THE ALLNESS of GOD
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
JULY 24, 2015
The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway
“God has all men penned together in the prison of disobedience, that he may have mercy upon them all” (Rom. 11:32, Phillips).
Yes, yes, I do realize that there is no such word as “allness,” but in spite of what my excellent journalism professor, Cleetis Headlee would think, it is the only word that fits what I’m trying to convey. Those of you who have been reading my essays for a while know that God has given me to share that He will, in the fullness of time, ultimately save every last one of us, according to His will, not our choices. The first time I felt pressed by the Spirit to write that in 1997, I trembled with apprehension about what most Christians would think, i.e., that I had gone off the “deep end,” lost my salvation by rewriting scripture to suit myself, and worse, left the faith taught by church fathers for millennia. There were some outraged readers, but providentially for me, no one can send stones via e-mail. The Glory Road began in about 1997, and to my delight and amazement, more and more Christians today have come into the realization that God really is Love!
What is on my heart today is thanksgiving for excellent teachers like A.P. Adams, who braved the ire and scorn or what he called orthodoxy, to put into print what God had shown him by the spirit, and obviously, by a careful study of the Greek text from which our New Testament was translated. Likewise, I’m grateful for Jonathan Mitchell, a friend, and Greek scholar, who has devoted his life to bringing the truly Good News to light by his thorough translations of the Greek text, as well as his inclusion of what other scholars have concluded as well. The end result for me is that now, we can quit worrying about whether we have done enough to avoid hell when we die, and can rejoice and praise God in the highest, that “in Christ” (a phrase which appears in the New Testament some 89 times), we can live an overcoming life here and now because our blessed Savior/Deliverer, the king of Kings and lord of Lords lives His life through us and in us.
Paul wrote of Him, “For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10, RSV). Later on in his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle declared that, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6, RSV). There are a number of “alls” in those two passages, but for some, it begs the question, does all really mean all?
In Jonathan Mitchell’s translation of Romans 11:32, he translated the word “all” as “everyone: the entire lot of folks” and “everyone, the all, recipients of mercy.” Here’s the entire verse: “For you see, God encloses, shuts up and locks all mankind (everyone; the entire lot of folks) into incompliance (disobedience; stubbornness; lack of being convinced), to the end that He could (or: would; should) mercy all mankind (may make everyone, the all, recipients of mercy)!”
Jonathan shared an e-mail with me recently regarding this very question. A woman who had read A.P. Adams’ article entitled, “Bible Corrections” (http://thegloryrd.com/apadams/bible.html), was asking Jonathan if Adams’ translation of John 3:16-18, was accurate. Specifically, Adams made the point that the way the verse is normally translated, the words, “whosoever believeth in him” are thereby made to have a conditional force, as though it read, if they believe in him, implying that some will not believe in him, and hence will perish, and be lost eternally.” Adams affirmed that this is not a correct rendering of the original. Here’s his translation as he believed it should read: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up, that all, believing in him. might have eonial life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all, believing in him, might not perish, but have eonial life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” Adams concluded, “Thus truthfully translated, this passage is one of the grandest and most sweeping declarations of the final universal triumph of God’s grace in the salvation of the world, contained in the Bible.” End Quote.
Jonathan’s answer to the woman who wrote him confirmed Adams’ points. Here is Jonathan’s translation of the verses in question: John 3:14: “And so, just as (or: correspondingly as) Moses lifted up (elevated; raised up high) the serpent, within the wilderness (desert; desolate place) [Num. 21:7ff], thus it is necessary and binding for the Son of Mankind (Humanity’s Son) to be lifted up (elevated; raised up high; exalted),
15. “to the end that all humanity (everyone), the one habitually believing and trusting, would continuously have eonian life (life having the state of being, qualities and characteristics of the sphere pertaining to the Age [of the Messiah]; age-quality and eon-lasting life): within (or: in union with) Him!
