Omnibenevolent God?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Jarthur001, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    Omnibenevolent...

    What does this mean? I started this thread because of another post in another thread which included these words...

    [/QUOTE]

    I have seen this word thrown around alot, (not here, but in books) and I want to know what others see as its meaning.

    God is a Omnibenevolent God....what does that mean to you?

    I'm not talking the simple statement..."unlimited or infinite giving of love". This often comes up in the "what about evil" or the "problem with evil" debates as it did this time.

    Now let me say from the outset, that I do not believe God is the author of sin. However it is because of a fear that some have in this statement of "God being the author of sin" that they react and turn into an even greater wrong of poor understanding of the true and pure benevolent God.

    Again...God is a Omnibenevolent God....what does that mean to you?
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

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    You could take the via negativa route and say that divine omnibenevolence means that God does not hate people in an ethical meaning of the term. This means that when Scripture says God hates Esau or others that the meaning of "hate" has the sense of non-election and/or just judgment.

    Here's a quote from an ethicist on this topic-I'll leave the author a mystery for a while to see if anyone could guess where he stands on soteriology.

    "God's procedures we may not be able wholly to understand, but then let us not pretend to understand them by referring them to a dispositional hate in God, the hate of persons which the love commandment of our Lord proscribed. If we do so refer it we are teetering on the brink of blasphemy. We are then planting at the center of the universe an arbitrary and essentially destructive negativity towards personal creatures which grossly contradicts the central affirmations of the Gospel.
    As for me, I think that to ascribe hate of persons to God is to pervert the very thought of God. I believe that we are emphatically not permitted by the total witness of Scriptures to say that God hates men in the ethico-spiritual meaning of the term. And I contend that every responsible theology is called upon to purge itself of the idea."

    What do you think?
     
  3. Andy T.

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    Any discussion of this topic, I assume, at some point will have to address such verses as:

    "The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity." - Psa. 5:5

    "The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates." - Psa. 11:5

    "All their wickedness is in Gilgal, For there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious." - Hos. 9:15
     
  4. Shortandy

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    In my quest to come to some sort of conclusion about Reformed theology, as I read guys like Dave Hunt this word was thrown around to describe God...in the area of His love. Everytime I have read it or heard it used it was a reference to God loving everyone with the same intensity. Like the originator of this thread has already asserted this term gets thrown around in debates about evil as well but it is used in the same general way.

    Based on some reading, reflection and prayer I, peronally, have come to the conclusion that Omnibenevolent means that God is the full measure of love. That is all love has to be measured by God, just like Holiness, Righteousness, and so on. Love is expereinced and expressed in human life but our love is pail compared to that of God's love.

    However, I don't think Omnibenevolent means God loves all with the same intensity as He does others. I would call your attention to the verses that have been listed so far.
     
  5. Harold Garvey

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  6. Jarthur001

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    Well Brandon, you got me on the quote. I have no idea who that is, but I do know I disagree with it. I'll wait till you tell us.

    James
     
  7. Jarthur001

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    Hello ShortA

    Hunt kills the word. His book "What love is this?" is a joke.

    If you have never seen Phil Johnson's review of Hunt's book, than you must. Mr Hunt is a sad person. You will see why I say this if you watch these videos. 8 parts...

    Link one
    Link two
    Link three
    Link four
    Link five
    Link six
    Link seven
    Link eight

    That is how many use it, even though this is not what it means.
     
  8. Brandon C. Jones

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    The quote's from Henry Stob, former ethicist here at Calvin Seminary. He is from the Dutch Reformed tradition, and I find nothing objectionable with what he says here. What do you not like about it?

    BTW the notion that God hates Esau and others for Stob means that they are non-elect and/or justly judged for their acts (of course some would say those aren't all that inseparable); I alluded to this in my earlier post.
     
  9. Benjamin

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    :wavey: Well, I found myself pretty agreeable with it. :)
     
  10. Marcia

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    I never heard the term "omnibenevolence" as one of God's attributes. From what I think the word means, I would say it means God's goodness pervades everything He is and does, and that nothing He does is done without His goodness being in it.
     
