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Thread: John Calvin on John 3:16

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Flynn: Firstly I dont need to be committed to that idea. Its not something essential to common grace. But the answer is easy. Just as Gill says, God loves even apostate spirits as they are creatures of God. He hates nothing that he has made, says Gill. Fallen men are still image beares of God. The image of God is never annihilated only defaced. James speaks of slandering men who are created in the likeness of God. Bavick rightly says that the image of God is inseparable from the person, for it is the person in all his aspects. God will always love the image of God in man, as he can never cease to love the creature he has made. Just like Gill and apostate spirits, which must include the apostate spirits in tartarus, God can love his image as he finds it in men. Indeed, God must love the good, and hate the evil. Thats the true doctrine of immutability. The creature, even in hell, does not cease to be a creature of God, else he is non-existent.

    Here is an extract on being in the image of God by William Huntington (who I feel sure several of you probably disagree with, but is worth reading anyway ):

    It was true in the days of old, and it is a present truth, that "Love is of God," 1 John, iv. 7; and he that loveth is a partaker of the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever, I Pet. i. 23. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him," 1 John, iii. 9. This, my beloved friend, is that charity that never faileth, 1 Cor. xiii. 8; it passeth into heaven with every child of God, and is expressly called the love of God, in contradistinction from all other love, and "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," Rom. v. 5. This is that holy seed which the law of God respects and commands, as our Lord declares; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," Matt. xxii. 37; "and thy neighhour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law.

    This law was in brief made with Adam, and the love that this law required was put into Adam, and under this law God placed him.
    And we are informed by Paul that this law is spiritual, reaching to the soul and to every faculty of it, as our Saviour sheweth; therefore Adam must have something spiritual in him, or he never could stand upon a level with this spiritual law. "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin," says Paul. Here is the disparity that now subsists between the law and the natural man. But this was not the case with Adam in his state of innocence, for he had the image of God in him; and John tells us that, "God is love," and God's image in Adam was love, and nothing else. "God," says John," is light," and this is the same as love; for, "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light."

    "God made man upright," says Solomon; and he adds," The upright love thee," Canticles, i. 4. God's image is said to be knowledge, Coloss. iii. 10; "And every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God," 1 John, iv. 7. God's image is said to be righteousness; and "Love is the fulfilling of the law," which to fulfil is our righteousness, Deut. vi. 25. God's image is said to be true holiness, Ephes. iv. 24; and the saints are to be "holy and without blame before him in love," Ephes. i. 4.

    Now the man was created in the image of God, yet God's image was something distinct from man, for Adam remained a man after the loss of God's image. When God breathed the of life into Adam, the Holy Spirit entered into him, created his soul, quickened his body, and gave him life: "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life," Job, xxxiii. 4. The most holy Spirit of God entering into Adam, and forming his soul within him, adorned every power of that soul with his divine love: this the law of Adam still calls for of every one that is under it. The Spirit not only adorned every faculty of Adam's soul with love, but he put it on him as his righteousness, his robe and diadem; and, when this was lost, he is said to be naked; not in his body, for so he was before, but in his soul: and this is the case with all Adam's children to this day, for Christ declares they are blind and naked, Rev. iii. 17

    When Adam, undeceived, 1 Tim. ii. 14, broke through the bounds of the law, contrary to his own judgment, his better knowledge and conscience, the Holy Ghost and his divine love left him; God gathered unto himself his spirit, and Adam died, Job, xxxiv. 14. And, having sinned, enmity and hatred to God took place in him, and he was left in full possession of ii.

    The word of God makes this divine love to be three things to men.

    1. It is called the bond of all perfectness, Coloss. iii. 14. It was the bond of union between God and Adam, and all their communion was founded on it: but, when enmity was conceived in Adam's heart, this union was dissolved, God was displeased with man, and man's mind was enmity against God. and God himself asks, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos, iii. 3. And Adam immediately made this disagreement manifest; for, as soon as he heard the voice of God in the garden, he fled from him, and hid himself: he loved darkness, and hated the light of God's countenance, desiring no more union nor communion with him, and therefore fled to shun it and escape it.

    2. I have before observed that God's love in Adam was the image of God in Adam's soul, and his robe of righteousness: hence it is that Adam felt himself naked when lie lost it, and immediately began to substitute something instead of it, which was a dress made of leaves, setting a sad example to all his children, which to this day tread in the same steps, by clothing themselves with a covering, but, not of God's Spirit, Isaiah, xxx. 1.

