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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss916.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter IV: Examining The Extent Of Christ's Atonement Throughout Scripture
A. Pertinent (And Hence) Greek New Testament Words
- If our definition of election holds the elect are not chosen to be justified, but for post-justification blessings, we leave room for the possibility of every individual sinner to be justified.
- However, SOME Calvinists teach Christ died only for a select few whom God chose to be justified.
- We thus examine Scripture to determine how extensive was Christ's atonement -- whether it atoned for all individuals or only for the few who will be justified, and we begin with pertinent Greek words:
- Limited redemptionists assert verses using kosmos generally translated "world" mean classes of men, not all individuals, cf. Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 1972 ed., p. 159.
- Well, lexically, kosmos may mean "adornment, adorning" or "the (orderly) universe" or the "world" perceived as the planet, earth, or its human or super-animal inhabitants, or even the system of evil in the world that is separate from God, cf. Arndt & Ging., A Grk.-Engl. Lex. Of the N.T., p. 446-448.
- Thus, the context of the word, kosmos as it is used in pertinent New Testament passages on the atonement must be viewed to discern if it refers to individuals or to classes of men.
- We await our study of atonement verses using kosmos to determine if it there means "classes" of men.
- This Greek noun generally means "much, many," Ibid., Arndt & Gingrich, p. 694-696.
- Limited redemptionists assert its use in passages like Matthew 20:28 shows Christ death for "many" bears a restrictive sense, meaning He did not died for "all" individuals, Ibid., Boettner, p. 288-290.
- Yet, where polus as used in the Greek language can mean a limited number, if used Hebraistically, it may convey merely the inclusive sense, focusing on the great amount involved with no intent of excluding any of its parts, Theological Dictionary of the N ew Testament, vol. VI, p. 543.
- Well, weighty contextual evidence supports viewing the Greek word, polus in N. T. verses where it is rendered "many" in reference to the extent of Christ's atonement to bear the Hebraistic inclusive sense:
- The Early Church noted the Isaiah 52-53 prophecy on Christ's atonement, Acts 8:30-35; Heb. 9:28.
- Then, since Isaiah 53 is the only O. T. passage using the Hebrew word, rabim translated "many" in the context of judicial justification, we can expect the N. T. authors would utilize its Hebraistic meaning to refer to Christ's atonement, Veteris Test. Conc. Heb. Atque Chald., 1978 ed. p. 1065ff.
- Now, though Isaiah 53 may arguably be said to use the noun, rab, the singular form of rabim with the exclusive sense allegedly to refer to the atonement only of elect Hebrews, Isaiah 52:15 uses it as an adjective where "many" nations are "sprinkled" with the blood of the atonement, removing rabim from meaning only Israel's elect are covered by this atonement, Ibid., T.D.N.T., p. 538, 537.
- Indeed, J. A. Alexander (The Prophecies of Isaiah, 1953, reprint (Zondervan, 1974, p. 289)) implies the atonement here covers all the nations perceived in the inclusive sense.
- As Isaiah 52-53 was a key passage on the atonement in the N. T., its use of polus in its verses on the atonement may carry only the inclusive sense, thus not proving the atonement was limited in extent.
- Katallagay and Katalasso
- Though their secular uses focused on financial transactions, theologically, katallagay came to mean "reconciliation" and the verb, katalasso "to reconcile" by N. T. writers, Ibid., Arndt & Ging., p. 415.
- Romans 11:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-19 use them in key passages on the extent of Christ's atonement:
- In Romans 11:15, katallagay is used of God's reconciling the "world" to Himself by the cross, and this "world" may well not mean "classes of men" here since Paul uses "world" (kosmos) in Romans 11:11-13 interchangeably with "Gentiles" in a general sense rather than as a reference to the elect.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-19 uses both katallagay and katalasso to show God is no longer reckoning the sins of lost men against them, but holding them accountable to trust in Christ to be justified, v. 19. Since more than just the elect are spiritually dead prior to justification (Eph. 2:1-2), the clearest way to perceive "world" here is in the universal sense rather than always to presuppose the repeated appearances of "all" in verses 14-15 and "world" in verse 19 are classes of the elect to be justified!
- If anything, the N. T. uses of katallagay and katalasso favor the unlimited atonement position.