Owen on John 3:16 – Part 1b: God’s Love, the Reformed Perspective

Now we will consider “what we understand by the “love” of God, even that act of his will which was the cause of sending his Son Jesus Christ, being the most eminent act of love and favour to the creature; for love is velle alicui bonum, “to will good to any” [not necessarily to all]. And never did God will greater good to the creature than in appointing his Son for their redemption.”

Owen observes that God’s purpose in sending Christ, and His love for the elect, both work toward “the same supreme end, [which is] the manifestation of God’s glory by the way of mercy tempered with justice”.

Now, this love we say to be that, greater than which there is none.” We see that his continual argument is that God’s love for His people is and always has been much greater than a universal concept of atonement will allow.

Owen holds that “by love here is not meant an inclination or propensity of his [God’s] nature, but an act of his will (where we conceive his love to be seated), and eternal purpose to do good to man, being the most transcendent and eminent act of God’s love to the creature.”

 “It is the special love of God to his elect, as we affirm, and so, consequently, not any such thing as our adversaries suppose to be intended by it, — namely, a velleity or natural inclination to the good of all.  For:

 1) The love here intimated is absolutely the most eminent and transcendent love that ever God showed or bare towards any miserable creature… “loved,” with such an earnest, intense affection, consisting in an eternal, unchangeable act and purpose of his will, for the bestowing of the chiefest good (the choicest effectual love) … Whereunto, for a close of all, cast your eyes upon his design and purpose in this whole business, and ye shall find that it was that believers, those whom he thus loved, “might not perish,” — that is, undergo the utmost misery and wrath to eternity, which they had deserved, — “but have everlasting life,” eternal glory with himself, which of themselves they could no way attain; and ye will easily grant that “greater love hath no man than this.” Now, if the love here mentioned be the greatest, highest, and chiefest of all, certainly it cannot be that common affection towards all that we discussed before; for the love whereby men are actually and eternally saved is greater than that which may consist with the perishing of men to eternity.

 2) The Scripture positively asserts this very love as the chiefest act of the love of God, and that which he would have us take notice of in the first place: Rom. v. 8, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;” and fully, 1 John iv. 9, 10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” In both which places the eminency of this love is set forth exceeding emphatically to believers, with such expressions as can no way be accommodated to a natural velleity to the good of all. [We should take note that the use of “might” in such verses may itself be a cause of confusion to the modern reader – it does not indicate a conditional nor vague possibility, but the positive assertion of something that will indeed take place.]

 3) That seeing all love in God is but velle alicui bonum, to will good to them that are beloved, they certainly are the object of his love to whom he intends that good which is the issue and effect of that love; but now the issue of this love or good intended, being not perishing, and obtaining eternal life through Christ, happens alone to, and is bestowed on, only elect believers: therefore, they certainly are the object of this love, and they alone; — which was the thing we had to declare.

 4) That love which is the cause of giving Christ is also always the cause of the bestowing of all other good things: Rom. viii. 32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [i.e. consider forgiveness, sanctification, fellowship, glorification, etc. – are all men recipients?] Therefore, if the love there mentioned be the cause of sending Christ, as it is, it must also cause all other things to be given with him, and so can be towards none but those who have those things bestowed on them; which are only the elect, only believers. Who else have grace here, or glory hereafter?

 5) The word here, which is ἠγάπησε, signifieth, in its native importance, valde dilexit, — to love so as to rest in that love; which how it can stand with hatred, and an eternal purpose of not bestowing effectual grace, which is in the Lord towards some, will not easily be made apparent.

 And now let the Christian reader judge, whether by the love of God, in this place mentioned, be to be understood a natural velleity or inclination in God to the good of all, both elect and reprobate, or the peculiar love of God to his elect, being the fountain of the chiefest good that ever was bestowed on the sons of men. This is the first difference about the interpretation of these words.”

Praise God for His gracious, intimate, eternal, effectual love for His children!

The next set of posts will discuss the second matter, the object of this love, called here “the world”.

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14 Comments on “Owen on John 3:16 – Part 1b: God’s Love, the Reformed Perspective”

  1. Wes Widner Says:

    That’s a lot of rationalizing to get around the simple interpretation that God does, in fact, love all men. Sad that people like Owen spend so much time and energy trying to twist scripture to fir their presupposed theological system.

  2. thomastwitchell Says:

    So, Wes, is it a general love, equally distributed to all men? Then, how is it that not all me are saved? There are many, Wes, who would rather not take the time to really understand the text. Assuming as many are they presumptuously and blithely just plod ahead. But, isn’t it true that we are to prove everything? Or are you saying that we are not to use our rational mind to arrive at answers to what the texts say? And, are you saying that Peter was wrong when he said that there are somethings which are hard to understand?

    Maybe you could just tell us what the whole passage means. Is it an invitation for all to believe, or, is it a declaration of the means of salvation particular only to those who will be saved? And the attendant question, the prophecy in verses 14-15, is fulfilled in Christ, which verses 16 through 21 explicates- so why do only some come into the light? Hmm?

    The answer is there, it is because God made it to be so in each one. Now if he made it to be so in each one who comes into the light, then in verses 14-15 he knew exactly who it was who would look to the One lifted up and be saved. Then the particularity in Chapter Three, i.e., “except a man be born again,” maintains its integrity thoughout. God sent his son that, houtos, by him all, pas, believing ones, pisteuwn, would be saved and all the unbelieving ones would be condemned. The particularity of the passage is intact only when viewed from the particular reason for Christ’s coming; that some, not all would be saved. It was not so that some who God didn’t know would be saved, but that only some would. And those, in verse 21, are particularly for it says, “his works,” are made by God. That cannot be skirted in John 3. “Unless a man is born from above he cannot enter. God made the objects of his sending the Son the way that they are, wicked or righteous, to do what they by nature do. Some see, some don’t, and that is a gift given before one can know the mysteries of the kingdom.

    So, the question is what extent the definition of world should be taken, and what is the particularity of the love that is expressed. I don’t agree with Owen’s mechanics but his conclusion is inescapable unless you destroy the text. God saves some and not all and that is the reason Christ came. It is in a particular way for a particular purpose. What is the particularity, is the question.

