the created order as some (wink, wink) would have us believe.

Turretinfan said...

"wink, wink"

ah-hem ...

;)

-Turretinfan

Seth McBee said...

Turretinfan...glad you caught that...lol...it was obviously intentional...glad we can still have a sense of humor through all this...

YnottonY said...

Incidentally, it is not our position (the moderate or classical view) that the satisfaction of Christ is only "hypothetically" for the non-elect, any more than we think God "hypothetically" wills the salvation of the non-elect, or "hypothetically" loves them, or is "hypothetically" gracious to them. We think Christ really did, by the will of the Father, suffer all that the law requires of every given sinner, but that he did so conditionally. It will not obtain for any but those that receive it by faith. The elect alone obtain the benefit because the Holy Spirit, according to the special decree of the Father and the Son, grants the elect the moral ability to believe.

To call this classical Calvinistic view of Christ's satisfaction for all [or in the case of the non-elect] "hypothetical" is misleading, to say the least.

If Seth's reading of John 3:16 is correct, then it's clearly bogus to call Christ's suffering act on behalf of all mankind "hypothetical." He was sent by the Father, as a loving act to the whole human race [the "world"], to suffer in their stead. Any opponents to this position who still [after studying the issue and our descriptions of our view] "hypothetical" are muddying the waters, at the very least.

YnottonY said...

T-Fan said:
" think the main part of the answer is that we don't see any basis for a hypothetical atonement in Scripture."

Me:
Nor do we. However, we do see a basis for a real penal satisfaction on behalf of all mankind in scripture, hence the arguments concerning John 3:16 et al.

YnottonY said...

Correction:

Any opponents to this position who still call it--after studying the issue and our descriptions of our view--a "hypothetical atonement" are muddying the waters, at the very least.

It's quite similar to the sort of caricatures and inaccurate labeling that Arminians frequently make in describing the Calvinistic perspective in general. Shall we complain of their distorted descriptions and yet engage in the very same thing ourselves? I should hope not.

natamllc said...

Bnonn

there is one matter more on LOVE I want to insert hereon that in my opinion is revelant.

Let me lay a foundation for what may come as odd in thought about LOVING GOD THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY GHOST.

GOD IS LOVE.

No dispute yet is there with that?

I will cite three verses.

1.

2Ti 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
2Ti 3:2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
2Ti 3:4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Ti 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.


2.

Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--

3.

Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,


First to #1. above and these "FOUR" LOVES:

φίλαυτος
philautos
fil'-ow-tos
From G5384 and G846; fond of self, that is, selfish: - lover of own self.
LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES at verse 2a.

φιλάργυρος
philarguros
fil-ar'-goo-ros
From G5384 and G696; fond of silver (money), that is, avaricious: - covetous.
LOVERS OF MONEY at verse 2b.

φιλήδονος
philēdonos
fil-ay'-don-os
From G5384 and G2237; fond of pleasure, that is, voluptuous: - lover of pleasure.
LOVERS OF PLEASURES at verse 4a.

φιλόθεος
philotheos
fil-oth'-eh-os
From G5384 and G2316; fond of God, that is, pious: - lover of God.
LOVERS OF GOD at verse 4b.

Now to point to one Greek word used only twice in the NT found at Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13:

συζωοποιέω
suzōopoieō
sood-zo-op-oy-eh'-o
From G4862 and G2227; to reanimate conjointly with (figuratively): - quicken together with.


Now to set the stage for what I am going to say that may come as an odd thing???

Let me quote a conversation Jesus is having with Philip. In the conversation you will read Jesus explaining ONENESS with God the Father, Himself, the Only Begotten Son and the Holy Ghost:

Joh 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
Joh 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Joh 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Joh 14:19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Joh 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Joh 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
Joh 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh 14:24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.


Now putting it all together we read that in the last days they will be marked as days of those loves Paul writes to his "spiritual" son Timothy about.

Note that nowhere is it taught that OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HAS SELFISH LOVE FOR HIMSELF!

Note further that this being so, neither will you find anywhere in the whole of Scripture where Jesus or the Holy Ghost has SELFISH LOVE FOR THEMSELF.

Now that Greek Word found twice in the NT, once at Eph. 2:5 and Col. 2:13, "συζωοποιέω" ""suzōopoieō"".

Here Paul opens to us "spiritually" by revelation that God Our Heavenly Father by His GREAT SELFLESS LOVE FOR US reanimates and conjoins us to CHRIST, thus through CHRIST joins us to the Holy Ghost and finally to THEM ALL in HOLY FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER AS ONE.

When you put these spiritual thoughts together you should come to this that I come too and it is this, I CAN DO SOMETHING FOR MY HEAVENLY FATHER THAT HE CANNOT DO FOR HIMSELF, I CAN LOVE HIM. I can love Him selflessly and gladly I do now that He has conjoined me to CHRIST giving me the HOLIEST, PUREST LOVE AVAILABLE TO MANKIND. He gives me this LOVE without measure!!!