  11. Jarthur001

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    Hello Brandon,

    Being that Stob is Dutch Reformed gives more meaning to his statement. Abraham Kuyper and his doctrine of common grace which is highly influenced by Kuyper, needs to be placed in its context. It is my guess being I have no idea who Stob is, that he like many have taken one of there heros to far. If common grace is not understood and used in the right way, one can be mislead. Particular grace cannot be suppressed or rejected as some have done in the DR. Again..I'm not sure about Stob.

    Now I do believe in common grace. But I also want to be clear what common grace is not.

    1st.... it is not a prevenient grace in the Roman Catholic or Arminian sense. It is not a grace which has man in cooperation with his own divine salvation. Common grace, is distinguished from saving or particular grace. Under common Grace, God loves the whole world. That is a group/world love. Its like saying that I love sports. But my love for sports does not call for me to love water polo. In fact i can love sports as a group and hate water polo.

    Now I do not know the context in which Stob stated this, but I was left with the feeling that Stob has not distinguished between the two.

    Saving or particular grace is given only to the elect. Gods love therefore is also particular in nature. To be particular means it is distinctive among others.

    Stob never addressed this. This is seen best in the atonement. The atonement was a act of love by God the Father who sent the Son and also the Son who gave His life for a ransom. It was for the reason that he died. Now...did it work? I'm sure you will agree that it did.

    In other words we can say God love never fails. Or....we could say as Paul says..."what can separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing.

    Reprobates are not given any spiritual benefits through the merits of Christ's atonement because they are not under Gods love.

    2nd... common grace does not mean that God never displays his wrath or just hatred to the wicked. This view is clearly opposed to the view of God we have in Scripture, which often portrays the wrath of God toward the obstinate and wicked.

    Also we see clearly in Romans 9 that God hated Esau, and that His hatred preceded any good or evil committed by him. Common grace is not an attempt to negate the passages of Scripture that teach the wrath and hatred of God; rather, it is an attempt to do justice to the testimony of Scripture, which portrays both a just wrath towards unregenerate sinners, as well as a general kindness toward them.

    Stob leaves no room for Gods wrath or hate that is clearly seen in Scripture. Yes...hate and wrath toward men.



    James
     
  12. MB

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    I would agree that the term hate used by God in the Bible isn't meant in the same way we use the term. If you go back to Cain and Able and realize that Cain was in direct violation of just how to make a sacrifice. Cain knew the right way but his own pride got in the way and said to himself I'll just do this my way and God will still be pleased. God even provided a means of doing it right for him but he still didn't do it. Cain was faithless because faith demands obedeince. The same way with Esau He had no real desire for the spiritual side of his inheritance He was faithless just like Cain, and is why he sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup. When Isaac blessed Jacob, Esau was really hurt only because the inheritance meant he would get a double portion of everything Isaac left. In other words he was just up set that it cost his wallet. Esau's faith if he had any was in the money. I think the word Hate is really nothing more than disaproval.
    MB
     
  13. Jarthur001

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    While this is true, Gods hate was not based on anything that Esau did. Even if it was bad. If you view the passage in Romans nine, you will see that the choosing was done before they had done good or bad....for a reason. That reason is that that the boys could not claim it was something they had done. right?

    Are we not claiming when we say God hated Esau because he knew he was bad or that he would be bad, that God loved us, because we are good or that we would be good?
     
  14. Brandon C. Jones

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    Hi James,

    It would have been preferable for me to cite the snippet in its greater context.

    Stob is not concerned here with common or particular grace. Instead his essay deals with the question, "Does God Hate Some Men?" The quote I provided does give a good summary of his answer though. Stob would say that Esau, at least as Malachi discusses him (and most likely as Paul does too), is representative of the nation of Edom, whose evil fortunes go hand in hand with their misconduct. Stob goes on to say, "Back of these historical actualities of national prosperity and adversity lies the divine determination to convey his grace and revelation to the world through the agency of one people only, a people elected, not because it was any better suited to this purpose than any other, or more deserving of this honor, but simply because God freely chose it to be the eventual vehicle of his disclosures to all the world." He does not go further here to the individual level, so I won't fill in the blanks there for him.

