The one's, the none's, the them's, the many's, and the all's

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by AresMan, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. AresMan

    AresMan
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    Except for the universalists we are all in agreement that only those who trust in Christ alone for salvation are saved and thus partake of the redemptive work of the Atonement. I personally could care less whether the Atonement is "limited/definite" or "universal" because in the grand scheme of things it is indeed "limited" in the sense that not everyone will be saved. That said, I would like to list some verses that either side uses to "prove" a "definite" or "universal" atonement--the one's, the many's and the all's.

    Here is a scenario where one affects many. Now, what does the many mean? It would seem from the plain reading of the text that the one and the many parallel each other in each half of the verse. Is the many here relative to the one, or relative to an implied "all"? In both parts? If one is to argue that the many here is used to prove "many rather than all" instead of "many in reference to one", then one would have to apply the same to both parts, right? To make sense of this verse, I would say that the many in both parts is relative to one and not contrasted to an implied "all". Because one man, Adam, sinned, many (all) were made sinners. Because one, Jesus, obeyed, many (not all, but still many) were made righteous. We know that in the first part many would imply "all" because of Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." The verse doesn't prove one way or the other. One affects many. Simple.

    I think everyone here who are not universalists would agree that the many here does not refer to "all." I don't think the intent of the verse is to say, "many, not all!" but I certainly believe in that truth. I think the verse is still simply saying "many as in way more than one."

    Again, I would say that the many is a simple statement about the sheer number of people who will be affected by Christ's atonement. I don't think the intention is specifically to say "many, not all!" (which it could or could not be, as not all are actually saved), but merely to say "many more than one or none." Christ's shed blood did and does indeed redeem many!

    Here we have two halves that each have a comparison of one and all. Because of one man, Adam, condemnation came to all; yet we know that not all are ultimately condemned. Because of one, Jesus, justification came to all; yet we know that not all are ultimately justified. This seems like a paradox. This verse might be a good case for "universal atonement" if it were read simply. Because both halves are parallel, "universal atonement" would imply an equal yet opposite "universal condemnation." All could be "universally condemned" in depravity through Adam, yet all could be "universally atoned" through justification in Christ; yet other verses place a condition upon this justification--faith.

    Of course I think most of us would agree that these verses imply a time vacuum based on the lack of a known present condition. There are indeed those that "seek after God." They are the redeemed of the Lord. These verses set up the understanding of the condition of all mankind for the application of the grace of God. The all could mean "all outside of grace," or "all... and then there's grace!"

    Here we have apparent "universal atonement" and "limited atonement" in the same statement. He died for all and He died for them [that live]. Of course, some would say that every time all is mentioned in a context that could be taken for "universal atonement" that the all means "all nations, kindreds, and tongues" rather than "all individuals." Ok. I can accept that in some contexts "all" does indeed imply that, but I think it would be stretching it to apply this reading into all of the verses that use all in these contexts. Anyway, suit yourself.

    These verses seem to strongly suggest "limited atonement." However, the next verse, which was shown earlier has the head-scratching parallel of all's that seem to place limits on frustrating the emphasis of "many as opposed to all" on the previous verses.

    So now I leave it up to you all. What do we do with this plethora of one's, none's, them's, many's and all's? Could the emphasis on one set of pronouns deteriorate the importance and meaning of the others? What is an appropriate theology that could interpret all these verses correctly without contradiction? Reading all these verses I would conclude with an atonement that is "universal" in nature yet "definite" or "limited" in application. However, I am open. It's not really an issue for me because neither the root cause nor the ultimate effect are altered by one or the other.
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    No, the Lord in His foreknowledge (knowing all things beforehand) saw and knew that many would receive Christ and perhaps the larger group would reject His perfect sacrifice for all sinners.

    That is why He can rightly and Biblically write down that His redemptive plan reached only the 'many.' That is not a lie for Him to say that through His Apostolate.

    There is no problem here.
     
  3. AresMan

    AresMan
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    If many always means "many as opposed to all" and not "many as opposed to one or none" then what do these verses mean?
     
  4. BobRyan

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    I believe the solution is better stated in the form of 1John 2:2 showing that the "Atoning SACRIFICE" is unlimited and universal. That sacrifice is SEEN in Lev 16 in the form of the sin offering slain.

    But that is only one aspect of the work of Christ listed in Lev 16. IN that chapter he is not only the SIN OFFERING - the LAMB SLAIN for "our sins and NOT for our sins only but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" -- He is ALSO the High Priest!!

    That work of Christ (seen in Heb 7-10 POST Cross) is ALSO an essential part of what God calls "ATONEMENT".

    If you truncate atonement at the cross - then it is JUST the "ATONING SACRIFICE" 1John 2:2 and it is universal. That means there is MORE to be done (like the sinner accepting salvation, repentance and the application of that sacrifice).

    All this is addressed in the work of Christ as our High Priest. As Hebrews 4 shows - this is the "transactional" and individual aspect of Christ's work for us.

    By including BOTH His works Sin offering AND His work as High Priest we end up with a concept of "ATONEMENT" that is truly COMPLETE in that once atonement is completed for a person they are fully participating in ALL Gospel benefits. No such person can possibly be in hell!

    This means that the Atoning Sacrifice is UNIVERSAL but the FULLNESS of atonement completed -- is particular to the individual because it INCLUDES BOTH the unlimitted universal sacrifice AND the individual transactional work of Christ in the life of the Believer. That would be the COMPLETE Gospel benefit of Atonement - not a truncated view that ignores the Work of Christ as the Lev 16 High Priest.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. timothy27

    timothy27
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    Ray your definition of forknowledge is atrocious, by that you would have to imply that God had to look into the future to see something he did not know. The greek term used in Romans for foreknow, implies intimate knowledge, not some passive overseeing action.
     
  6. webdog

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    Knowing the future beforehand (what the greek for "foreknew" means) does not mean that God looks into the future to find out something He doesn't know. It's like watching a movie you have already seen. You "foreknow" the end of it.
     
  7. timothy27

    timothy27
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    The tense of the word implies knowing intimately, not sitting back and watching some decision being made. But see the problwm with your analogy is the God foreknew you before the movie was made. So your analogy should go something like this, God forknew you because he created the movie to end a certain way. He knows the parts and purpose of the people in the movie.
     

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