That being so it infers the same for Jesus. I can love Jesus with the SELFLESS LOVE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HAS FOR JESUS TOO! How great is the Love Our Heavenly Father has for Jesus?

That being so it infers the same for the Holy Ghost. I can love the Holy Ghost with the SELFLESS LOVE OF BOTH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS GIVEN TO US TO LOVE THE HOLY GHOST WITH. And this too is without measure!!!

I can do for God what He cannot do for Himself. He cannot LOVE Himself SELFISHLY. He does not know selfish love for HIMSELF. GOD IS LOVE. He can only "know" the selfish love of others that they have for themself.

I am marked and called to die to myself and to receive GOD'S LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER AND FOR THE ELECT of mankind.

This might be another way of understanding 1 John 1:1...:

1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--
1Jn 1:2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--
1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1Jn 1:4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Turretinfan said...

Ynot|

I apologize if my comment is not an accurate representation of your/David's/SDM's position.

Frankly, I don't see any difference between the "hypothetical atonement" view and SDM's view as it applies to the reprobate.

That does not mean that such a distinction does not exist, just that it has not been shown to me.

Perhaps, rather than complain about muddy waters, you could clarify the difference between your view and the hypothetical atonement position.

-Turretinfan

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

And let me add, that this explanation: "We think Christ really did, by the will of the Father, suffer all that the law requires of every given sinner, but that he did so conditionally. It will not obtain for any but those that receive it by faith. The elect alone obtain the benefit because the Holy Spirit, according to the special decree of the Father and the Son, grants the elect the moral ability to believe." does seem in every way to be a merely hypothetical atonement as it relates to the reprobate.

-Turretinfan

YnottonY said...

I thought I did clarify the issue. No one on this blog, whether it's me, David or Seth, maintains that Christ hypothetically died for anyone. We're not speculating as to what may be the case in another logically possible world, but what actually took place in this world; namely, that Christ suffered in the place of the entire human race by the will of the Father.

Again, if Seth's reading of John 3:16 is correct, then calling his view a "hypothetical atonement" would be just as much of a misnomer as saying that he believes God hypothetically shows grace to the non-elect, or "hypothetically" loves them.

Not even Amyraut believed in a "hypothetical atonement." What prompts you to call any universal redemption view, whether Calvinistic or otherwise, "hypothetical"?

YnottonY said...
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YnottonY said...

"...does seem in every way to be a merely hypothetical atonement as it relates to the reprobate."

1) If by "atonement" you're referring to Christ's legal satisfaction itself, then we do NOT consider that hypothetical at all in the case of non-elect humanity.

2) On the other hand, if you're using "atonement" to refer to what takes place when Christ's satisfaction is applied to any sinner, then we would say that it may be applied to the reprobate if they would but believe.

In what sense are you calling our view hypothetical? In the sense that Christ "hypothetically" suffered for all of humanity (sense #1)? Or in the sense that his satisfaction may be, "hypothetically" speaking, applied to any non-elect person if they were to meet the condition (sense #2)? Or both?

In my initial response to your "hypothetical atonement" label, I was assuming you meant sense #1 above.

YnottonY said...
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YnottonY said...

After further reflection, I think I know why T-Fan is saying our view amounts to a "hypothetical atonement" in the case of the reprobate. Since Christ died for the non-elect and yet they do not go free, it's apparently an "atonement that does not atone," as James White would say. It would be like paying the bill of a friend in a restaurant and yet one's friend is not ipso facto liberated from the legal obligations of the debt. The friend is still charged with the debt, or has to suffer loss himself. It's a payment that does not pay, or a "hypothetical payment," so to speak, since the friend still has payment obligations.

Labeling the moderate position as a "hypothetical atonement" in the case of the reprobate just begs the question. It assumes that if Christ has suffered for a person, they cannot still be legally charged with the guilt of their own sin and condemned for it. Since, as we maintain, Christ suffered for the sin of the reprobate and they still go on to be condemned, that must mean that it was merely "hypothetical" in their case.

In other words, the "hypothetical atonement" label assumes the legitimacy of the double payment argument, as well as it's pecuniary (literal debt payment) categories.

Rather than seek to objectively label us, a loaded term is applied to us. It's like a paedobaptist calling credobaptists "anabaptists," [re-baptizers] or "catabaptists" [averse to baptism]. It's like calling covenantalists "replacement theologians."

If Turretin Fan expects us to accept the label "hypothetical atonement" for our position, then I guess we can expect him to accept the label "commercial atonement" for his position? Not hardly.

Even though I think T-Fan's position filters Christ's work through literal pecuniary payment categories, I don't label him as holding to a "commercial atonement." I might bring up the pecuniary issue while arguing in a reductio ad absurdum, but I would not label him that way, since he would probably reject the accusation that his view is "commercial." I would call his position a "strictly limited atonement." That's actually fair and objective, since he thinks Christ only or strictly satisfied the claims of the law against the elect alone. In other words, the guilt for the sin of the elect alone was imputed to Christ when he died, hence "limited imputation" [another fair label].