    To complicate it as you do to mean that God came to save all is foreign to the text. Prove that Christ came to save all is one of Owen’s challenges. As Owen says it doesn’t exist in this text or anywhere else.

    The question is not what does world and love mean, per se. But whether or not God has a definite design and absolute knowledge of all who will be saved by his sending Christ. And if that is the case then the definitions of world and love cannot exceed that. Ownens concluded their definitions excert controlling influence on the meaning of the passage. I disagree.

    In can be less, or at least different, than Owens explanation. But he is right that it cannot mean more. It cannot be more extensive than the text will allow. As I have previously explained. Neither world nor love have to take on his specialized meaning, as Owen’s asserts, in this text to express the special purpose of Christ’s advent and propitiatory sacrifice to accomplish the objective for which he was sent which is the main point that Owens is defending.

    Again, this passage is explaining the phenomena that is being made manifest by Christ, that is the Gospel, that people are being saved, see Titus 1:1-3. That is expressed in the prophecy in verses 14-15. Then we see it all in connection with the opening questions by Nicdemus who should have known about God’s special election of a particular people, he being a teacher of Israel.

  3. strangebaptistfire Says:

    What would more properly be called rationalization, a thorough detailed analysis, or a trite dismissal of the man’s reasoning because it doesn’t fit your theology? And the scripture had already been twisted, by the John 3:16 Conferencers of Owen’s day. He thankfully took the time to show their error. If you read the book, you’d know that he personally preferred not to pursue this, but couldn’y well stand for the presuppositions of the Arminians being purported by some as biblical.

  4. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Thanks, Thomas. Good thoughts.

    As you have shown, even if we may disagree with John Owen on some particular issues, the message which should not be missed is the exceeding love God displayed toward those who come to believe.

    The question is again raised, What did Christ actually accomplish on the cross? Owen’s work, which is much broader than this, is a solid defense of Christ’s effectual atonement for His elect. I use his words here as a vehicle, but I don’t want to give the impression that we believe it because he said it. No, it is biblical, and I am thankful for the gifted teachers God has given us throughout history.

    I also used this verse as a vehicle for this message, because, as is still obvious today, some think that by simply throwing it out there without any context or exegesis, they’ve made their point for universal atonement. That is far from the truth of this verse, chapter or book.

  5. David Says:

    Hey there,

    I offer these comments in good faith. If you chose not to post them, that’s fine with me. My intention is not to offend. I offer them on the assumption that even contrary opinion is welcome, if it is civil and Christian in its demeanor etc. I am also open to correction, challenge and discussion.

    With that said, if you don’t mind:

    So what are the bottom-line premises Owen hinges his argument on?

    From paragraph 1.

    David: 1) Owen urges that the love must be the highest form of love? Where does he get that from tho? We know the highest form of love is to lay ones life down for friends. However, “friends” are not the objects of love here, but unbelievers in darkness. That’s one point, and a big one at that. 2) From the force of the word “might” no argument can be drawn to this end, because the Greek subjunctive implies could, would, should. etc. By itself it does not indicate infallibility. We see the same in John 5:34, where we have a very similar construction with the same subjunctive form “to save” etc. We see the same in John 12:47ff, where the goal is to save the unrepentant man.

    From paragraph 2:

    David: Again much the same. 1) Owen just asserts that the love of 3:16 is the chief form of God’s love, the highest expression of it, and therefore elective. Given that we know that God does love all mankind and from this love, seeks their salvation, why should one just assume that the love of 3:16 is electing love? 2) And again. “might” as it translates the subjunctive, does not, in itself, indicate infallible accomplishment. That assertion is simply that, an assertion. 3) Owen just asserts that the love of 3:16 cannot be a velleity, meaing an unfulfilled wish. But this flows from Owen’s early Voluntarist assumptions. Given that God does wish some things which do not come to pass (eg universal compliance to his commands) one cannot just apriorily assert that the love here cannot entail an unfulfilled wish.

    From paragraph 3:

    3) Owen: “That seeing all love in God is but velle alicui bonum, to will good to them that are beloved, they certainly are the object of his love to whom he intends that good which is the issue and effect of that love…” David: More assertion. We know that it has been standard in Augustinian and Reformed theology that to love, is to will good to. And thus, God loves all men general, ie wills good to all men generally, and loves the elect especially. The idea, itself, of willing to do good indicates an elective volition is not sustained. And again, in John 12:47-48, it is the unrepentant who rejects Christ even to the final day, who is the object of Christ’s mission to save. To will good to another, entails seeking the well-being of the recipient. If what Owen says holds, I would think that any general goodness, as a doctrine, would have to be denied.

    From paraphraph 4:

    4) Owen: “That love which is the cause of giving Christ is also always the cause of the bestowing of all other good things: Rom. viii. 32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [i.e. consider forgiveness, sanctification, fellowship, glorification, etc. – are all men recipients?]

    David: The argument is this: if God lovingly gives (in any sense of giving) Christ to a man, then God must give that man all things pertaining to salvation, hence it must be an electing love. And so, if the love of 3:16 is a ‘giving-love,’ then it must be an electing love. The problem is the first premise and the use of Roms 8:12. However, the verse only says to us, who are in union with Christ, we will be given all things. Roms 8:32 in no way sustains the premise that all whom God lovingly gives Christ, will be giving all things, etc. For example, the Marrowmen, Boston included, spoke of God’s gift of Christ, as a deed and grant, to all mankind, which was an expression of his love. The based this on verses like Jn 6:51. You can also see a brief refutation of the misuse of Roms 8:32 here: Limited Atonement and the Argument from Romans 8:32

    From Paragraph 5:

    This is an interesting argument. If I read it right, Owen wants to say that the love here, as an intense love, cannot stand with divine hatred and preterition. That’s problematic. Love and Hate are not mutually exclusive categories. Even Turretin grants that God can love those whom he hates with the hatred of preterition. Owen has set up a false dichotomy here based on his apriori assumption that the love here is elective. If we grant–as all orthodox Reformed have–that God judicially hates even those he electingly loves, we have a counterfactual to Owen’s claim. God can benevolent love those whom he hates with the hate of preterition. It is not apparent to Owen that these apparently incongruent premises can stand because he is operating on rationalist assumptions.

