Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quick Thoughts on the General Love of God

Those who have had to debate Arminians or (some) Amyraldians may have heard them express their errant ideas of the universality of God's saving love. Nevertheless, God does have a care for the preservation of all things that exist. If he did not preserve them they would perish; their life-and-death matters are all in His hands. This isn't saving love - Christ only came to save human beings. Nevertheless, it is a lesser species of love that God himself uses analogously to confirm his love to the believers:

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Notice that not one of those two sparrows falls without the Father and that this should give us confidence because we are more valuable to the Father than many sparrows. Some folks seem to think that the only care God could have toward anything is a saving love - but Christ did not die for birds. He died for his sheep.

Nevertheless, God's works of Providence - his universal preservation - we may rightly call a kind of general love, taking care to distinguish it from the special and unique love he has for the elect. God's plan for sparrows is that they will live for a time before falling to the ground. Likewise, God's plan for the reprobate does not involve eternal life, but eternal death. Nevertheless, God preserves for a time the life of even the reprobate showing them such temporal favors as his longsuffering, health, and in some cases riches.

Should someone object that God does not truly love the reprobate because he does not save him from the guilt of his sins, the reply is to ask whether the person will acknowledge that God cares for the sparrows?

And if they will not consider the sparrows, let them consider the ravens:

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

But if they will not consider the sparrows or the ravens, consider the lilies:

Luke 12:27-28
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

These verses not only show God's general loving provision for all his Creation but also the fact that God's love for his chosen people is even greater and more special.

Praise be to the Lord!



Anonymous said...

Never considered the ravens in such light!! But flowers....yes!

Turretinfan said...

The ravens point becomes interesting when you remember that they are *carrion* birds. God's provision of food for the ravens involves other living beings dying.

But God provides even for the ravens.


Coram Deo said...

Here's one for your consideration, TF...what did *carrion* birds (ravens, vultures, etc.) eat before the fall?


Great White sharks?


As David Attenborough once opined:

"When Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind. And [I ask them], “Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy."

I'd be interested in the thoughts of of Francis Turretin[fan] on the subject of our modern day observations of so-called Defense/Attack Structures - i.e. "Nature, red in tooth and claw".

In Christ,