Home > Calvinism, Election > The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXII- That it contradicts the universalistic Scripture passages

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXII- That it contradicts the universalistic Scripture passages

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXII


1. The Terms “Will” and “All.” 2. The Gospel is for Jews and Gentiles Alike. 3. The Term “World” is Used in Various Senses. 4. General Considerations.


It may be asked, Is not the doctrine of Predestination flatly contradicted by the Scriptures which declare that Christ died for “all men,” or for “the whole world,” and that God wills the salvation of all men? In 1 Timothy 2:3, 4 Paul refers to “God our Saviour, who would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (And the word “all,” we are dogmatically informed by our opponents, must mean every human being.) In Ezekiel 33:11 we read, “As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live”; and in 2 Peter 3:9 we read that God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The King James Version reads, “Not willing that any should perish…”

These verses simply teach that God is benevolent, and that He does not delight in the sufferings of His creatures any more than a human father delights in the punishment which he must sometimes inflict upon his son. God does not decretively will the salvation of all men, no matter how much He may desire it; and if any verses taught that He decretively willed or intended the salvation of all men, they would contradict those other parts of the Scripture which teach that God sovereignly rules and that it is His purpose to leave some to be punished.

The word “will” is used in different senses in Scripture and in our every day conversation. It is sometimes used in the sense of “decree,” or “purpose,” and sometimes in the sense of “desire,” or “wish.” A righteous judge does not will (desire) that anyone should be hanged or sentenced to prison, yet at the same time he wills (pronounced sentence, or decrees) that the guilty person shall be thus punished. In the same sense and foe sufficient reasons a man may will or decide to have a limb removed, or an eye taken out, even though he certainly does not desire it. The Greek words thelo and boulomai, which are sometimes translated “will,” are also used in the sense of “desire,” or “wish;” e.g., Jesus said to the mother of James and John, “What wouldest thou?” Matthew 20:21; of the scribes it was said they “desire to walk in long robes,” Luke 20:46; certain of the Scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we would see a sign from thee,” Matthew 12:38; Paul said, “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue,” 1 Corinthians 14:19.

In like manner the word “all” is unmistakably used in different senses in Scripture. In some cases it certainly does not mean every individual; e.g., of John the Baptist it was said, “And there went out unto him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins,” Mark 1:5. After Peter and John had healed the lame man at the door of the temple, we read that “all men glorified God for that which was done,” Acts 4:21. Jesus told his disciples that they would be “hated of all men” for His name’s sake, Luke 21:17. Paul was accused of “teaching all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place” (the temple), Acts 21:28. When Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself,” John 12:32, He plainly meant not every individual of mankind, for history shows that not every individual has been drawn to Him. He certainly does not draw the many millions of heathens who die in utter ignorance of the true God. What He meant was, that a large multitude from all nations and classes would be saved; and this is what we see coming to pass. In Hebrews 2:9, we read that Jesus tasted death “for every man.” The original Greek, however, does not use the word “man” here at all, but simply says, “for every.” So in principle, if the meaning is not to be limited to those who are actually saved, why limit it to men? Why not include the fallen angels, even the Devil himself, and the irrational animals?

1 Corinthians 15:22 is probably the one verse most often quoted by Arminians to refute Calvinism. There we read, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” The verse is, however, entirely irrelevant. This is from Paul’s famous resurrection chapter, and the context makes it plain that he is not talking about life in this age, whether physical or spiritual, but about the resurrection life. Verses 20 and 21 read: “But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead.” Then follows verse 22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”; and that he refers not to a regeneration or a making alive in this present world but to the new life which is given in the resurrection is made clear by what follows immediately in verses 23 and 24: “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s, at His coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” etc. Christ is the first to enter into the resurrection life, then, when He comes, His people also enter into their resurrection life. Then comes the end, that is, the end of the world, and the introduction of heaven in its fullness; and what Paul says is that at that time a glorious resurrection life will become a reality for all of those who are in Christ. This is possible because Christ is their federal head and representative. Through His power all of His people shall be raised to newness of life with Him. And this point is illustrated by the well understood fact that the race fell in Adam, who acted as the federal head and representative of the entire race. What Paul says in effect is this: “For as all born in Adam die, so also all born in Christ shall be made alive.” Verse 22, then, refers not to something past, nor to something present, but to something future ; and it has no bearing whatever on the Arminian-Calvinistic controversy.

It was not the whole of mankind which was equally loved of God and promiscuously redeemed by Christ. John’s hymn of praise, “Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto His God and Father,” Revelation 1:5, evidently proceeds on the hypothesis of a definite election and a limited atonement since God’s love was the cause and the blood of Christ the efficacious means of their redemption. The declaration that Christ died for “all” is made clearer by the song which the redeemed now sing before the throne of the Lamb: “Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,” Revelation 5:9. The word all must be understood to mean all the elect, all His Church, all those whom the Father has given to the Son, etc., not all men universally and every man individually. The redeemed host will be made up of men from all classes and conditions of life, of princes and peasants, of rich and poor, of bond and free, of male and female, of young and old, of Jews and Gentiles, men of all nations, and races, from north to south, and from east to west.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

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