    3. Love, according to Scripture, is the way of God, and a way that excels all others: hence Paul calls charity the more excellent way, I Cor. xii. 31; and declares that all gifts, knowledge, language, and miraculous faith, are nothing without it but noise and shew. In complete happiness, and in perfect freedom, were our first parents turned adrift on this most excellent way at the beginning. And I have often observed that way, in the singular, not ways in the plural, is to be met with in the complaints of God upon this head.: "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth," Gen. vi. 11, 12.

    I come now to shew what this corruption is. Adam's transgression of God's law brought the sentence of the law, which is death, into his conscience; at the entrance of which Satan took occasion to fill Adam's mind with his own infernal enmity against God, which was not a difficult work for satanic wisdom to perform, seeing the Holy Spirit and his divine love was gone, and Adam's mind was carnalized by sin, a proper soil for Satan to sow his desperate enmity in.

    The image of God in Adam is expressly called the glory of God; "Man is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man," 1 Cor. xi. 7. This glory of God being lost by sin, we are all said to fail, or come short of it; "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 23.

    Instead of God's glory being on us, we are become most inglorious by sin; and, instead of being in God's image which was spiritual, and which the law of God, being spiritual, requires, the Apostle says we are carnal, sold under sin, Rom. vii. 14; and this disparity is manifest enough between a spiritual law and a carnal man, sold under sin. God's love by the Spirit in Adam set him on a level with this spiritual law of God; but when this image or love of God was lost, then the disparity between the law and man took place; nor could all the purest natural affections in the world, if they met and centered in one soul, amount to a single act of obedience to the first and great command of the moral law; for the law being spiritual, natural affections cannot attain unto it. The Holy Ghost in Adam, adorning and enrobing his soul with divine love, set him on a level with God's law: and, if the authority of an Apostle may be depended upon, nothing less can fulfil the law than "The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us," Rom. v. 5: for so he says; "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 4. By this fulfilling principle, Paul does not mean the righteousness of Christ imputed, for that is without us, and not in us, and is said to be put on, and not into us: by this fulfilling principle he means the love of God in the heart. "Love is," as he says," the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10; and this is not done by us, but God does it in us. This love is the image of God in his saints; and every discovery of God's love to us is inflaming the soul with fresh love to God, which Paul calls changing us "into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. 18.

    Nor does the apostle Paul, when contrasting Christ with Adam, as the two covenant heads, and heads of two different families, contradict what I have said of Adam. It is highly necessary to distinguish the Creator from the creature, and between Adam and the law from heaven, between Adam dead and the quickening Spirit. Paul, in that whole chapter, the xvth of the first book of the Corinthians, never once mentions the image of God in Adam, nor Adam as standing in God's image. He begins with Adam as fallen; "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Then Paul goes on to the creation of Adam; "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam a quickening Spirit." Here is no mention of God's image in Adam, but of his being made a living soul; and this soul Adam had after the fall, for the soul is the life of the body, the body without the spirit being dead. And the soul of Paul Was alive without the law, until the commandment Came; for, although the sentence was passed upon Adam, and entered into his conscience by. sin, yet that sentence was not then, nor is it yet, fully executed; for God says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," which shews that the execution of death's sentence is yet to come.

    Moreover, Paul's contrasting Adam as made a living soul, with the last Adam a quickening Spirit, shows that Paul's contrast was between Adam, as dead, and the quickening Spirit, as giving life; for all the time that the Spirit of God, the love of God, and the life of God, abode in Adam, there was no room for the quickening Spirit to give newness of life, because the old life was not lost; but, when death entered, and man became condemned, and alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in him, Eph. vi. 18, then, but not till then, was life and immortality by Christ needed. Furthermore, Paul calling Adam a natural head, can mean no more than that he is the one common father of all flesh; such fathers are no more than the fathers of our flesh, Heb. xii. 9; but one soul is not generated of another, for God is the father of spirits, Heb. xii. 9. "God hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth," Acts, xvii. 26. Here is one blood made, and from that in Adam all flesh sprung; but every soul under heaven is a particular branch of God's creative work; hence they are called the souls which God has made, Isaiah, lvii. 16. Here is one blood made and made at once; and from that all flesh springs, being born of blood, and of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man, John, i. 13. But our souls are not made of one, nor at once, but in succession, and are God's workmanship; and every one requires a creative power displayed; and God is the maker of them, and the father of them, and not man; for Paul calls God the Father Of Spirits, and not men; and Isaiah calls God the Maker of Souls, which shews that men are not the propagators of them. In all these things Paul never once mentions the image of God in Adam, but the image obtained after his fall, and that only, which he brings in to the comforts of the saints; "And, as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." In all this it plainly appears that God's image is something distinct from man; and God always claims it as his own, and it always bears his name, let it be what it may, or in whom it will. It is called God's image, Gen. i. 27; God's likeness, Gen. i. 26. It is called the similitude of God, James, iii. 9. It is called the glory of God, I Cor. xi. 7; Rom. iii. 23. And love, which is this image, is said to be of God, 1 John, iv. 7. It is the seed of God in man, 1 John, iii. 9. This love is indeed called nature by the apostle Peter; but then infinite Divinity claims it, and hence it is called the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1.4.

