The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Are only Christians children of God or is everyone?—my reply


I have to agree Alex, as someone who follows the Inclusivist (Positions for the Lost) position.

Thanks Alex, these two articles are helpful to me!

Cool :sunglasses:

I’m delighted to hear that :slight_smile:

When the Jews (presumably Pharisees) stated that God was their father, Jesus responded that it was the devil who was their father (John 8:44).

Although true, I think (and I just thought of this now) that Jesus was telling them that their deeds, their motives and actions are serving Satan rather than God. Therefore, what they think of as serving the ‘Father’ is really not the Father, because Jesus knows the Father and their character is not that of the Fathers. Jesus is NOT, in my opinion, telling them not that they are not offspring of the most high, but that they were, based on their actions, serving Satan rather than God. Hence, Satan is their father, because they do the deeds of their father.

Also, we could also easily explain this as figurative language (which is what I did anyway), but there are many, many ways to interpret that passage without having to believe that these people were literally the offspring of Satan.

That to me seems level-headed and would be in a similar vein as Jesus’ rebuke to Peter… “get thee behind me Satan!” etc.

Not the same. Jesus was not calling Peter, “Satan” in the sense of Peter being the devil or representing the devil. As you know “σατανας” is not necessarily the name of the evil one. It is a word that means “adversary.”

Jesus was calling Peter “Adversary.” Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection on behalf of mankind. Peter said, “This will never happen to you!” Peter didn’t want Him to be killed; Peter wanted Jesus to remain with them, and so his attitude was adverse to the will of God. So Jesus told him that he was “setting his mind on the things of man” rather than on the things of God. He was an adversary.

Again Paidion I think you are missing the point… the highly descriptive language doesn’t demonstrate such a wooden literalism; but is used to show the gravity of potential actions being taken… in the case of the Jewish leadership – rejecting Jesus’ word, and for Peter, frustrating Jesus’ work to come.

Well, I intend to continue with my “wooden literalism.” I’ll take Jesus’ words as He said them and meant them, rather than spiritualize away his meaning to fit what I wish He had said.

Fair enough Paidion.

And in the spirit of that, I will stick with Miles Coverdale:
"“It shall greatly help ye to understand the Scriptures if thou mark not only what is spoken or written,
but of whom,
and to whom,
with what words,
at what time,
to what intent,
with what circumstances,
considering what goeth before and what followeth after. ”

<sounds easy enough, but ain’t :slight_smile: - still, it’s useful advice>

Yep wise words… it’s called “context”. :slight_smile:

To clarify, which of the following are you suggesting?

]The Jews were God’s children but somehow they lost that./]
]The Jews were never God’s children, that somehow the devil creates some humans./]
]The Jews were both God’s children and the devil’s children (sort of like Paul old man/new man)./]
]It’s a figure of speech to say the Jews were imitating the devil./]

As far as I know:

]God hasn’t given the devil the power of the Creator—that the best the devil can do is corrupt and mutate things (see Tolkien)./]]The Jews were humans made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore His children./]
]It’s not possible to change who our biological parents are, therefore I assume it’s not possible to change who our Father is./]

, Spencer Boersma"]In John, the best interpretation, suggested by the context, is that Jesus is denouncing the character of the Pharisees: They are children of the devil because, like him, they are lying and seeking to murder (John 8:44). Calling someone the “child of the devil” was not to describe their eternal nature (thus making any call to repentance useless) but rather was a way of denouncing their actions (which the Pharisees were self-deceived into thinking were good). Thus, John writes,

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister” (1 John 3:10).

This does not mean anyone who is unloving is actually demonic in nature (for that would mean all people before they repented are that, and that would make asking any unloving person to repent as useless). It describes one’s actions now, so that, hopefully, people will change and act more like the character of God the Father, who is loving and righteous.

This from that quote says it well…

Alex, I totally agree. We are all God’s children, and I think this is what the Bible is saying. This is also why I have a hard time with the Trinity theory, that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God. Who are we begotten by, the devil? For one thing, I don’t believe in the devil as some separate evil spiritual being floating around. Even if this is the case, as you mentioned, is this devil able to beget children? I believe we are all made of the divine essence/spirit of God. Divine is defined as having the characteristics of a deity. However, this does not make us God. As the Bible says, there is one greater than us, that is God Himself. We may not always display these divine characteristics, but we do have the ability to love, forgive, have compassion, think, reason, create etc… In other words, we were given hearts and minds. To me, there is a special bond that exists between a parent and a child, and one cannot know of this bond unless you are that parent or that child. Since we did not beget ourselves, then we must be the child.

That Jesus is the only begotten Son of God is not “the Trinity theory.” It has been stated by the apostle John:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

Jesus was the only One who was truly begotten by God. He was begotten by God “before all ages” as the early Christians affirmed. They stated that the begetting of the Son was the FIRST of God’s acts.

Indeed, John 1:18 as found in papyrus 66, and papyrus 75 (the only extant manuscripts prior to A.D 300) calls Him “the only begotten God,” since God the Father was unbegotten.

True, we Christians were begotten again, when we submitted to Christ as Lord of our lives, but that is a spiritual begetting. We weren’t directly begotten by God; we weren’t directly brought into existence by God, as his only begotten Son was. But please don’t misunderstand me here. I do not claim (as the Arians did) that there was a time when the Son did not exist. There was NO time at which He did not exist, for there was no time at all prior to the begetting of the Son. That event marked the beginning of time.

No. You were begotten by your parents when you were conceived (after a particular sperm cell was united to a particular human egg).

Is that Scripture? Does it say explicitly that Jesus Christ was begotten for all ages?

What is is “Scripture”? The Protestant Bible? The Orthodox Bible? The Roman Catholic Bible?

Never mind. None of those Bibles contain the statement that the Son was “begotten before all ages.” Notwithstanding, that is a common expression among second-century Christians, and was found in the original Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. However, they did not pull that expression out of thin air. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Does that not suggest that there was a begetting or birth of the Son of God before anything else came into being?

When the early catholics began celebrating the birth of Christ in the 300s, they held 3 masses in honour of the three births of Christ. They used the following phraseology (NT references mine):

  1. His birth before all ages (Colossians 1:15)
  2. His birth from Mary (Luke 2:11)
  3. His birth in the hearts of the faithful (Galatians 4:19)

From Jonathan Mitchell’s NT translation:

  1. Who is the Image (the Exact Formed Likeness; the Figure and Representation; visible likeness) of the not-seen God (the unable to be seen God; the invisible God), the Firstborn of all creation (or: of every creature; of every framing and founding; of every act of reducing from a state of disorder and wildness) = the Inheritor of all creation; the One who will assume authority over every creature]

I’m not sure that ‘firstborn’ is a term that means begotten before (in a temporal sense) everything else; I am shakily confident that the meaning is along the lines of Mitchell’s last sentence above.

I was only wondering where the term came from, thanks.