    To close out, you should know that Owen’s reading of John 3:16 is not per se the Reformed view. There have been gobs of Reformed and Calvinists (including Calvin, Luther and many many others) who understood the world to be all mankind and the love to be the first degree of love, that is, a general non-electing love. So even if one disagrees with me (and others) our position is still “Reformed.”

    Thanks for your patience and time,
    David

  6. strangebaptistfire Says:

    David,

    Arghh, too late – the comment posted automatically. :)

    Seriously, though, any comments are allowed here unless they are profane, excessively obnoxious, or completely irrelevant (like spam). We’re not trying to hide anything.

    I figured you’d take issue as long as Owen’s work on this continues to post. I’ll try to spend more time and reply again within a few days.

    Any others who desire are welcome to join the discussion as well.

    God grant you a blessed week,

    Darrin

  7. David Says:

    Hey Darrin,

    Yeah I saw that after I posted. Ive set my blog comments to moderate all posts. When I interact on other blogs, for a lotta reasons I am trying to not make assumptions which may come back to bite me or cause offense.

    I thought about the logic of Owen’s argument in two critical premises. I detect the problem of term conversion.

    For example, there are only two scripture-derived arguments that I could see for his claim that the love of 3:16 was electing.

    1)
    Greater love is to lay down ones life for friends.”
    “Friends” here surely denotes in some sense, reconciled associates with whom one has a special affection and relation. From the text, its clearly the disciples directly, by extension believers. Therefore I think the prima facie idea is at most, believers.

    “God so loved the world…” “World” here, according to the best of the best commentators, denotes, at least, “sinners in darkness.”

    So one can see that Owen has taken certain predications referencing one class, namely believers, and then predicated those same predications to another class, namely, unbelievers.

    From this he then constructs the first only scripture-derived argument. But how is that move warranted?

    I would like to see the move sustained (in a non-circular manner of course).

    2) All giving-love is electing love.

    And to support this, Roms 8:32 is cited.

    The problem is, does Romans 8:32 sustain the premise all giving-love is electing love?

    The subjects or recipients of the giving-love are either the elect at most, or believers specifically (vs 24,28 etc). Thus the text says, we, who believe, who have been given given-love, will be given all things.

    That in no way obtains the major premise: “all given-love is electing love. After all, believers stand in a special relationship with God, as now justified (Roms 8:1), saved (vs 26), etc. It is now impossible that one who is justified, who has complied with the conditions of the Gospel, of whom therefore God promises to save, can fail to finally be saved. If a believer could fail to obtain full salvation, then God is deceiving when he promises, “whosoever believes will be saved and will not perish.”

    Thus the sense is, how can it be, that we who have been given Christ and who now believe, can fail to be given all things? (cf Roms 5:9-10).

    So to close, in what Owen presents, I see no exegetical or logical warrant to argue that the love of 3;16 has to be electing love. Owen simply begs the question at just about every critical step as I see it, IMO.

    And the problem for Owen is that he committed to postiting arguments that do not entail non sequiturs, on the one hand, and to providing non-circular deductive arguments, on the other. I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks and take care,
    David


  8. “From the force of the word “might” no argument can be drawn to this end, because the Greek subjunctive implies could, would, should. etc. By itself it does not indicate infallibility.”

    Except might doesn’t appear in the text. To have, does, and it is not by itself. And though it can be conditional, in this case it is conditioned by the “not parish” phrase before it. The condition of hold is made exclusively secured, infallibly so, by that exclusion of its only alternative by the “not.” Juxtaposing the two cases emphasizes the exclusivity and does so with great force. It is so strong that it is amazing that any would miss it.

    Your argument doesn’t work. Beside that, it neglects the greater context where the juxtaposing is even stronger, that being that God did not just send Christ to save but to condemn. The juxtaposition is evident in these passages and throughout Scripture. To use your rule would destroy the sense in which unbelievers are condemned for their unbelief, for then it would read that Christ was sent so that those unbelievers might be saved. There in is the absurdity of your statement. When are unbelievers ever saved? Not ever. Verse 18 and really the most of John 3, also weighs upon the subjunctive mood of echo denying it uncertainty. Maintaining integrity, God so loved the world that he sent his only son so that the believers shall be saved and the unbelievers condemned. That is without doubt.

    What you do with the text is to run it through the sausage mill of your traditions. Try keeping the word in the text and not isolated in the lexicon.

    Do you deny that there are diffent kinds of love expressed by God? Can love have more than one expression?

    You claim that Owens is wrong about the exaltedness of God’s love in salvation. So the question, is the love expressed here the same as it is in his general providential care?

    If so, then why would you say that Christ’s coming was in anyway special? And if so, is God just as glorified by the sunrise as by the salvation of some? And which will persist in glory?

    If you admit that there is some sense in which this love is different than just God’s general love of creation, then is it greater, and to what what extent? If it can discriminate, can it discriminate here? And if so, then Owen is at least owed tolerance of his interpretation of its exaltation.

  9. David Says:

    Hey Darrin, I posted from home last night. I suspect its either in the spam folder or some other folder. I am posting it again with a couple of modifications. If you could, can you please delete the previous, if it is pending somewhere.

    To Thomas,
    I detect two parts to your counter. The first focuses on the texts and argument, the second seems more an interrogation of my own opinions.

    First part:

    Old David: “From the force of the word “might” no argument can be drawn to this end, because the Greek subjunctive implies could, would, should. etc. By itself it does not indicate infallibility.”

    Thomas: Except might doesn’t appear in the text. To have, does, and it is not by itself. And though it can be conditional, in this case it is conditioned by the “not parish” phrase before it. The condition of hold is made exclusively secured, infallibly so, by that exclusion of its only alternative by the “not.” Juxtaposing the two cases emphasizes the exclusivity and does so with great force. It is so strong that it is amazing that any would miss it.

    David: Yeah I should have tightened up my argument there. I was sloppy. I should have been clearer.

    1) No argument can be made, from the word “might” alone, for a case of infallible accomplishment. Any standard Greek Grammar will bear this out. Wallace is exceptionally clear.

    2) The “might” I was focusing on in my mind is from this sentence from the quoted text: “[We should take note that the use of “might” in such verses may itself be a cause of confusion to the modern reader – it does not indicate a conditional nor vague possibility, but the positive assertion of something that will indeed take place.]”