    Furthermore, it is called charity that never fails, having the incorruptible, living, and eternal God for its parent, and is therefore called the "incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever," 1 Pet. i. 23. Paul says that Adam was the figure of lure that was to come, Rom. v. 14: but, if the image of God in Adam was not divine or spiritual, he was no more a figure of the quickening Spirit, the Lord from heaven, than I am.

    I shall now re-assume my subject. Adam was made in God's image, which was his inward glory and his righteous robe: this he which, lost, and became naked. This was God's glory in Adam, of by sin, he came short. It was, in Adam, the bond of all perfectness, which bond of union was dissolved by sin, and sin separated between him and his God. Love is, and ever was, the most excellent way; but, man becoming corrupt, all flesh corrupted his way. The devil now carnalized man's mind: and filled it with his infernal enmity against God: and, this enmity being the devil's own seed in man, man is called from hence the seed of the serpent, which is at enmity with the church and her seed. They are called serpents, a generation of vipers, and children of the devil, from this principle of enmity which the devil infused into man. This enmity is the image of Satan, which God despises, Psal. lxxiii. 50. In this image Adam begat a son, Gen. v. 3; yea: all his sons; for all the elect, as well as others, have borne the image of the earthly Adam, 1 Cor xv. 49

    Hence I conclude that the image of God in man, when created, was love; and the image of Satan in men, when fallen, is enmity against God, and hatred to him. And the law itself confirms this; for lovers of God and haters of God are the only characters which the moral law describes and rewards. "Shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." "Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me," Exod. xx. 5, 6. The moral law knows of no other characters than these tro; it describes no other, and it rewards no others: hence it is plain what the two images are; the saints shall bear the image of the heavenly Adam, and sinners the image of the earthy, which in the great day God will despise, as such souls despise him; and he will shew mercy on them that love him, and display his eternal love in Christ Jesus to them. These are the true principles that Moses pursues through all his writings: "Know therefore this, the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face," Deut vii. 9, 10. This was the character of the Jews in Christ's time; they saw and hated both Christ and his Father, and wrath came upon them to the uttermost. This enmity or hatred to God was originally in Satan, and by this was he influenced to murder Adam and all his race. When Adam conceived this in his mind he fled from God; and the same, being communicated to Cain, it wrought in him to slay his brother. This principle of itself is no less than murder in the bud, whether it work in the saint or in the sinner, as may be seen not only in Cain and Lamech, Gen. iv. 23, but even in Solomon, who, in a fit of jealous fury, sought to slay Jeroboam, and by so doing to counteract the design and promise of God, made known to Jeroboam, 1 Kings, xi. 40. Hence it is plain that this enmity is the seed of the devil in man, and man is called the seed of the serpent from hence; and it is Satan's own in, age, which he infused into the mind of Adam. In his image and likeness Adam begat his children, whence it is called the image of the earthy Adam in all mankind.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by disciple
    where are the Scriptures, gurus, lexicons, etc. that prove that God does not ACTUALLY love all men without exception in any sense whatsover? honestly i have not seen such evidence. can anyone who is not engaging in rhetoric here testify to this? martin, have you seen the evidence from them? lionovjudah? any other observers out there who are undecided?

    honestly! as i've stated before, so far all that we've seen is a reference to HALOT (which does not actually prove the case) and an article from engelsma. what other evidence has been proposed? can anyone here list the Scriptures, gurus, and lexicons that demonstrate the claim being made?
    well I must admit I'm quite surpised at what has happened so far.

