Dena, a member of Emerging Universalist is an almost "convinced universalist". She is standing on the UR side of the line, but when a tough question or easily misunderstood verse comes up she toes that line. She is in a discussion on a Christian relationship message board that morphed from praises for Jonathan Edwards to a discussion about hell and who goes there. She wrote a wonderful post...but then someone posted a rebuttal to her statement that God was not going to nuke one of his children. True, her opponent agreed....but, he said, we are not all children of God.
I have to agree with the statement that a "father" does not nuke his children (a paraphrase, if I may). However, I believe we need to recall Jesus' words to the Pharisees in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, v 41-44. I'll quote the NRSV, here:
You are indeed doing what your father does." They said to him, "We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Here, by Jesus' own words, we have the statement that there are those who do NOT have Jehovah as their father. Those are the lost. There are those whose "father" is the Devil.
One of the common mis-conceptions in "popular Christianity" is that "we are all God's Children." That is incorrect. Look at the first chapter of John's Gospel:
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Here it is clearly indicated that only those who receive Christ, who Believe (for salvation) in Christ, have the right to BECOME children of God. For someone to become something, they first must NOT be that something. Therefore, those who do not believe are NOT "Children of God". Scripture is plain on that.
Hmmmm....it is, eh? Doesn't scripture also declare that Jesus was the firstborn of all creation? The firstborn indicates family....as in there are to be others born...and all creation does sort of sum it up,no?How about the following verses:
1 Corinthians 8:4-6
4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "no idol in the world really exists," and that "there is no God but one." 5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - as in fact there are many gods and many lords - 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.To him be glory forever. Amen.
16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Concerning the belief that all humans are not God's children, in his writing Abba, Father George MacDonald says
The refusal to look up to God as our Father is the one central wrong in the whole human affair; the inability, the one central misery: whatever serves to clear any difficulty from the way of the recognition of the Father, will more or less undermine every difficulty in life.
'Is God then not my Father,' cries the heart of the child, 'that I need to be adopted by him? Adoption! that can never satisfy me. Who is my father? Am I not his to begin with? Is God not my very own Father? Is he my Father only in a sort or fashion--by a legal contrivance? Truly, much love may lie in adoption, but if I accept it from any one, I allow myself the child of another! The adoption of God would indeed be a blessed thing if another than he had given me being! but if he gave me being, then it means no reception, but a repudiation.--"O Father, am I not your child?"'
John Gavozanni is the author of an short writing called Adoption. He begins the article with the following:
There seems to be more confusion than I realized as to what the New Testament is referring to by the word, "adoption." A clear explanation is available in the notes of many good study bibles. The New Testament does NOT use the term in the sense that it is used in our culture today, that is, referring to making someone---usually a child, but it can be an adult---your child, a member of your family, LEGALLY.
Rather, it refers to the public presentation of a natural-born son---or for that matter, a legalized son---as acknowledged to be a mature, responsible son who has come of age and from that time on can conduct business in his father's name and in some measure speak and act with his father's authority.
In the teaching of the New Testament, becoming a child of God, is not presented as a legal matter, but, well, duhh, as a paternal matter, that is, one who is a child of God, is so by being born of God, born of the Spirit, generated by God from eternity and, upon this basis, in the aeon, "born from above," or REgenerated in the aeon in accordance with our eternal identity in Christ. Apparently, much to my surprise, some teachers who are quite comparatively biblically literate, are confused about this very fundamental issue.
I have some more thoughts on this...mine and those of others...that I will continue tomorrow.....