    David: A lot of times folk emphasise the “might” in the context of Jesus’ coming into the world so that the “world” might be saved. The assumption is that “might” entails actual future infallible accomplishment. Then comes the reductio, “but the world is not actually saved…. therefore world cant mean anything other than the elect..” etc. I spoke in an unguarded manner.

    You say: Your argument doesn’t work. Beside that, it neglects the greater context where the juxtaposing is even stronger, that being that God did not just send Christ to save but to condemn.

    David: well Jesus said himself that in his own economy of redemption, he came to save the world. However, in another phase of his economy of redemption he will come to condemn the world. What is more, this condemnation is on the supposition of unbelief. God does not condemn before sin is considered, and so forth. Nor does God send Christ to condemn any man apart from the supposition of sin.

    Jesus: John 12:47 “And 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.

    I will let Jesus’ own words stand, with with all the complexity that comes with the total biblical picture.

    Thomas: The juxtaposition is evident in these passages and throughout Scripture. To use your rule would destroy the sense in which unbelievers are condemned for their unbelief, for then it would read that Christ was sent so that those unbelievers might be saved. There in is the absurdity of your statement. When are unbelievers ever saved? Not ever.

    David: I detect confusion here. Christ did not come to save believers, qua their ethical character, he came to save the sick. Likewise, Christ did not come to save unbelievers as they are and remain unbelievers, but as they are ontologically unbelievers as it were, so that they cease being unbelievers. Christ comes into the world of unbelievers in order to save that world, that is, to seek and obtain its salvation.

    Thomas: Verse 18 and really the most of John 3, also weighs upon the subjunctive mood of echo denying it uncertainty. Maintaining integrity, God so loved the world that he sent his only son so that the believers shall be saved and the unbelievers condemned. That is without doubt.

    David: Well again, the subjunctive in itself does not entail certainty. And in this case of 3:17 we have the clear parallel of John 12:47. Why is this impenitent man not condemned? Answer: Because Christ did not come into the world to condemn it. The point is, Christ came into the world “to save” the impenitent man.

    Cut

    Second part:

    Thomas: Do you deny that there are diffent kinds of love expressed by God? Can love have more than one expression?

    David: I affirm that God can love all men with a general love, with the elect a special love. That’s standard for Reformed theology.

    Thomas: You claim that Owens is wrong about the exaltedness of God’s love in salvation.

    David: That’s not exactly what I said or implied. I said I see no reason, logical or exegetical or lexical, why the love of 3:16 is electing love.

    Thomas: So the question, is the love expressed here the same as it is in his general providential care?

    David: The Reformed have always affirmed that God has one form of love to the brute creation. A higher form of love to men as men. And a higher form of love to the elect.

    Further, within each degree of love, there is a love of benevolence and a love of complacency. The former does not presuppose the merit or worth of the object. The latter does. The love of complacency is predicated to the worth of the creature, the more worthy, the it is loved. Christ alone is loved by the Father with the highest expression of complacent love (ie as one person to another, as I speak not of divine self-love).

    So as I see it, your question is ambiguous.

    Thomas: If so, then why would you say that Christ’s coming was in anyway special? And if so, is God just as glorified by the sunrise as by the salvation of some? And which will persist in glory?

    David: I guess to this I can say you don’t understand where I am coming from theologically.

    Thomas: If you admit that there is some sense in which this love is different than just God’s general love of creation, then is it greater, and to what what extent? If it can discriminate, can it discriminate here? And if so, then Owen is at least owed tolerance of his interpretation of its exaltation.

    David: Well there are two issues in what you say there. Is it true that God expresses a general love to all mankind, and a higher love to the elect, which takes an even higher expression in his love to the believing elect (for no one can say that God exhibits the same love to the unbelieving elect as he does the believing elect)? Yes. But that notwithstanding, Owen’s polemic here just does not hold either logical, lexical or exegetical water, for all the reasons I have already presented. If his arguments are unsound and/or invalid, they will always everywhere be invalid and/or unsound, no matter what I personally believe.

    With respect to Darrin, I think my counters to Owen hold good, so far.

    Hope that helps,
    David

  10. thomastwitchell Says:

    “well Jesus said himself that in his own economy of redemption, he came to save the world.”

    But the greater context is to separate. I disagree with many reformed that world is coextensive with the elect, here. Rather, I see it as the created order. Which makes more sense in that the created order will be saved. The definition of pas and the concept of kosmos here share this part of the whole being a whole,meaning. Which is why Jesus in his “economy of redemption” can say that he didn’t come to judge the world but to save it and yet at the same time one is not without the other. To save some, as it is in this passage, is to condemn others. There is one sense in which the world will be destroyed, one nuance of judge, and another in which it will be saved, they are never without each other. To confuse that issue, again, denies all that is said was his economy in coming. The book of John is exacting in that one of the specific purposes from Christ’s coming to save was to judge the wicked. Keeping the two aspects of his incarnation clear is important. When he comes back he is coming again with both in hand. For one the judgement of condemnation will be their destruction and the destruction of the kosmos, that is clear. And, for the other the judgement of salvation for both the elect and the kosmos, that also is clear for the creation itself was subjected to sin and groans under it with expectation of it be freed from its effects when the sons of God are manifest. Or, simple the renewing of all things is at at and will be consummated at the parousia.

    You inserted a presupposition into your arguement on requisite sin. And inferred the conclusion that men at some point in life sin and incur condemnation. But Scripture doesn’t say that, but the contrary, they are condemned upon not the requisite of their personal sin, but that of Adam.

    As to the believer unbeliever question, I think in this you are confused. While all you say is true that it was into a world of unbelievers that Christ came and that it wasn’t to save them as they are, he didn’t come to save the unbelieving ones. The terms in John 3:16-18 are verbal/nouns. And, these are two classes of people, mutually exclusive, not one class that has been taken from another. Rather, the purposive action of sending the Son has for its object two, not one group in view: God sent his Son so that the believing ones would be saved and God sent his Son so that the unbelieving ones would be condemned. Kosmos, in this sense has nothing to do with them, except that through the first it will be saved. As above, as as I indicated in response to Wes, this is a recapitulation of the prophecy and the declaration of its fulfillment. The end of the dialogue, which you say is Jesus’ speaking but may just be John’s words explaining it, is that God has made both, the believing ones to come into the light and the unbelieving ones to continue in their wickedness. And John is clear this is done by God, not by the actions of the objects, the actions are the object of God’s doing and therefore, the classes of men mentioned are passive in their acting doing only what God has made.

