The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP's Exegetical Compilation: John 6:44


This is part of my Exegetical Compilation series, which I am slllooooowwwwlly posting up, and which can be found here.

John 6:44 involves people given to the Son by the Father being saved by being (rather explicitly in the Greek) “dragged” to Him: a topic directly related to them being resurrected on the final Day. Relatedly, all that the Father gives Him shall come to Him and shall not be cast out (v.36), nor shall the Son lose any of the all who have been given to Him by the Father. (v.39) The disputed question, between purgatorial Christian universalists and non-universalist Christians, is whether anyone who beholds the Son (which would logically be everyone He raises and judges) and yet doesn’t believe in Him shall be lost. (Ultra-universalistic Christians would argue that everyone who beholds the Son, which everyone will do, will accept Him, with no post-mortem punishment at all.)

But then they wouldn’t be coming to Him: because if they were coming to Him they wouldn’t be cast out! So either not all people are given to Him by the Father (which could hardly be an Arminian position, although a Calvinist might try it), or else all people that the Father gives Him shall NOT come to Him and some shall be lost who have been given to Him by the Father! Which runs totally against the promise of this verse.

At any rate, not even one person can come toward the Son if the Father Who sends the Son does not draw (i.e. drag) him; yet the Son shall still be raising such a person in the final day. (verse 44; the Greek grammatically indicates the same “him” is being talked about for raising as for not coming to the Son.)

This is sometimes suggested, especially by Calvinists, to indicate a schism of intention between those whom God intends to save and those He never intended to save and so whom He never even tried to drag in the first place. But Jesus (in verse 45) connects this raising of those not drawn to Him with the prophecy from Jeremiah 31:34 that all people from the least to the greatest shall come to YHWH to be taught by YHWH, “for I will forgive their injustice and their sin I will remember no more.” So the topic is not about Jesus raising people who will never be given to Him, but about raising people who have not come to Him yet: but they will, and will be saved.

The resurrection itself, even of those not yet drawn to the Son, thus counts as part of the dragging of all to the Son, once all the pieces are accounted in context. The scope of salvific intention is total, as Arminians tend to recognize here; and the assurance of salvific victory is total, as Calvinists tend to recognize here. As usual, a place where Arms and Calvs tend to quote scripture against each other, turns out to mean both sides are right! – but then by coherent theology, hopeless punishment must be wrong (which to be fair is why each side opposes the gospel assurance each other draws from this area of scripture).

For further commentary on the concept of dragging all to Christ, see notes on John 12:30-50.

Members may discuss these verses pro and con below, and are invited and encouraged to post links to other discussions of these verses, whether at the forum or off-site.

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JRP's Exegetical Compilation: John 12:30-50

Jason, can you expound John 10? Jesus says he came to give his life for the sheep, and that some of the Jews weren’t his sheep. How then can they be saved?


Ah, I thought I had talked about that either in my notes on GosMatt 25’s baby goats, or on GosJohn 17 (among other places). But I see that I didn’t. I should do a distinct entry.


Similarly how do you explain these verses where some are saved & some are not:


Yes please!


Working on a nice chunky entry this morning. I’m probably more than half done. Plenty of interesting grammatic and contextual details. {g}

I think you yourself did a good job there, and in some cases I’ve already written about the relevant verses being cited. The overly short answer of course is: some are save from being punished (including to death), some are not. That depends on the person.

(That’s part of the contextual case in John 10, too: the rebel Pharisees will be dying in their sins, for they insistently refuse that other people shall join the flock, which is what is leading them to deny that Jesus is “I AM”, even though they should have been expected to support Jesus with all their advantages, judging against the Elohim Himself Who comes to His temple to be judged by the authorities He installed who are rebelling against Him – “but you shall die like moral men.” But thennnnnn later, after they have died in their sins…! {g})


Hows your exegesis of chapter 10 going? I can’t wait to read it.


Didn’t work on it Sunday, and couldn’t work on it yesterday. The Bibles are spread out all over my workdesk tho!


Got more of it done Sunday. Lots of details to work with! Jesus’ Psalm reference alone necessarily requires that He morally expects them to be more than only part of His flock (not less).


I feel (which I use very intentionally!) like I am closing in on a finale to my notes on John 10’s denunciation of the Jews by Jesus, which I have been carefully chewing on with breaks in between since the topical scope ran much larger (to my pleasant surprise) than I was expecting. It’s only 2800+ words so far, but there’s a ton of detail packed in there!

My guesstimate is that I’m 4/5 of the way through now, although even when I’m done I may end up topically rearranging some sections of commentary.