Meaning of "Kosmos"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. ReformedBaptist

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    In a previous thread, which some are calling for close because its too long, I didn't want this to escape the notice of many here. In commenting concerning John 3:16 I made the following post regarding the meaning of the word "world" translated from the Greek Kosmos.

    What I hear in your reply here is that "world" means world, meaning you, me, everyone. How could it possibly mean any other thing?

    Well, that's the nature of words. Let me give an illustration. The Hebrew term for day is "yom" and can mean a period of time, long or short, a 24-hour period, the first half of the day, a section of time out of a period of time, or 1000 years.

    If I say, "I am going to take one day at a time." What, by context, would be my meaning? You would think i am saying that I am going to worry about 1 24-hour period at a time. If I said, "Back in the day, I was a wild man." (which is true) You would naturally assume I am referring a period of time in my past.

    The point is that the word is "neutral" and its scope must be determined by context, not by the word alone.

    The word "kosmos' which is translated "world" falls into this category as well. It is not used uniformally throughout the New Testament. Being that it is used in a number of ways, we need to show its scope by context, if possible, or use other Scriptures that shed light on the scope, in our case, of Christ's redemption.

    A.W. Pink outlined 7 different uses of the word kosmos in Scripture. They are as follows:

    In learning what the scope of the use of the world may be for a particular passage Pink wisely suggests,

    Now lest I be called a Pinkite :tongue3: , I am not in agreement with Pink on everything. While I believe Pink's reasoning is sound in applying the term "world" in John 3:16 to the world of believers, I am more inclinded at this point to believe what is meant here is not Jews only, but also Gentiles. I have several reasons, biblically, for thinking this, but I think this answers the reply that since John 3:16 and other passages use the term "world" (kosmos) it MUST mean you, me, and everyone. This is simply not the case.

    RB
     
    #1 ReformedBaptist, Aug 30, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2007
  2. J. Jump

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    Wow you are sure to be called a heretic in short order for challenging the tradition of the SBC :).

    By the way I don't fully agree with your final analysis, but have been thinking quite a bit actually about this term and its usage.
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Let me know what you come up with. From what I have read/researched Pink is saying the same thing as others concerning the word.
     
  4. Watchman

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    Allow me to offer our Reformed brother this, that I found:

    In the year 1823 a dialog between one who believed in limited atonement and one who did not was published in the Utica Christian Repository. Aspasio represents the limited view and Paulinus the unlimited view. Aspasio has just enumerated the various usages for the word "world" in Scripture. Though the reply of Paulinus is lengthy, it will be quoted here since it answers so well the limited redemptionists in this regard.
    "I am willing to grant, for the sake of giving your objection all possible force, that these words are used in the various senses you mention. Not, however, that I believe the word 'world' is ever used for God's people as distinguished from others. What then, is the force of your objection? It is plainly this, that because these words are sometimes used in a limited sense, they may be so used in the texts I have quoted, and that you are at liberty to put this construction upon them if you please. But where will this principle lead us? Let us apply it to a few cases. The word God is sometimes used to signify a civil ruler; therefore, according to this principle of interpretation, it may be so understood in any given text. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,' may mean, In the beginning a civil leader created the heavens and the earth. The word everlasting is sometimes used to signify a limited duration; therefore, it may be so understood in any given text; and, 'These shall go away into everlasting punishment,' may mean, These shall go away into a punishment of limited duration. And when the saints are promised everlasting life, it may mean a life of limited duration. And when Christ is styled the 'Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,' it may mean, the mighty civil ruler, the Father of a limited duration. The word salvation is sometimes used to signify deliverance from a temporary calamity therefore, it may be so understood in any given text, and there may be no salvation but deliverance from temporal calamities. The word resurrection is sometimes used to signify regeneration; therefore it may be so understood in any given text, and there may be not resurrection foretold in the Scripture but regeneration. The word baptism is sometimes used to signify sufferings; therefore, it may be so understood in any given text; and the command to the apostles to go out and baptize all nations may mean that they [109] should go and inflict sufferings upon all nations. A principle of interpretation which leads into such absurdities cannot be admitted as a correct rule of interpreting the Word of God. Under the operation of such a rule, the Bible would become, as some pretend it is, a book by which anything can be supported, and nothing proved. Every part of it would become 'vague and ambiguous in its meaning.' ''
    Johnathan Edwards and others, The Atonement (Boston: Congregational Board of Publication, 1859), p. 581

    Reformed Theologians restrict the interpretation of words to best fit their doctrine and I feel that the attitude among our Reformed brethren is that we must consult with them to get the proper meaning of "world", "all", etc.
     
  5. Hope of Glory

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    Well, to help muddy the waters, right click and save this link to download the complete BDAG entry for kosmos. It's 7 pages, so I couldn't post it here.
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    That's an interesting quote. I think the author thought himself very smart. All I see that he has done is further prove our point, that words need to be defined by context in some cases, and other Scriptures added to secure meaning and understanding when necessary. So, I disagree with his conclusion.

