20 February, 2017

Argument: “... more loving than God Himself ..."


This argument has been stated in various ways to try and prove that God, after all, must love everybody, otherwise He is outdone by His own creatures. I have named this the “More-Loving-Than-God” argument for common grace.

Here are some of the ways it is often presented:


(1) God commands us to love one another, to love our neighbour, to love even our enemies. Why? Because God wants us to be like Him and to be Christ-like. He wants us to love everyone the same without partiality and that love isn’t a selfish love or something that seeks for its own. Therefore, to have a mindset that says God loves only a few while also believing that He commands us to love everyone is to make us more loving than God.

(2) Jesus told us love our neighbour as how He loves them. If He just loves a few, how come He asks us to love everyone? Does He not want as to be like Him? If Jesus loves only a few and yet we aspire to love and have concern for everyone, are we not making ourselves more loving than Him?

(3) Paul in Romans 9:1-3 and 10:1 reveals that He has an ardent, earnest desire and longing for all of His kinsmen (head for head) to be saved. And yet you deny that God Himself desires all to be saved? Does that not make you more loving than God Himself?

(4) You aspire to treat everyone with kindness (i.e. love them) and share the gospel to everyone (i.e. you want them to be saved) and yet you believe that God only loves a few. Are you making yourself more loving than God?

(5) Do you believe God only really cares for a few individuals? If He is, then so should you … or else you will not be like Him.

(6) What if one of your own children is a reprobate? If God desires and intends for him to end up in perdition, while you being a Christian, who are known for your love for your neighbour, want him to be in heaven, are you making yourself more loving than God?



(I)

Dr. Julian Kennedy

The big error here is equating our temporal tainted love with Gods perfect, pure and eternal love. He commands us to love to reflect His love for sinners like us. He Himself loves His elect people and hates His reprobate enemies [Romans 9]. His prerogative!


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(II)

Daniel Ritchie

The error of this argument is that it assumes that there is a univocal likeness between divine and human love. Our love can never be “more” than God’s love because our love is not infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. Moreover, God is love. Owing to the simplicity of God, His attribute of love is ontologically identical with Himself. That is not true of human love. Thus, the idea that we could ever be more loving than God simply by loving more people than God loves is nonsensical.


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(III)

Prof. David J. Engelsma

The argument of the persons of the “More-Loving-Than-God” thinking proves too much. It proves that God on His part actually attempts to save all humans, but fails. For we not only love our enemies, but exert ourselves on their behalf, that is, try to save them. If what is true of us must also be true of God, He, therefore, also tries to save all humans, but fails. This trying includes giving Jesus Christ to the death of the cross for all humans, for there can be no salvation apart from the cross. Christ then died for all, but His death is unavailing. 

All of this speculative thinking results in an impotent God, one frustrated by the will of sinners, and in a death of Christ that not only is a failure but that also was not effectual atonement for anyone. 
    
Besides, this reasoning conflicts with the express testimony of the Bible in Romans 8 and 9 that God loves only the elect with His saving love (which is the love the “More-Loving-Than-God” folk have in mind) and that Christ died effectually only for the elect.
    
The flaw in the reasoning of the “M-L-T-G” people is, first, that it is mere speculation, not based on the Bible. The Bible does not teach that we are to love our enemies or all humans because God loves all His enemies. The Bible clearly teaches that God hates some humans. God hated Esau (Romans 9), even though Jacob was called to love his brother. Theological conclusions must not be based merely on abstract reasoning, but on definite biblical grounds. The Bible teaches that we are to love our enemiesour enemies personally, not as God’s enemies (cf. Psalm 139:21-22: “Do not I hate them who hate thee? … I hate them with perfect hatred …”)because God loves men and women who are His enemies by nature, that is, the elect in the race who are by nature enemies on their part of God. Second, the reasoning is wrong in that it makes the comparison of our love with God’s a matter of numbers (if we are to love all, God must also love all). Fact is, the comparison is in the reality of God’s (particular) love of His enemies. As God loves His enemies, regardless that they are only some of the human race, so also are we to love our enemies, regardless that they are more in number than those whom God loves. 
    
This does not make us more loving than God, for the greatness of love is not found in mere number of objects of love. The greatness of love is found in the grace of love (how the objects of divine love are unworthy of love!) and in what love does for the beloved (the love of God gave the only begotten Son for the objects of love). 
    
Truth is that as a Christian, I must love some whom God hates, and this manifests the love of God, who loves men and women who hate Him, though not all humans who hate Him. These objects of His love are not a “few,” but an innumerable multitude.


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(IV)

More to come! (DV)




2 comments:

  1. When Moses asked Jehovah to show him his glory he revealed himself as the Sovereign Lord in Exodus 33 viz."19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy." A verse quoted by Paul in Romans 9 in the context of his electing love of Jacob and reprobating hatred of Esau. In other words the good pleasure of his sovereign will and hence his loving mercy is of God's essence and it is discriminatory!

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  2. Furthermore when Jehovah did show Moses his backparts he was "hidden" in the cleft of a rock, signifying Christ, who being the image of his father stands for and teaches exactly the same discriminating love and mercy, indeed his mediation is governed by sovereign election* see John 6:39,"And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me* I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." Clearly only those who are loved by the Triune God will be in glory with him.

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