16. “For thus God loves the aggregate of humanity (the universe; the ordered arrangement; the organized system [of life and society]; the world), so that He gives His uniquely-born [with other MSS: the only-begotten] Son, to the end that all humanity (or: everyone), the one habitually believing, putting confidence and trusting into Him, would not lose or destroy itself, or cause itself to fall into ruin, but rather can continuously have (or: would habitually possess and hold) eonian life (age-durative life with qualities derived from the Age [of the Messiah]; living existence of and for the ages).
17. “For God does not send forth His [other MSS: the] Son as an Emissary, or Representative, into the world (or: System; aggregate of humanity) to the end that He should continuously separate and make decisions about the world (or: would at some point sift and judge the System, or the aggregate of humanity), but to the contrary, to the end that the world would be delivered (or: that the System could be healed and made whole; that the ordered arrangement should be restored to health; that the aggregate of mankind may be saved, rescued and re-established in its original state): through Him!” End quote.
What does this mean for us today? There is only one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. All means all, everyone, all mankind, everyone who ever lived. I’ve been thinking about this and writing about the “allness” of God for all of us, for 18 years now. The church world has taken great liberties with the text. Benjamin Wilson, the man who gave us The Emphatic Diaglott, a word by word translation from Greek into English, stated that the King James Version alone has 20,000 errors in it. Not being a Greek scholar, I cannot verify that personally, but some of the errors are quite apparent. For instance, I Cor. 15:22, states emphatically and simply, “For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” The church has always been very willing to endorse the fact that we all died because of Adam’s sin, but they refute the next part, that in Christ, shall ALL be made alive. That conclusion is illogical at best and deceptive at worst.
Worse than that, they have completely blotted out from the equation, Romans 11:32, which states that God is ultimately responsible for all the disobedience which we see everywhere around us. Did you ever stop to think WHY God allowed the serpent in the garden to tempt Eve? Some believe the creation story to be a myth, but myth or fact, the message is plain. Either God is in control of His creation, or He isn’t. Some apparently think, that perhaps He fell asleep at the switch. Lenny always paraphrased Paul’s shocking assertion that God consigned all to disobedience by saying about some unfortunate event, “It’s all God’s fault.” That is shocking to some, especially to those who want to take credit for their good behavior, but if man’s will runs the Universe, we’re all in a LOT of trouble with no hope at all. (I submit the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., as my prima facie evidence for this conclusion).
Harry Fox, my dear friend and theological mentor for 45 years, is now in God’s waiting room, completely bedfast in a nursing home in Orem, UT. His body has failed him utterly, but his spirit is still strong and each Saturday morning when we speak, the Gospel in its simplicity and power comes flowing out of him like rivers of living water. The staff and hospice people who serve him are, of course, Mormon, dedicated to Mormon doctrine, but they repeatedly come into his room to hear his testimony of the power of the Gospel and are blessed accordingly as I have been by him since we first met. Like many churches, the Mormon Church is hierarchical in form, meaning as Harry put it when we spoke Saturday, that before you can encounter the divine, you must go through layer upon layer of church officials before you get to God Himself. About that, he said, “They do not know, as you and I do, that God is available to us all equally and personally without a human mediator. They worry about His judgment, but the only purpose of judgment is to show us that we need mercy.” I like that statement because it fits right in with Isaiah’s declaration, “For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9, RSV).
The allness of God includes all people, all the time, in all situations everywhere, for God “accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11, Phillips). Jonathan’s translation renders the verse: “Within and in union with Whom we were (or: are) also chosen (or: appointed) by lot (or: were made an allotted portion; or: received an inheritance), being previously marked out (or: being before designated) in keeping with (or: down from; corresponding to; in accord with) a before-placed (or: predetermined-by-setting-forth) aim and design of the One continuously operating (effecting; energizing) all things (or: the whole) in accord with (or: down from; in line with; in correspondence to; following the pattern of) the deliberated purpose (intent; design; plan; determined counsel) of His will (or: resultant decision of His resolve; effect of His desire).
Who can stand against the will of God?
Father, You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and above all else, You are Love! We worship and adore You, fall down before You, and with all the saints on this side of Jordan and the other side, we join our voices with those of a great multitude proclaiming, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Amen,