Does God love all?

On this blog we often assert that God includes all people in his love and life. By that we mean that God, in Christ, is of one mind, heart and purpose toward all people. Some object to this assertion, saying that it insufficiently distinguishes between believers and non-believers. I understand the concern, but respond by noting that such objections tend to confuse statements about God with those about his creatures.

Theologian Gary Deddo pointed out to me recently that such objections are, in effect, asserting that if God regards all people the same way, then all people must be regarding God in the same way. But this reasoning amounts to mythological projection--concluding something about God from the experience of individual people or classes of people. In contrast, Biblically sound theological statements are grounded in God--in who he is, what he thinks and what he does. Instead of starting with human response/feelings, sound theology starts with God's own self-revelation, for only God reveals God.

In order to think accurately about God, we must NOT start with our own (or even the Bible’s) descriptions of human response to God and then try to infer from that who God is. Descriptions of human creatures do not prescribe a definitive revelation of who God is. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ alone is the definitive revelation of the nature, character, mind and will of God.

As Dr. Deddo pointed out to me, there is no causal-deterministic link between God and human beings, either on God’s “side” or on the human “side.” Thus, we cannot use a reversible logic that goes like this: If A causes B then B necessarily implies A. A causal-deterministic logic is faulty because it fails to account for the radical asymmetry of God’s action and human action.

A causal-deterministic logic also is false with respect to creaturely (human) realities. For example, if A passes B the salt after requested, this does not mean that B's request caused A to do so. It could be the case that A might have given the salt to B regardless of whether asked or not. Note that in this equation, A and B could stand for either God or humans in regard to either salvation or damnation.

The point I wish to make here is that theological statements are statements that declare the truth of who God is and the reality of what he has done for us and the nature of God’s relationship to us. Any statements that suggest that humans are relatively independent of Christ, so that their actions, choices, attitudes and beliefs constitute a reality equal to that which God has established in Christ, are not theological statements at all, but mythological anthropological statements giving humans the same or greater reality than the reality of God in Christ. And that is a tragic mistake.

In the language of theology, we assert that the saving work of God through Christ and in the Spirit, is a dynamic onto-relational reality that is established by God. It is personal, relational, dynamic and reality-establishing. Salvation is a reality that calls for a particular response--it calls for positive participation in and through faith in the grace of God accomplished through Christ in the Spirit. However, participate or not, God is of one mind toward all people--he truly loves all--not because of what we have or have not done, but because of who he is and what he has done in Christ by the Spirit. Does God love all? Absolutely, yes!