06 August 2007

Proof that God loves the world

by Dan Phillips

The proof.

The texts: Job 5:10; Psalm 104:10-24; Matthew 5:44-48; Acts 14:17.

Dan Phillips's signature


James Scott Bell said...

Said the same thing in church yesterday, Dan. Creation IS an act of love.

Ben N said...

Is God's love different for His children?
If yes, how is that possible? Isn't His love perfect?
If not, then why did He save us?

I guess grace still remains a mystery . Amazing grace ...

Kim said...

I must say, these brief posts are bringing back my highschool days when my English teacher made us to precis on a regular basis.

Tony Byrne said...

Hi Benjamin,

Yes, God's love for his own is different for those who are in unbelief. Believers are reconciled to God and enjoy intimate fellowship with him through their union with his Son. How is that possible if his love is perfect? Having a special love for some individuals over against others does not argue for imperfection or sinfulness. God does not charge us with sin when we love our family members, spouses or friends more than others in the world. Given that we are all sinners and deserve eternal hell, it's a wonder why God loves any of us at all! God's distinguishing love does not entail moral imperfection. Loving one creature more than another just argues for divine sovereignty. He will mercy those he will mercy, and others get justice.

Ben N said...

Thank you for the answer, Tony.

To conclude then, it is not that God loves more or less somebody, but rather that He loves them differently, right?

(Rom. 9:13) As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

The real question is not why did God hate Esau, but rather why did He love Jacob?

FX Turk said...


Anonymous said...

You must be busy this week. But such bite-size theology is good for my digestion

Tony Byrne said...

Benjamin said,

"To conclude then, it is not that God loves more or less somebody, but rather that He loves them differently, right?"

This is an interesting thought, Benjamin. I will have to think about it :-) I have been inclined to think that the "differently" consists in a lesser love so that the question above would pose a false either/or dilemma. Nevertheless, I will give it some further meditation.


donsands said...

Amen. The truth is rather pure and simple here.
"Do good to those who hate you".

Tony Byrne said...


Would you say that God's electing love is a different kind of love from his general love for mankind? Or is it just a different way of showing the same kind of love? See what I mean? It seems to me that the love shown to the elect is of a different sort, rather than just being a different way of showing the same sort of love. Am I misunderstanding your distinction?

Tony Byrne said...


Does God love you in a lesser way than he loves his own Son? Or does he just love you differently but with the same sort of love?

What would you say about God's love for all of humanity and his love for his own Son? A different way of loving only? Or a different kind of love that is less?

Hmm. Still thinking.

Tony Byrne said...

I am still inclined to agree with the way the puritan William Jenkyn (1612-1685) puts it:

"And yet of men he loves some more especially and peculiarly than others; namely, those whom he loves with an electing, calling, redeeming, justifying, glorifying love. God loves all creatures, and among them the rational, and among them the members of his Son, and much more the Son himself."

William Jenkyn, An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (James & Klock, 1976), p. 36.

JackW said...

Great thought and I like the short format, but I can't help but think that the 50 word limit would be more useful in the comment section.

the postmortem said...

Just thought I'd throw this in...

"Behold the rain which
descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of
the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves
us, and loves to see us happy

-Benjamin Franklin, to André Morellet, a French economist, written about 1779.


Stefan Ewing said...

Dan, Psalm 104 is one of my favourite passages of Scripture. Even more so and in the same vein: Job 38-39. God's speech to Job out of the whirlwind has stuck with me since He first led me to it some 18 years—even through all the years when I was a staunchly materialistic evolutionist. As Hebrew poetry (at least as translated into English), it is unsurpassed, in this sinner's opinion—which should be a given, since it's God speaking directly, unmediated by any prophet, apostle, or evangelist.

Praise the Lord God Who created and sustains the universe.

(Emendation and merging of my earlier comments.)

Ben N said...

On the nature of love ...

Tony, so there are 3 "levels of love" that the Father has:
1) for everyone.
2) for the redeemed ones.
3) for His Son.
So, the Father loves everyone, but He loves the redeemed ones more and His Son even more.

So, is love quantifiable then?

Of course there must be distinction between all these types of love otherwise you end up in universalism or a limited God that can't save the one He loves "more".

So, maybe it sounds too philosophical, but how exactly are these love different? Are we maybe misusing the word love when we say that God loves everyone?

It is true, we as humans can love in part, that's why God's command is:
Mr 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

So, maybe the distinction is God's love is the kind of love: a general love for everyone and a redemptive love for the elected.
I think the problems arise when people confuse the two: when they confuse God's mercy and general love as a sign that they're ok and God's ok with them too.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought to throw into the discussion. Perhaps the issue is not the quantity of love the Father has for the world, the Son, the elects, etc. And perhaps not the qulity of love. Perhaps it is in the manner that He chooses to act on and express that love.

Gary Bisaga (aka fool4jesus) said...

The idea of God loving His elect differently than the unsaved does not seem strange to me. We are told to love our neighbors, but we are not told to love them in exactly the same way, and to the same degree, as our own families. It seems to me that the way and amount we are to love our neighbors (i.e. everybody else), our family members in general, our spouses, and God, varies. Even within the family, we are to love our parents in a distinguished way (Mark 7:11).

Again, we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we are not told to love them as Christ loved the church, and to give our lives up for them.

I suppose these differences could be a result of our being both finite and sinful, but I doubt it. I don't see any sinfulness in loving different people in different ways and extents, and thus no reason why the same should not be true of God.

Tony Byrne said...

Gary has well summed up the way I view the biblical data. Anyway, I will keep pondering these things. Thanks for the conversation.


Solameanie said...

As C.S. Lewis and others have pointed out, there are four words for love in Greek while only one word for it in English. Agape love is not Eros etc. One form of love wishes for someone's ultimate good while another form of love carries lots of warm fuzzies. I think we're often confused and muddled because we have this vague notion of what love is without parsing the specificities.

Psalm 5 also says that God "hates" all who do iniquity. We need to take Scriptures like that into account also when discussing this issue.

northWord said...

The spirit in us testifies of itself the proof of God's love that (for me) covers the gamut.

Jhn 15:26 - "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"