    My attitude is always to be open to correction - to try to avoid being so fixed and dogmatic that I cannot perceive of being wrong. Furthermore, I know that my intellectual abilities fall far short of most if not all here and I know by my own experience that I get things wrong so I strive to understand both sides of an argument whilst praying for much needed illumination from above. For these reasons I am watching this discussion so that I can weigh the evidence presented on both sides and I have to say, much as it goes against what I believe - it is looking quite one sided! It seems that some feel that the evidence is so clear and their position so safe that they need not respond - well I am proof that this is not true. Most of what I believe I have learnt here. Yet, those beliefs are being challenged and no-one is presenting a credible defence. It matters not that they think they are presenting a credible defence - as one who, if anything, is biaised towards the same beliefs I am saying they are not. It seems to me that there has only been one part of this interaction that has been of any value recently and that is Bob's last post and subsequent responses. I await Bob's further reply. Perhaps we can get to the bottom of the various definitions and implications of immutability and scriptural accommodation for they seem to me, unless I am very much mistaken, to be the heart of the matter and yet they have hardly been discussed.

    Martin

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeuos Eleos
    well I must admit I'm quite surpised at what has happened so far.

    My attitude is always to be open to correction - to try to avoid being so fixed and dogmatic that I cannot perceive of being wrong. Furthermore, I know that my intellectual abilities fall far short of most if not all here and I know by my own experience that I get things wrong so I strive to understand both sides of an argument whilst praying for much needed illumination from above. For these reasons I am watching this discussion so that I can weigh the evidence presented on both sides and I have to say, much as it goes against what I believe - it is looking quite one sided! It seems that some feel that the evidence is so clear and their position so safe that they need not respond - well I am proof that this is not true. Most of what I believe I have learnt here. Yet, those beliefs are being challenged and no-one is presenting a credible defence. It matters not that they think they are presenting a credible defence - as one who, if anything, is biaised towards the same beliefs I am saying they are not. It seems to me that there has only been one part of this interaction that has been of any value recently and that is Bob's last post and subsequent responses. I await Bob's further reply. Perhaps we can get to the bottom of the various definitions and implications of immutability and scriptural accommodation for they seem to me, unless I am very much mistaken, to be the heart of the matter and yet they have hardly been discussed.

    Martin
    thanks for your response martin. i appreciate your candidness. and as regards to bob's response, i agree that there is much accommodation in the language of Scripture. but it is language God used to communicate to us, therefore i think it is fair to say that we are safe to use that language unless we are proposing that we have a better idea and better language. we are under obligation to allow God to speak for Himself and not pretend that we can do better and that language does not speak to reality!
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Doug:

    Clear out some of your PM's brother.........

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Hey, I upped private messaging limits - how many do you have Doug?
    This is my signature.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Hey, I upped private messaging limits - how many do you have Doug?
    i just deleted them all. thanks.
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeuos Eleos
    Furthermore, I know that my intellectual abilities fall far short of most if not all here
    Wrong... You are much smarter than the promoters of this doctrine because you believe in logic and reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin
    it is looking quite one sided! It seems that some feel that the evidence is so clear and their position so safe that they need not respond
    You're right it is looking quite one sided. That's because their response is to throw more and more arguments to the discussion without dealing with the objections. And you're right, I believe my position is quite safe and crystal clear. The objectors sound like Arminians!

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin
    value recently and that is Bob's last post and subsequent responses.
    That has been my argument from the very beginning and nobody has ever answered it. Look at my correspondence with Phil Johnson - it was not answered. And these objectors to the doctrine of Grace haven't dealt with it either. From my perspective, their arguments are quite pathetic. As Milt said, they're here to "mock us reformed and Calvinist folk."
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Originally Posted by Skeuos Eleos
    Yet, those beliefs are being challenged and no-one is presenting a credible defence.
    Hey, did you read the article I posted by William Huntington? Did you think it had any relevance to this topic at all? Maybe I'm way off base, but I thought it had alot!

    Carol
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    It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Brandan:

    WOuld the issue at hand for you be the immutability of God? I am entering at the `11th hour so I apologize for my calrification questions.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    If you don’t mind I would like to stand back and look at where we are at on this on this thread so far. Please correct me if I have any details wrong. It seems that there are three separate hurdles that we are asking Disciple and Flynn to clear one historical one Biblical and one logical

    First off they have established that a denial of some form of divine love for the reprobate is not in the mainstream of Historical Calvinism. I’m reasonably sure that no one here would continue to dispute that.

    Next I feel a reasonably good case has been made that the Bible seems to teach such a love when it is read from a neutral and unbiased viewpoint.

    As far as the logical case goes I still need to be convinced. I can state my dilemma like this.

