Question and Answer
Does God Love Everyone?
A good question came up during my daughter's Reformed Doctrine class at school. "Does God Love Everyone?" My daughter says "no" and her teacher says "yes." The difference of opinion may have to do with the meaning of the word "love". There is common grace and specific grace both taught in the Scriptures. I would be interested in seeing your answer to this issue.
Your question: 'Does God love everyone?' is not easily answered. Why? Because, as you rightly state, "The difference of opinion may have to do with the meaning of the word 'love.'" When the Apostle Paul says God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Rom. 9:13) it is very clear that there is a kind of love that is not shared equally by everyone. Only those who belong to Christ can say "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4, 5) Yet it is also true that those who refuse the one and only Savior that God has provided can never honestly say that God never showed any love toward them.
Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh (John 1:14), "the express image of his [God's] person." And the Bible says he had "compassion on the multitude" (Matthew 15:32). Compassion is simply another word for the kind of love that we ought to feel toward those who suffer. We even read that Jesus "loved" (Mark 10:21) the rich young man who refused to become our Lord's disciple. But that love was certainly not the same as his love for his believing disciples. When Jesus commanded us to love our enemies (Luke 6:35) he gave, as a reason for doing so, a reference to the character of God! Since God "is kind to the unthankful and evil" we too are to be "merciful" toward them. And, according to our Savior, doing so is an act of love patterned after the character of the God who made us to be in his likeness, his images.
Does God love everyone in the same way, and to the same degree? No, he does not. But can anyone say that God did not love them at all, in any sense? Again the answer is No.
Thank you for a worthwhile question.
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