    My point about letting Owen stand is predicated upon the the facts you agree with, namely that God does discriminate and in that discrimation as you have rightly pointed out, even among the elect there is grace given to some that is not to others. So, we can extrapolate, perhaps not concluding, that the love which is the ultimate glorification of God is in view in the salvation of some. If as Edwards says the end the matter is not the objects of God’s electing grace where the greatest love is expressed but in God’s glorifying himself and this action of electing is the means which God uses, then the election shares that ultimate character of God’s greatest love. And, this love being ultimate, as you admit, is not general, not common to all, but is directed toward the perfection. Then it is not done with complacent apathy not considering the out come but has definitive purpose. And that cannot be without the end being determined.

    Thanks for your gracious response David.

    Got to go now, work pending, so this is rushed and I may not be able to unweave all that is involved in what I have written.

    God bless,

    tt

  11. David Says:

    Hey there Thomas,

    cut

    You say:
    You inserted a presupposition into your arguement on requisite sin. And inferred the conclusion that men at some point in life sin and incur condemnation. But Scripture doesn’t say that, but the contrary, they are condemned upon not the requisite of their personal sin, but that of Adam.

    David: I can only assume that you agree that men are condemned on account of personal sin, as well original. Jesus: John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Thomas: As to the believer unbeliever question, I think in this you are confused. While all you say is true that it was into a world of unbelievers that Christ came and that it wasn’t to save them as they are, he didn’t come to save the unbelieving ones. The terms in John 3:16-18 are verbal/nouns. And, these are two classes of people, mutually exclusive, not one class that has been taken from another. Rather, the purposive action of sending the Son has for its object two, not one group in view: God sent his Son so that the believing ones would be saved and God sent his Son so that the unbelieving ones would be condemned.

    David: Well not exactly. The direct object of the saving mission is “the world,” properly considered.
    Jesus: John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.

    The subjunctive with the hina purpose clause identifies the world as the intended recipient of the saving activities.

    However, the salvation is through the means of belief, not apart from it. Thus, in this manner, Christ came to save the world, so that anyone of the world who believes in him may be saved. The “world” and “the ones who believe” are not identical or equipollent referents.

    This is further confirmed, without any reasonable counter, in John 12:47-48, where Jesus, in order to explain why the impenitent man is not immediately condemned, is because Christ came to save the world (ie the world inclusive of this impenitent man). At a later point, the world, as it continues to manifest sin and unbelief, will be condemned. Hence, “world” for John, must include the impenitent men of the world, who, by extension are the reprobate, as much as it includes the unbelieving elect. I say unbelieving elect, because properly speaking, believers are not part of the world, in the way John uses the term.

    Thomas: My point about letting Owen stand is predicated upon the the facts you agree with, namely that God does discriminate and in that discrimation as you have rightly pointed out, even among the elect there is grace given to some that is not to others.

    David: The problem remains. Owen seeks to move an argument in a linear manner, from premises to a conclusion. Given that he invokes question-begging assumptions and non sequiturs, his conclusions are unfounded. That still holds. That Owen, me, you may agree that God has a discriminating love in no way sustains his arguments as presented.

    Thomas: So, we can extrapolate, perhaps not concluding, that the love which is the ultimate glorification of God is in view in the salvation of some.

    David: See my comment above.

    Thomas: If as Edwards says the end the matter is not the objects of God’s electing grace where the greatest love is expressed but in God’s glorifying himself and this action of electing is the means which God uses, then the election shares that ultimate character of God’s greatest love.

    David: With respect, irrelevant to Owen’s argument.

    Thomas: And, this love being ultimate, as you admit, is not general, not common to all, but is directed toward the perfection. Then it is not done with complacent apathy not considering the out come but has definitive purpose. And that cannot be without the end being determined.

    David: All divine love is directive love, directing men to salvation (Rom 2:4) and to the glorification of God (ie his moral attributes, etc). That one may believe that God has an electing love, while true, is beside the point. It in no way advances or sustains the arguments objectively tabled by Owen.

    To sum up, the issue here is: “Are the specific arguments tabled here by Owen, logically and exegetically compelling?” I say no, for the reasons I have presented. If the positive arguments don’t warrant the conclusions, Owen presents, then as it stands, on the terms Owen himself has directly given here, his conclusions are unfounded. He may be correct, on terms of some other argument, but not by the terms he has laid out in the paragraphs of the above post. I would urge readers to likewise admit that Owen’s arguments are far from conclusive, and that, indeed, given what has already been shown, contra Owen, there are good initial reasons to even now believe his interpretation is wrong. But of course I am open to supplementary arguments or counters

    Thanks again for your time and patience, and thanks again Darrin,
    David

  12. thomastwitchell Says:

    “I can only assume that you agree that men are condemned on account of personal sin, as well original.”

    No. I mean men are condemned on the basis of Adam’s sin alone. They are not somehow neutral sinners and then because of personal action become condemnable, but are condemned because of their condition which is sinful and proceed to actual sin. It is the semi-Pelagian position that would found condemnation in the actions of individuals. All individuals are condemned at conception, before they act. Though I suspect you would redefine Romans 9, the point is, whether individual or corporate, it is before either has acted, either good or bad, that they are condemned. Election is not founded in man at all for both were offspring of Adam and stood condemn in conception. Election frees from condemnation, it does not condemn. We are all unbelievers and out of that God elects. Not we are all neutral sinners and out of that some believe and are elect and some disbelieve and are condemned. But that leads to the next:

    “The direct object of the saving mission is “the world,” properly considered.”

    While that is true, it is also true that the world is saved, properly considered. But only that world which is the elect. That world which is the unbelievers is condemned. No unbeliever will make up any part of that world which will be saved. World is used in various ways. In this place I don’t believe it means the elect. But rather, the kosmos as his creation, ref. Romans 8:19. That of course would include the elect as many have argued that it does because of the end result and therefore have concluded it means elect. Owens would assign it this meaning as he pursues the grounding of the purpose of God to save the world he loves.

