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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jesus and the rich young reprobate

I have a theory. It may sound ridiculous to some and elementary to others, but, hey, this is my blog and I am entitled to throw across whatever hair-brained idea that comes to my overactive mind -as long as I have readers who are gullible enough to believe that I have something intelligent to say.

So here goes.

My theory is that since the Bible says, "God is love", then He must love everybody. (Perhaps I should have titled this post, "Deep thoughts with Aaron D. Taylor." ) It's a simple idea really, but let me elaborate. My theory further says that if God loves everybody, then He must want everybody to be saved. Not a bad extrapolation I might add,even if it wasn't in the Bible. Let me take this thought one step further. If God wants everybody to be saved, that must mean that everybody includes people of all faiths and all walks of life. Notice that I did not say that everybody will be saved, just that God loves everybody and wants them to be saved. In other words, the only condition a living creature on planet earth must meet for God to love them and to want them to be in heaven with Him is to be an authentic human being (the technical term would be homo sapien).

Alas my simple mind has gotten the best of me-or so many of my evangelical Christian colleagues around the world would say. For don't you know, oh simple one, that the fact that God is love doesn't mean that He actually has to love everybody? Some would try to convince my simple mind that yes, God does love everybody, but only in a creaturely sense. In other words, God may love everone as His creation (a form of self-admiration I might add), but that doesn't mean that He actually has a desire to pursue a relationship with everyone. In other words, oh simple-minded Aaron. God loves all people in a creaturely sense, but not in a relational sense. And don't you know, oh simple one, that the fact that God wants everybody to be saved doesn't mean that He actually intends to save as many people as possible. There are some that God has chosen to be reprobates-people that He loves as His creation but for whom He has no intention of pursuing a relationship with.

And then I open my Bible to the story of the rich, young ruler. A man who, if anyone would fit the description of a reprobate, it would be him. The man did not want to give up his bank account to follow Jesus. What a chump! And then I see that the Bible says that Jesus, "looking at him, loved him."

You mean that Jesus loved the rich young reprobate?! Hmm....I wonder if that means that Jesus loved the fact that He created him, or that He actually loved him? Well, I guess we'll never know.

3 comments:

Elijah said...

Of course Jesus loved him.
His going to the cross is evidence of that love.I depart from the doctrine of Calvin on this point,i.e. limited atonement. Romans 5:6-11
(However I would agree with the other four points of the tulip)

That being said, it is God's will that is the question.
Paul uses the word "boulema", which is translated as will, in Romans 9:19. It means the abslolute resolve-purpose-will of God. Now read in the context of verses 1-23 it argues strongly for the election of some.
The word "boulomai" in 2 Peter 3:9,
though from the same root as boulema, means a mindset, or desire
and is also translated as wish.
God wishes that all may be saved, however, not all will be. If it is his "will" that all men be saved, then all will be, according to Romans 9 which I just cited, for who can resist His will? According to Paul, no one can.
If all are saved, then the atonement is a waste, and our preaching the Gospel is unneccessary. This is why I find universal salvation doctrines to be more in favor of a form of predestination.
As for the rich young man, even if he gave it all away, that would not save him, for salvation is not of our own works, and the work we do as believers must be God's predetermined works of the Kingdom.. Eph 2:8-10
I find the point of this episode to be, that nothing is possible with men, but all things are possible with God, i.e only God can save.
So I believe that we cannot only describe God as love, since it is clear that he is also just, merciful,holy, righteous, the vindicator,i.e. avenger of all who are His,gracious etc.
As for self admiration, God also wills to be worshipped and glorified, therefore as God he can be hedonistic and not do evil in that. The ultimate, predestined end of all who believe, is to worship Him forever.
Sounds a bit hedonistic to me.
As Paul asked, "who are we?" That is the actual conclusion of the matter.
I do not believe that we can define the love that God is, in the same way we define it as the creation, amongst ourselves. Otherwise the God of the OT would be a total contrast to the God of the NT, i.e. not the same God.

Did not mean to preach a sermon here.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you for your comments Elijah.

We agree on a lot of things, but also disagree on a lot of things. Since I do not have time to respond to everything you have said, let me elucidate a few points for clarification purposes.

First, I am glad that you have rejected limited atonement. This would make you a four-point Calvinist, which is the position taken in classic dispensationalism (at least the Dallas Theological Seminary version). I don't mean to label you here. I'm simply saying there are respectable evangelicals that agree with you on this point.

Second, when I said that loving the rich young ruler only in a creational sense was a form of self-admiration, I was not implying that as something morally wrong on the part of God. If you read my book, "The Angels are Watching" (you can find a link to it on my website www.greatcommissionsociety.com) you would see that I take a high view of God receiving glory from His creation.

Thirdly, I maintain that Romans chapter 9 is a reference to corporate vocational calling, not an election of individuals to salvation and damnation.

Fourthly, you, me, and Pete all seem to agree that the first 11 chapters of Romans form the crux of Paul's systematic theology of salvation. I would invite you to read the very last verse which, to me, sums up everything Paul has said up until that point, "For God has committed all men to disobedience, so that He might have mercy on every man."
I maintain that God's intent is mercy for everyone.

Fifthly- I am not a universalist. I do not believe that everyone will be saved. I do believe, however, that God's intention is to save as many as possible.

Have a great day.

Pete said...

Aaron states it well. We agree on much and disagree on much and I even find a way to also agree and disagree with Aaron on some things. In the end, no two people believe exactly the same because no two people have exactly the same relationship with God.
God's intent is most certainly grace for everyone. He didn't send His only son to die so that a few chosen could be given grace, but everbody. Unfortunately He cannot force the gift upon us and in the end many will have left the gift untouched underneath the Christmas tree, some will have accepted it without ever really opening it up and diving in, but I hope to be viewed as the 2 year old ripping into it and exploring every inch of it to make sure I have fully received the gift that was bought for a very high price.
I agree with you Elijah that we simply cannot fully understand just how God loves us, but that it is deeper and more perfect than our brain comprehends.
Pete