We should at least make some effort to fairly label our opponents, rather than beg the question and smear them with views they don't actually believe.

David Ponter said...

Hey Tony,

I am actually not sure how that helped, as I am not sure Turretinfan would understand some of the categories.

I would rather see Turretinfan define hypothetical universalism as he sees it.

That would be a good exercise for clarification in the future.

Thanks,
David

YnottonY said...

David,

He didn't use the expression "hypothetical universalism." He used the expression "hypothetical atonement." It may be that those two things can be distinguished, since "universalism" might, in the above context, connote the idea that the satisfaction could be applied to the non-elect if they would believe.

However, I suspect that T-Fan may have the satisfaction itself in view [rather than speculating about the possibility of its application for others], hence the "hypothetical ATONEMENT" expression. As he sees it, we have an "atonement that does not atone" [echoing White] in the case of the non-elect or reprobate.

But, as you say, I would like to hear him explain why he is using that "hypothetical atonement" label. I was mainly trying to spell out why I think he did for the sake of other readers. Also, if my above analysis is correct, T-Fan may be able to see that I understand his own position at least as well as he does. As you know, David, there seems to be unbelief on the part of some strict particularists when they hear that I once held their position for over a decade. As you know, it's as if they think anyone who truly and accurately understands their position could not possibly abandon it later on as unscriptural. So I must not understand it, hence the myriad of further explanations in other debate contexts.

David Ponter said...

Hey Ynott,

Are well we all know that hypothetical universalism and hypothetical atonement mean the same thing. :-)

Its hard working through the complexity of how folk like Turretin, the real one, and others, understood hypothetical atonement. I think it meant different things for different people.

Like we have talked before. I think some meant it in the sense that Christ died for all conditionally, such that they have to add something. But these detractors imagined that the sinner has to add something to the merit itself, rather than exercise duty-faith for the application of the full merit accomplished by Christ. Of course no true hypothetical universalist, (Twisse, Zanchi) ever believed that.

On the other hand, I think Twisse is using it more in a suppositional (possible worlds) sense. On the supposition that a reprobate were to believe, there would have to be an equally sufficient meritorious death for them too: else there is something deficient in the expiation itself.

That last has to follow if the anti-hypotheticallists are right. As we saw from Jonathan on Unchained: it would mean Christ would have had to have been punished more. Had Christ represented for more men, Christ would have had to have been punished more. Jonathan so much punishment for so much sin. So as it is now, the expiation of Christ is not sufficient and able to save all men, as not all men’s punishment was not imputed to Christ. Lets suppose that Christ really had determined to effectually save all men in another possible world, then what Christ actually did accomplish in this actual world, would not be sufficient to save all men in that world. It would be deficient for them, for Christ was only punished enough for some of the all men of this world.

Or the real Turretin, for example, from a different angle, would have had to have had so much imputation of sin for so many sins and sinners. Such that, had more sinners been represented by Christ, more sin would have had to be imputed to Christ. So on the supposition that a reprobate were to believe, on Turretin's model, there would not be a sufficient merit for them. Or back to possible worlds language, had Christ really wanted to effectually save more men, then what he accomplished in this actual world would be a deficient remedy for not enough sin was imputed in this actual world, to cover all hypothetical men in the other possible world.

Turretin could say, well had that reprobate believed, it would have turned out that that mans sin had also been imputed to Christ (in this actual world). But then its no longer a supposition or hypothetical and the subject is no longer a reprobate.

Twisse wanted his hypothetical universalism to 1) ground the free offer, and 2) ground culpability. It sorta works, but it works more and better than the Turretin model. The Turretin model is self-referentially absurd. Jonathan’s model is just plain crazy. :-)

Make your head spin?

Take care,
David

David Ponter said...

Ynott,

I read your note... and thinking... I am convinced that the real Turretin didnt even understand hypothetical atonement, and thats why he kept screwing up the idea, along with Warfield etc.

I have my doubts that Turretinfan can articulate it in a way that is accurate either.

David

David Ponter said...

Hey Tony,

Here is example of over-generalisation and misinformation. This is from the last comment (to date):

A question that has be lingering in my mind, that needs to be answer before we move forward, is this, would you call your view of the atonement “hypothetical universalism?” That is, the view that Jesus by his death on the cross made salvation possible for all not actual for none. This is only in regards to the atonement and not the decree to elect certain individuals, which could or could not make salvation actual. If this is not your view, would you please, in your own words, briefly layout your understanding of the atonement.

David: I guess we have a definition that now includes all non-Owenist versions of the atonement.

The true hypothetical universalists said that Jesus by his death did actually secure the salvation of the elect. Of course by this they didnt meant therefore that the elect were justified ands sanctified on the cross or anything like that, but that Jesus through the exact and proper means, secures the salvation of the elect.

David

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