    Further: “The subjunctive with the hina purpose clause identifies the world as the intended recipient of the saving activities.” As above, your argument only works if you include unbelievers in the saved world. But there are none. The subjuntive again is something you do not understand. It is conditional. That does not mean it has no definite action, i.e., “saving activities.” What it means is that it is conditioned by the context. The same is true of the subjunctives elsewhere in these same passages. The exclusive nature of who is and who is not saved makes the subjunctive a definitive “that” fact, not a potential, either this or that. God sent that, not God sent perhaps that. The definiteness of a saved world I hope you do not reject. It is definite and is so be cause some, not all will definitely believe. And it is so, not because some might believe or not believe, but because some will. The God love the world that, or God love the world this way that, defines exactly what will and will not take place. This passage does not include potentiality but fulfillment, viz a viz, vs 17. They will be saved.

    “This is further confirmed, without any reasonable counter, in John 12:47-48, where Jesus, in order to explain why the impenitent man is not immediately condemned,”

    There is no reasonable counter because you will not allow it. So no. What this betrays is another misunderstanding of what it means to be judged. Throughout John there are varying uses of judge. But to make it simple, the fact is that we are all conceived as judged under sin. By the very nature of that sin of being sinful we are judged. Judgement though had already been renedered when Adam sinned and all his offspring judge by it not by anything them inherently, but before their conception. God judged that death would be the result of sin and so that judgement was adjudicated, judged, and so Adam died and all those in him. God also judged that he would send his Son not to destroy, i.e., carry out the judgement of perdiditon. But he did according to Jesus’ very words give Jesus the right to judge and so he does, judging some he gives them eternal life, and judging others he condemns. Their condemnation, that is their being judged rest in them according to their nature, John 6, and it judges them, by their own words are they judged, et ceter…

    The point is, your verse only applies to the final dispensation in the consummation at the judgement seat when men are separated on the left and the right. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the saving of the world in Christ’s advent in John 3:16. The context is the last day, not the first advent. In the context of the first advent, in your verses as well as in John 3:16 it is to call out those who are made to see the light. Then John 3:18 is clear. Those who are condemned already are those who are not maded to come into the light, not because they were somehow objects in the term world as potentially saved but because as John 3:21 says God made them that way. Beside that you cherry picked. Jesus elsewhere said: “21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” So God did indeed send Jesus into the world to condemn it also. The economy of Christ’s work is both salvific and judicial. For he will come again to render to each accordingly. His second advent is what John 12 refers too, not some inpenitent who is now not save, but later will. It addresses the final act in soteriological history, that of the condemnation of the judgement of the last day. That is why he is not immediately judged. The nuance is not his believing or not. That parallel passages in 5 put the determination of life in Christ’s hands but also the condemnation. That tightens the noose in 3:16-18 meaning. Christ came to save the world by condeming some in it and giving life to others in it just as 3:21 says he is the light which comes into the world and only those who have eyes to see, verse 3:3. Christ came to give sight to the blind. The fact is, he didn’t and doesn’t give it to all so that they may choose. To the contrary, he give sight to some so that they see the light and come into it, effectuall, electually drawn.

    The Edwards statement stands with Owen because there is no doubt that the purpose of God sending his Son is his will to save his creation. That stands with Gods highest love, that for himself and cannot be removed from it. That love discriminates with purposive actions which do not effect all objects equally. Yes, effect. As John 3:21 says, God makes it to be so. The purpose of God is to save some and in that is he glorified. He does not make all savable, but makes some to come into the light. His love is not without power and it discriminates. It even hates, for indeed it would not be love if it did not hate those who hated it. That being the case, we all at one time being haters of God, God does something to some that he does not do to all or all would love him with that love which is effectual in us and not in them, or they would not hate any longer.

    Your assumption is that all are sinners, but they somehow are not condemned because they have not hated God in a final way that condemns. But Scripture does not say that, rather, it says that while we were yet sinners and his enemies Christ died for us.

    On these two accounts, a) that it is God’s highest love which compels his action, b) that it is this kind of love which dies for the wicked with purpose to save which cannot be thwarted. As Owens notes it is not all who are saved and so the reconcilliation for which Christ died is not effetual for all, but only some. And since it is purposive love which is the very nature of God, to determine that love as reason for which he sent Christ to accomplish that thing which he surely accomplished is logical and the only outcome possible.

    It is God’s purpose to save the world. That purpose is born out of his love. That love is neither indifferent, nor lowly. Rather, since it is the sole means that God defined as his glorification it is the highest love which is known. The election, that is the definitive glorification, has for its goal the glorification of God and that as perfection. The highest perfection is love and the perfection of perfection is the love of God.

    I am being redundant, true. But not circular as you accuse Owen who is likewise redundant. In neither case have you caught the thrust. So we ask the question, in what way is indifferent love, that generalist love of God’s providence to all creatures, electing? How can indifference effect the objective outcome? Even if world is not the world of the elect, though I don’t know how it cannot be in the consummative sense and be the world that is so loved that it is saved, it remains true that Christ came that some would believe and that some would not. If that is the purposive love of God, who determines who believes? Is it the determinative love of man for God? But where is that in the passage?

  13. David Says:

    Hey there Thomas,

    Preamble:

    1) I’ve written my reply to your last comment. I have to say, as nicely as I can, that your comments really takes the focus away from discussing Owen’s specific arguments. You are still positing speculative arguments on the terms of your personally distinctive formulation. Naturally I reject your terms as they are your terms.

    I will give some answers to your last, but this has to be last from me, unless you refocus your counters to Owen’s arguments specifically. You have not defended the specific arguments Owen presented. To repeat, I still have seen no defense of the critical lines of thought Owen adduced, and to which I proffered a rebuttal for consideration.

    I’ve tried to capture the heart of your assumptions. As I see it, you want to argue top-down from a systematic apriori and teleology, to exegetical determinations. However, the better way is to argue bottom-up from Scripture to the system. We are to argue, exegetically, to the system, not to argue systematically to the exegesis. The proper direction of our argument is upwards, exegesis to systematic conclusions. Make sense?