    1. God is immutable (doesn’t change) and omnipotent (always gets what he wants)
    2. God loves the reprobate (at a minimum this would include wanting good things for them)
    3. God subjects the reprobate to eternal conscious torment in hell
    I can easily reconcile any two of these statements in my mind but not all three. Please help guys

    Peace

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Doug i must say you have surprised me, with your belief that God loves in a sense those in Hell, have you considered the ramifications of this wicked doctrine?, one of which do you then believe Christ shed is Blood for those in Hell?, its perhaps time for you to be forthright and honest here. Ivor Thomas...
    For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain , Phillippians 1 v21.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    You're right it is looking quite one sided. That's because their response is to throw more and more arguments to the discussion without dealing with the objections. And you're right, I believe my position is quite safe and crystal clear. The objectors sound like Arminians!
    that's just ad hominem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    That has been my argument from the very beginning and nobody has ever answered it. Look at my correspondence with Phil Johnson - it was not answered. And these objectors to the doctrine of Grace haven't dealt with it either. From my perspective, their arguments are quite pathetic. As Milt said, they're here to "mock us reformed and Calvinist folk."
    i haven't seen any of that supposed evidence posted here. could you summarize the evidence right here (evidence please, not rhetoric. that means, as milt puts it, BCV and/or quotes with references.)?
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    As far as the logical case goes I still need to be convinced. I can state my dilemma like this.

    1. God is immutable (doesnít change) and omnipotent (always gets what he wants)
    2. God loves the reprobate (at a minimum this would include wanting good things for them)
    3. God subjects the reprobate to eternal conscious torment in hell
    I can easily reconcile any two of these statements in my mind but not all three. Please help guys

    Peace
    are you asking this from flynn and i, or from the others?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivor Thomas
    Doug i must say you have surprised me, with your belief that God loves in a sense those in Hell, have you considered the ramifications of this wicked doctrine?, one of which do you then believe Christ shed is Blood for those in Hell?, its perhaps time for you to be forthright and honest here. Ivor Thomas...
    do you think that i'm saying that he loves those in hell in exactly the same sense that he loves His elect? and how do you read gill in the quote i provided?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Doug:
    are you asking this from flynn and i, or from the others?

    You Guys! DG and company would say that the three statements don’t have to be reconciled because statement #2 is false

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolK
    Hey, did you read the article I posted by William Huntington? Did you think it had any relevance to this topic at all? Maybe I'm way off base, but I thought it had alot!

    Carol
    Hey Carol.

    I am not a fan of Huntington. I have his works, I never found him helpful.

    On the image of God, from the Reformed tradition and Scripture, he is wrong. From Gen 9 onwards, the command has not be to murder on the basis of men being image bearers of God. Men never lost, as in annihilation, the image of God in them. I could type on comment, but a minimal one from me will have to do: Ursinus, commentary on the HC: pp., 31-2 man is created in the image of God and that is not annihilated. Man: "There are still some remains and sparks of th image of God still left in man, after his fall, and which even yet continue in those who are unregenerated." Herman Hoeksema was the first from within the Reformed fold who started denying that man is still in the image of God, arguing that it was completely annihilated. However, the true Reformed tradition has affirmed the opposite. Hoeksema was bound to this on account of his denial of the normal distinction between total depravity and absolute depravity. The former says we are not as bad as we can do, man can still do certain civically good actions. Ursinus again:There are some traces and remains of the moral virtues and some ability of regulating the external deportment of the life." p., 32.

    As as well as that and Gen, James clearly says: "
    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness."

    Hoeksema must oppose Scripture and the Reformed tradition.

    So, yes God never ceases to love his image in man, or the creature as the creature is a work of his creation.

    take care,
    Flynn

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by disciple
    do you think that i'm saying that he loves those in hell in exactly the same sense that he loves His elect? and how do you read gill in the quote i provided?
    No to the first, yes to the second, For you to say God loves those in hell in any sense is a wicked doctrine, this is not answering my question, with the ramifications of such a wicked doctrine, do you believe Christ shed is blood for those in Hell. Ivor Thomas ..
    For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain , Phillippians 1 v21.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    If you donít mind I would like to stand back and look at where we are at on this on this thread so far. Please correct me if I have any details wrong. It seems that there are three separate hurdles that we are asking Disciple and Flynn to clear one historical one Biblical and one logical

    First off they have established that a denial of some form of divine love for the reprobate is not in the mainstream of Historical Calvinism. Iím reasonably sure that no one here would continue to dispute that.