    Stob defines "hate" as "a settled disposition rooted in the center of one's being. It is the fixed, passionate, and gleeful determination to negate, to extirpate, to destroy. Its symbol is the No! Hate is 'murderous.' Its nature is to kill. The one who hates not only happens to kill; he avidly seeks to kill; and he delights in killing. He kills not reluctantly, but gladly. Hate wants ardently that its object be removed. It craves that its object be reduced from being to non-being, and be forever gone or rendered totally ineffectual."

    Stob goes on to say that it is true that God hates sin and evil because he wants to destroy them. Moreover, it is because God hates them passionately that his purposes of love can be achieved and men can be made whole. Stob keeps divine wrath and judgment and he does not use "hate" in his essay to refer to either of them because he finds them compatible with love. But Stob will not say that God hates men in the sense above. He claims (as mentioned before) that when the Bible says God hates Esau or others it is not distinguishable from non-election and/or just judgment for sins, i.e. hate the sin not the sinner. He is unwilling to say exactly why God's grand design for the world involves his free election or non-election of peoples, but he does not want to appeal to God hating men to figure it out. Stob thinks one must go beyond the words of the "hate" passages to get to their meaning or else Christ's command to love others rings hollow.

    I think Stob allows for the biblical witness of God hating sin and even "hating" men, and I think his distinctions are helpful in the discussion. Stob is not dealing with common grace, particular grace, or what it means to say that God is omnibenevolent. I thought perhaps his words could be applied here to say that (using a via negativa) God is all-loving means that he does not hate people. Perhaps that is not helpful, and I don't know what Stob would say about it either.

    Thanks for your thoughts James, and I hope this fleshes out Stob's argument a bit for you.
     
    #14 Brandon C. Jones, Apr 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2009
  15. MB

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    I believe God disapproved of Esau because of what his life would produce. he was faithless from the start and would stay that way. He took two foreign women to wife he sold his birth right. Jacob at the time wasn't any better. he lied to his father to steal the birth right. Jacob at the time was the same vessle of wrath as his brother. I don't believe the choosing of a nation was because of anything they did but because of what the Father already knew about them both. I'm sure we can't say God hated Esau for no reason. Neither can we say Jacob earned the privilage of the inheritance that he gained by trickery. It had to be years that went by between the time Esau sold his inheritance and Jacob was blessed by his father so Esau had plenty of time to repent but he didn't. It's been a while since I read that portion of scripture but I believe Jacob received his faith when he wrestled with God and God blessed him. It seems to me that this is when Jacob began to have faith.
    I can't say Jacob was chosen for Salvation because this election was a choosing of a nation though I do believe Jacob after wresling was from there on a man of faith. I say that because He did what God instructed him to do.
    What else could it be?. God doesn't act randomly. He knows what He wants and His wants has been His plan all along. Can we assume that this means our election is particular. I don't believe so. I believe God has
    certain desires and those desires will come about. His desires are that we genuinely love Him and inorder for that to happen, He allows man the choice to rebel to stay in the darkness. Some of us rebel even after we are saved. The proof of that is there isn't one man with out sin. The difference is when we do rebel after Salvation He corrects His children.

    I believe God greaves over the Lost. He endures the vessles of wrath and He sends His messengers to them to convince them of His gospel. God is Love and only hate would do other wise.
    Every man has light from birth it is manifested within each of us so that we are with out excuse. Our rebelling or rejection of that light is up to us.
    Joh 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
    Joh 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.



    MB
     
  16. Jarthur001

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    I understand what you believe. I'm asking do you not see a problem with your system, because it is based on what Esau done, when the passage is clear that the reason why one was chosen over the other before they done any good or bad...was to show that it was not based on being good or bad?

    Yes..I do fell there was a reason. I must agree with you here.

    Right. By this point he had already been chosen.

    You are placing all of this into the text on your own. The passage stands on its own. The passage that Paul is quoting from the OT stands on its own as well, and supports Romans 9. Its not about being good or bad.

    This passage alone does not support election to salvation. But I was not talking about that any way. Its about Gods love. Does he love you because you are good? I know good people that are on there way to hell, if they do not believe Christ.


    GRACE

    I'm not going to hold you to this quote, because I'm sure you didn't mean to post it.


    James
     
  17. MB

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    It wasn't based on what they did per sey, but rather what they would do in the future


    Yes..I do fell there was a reason. I must agree with you here.