    2) The simplest of metaphors which should be clear enough.

    A great King loved a certain village so much that he had his soldiers dig a deep well, so that anyone in the village who suffered for thirst may drink and find refreshment.

    From this simplest and most intuitive metaphor, we find the import of John 3:16.

    A) Does this mean that the King only loved the ones who actually drank of his well? No. His love was to all the villages.

    B) Was it the King’s single intent to nourish only those who drank of his well, such that he had no intent to nourish even those who refused to drink of his well? No.

    C) And it fits with 3:14-15:

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

    This is my last Thomas. Again, respectfully, most of your replies to me contain little material specific to Owen. The comment thread now, however, is maxed out with speculative reasoning which takes the reader, and my intent in replying to Darrin by way of Owen, away from the point. Feel free to counter.

    * * * *

    Old David:
    “The direct object of the saving mission is “the world,” properly considered.”

    Thomas:
    While that is true, it is also true that the world is saved, properly considered. But only that world which is the elect. That world which is the unbelievers is condemned. No unbeliever will make up any part of that world which will be saved. World is used in various ways. In this place I don’t believe it means the elect. But rather, the kosmos as his creation, ref. Romans 8:19. That of course would include the elect as many have argued that it does because of the end result and therefore have concluded it means elect. Owens would assign it this meaning as he pursues the grounding of the purpose of God to save the world he loves.

    David: The problem is that for John, the Kosmos denotes the world of unbelievers. He is fairly consistent in his use of that. Word meanings are defined, normally, by context and usage. What is more, in sensitive exegesis and lexical analysis, the normal method is to look how a given author uses his own terms. And so, if we look in John, the primary focus of world is the world of unbelief, which stands in opposition to God. This world includes the unbelieving Jews.

    The bottom line, though, is that “world” as Owen saw it, denoted the elect.

    Old David: “The subjunctive with the hina purpose clause identifies the world as the intended recipient of the saving activities.”

    Thomas:
    As above, your argument only works if you include unbelievers in the saved world. But there are none. The subjuntive again is something you do not understand. It is conditional. That does not mean it has no definite action, i.e., “saving activities.” What it means is that it is conditioned by the context. The same is true of the subjunctives elsewhere in these same passages. The exclusive nature of who is and who is not saved makes the subjunctive a definitive “that” fact, not a potential, either this or that. God sent that, not God sent perhaps that. The definiteness of a saved world I hope you do not reject. It is definite and is so be cause some, not all will definitely believe. And it is so, not because some might believe or not believe, but because some will. The God love the world that, or God love the world this way that, defines exactly what will and will not take place. This passage does not include potentiality but fulfillment, viz a viz, vs 17. They will be saved.

    David: Again, you really should go to Wallace’s Grammar. The subjunctive does not in itself secure certainty. At times the Jews thought that some subjunctives may have retained this, but, but itself, one cannot simply base an argument on it, as expressed in the English or Greek “might” etc.

    And in the text 3:17, the object of the subjunctive is the world.

    Re: Jn 12:47-48.

    Thomas: There is no reasonable counter because you will not allow it. So no. What this betrays is another misunderstanding of what it means to be judged. Throughout John there are varying uses of judge. But to make it simple, the fact is that we are all conceived as judged under sin. By the very nature of that sin of being sinful we are judged. Judgement though had already been renedered when Adam sinned and all his offspring judge by it not by anything them inherently, but before their conception. God judged that death would be the result of sin and so that judgement was adjudicated, judged, and so Adam died and all those in him. God also judged that he would send his Son not to destroy, i.e., carry out the judgement of perdiditon. But he did according to Jesus’ very words give Jesus the right to judge and so he does, judging some he gives them eternal life, and judging others he condemns. Their condemnation, that is their being judged rest in them according to their nature, John 6, and it judges them, by their own words are they judged, et ceter…

    David: With respect, the text is clear: NAS John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. The text should put an end to any confusion.

    cut cut

    Thomas: The economy of Christ’s work is both salvific and judicial. For he will come again to render to each accordingly. His second advent is what John 12 refers too, not some inpenitent who is now not save, but later will.

    David: To be clear, the text asks, “Why does Christ not “now” judge the one who rejects Christ?” A. “Christ has not come to judge the impenitent, but to save him. For their will come a time when he will be judge. That time is at the last day.”

    This is what is implied when Christ says, I came not to condemn the world, but to save it. In his present dispensation, this day of Christ, Christ seeks the salvation of the world. At the final eschaton, the doors to salvation will be closed for all the living.

    The text says nothing about the impenitent getting saved at a later point. “Man dies once, and then judgement…”

    It’s actually not that difficult a text to apprehend.

    Thomas: It addresses the final act in soteriological history, that of the condemnation of the judgement of the last day. That is why he is not immediately judged. The nuance is not his believing or not. That parallel passages in 5 put the determination of life in Christ’s hands but also the condemnation.

    David: Again, the text is pretty honest and clean in its expression:

    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 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

    It is the same person. In the first, Christ does not condemn the rejector, exactly because His ministry is life. However, this same rejector will be condemned at the last day. And all this is only understandable on the supposition that the rejector is part of the “world.” The rejector stands as a sort of synechodoche for the world. [Synechodoche may not be the right word I admit.]

    Thomas: That tightens the noose in 3:16-18 meaning. Christ came to save the world by condeming some in it and giving life to others in it just as 3:21 says he is the light which comes into the world and only those who have eyes to see, verse 3:3. Christ came to give sight to the blind. The fact is, he didn’t and doesn’t give it to all so that they may choose. To the contrary, he give sight to some so that they see the light and come into it, effectuall, electually drawn.

    David: Gill and Owen for example, had to deny the obvious force of 3:17 and 12:47 by equivocating on ‘world’ in the respective passages (with some variation). The world takes on two or three meanings, all in one breath, Christ came in the physical world, not to condemn the reprobate world, but to save the elect world. Something like that. Of course that’s hardly compelling argument. Its called double equivocation, because not only is Jesus equivocating without telling anyone, but so is John. I think its pretty much awful exegesis myself.

    Thomas: The Edwards statement stands with Owen because there is no doubt that the purpose of God sending his Son is his will to save his creation. That stands with Gods highest love, that for himself and cannot be removed from it.