    I think its an unjust statement to say reformed theologians restrict interpretation to fit their doctrine, and that we are to be the proper consultants for everyone. Are you trying to make us into popes? lol

    First, I am not a reformed theologian. I am an armchair reformed theologian. Neither am I a language scholar of Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic. I need to rely on others for my understanding in those languages. As a result, I consult lexcons, commentaries, dictionaries, et.

    If the above information I presented is wrong, or false concerning the word Kosmos, please provide evidence to the contrary and sources. Otherwise all this 18th century quote was is rhetoric. Which I would like to know who the author is and the source you got it from.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  7. TCGreek

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    1. By now we should all realize that kosmos or "world" does not always refer to every individual who has ever lived or will ever live.

    2. My own belief about John 3:16ff is to take kosmos as intensive, the sinful world, as the rest of the verses point out.
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Kinda hard to follow along in it, but it seems to be saying the same thing Pink did.
     
  9. Watchman

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    If the above information I presented is wrong, or false concerning the word Kosmos, please provide evidence to the contrary and sources. Otherwise all this 18th century quote was is rhetoric. Which I would like to know who the author is and the source you got it from.

    Thanks for your input.

    The source is clearly given. I was merely trying to point out that there are other views to the interpretation of words than that expressed by the Reformed brethren. Rather rhetoric or not, it expresses another point of view here. (Elohim is indeed a term that applies to God, as well as magistrates, rulers, etc.

    Thank you too for your input.
     
  10. Hope of Glory

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    Pretty much, plus some. It would probably be good to read some of the secular examples to see how it is used, as well, in context.
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    Duh, I see it now. It it online? I will try to make a search of it. Who is the author?

    I think I found it http://www.biblebelievers.net/Calvinism/kjcalvn7.htm
     
  12. MB

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    Once we have to argue over what the writter meant by the use of a word that clearly means what it means with out an adjective your arguement is no longer with the one who quotes it but, the author.
    1Ti 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
    1Ti 6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
    1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
    1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
    1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

    Athur Pink lost this arguement the minute he opened his mouth.
    MB
     
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    So, are you just gonna spit at it, or attempt some sort of reasoned response? lol
     
    #13 ReformedBaptist, Aug 30, 2007
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  14. webdog

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    Shouldn't evangelists be called a kosmo-nauts?
     
  15. ReformedBaptist

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    Finally some humor! :thumbsup:
     
  16. Charles Meadows

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    RB,

    I agree with your first statement about context determining the meaning of a word. But you lost me when you gave Pink's different categories of what the word could mean.

    As far as my opinion goes - the "world" here is not limited by any contextual factors. As such I see no reason for it to have anything other than a universal meaning.

    I'm not terribly sure about Pink's position on things - I believe he did have several significant changes in his doctrinal positions throughout his life - but I have no firm recollection of this.
     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    I used Pink because I had it readily available. And if Pink be blamed for changing a doctrinal position, I ought to be blamed for the same. I once rejected several doctrines that make up the "five points" but have changed my view in light of Scripture. I would consider that a good change.

    I have found Pink's assement of the word Kosmos to be consistent with others familiar with the language. It is the language of John 3:16, as well as one of the major "issues" in the apostolic church, which is also the mystery hidden from the foundation of the world, that I have concluded that Jesus is describing the kind of love the Father has through Christ for both Jew and Gentile. That is the scope and meaning of world in this passage.

    What I mean is, if I were to give a commentary paraphrase of the verse, it would go like this, "For God so loved not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles, in such a special and particular manner (agape) that He gave His only begotten Son for them, so that whosoever believes may have everlasting life and not perish."

    We heartily confess that Christ is the Saviour of the whole world, both Jew and Gentile, which such mystery was kept hid from the beginning of the world, but was revealed and made known by His Apostles. And which was no small controversy in the Apostolic age.

    The compass for those included in the redemption of Christ is not Jews only, but also Gentiles. And the promise of eternal life is not to those who will finally perish, but to those who believe unto everlasting life. We all agree that salvation is the work of God. And known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Acts 15:18

    For those whom He foreknow, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son....moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom 8:29-30
     
  18. skypair

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    Maybe these few words are not close dnought for your [attack on individual deleted-personal attacks can get you an all expense paid vacation from the Baptist Board, especially types of this nature]at one sitting so let me condense the verse some:

    God so loved the world that ... WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." There, does that bring out the meaning that ANY individual can have eternal life though the Son by BELIEVING??

    skypair
     
    #18 skypair, Aug 31, 2007
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  19. ReformedBaptist

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    Skypair, you have lost all credibilty and have become a railer against the brethren.

    I will not respond again to another post of yours.

    "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." 1 Cor 5:11
     
    #19 ReformedBaptist, Aug 31, 2007
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  20. Andy T.

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    The irony is that Skypair often talks about "unity" and what-not. His idea of unity is belittling everyone into submission to Skypair's theology.
     

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