    Right. By this point he had already been chosen.


    You are placing all of this into the text on your own. The passage stands on its own. The passage that Paul is quoting from the OT stands on its own as well, and supports Romans 9. Its not about being good or bad.


    This passage alone does not support election to salvation. But I was not talking about that any way. Its about Gods love. Does he love you because you are good? I know good people that are on there way to hell, if they do not believe Christ.
    [/quote]
    Not necessarily He loves the sinner because He wants him to be good and believe in Him. We are all undeserving there is none good but God. Yet good or Bad God chose Jacob over Esau because Jacob better fit God's purpose for choosing in the first place. He chose the Jews for the same reason of course. No people on Earth has had so many encounters with God as the Jew and he still worshiped Idols.

    As I said above;
    What he knew was in advance of them even being born. He knew what and who would come out of them with a little direction of course. God knew that directing Esau was unlikely because Esau didn't have any faith.

    Grace could not have been why because it wasn't a chosing for Salvation. Blessing maybe but not Grace. Some men are blessed more than others.
    Grace is bestowed on all men. There is no particular grace. Besides that men in the OT had no idea of Salvation as we know it today. They believed in Sheol and Abrahams bossom.
    That would be fine because I did mean to post it and I can back it up if you like. Here is another verse that backs up the other ones.
    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    MB
     
  18. Jarthur001

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    Yes, I would agree that in via negativa the point is love not hate. This is true in both Romans and Malachi. I would say even more so in Malachi. It is asked in Malachi of God..."How have you loved us?". And the next three verses is given the proof of Gods love. The proof is that they were brothers and God hates Esau by making his moutains wastelands, giving his inheritance to jackals, crushings their towns and crushing them again if they rebuild. And it says they will be a PEOPLE always under Gods wrath. And all of this is done to prove God loves Jacob.

    So, would not the greater gap between Gods love for Jacob and the hate of his brother only make Gods love greater? If we were to say that hate here only means "loved less" as some will try to show, does not this view make Gods love smaller?

    I feel that omnibenevolent is Gods goodness as another has said before.
     
  19. Jarthur001

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    Good works now...or good works later. Its still having God picking you because you are better. I for one cannot say this of myself. There are sinners better than I that should have been picked before me if it was based only on goodness. Yet God seems to go out of his way...so to speak...in order to show people are not saved because they are good people.

    His love for the sinner benefits no one if that love has no power to save the sinner. You see, I'm sure the Bible teaches God has a love that no man has the power to overcome. Its pure non-failing love. Because those who Christ died for, he indeed saves. All of them. Because that is the reason why he died.

    Take Esau...

    When did Christ love him? You said yourself that he hated Esau because of something he would do. If this be the case...did Christ die for Esau? By the time Christ came, Esau was dead and in the grave.

    You keep going back to God choosing good people over bad people. I just disagree with that and I could show you a ton of verses why.


    MB...God's grace is found in each breath you take. Grace is found in the rain that falls.

    :) I'll just leave this be. :)


    So it seems to be clear that the meaning of verse 9 is...everyone that is enlighten is enlighten through the true light....that is Jesus Christ. This is done with the new birth.


    James
     
    #19 Jarthur001, Apr 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2009
  20. MB

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    Excuse me but the act of choosing a people for Him Self isn't the same as choosing someone for Salvation. Jacob was not saved in this choosing that is ridiculous. If it had anything to do with Salvation it had to do with the entire nation of Israel. The fact that the Jews were Idolaters time and time again should tell you they weren't chosen because of the good they would do. They were the least of all people.
    Then obviously you must believe the entire world is saved then.
    I explained that the word hate isn't actual hate but disapproval and yes God loved Esau because Esau did well for himself while Jacob was gone. Not only that he let his hatred of Jacob go. Remember he was going to kill Jacob but he didn't. God can and does disapprove of a lot of things we all do but He still does not hate us He Loves us and it greaves Him when men die because they will not submit to HIM.
    I believe you have grace and blessings mixed up. God causes the rain to fall to bless the Earth men just happen to be blessed because they are His creation same as the Earth. This is not grace nor will this blessing save.
    Then why does it explicitly state who comes in to the world.
    MB
     

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