The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Revisiting a Syllogism That Supports Universalism

(1) You did not post the verses in their entirety. (2) As should have been made clear to you, it’s the identity of the “determined” part of your quotation that I have issue with.

Thanks for these. They are helpful to prepare for.

The following comment is from: … t-72493045

1 Like

Presumably freewill is one explanation why the conclusion of the OP is “All will be saved” rather than “All are saved” or “All were saved”.

Another explanation could be that He will save all in His own time, according to His own purposes by, e,g. irresistible grace.

If God desires at this moment that all be saved & does all His desire, would all be - now - saved? Or does His desire for a being’s salvation include that they receive it in a certain way or time, e.g. by free will? Even if it takes a very long time before this happens.

If beings have an unlimited number of opportunities to exercise their free will in favor of God, is it mathematically possible anyone could reject Him for all eternity?

Wow. at first I thought this was a strange coincidence. But then, with the familiar wording, I realized. . . .

I thought i’d investigate what the endless punishment folks have to say re your argument & your answers to various objections.

Of course Reformed types may claim “all” in 1 Timothy 2:4 will be saved, but that “all” doesn’t mean “all” ; …e.g.

“Who will have all men to be saved,… The salvation which God wills that all men should enjoy, is not a mere possibility of salvation, or a mere putting them into a salvable state; or an offer of salvation to them; or a proposal of sufficient means of it to all in his word; but a real, certain, and actual salvation, which he has determined they shall have; and is sure from his own appointment, from the provision of Christ as a Saviour for them, from the covenant of grace, in which everything is secured necessary for it, and from the mission of Christ to effect it, and from its being effected by him: wherefore the will of God, that all men should be saved, is not a conditional will, or what depends on the will of man, or on anything to be performed by him, for then none might be saved; and if any should, it would be of him that willeth, contrary to the express words of Scripture; but it is an absolute and unconditional will respecting their salvation, and which infallibly secures it: nor is it such a will as is distinguishable into antecedent and consequent; with the former of which it is said, God wills the salvation of all men, as they are his creatures, and the work of his hands; and with the latter he wills, or not wills it, according to their future conduct and behaviour; but the will of God concerning man’s salvation is entirely one, invariable, unalterable, and unchangeable: nor is it merely his will of approbation or complacency, which expresses only what would be grateful and well pleasing, should it be, and which is not always fulfilled; but it is his ordaining, purposing, and determining will, which is never resisted, so as to be frustrated, but is always accomplished: the will of God, the sovereign and unfrustrable will of God, has the governing sway and influence in the salvation of men; it rises from it, and is according to it; and all who are saved God wills they should be saved; nor are any saved, but whom he wills they should be saved: hence by all men, whom God would have saved, cannot be meant every individual of mankind, since it is not his will that all men, in this large sense, should be saved, unless there are two contrary wills in God;” [Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible]

Pithy writing? Convincing writing? . . . NOT!

This sentence clearly indicates that God intended to bring a calamity upon Ninevah. God wouldn’t have SAID He would do that, if it hadn’t been His intention. But when they repented, and turned from their evil ways, God CHANGED HIS MIND. That shows how wonderful God is. What He does with people is relevant to people’s decisions.

I don’t very often agree with Davo about Biblical matters, but in this case, I believe him to be dead on!

Well don’t fall over Paidion :laughing: but even before I got to your last sentence I was thinking…

If as a parent i announce to my misbehaving kids that “i am going to punish you”, knowing that said punishment is actually conditional depending on if they repent (or will effect their repentance), did i really “change my mind” when i decided not to punish them after they repented? Or was the “change my mind” a figure of speech* & the announcement of punishment merely a conditional threat (if even that).

Does God really have “feathers” & “wings” (Psa.91:4)?

“Does God change His mind?”

You chose a Bible version that emphasizes God’s changing His mind. Not all versions give such a strong impression of that action. In fact, at the Blue Letter Bible site only one out of the thirteen listed English versions uses the phrase “changed His mind” in this verse. For example, here is Jonah 3:10 in the NIV.

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”

The word relent means “to become less severe, harsh, or strict.” It also can mean “to let up or slacken.” As such, the action of God depicted in the NIV is not so much a focus on a change in mind. Also the NIV’s “did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened” conveys a slightly but significantly different message than “the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them.” The contrast between “he had threatened” and “the calamity he said he would bring upon them” shows the NIV to be more closely aligned with the message of Jeremiah 18:7-8 (also NIV), in which the word warned is very similar to the word threatened in Jonah 3:10 of the NIV. In addition, both the Jonah and Jeremiah verses in the NIV use the word relent instead of the words “changed his mind.”

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” (Jeremiah 18:7-8)

The reason these Jeremiah verses are appealed to here is that they seem to describe the rule that God follows in his warnings to nations–like Nineveh–that are moving in evil directions. The withholding of punishment is, as you can see, always part of the plan, should the nation repent. So, there need not be a changing of mind. There is simply a following of the rule as described.

IF (and that’s questionable) as you say… “the NIV to be more closely aligned with the message of Jeremiah 18:7-8 (also NIV)THEN you may want to reconsider what you’re reading.

That’s NICE for the NIV… but let’s go with the original LXX translation…

μετενόησεν from μετανοέω <metanoeō> = to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling, to repent. The original language is fairly strong… reflecting the gravity of the situation at hand AND that of the potential drama to follow IF they did not heed God’s strong word to them — they listened and mercy ensured.

That’s NICE for the NIV? Cute but missing the point. It’s not just the NIV. Did you not read what I said? Only one of the thirteen English Bible versions at the Blue Letter Bible site (linked in the previous post, but here it is again) has the key Hebrew word nacham translated as “changed His mind.”