    David: Ah okay. So you say, following Edwards, that God’s glorification of himself is his highest love–you have to say that I would think. If that is the case, now we are equivocating on the “highest” love which dies for his life for his friends. But this is really beside the point. God expresses the intent of bring glory to himself by various means. One of them is the display of compassion to the world, the offer of pardon and life to it. Even their rejection ultimately brings glory to God, to his justice and holiness. I can accept all that, and still see the “world” and the “love” of 3:16 as universal.

    Thomas continues: That love discriminates with purposive actions which do not effect all objects equally. Yes, effect. As John 3:21 says, God makes it to be so. The purpose of God is to save some and in that is he glorified. He does not make all savable, but makes some to come into the light. His love is not without power and it discriminates. It even hates, for indeed it would not be love if it did not hate those who hated it. That being the case, we all at one time being haters of God, God does something to some that he does not do to all or all would love him with that love which is effectual in us and not in them, or they would not hate any longer.

    David: I gather you believe all that, but its not the argument Owen tables is it? You are not defending Owen’s argument. Indeed, you have changed the terms of the discussion almost entirely, arguing for your own position.

    Thomas: Your assumption is that all are sinners, but they somehow are not condemned because they have not hated God in a final way that condemns. But Scripture does not say that, rather, it says that while we were yet sinners and his enemies Christ died for us.

    David: I am sorry I don’t recognize what I have said or implied in that alleged summary of my position.

    Thomas: On these two accounts, a) that it is God’s highest love which compels his action, b) that it is this kind of love which dies for the wicked with purpose to save which cannot be thwarted.

    David: I am reminded of Turretin’s criticism of Supralapsarianism in its positing a simple straight-line causality in the purposes of God. I would say that the purposes of God in the redemption of man expresses itself as having diverse ends. It is not the case that the “last in action is the first in intention,” in a simple, univocal and linear manner. But now we are getting really speculative and away from the clearness of the text.

    Thomas: As Owens notes it is not all who are saved and so the reconcilliation for which Christ died is not effetual for all, but only some. And since it is purposive love which is the very nature of God, to determine that love as reason for which he sent Christ to accomplish that thing which he surely accomplished is logical and the only outcome possible.

    David: So many assumptions. 1) I agree the death of Christ is not effectually applied to all. 2) Purposed love? As I’ve said, there is no purposeless love. But is all love the same? No. Is there any a priori reason why the love of 3:16 must be elective, simply on this consideration alone? No. 3) Does the fact that there is a limited or restrictive final outcome–the salvation of the elect–that this entails that their salvation could only be God’s salvific purpose with respect to anyone? No. The fact that only the elect are finally saved, does not, itself entail that this alone was the telic intention of God’s redemptive dealings. To be clear, that God has a plan to effectually save the elect, itself, does not entail that he had no other plans to other ends, etc. Bruce Ware calls this the Multiple Intentions view.

    Thomas: It is God’s purpose to save the world. That purpose is born out of his love. That love is neither indifferent, nor lowly.

    David: Assertion and caricature. There is no a priori reason why the love of 3:17 cannot be a general love to mankind as mankind (reprobate inconclusive).

    Thomas: Rather, since it is the sole means that God defined as his glorification it is the highest love which is known. The election, that is the definitive glorification, has for its goal the glorification of God and that as perfection. The highest perfection is love and the perfection of perfection is the love of God.

    David: All I see in that is more of the same: “the last in action is the [single] and first in intention”? I agree with Turretin in his rejection of this axiom as an unqualified rule by which we determine God’s dealings with man.

    I reject any attempt to simplistically extrapolate backwards, from the obvious truth that ultimately God seeks his own self-glorification, so that the mechanism to this end has to be univocally linear, reductionist, following along the lines of a simple bifurcation of election and non-election. There is nothing much more that can be said, Thomas. I just reject that very approach you are adopting here, as if the top-down speculative a priori determines the exegetical case.

    Thomas: I am being redundant, true. But not circular as you accuse Owen who is likewise redundant.

    David: I agree you are not being circular. However, you are being speculative and atextual. If I read your argument you argue thusly:

    It is the nature of God that he brings the highest glory to himself. The highest glory to himself is in the salvation of the elect (and conversely the condemnation of the reprobate). To that end, God has only a purposing love to the elect. God sends his Son to die only for the elect. In the salvation fo the elect (and condemnation of the reprobate) God expresses his highest glory.

    Its just supralapsarianism, as I read it. What is more, its distortion of Edwards, as you have fused him with a univocal teleology with Edwardian language.

    Thomas: In neither case have you caught the thrust.

    David: With respect, your whole comment is irrelevant. Even discussing it at this length only distracts and detracts from any readable examination of Owen’s arguments.

    Thomas: So we ask the question, in what way is indifferent love, that generalist love of God’s providence to all creatures, electing?

    David: Indifferent in what sense? Indifferent to sentient humans? Indifferent as in without elective discrimination? Which? What? Where did I say it’s a love to all creatures? I’ve said from the beginning that it’s a love to mankind.

    Thomas: How can indifference effect the objective outcome?

    David: Indifference again?

    Thomas: Even if world is not the world of the elect, though I don’t know how it cannot be in the consummative sense and be the world that is so loved that it is saved, it remains true that Christ came that some would believe and that some would not. If that is the purposive love of God, who determines who believes? Is it the determinative love of man for God? But where is that in the passage?

    Ive probably forgotten some of the things I both wanted to say and should have said.

    Thanks again Darrin for your patience.
    David.

  14. Rob Says:

    Let’s say God decided to save no one.

    Suppose He just said, “Look, guys, you’re all rotten to the core, and despite the fact that you inherited this rottenness from a long-dead ancestor and can’t do anything about it, I’m just going to throw every last one of you into a flaming Hell where you’ll have the skin burnt off your bones in a literal Lake of Fire for all eternity. By the way, I’ll let the human race continue to procreate for another few millennia so I can throw them into the fire as well.”

    Would you still insist that God is “loving”? If so, I’ve got to hand it to you, you’re consistent!

    If not, is this just a numbers game and He’s good because He saves “some” and He (supposedly) has decided to save you?


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