    Next I feel a reasonably good case has been made that the Bible seems to teach such a love when it is read from a neutral and unbiased viewpoint.

    As far as the logical case goes I still need to be convinced. I can state my dilemma like this.

    1. God is immutable (doesnít change) and omnipotent (always gets what he wants)
    2. God loves the reprobate (at a minimum this would include wanting good things for them)
    3. God subjects the reprobate to eternal conscious torment in hell
    I can easily reconcile any two of these statements in my mind but not all three. Please help guys

    Peace
    Thanks Tomas1 for summing it up. It was desparately needed and you did it well!

    As regards the point of logic I think the starting point has to be what is the definition of immutability?

    Martin

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Originally Posted by Flynn
    I am not a fan of Huntington. I have his works, I never found him helpful.
    Somehow I didn't think you would be. I do find him extremely helpful and enlighting myself.

    Originally Posted by Flynn
    On the image of God, from the Reformed tradition and Scripture, he is wrong.
    I'm not interested in the reformed tradition, but I am interested in what scripture says.

    For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

    And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Cor. 15:49

    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Cor. 4:4

    Blessings,
    Carol

    Run John Run! The Law commands,
    But gives me neither feet, nor hands,
    Far grander news the gospel brings,
    It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
    ----John Bunyan

    http://members.cox.net/ckizzz/index

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    God is ... omnipotent (always gets what he wants)
    Actually, I think scriptures could be cited which appear to express frustration on the part of God. Part of the issue here is a failure to distinguish between God's volitions behind His decrees (which are always satisfied) and His revealed will. I think I would be right in saying that most (if not all?) here would agree that such scriptures:
    1. are anthropopathic in nature (.i.e. ascribing a human emotion to God so that we can understand it);
    2. do not in ANY WAY undermine the absolute, effective and satisfactory accomplishment of all that God decrees;
    3. are related to His revealed will and are usually conditional in nature, i.e. they are part of the means by which God causes His elect to obey, they appear in the context of setting forth what man must do and exhorting him to obedience

    The real question therefore is to what extent do scriptural anthropopathisms describe real emotions and volitions on the part of God versus what might be described as cold indifference. I think it may be worth posting what Ramm says here:
    Holy Scripture is the truth of God accommodated to the human mind so that the human mind can assimilate it Ö Through such accommodation the truth of God can get through to man and be a meaningful revelation. Stated another way, revelation must have an anthropomorphic character ... This anthropomorphic character of scripture is nothing against scripture, but it is necessary for the communication of Godís truth to man. This the interpreter will always keep in mind. The point has been excellently stated by Seisenberger:
    ďWe must not be offended by anthropomorphic expressions, which seem to us out of keeping with our conception of God. It is with a well-considered design that the Holy Scripture speaks of God as of a Being resembling man, and ascribes to Him a face, eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet and the sense of smell and hearing. This is done out of consideration for manís power of comprehension; and the same is the case when the Bible represents God as loving or hating, as jealous, angry, glad, or filled with regret, dispositions which apply to God not per affectum but per effectum. They show us that God is not coldly indifferent to loyalty or disloyalty on the part of man, but notices them well. Moreover we must not forget that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and that therefore in the divine Being there must be something analogous to the qualities of men, though in the highest perfection.Ē
    from Protestant Biblical Interpretation, Prof. Bernard Ramm, 3rd edition, p99-100)
    Regarding this, I think Doug is making some excellent points here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Disciple
    i agree that much of the language of Scripture is language of accommodation. but i also believe that this language has meaning and communicates something that God wanted to communicate. God very well could have used different language in this case if He wanted to. if He wanted to communicate that He didn't ACTUALLY love at all, then it would have been easy enough to communicate, even using the language of accommodation, in another fashion and using different words. but God did not choose this route. the Scripture writers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit did use the language that they used, accommodation or not. and it does communicate something of substance as God wanted it communicated and not mere abstractions.

    so i will answer his question with a question. when it says in Scripture that God loved (or had mercy, grace, faithfulness, kindness, etc.) and then did not, did this ACTUALLY happen or are we to understand that this is communicating something entirely different? how are we to understand what God did in these cases? and does this mean that God must have been mutable?

    ...

    it is language God used to communicate to us, therefore i think it is fair to say that we are safe to use that language unless we are proposing that we have a better idea and better language. we are under obligation to allow God to speak for Himself and not pretend that we can do better and that language does not speak to reality!

    Martin

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