Who here is denying the gravity of the situation? What I am questioning is your claim that the destruction of Nineveh was a determination by God, a determination that was reversed by the action of humans, as I explained many times. The warning to Nineveh had two key parts: (1) a threatened destruction (2) unless Nineveh repented. That warning was to be delivered by Jonah and was so important to God that He went through great pains to be sure the initially elusive and disobedient Jonah delivered it.

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (Jonah 1:2)

So, Jonah eventually went to Nineveh and delivered the warning. Now if Nineveh would repent, the threatened destruction would not occur. Thus, the fact that Nineveh was not destroyed simply means, then, that it had repented. It does not mean God changed His mind about a determination. God’s mind was already set on sparing Nineveh if it repented, as it did.

Check out the following thesaurus:

Here are some of the synonyms for “relent” that it provides:
acquiesce, capitulate, cave in, comply, give in, give up, change one’s mind

As Davo pointed out, the Septuagint translation (around 300 B.C.) from Hebrew to Greek used “μετανουεω”, a Greek word that means “repent” or “change one’s mind.” It is used throughout the New Testament in that way. I am very familiar with this word because of my studies in Greek, both formal and private study.

I haven’t studied Hebrew, but the Online Bible’s Hebrew lexicon gives the primary meaning of the Hebrew word as meaning “to be sorry.” Why would God be sorry that He had intended to destroy Ninevah, if He hadn’t changed His mind about destroying it?

Here are the Bible versions listed at the Blue Letter Bible site and their respective translations of the Hebrew word nacham used in Jonah 3:10. The translation of nacham to “changed his mind” or “to be sorry” is clearly an outlier.

KJV repented

NKJV relented

NLT changed his mind

NIV relented

ESV relented

CSB relented

NASB relented

NET relented

RSV repented

ASV repented

YLT repenteth

DBY repented

WEB repented

HNV repented

As you can see, a range in definitions exists. Which definitions seem to fit the context?

Context is important because the appropriate definition should agree with context. There should be a matching of the interpretation of the text with the associated story. God’s extreme measures in getting Jonah to visit Nineveh to deliver the warning make no sense if He did not intend to spare Nineveh should it repent. Thus, the possibility of sparing Nineveh is very likely to have been part of His plan from the beginning. And this interpretation jibes exactly with the general rule mentioned in Jeremiah.

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” (Jeremiah 18:7-8)

If the interpretation of the text does not match the associated story, then something is likely amiss with the interpretation. Something is likely amiss with interpreting Jonah 3:10 such that God changes His mind or is sorry, given that Nineveh was spared because it repented, as the very plan that God established allowed for.

On the other hand, interpreting Jonah 3:10 such that God lets up or slackens (i.e., relents) from the threat of destruction because Nineveh repented makes sense because the plan that God established allows for that. Using relent, i.e., “lets up” or “slackens,” for the key Hebrew word nacham better matches the interpretation of that word with the associated story. And accordingly, several Bible versions do indeed translate nacham to relent, as can be seen above.

The interpretation I offered makes sense if God didn’t KNOW the Ninevites would repent. And no one—even God—can know in advance what a free-will agent will choose. For if He did know in advance what you will choose, then you are not free to choose.

For example, suppose God knows you are going to eat an ice-cream cone at 2 P.M. tomorrow. That implies that you CANNOT refrain from eating an ice-cream cone at 2 P.M. tomorrow. For if through your free will, you could refrain and did refrain, then God didn’t know that you would eat an ice-cream cone at 2 P.M. tomorrow.

I should also make clear that God not knowing in advance what we will choose in no way implies that he is not omniscient. For God DOES know all that is possible to know. No one can know the future (in the absolute sense of “know”) because the future does not yet exist, and so there is nothing to know.

Good point Don - game, set and match! :smiley:

Wow! We are going far afield now. But you should know that some philosophers, like theologian William Craig, disagree with your stance here on free will and God’s foreknowledge. Craig has said that foreknowledge does not limit freedom to choose. See this video for a brief answer. See his site for many more thorough discussions of this issue.

Sorry… but your explanations are wholly unconvincing. Here is the determination and declaration of destruction…

THAT THERE ABOVE IS the declared decree of God’s determined will… deny it as you yourself will, however, there it is in black and white (or red), as per any sensible and reasoned logical reading of the text.

THEN in accord with Nineveh’s repentance DID God himself repent, i.e., changed his mind, regarding the calamity He had previously made known… giving them the choice — they chose wisely and received the benefit of His grace, as again is shown here…

WHY do you IGNORE the biblical definition of “repent”? — clearly because it confounds your position! As per…

Greek = μετενόησεν from μετανοέω <metanoeō> = to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling, to repent.
Hebrew = וַיִּנָּחֶם from נחם <nāham> = be sorry, repent, regret, console oneself…

As can be seen… according to the original language, BOTH Hebrew and Greek are unequivocal… BOTH words in the context of Jon 3:10 mean REPENT! I’m fine that you choose to disagree and we may just have to agree to disagree, but I think I have presented sufficient data backing up my point… others reading along can weigh the evidence accordingly.

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Num.23:19)

Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind. (1 Sam.15:29)

My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. (Psa.89:34)

but Jesus became a priest with an oath by the One who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” (Heb.7:21)

Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. (Heb.6:8)

in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. (Titus 1:2)

I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezek. 24:14)

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isa.55:11)

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Rom.11:29)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)

“When the inspired writers speak of God’s repenting, as Jeremiah 18:8, and Amos 7:3-6, they are to be understood as speaking figuratively, and adapting their language to our apprehensions. They only mean that God changes the course of his providence toward mankind, according as he sees a change in their dispositions and actions. See note on Genesis 6:6.”

1 Like