Question and Answer

Does God Love Everyone?

Question:

A good question came up during my daughter's Reformed Doctrine class at school. "Does God Love Everyone?" My daughter says "no" and her teacher says "yes." The difference of opinion may have to do with the meaning of the word "love". There is common grace and specific grace both taught in the Scriptures. I would be interested in seeing your answer to this issue.

Answer:

Your question: 'Does God love everyone?' is not easily answered. Why? Because, as you rightly state, "The difference of opinion may have to do with the meaning of the word 'love.'" When the Apostle Paul says God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Rom. 9:13) it is very clear that there is a kind of love that is not shared equally by everyone. Only those who belong to Christ can say "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4, 5) Yet it is also true that those who refuse the one and only Savior that God has provided can never honestly say that God never showed any love toward them.

Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh (John 1:14), "the express image of his [God's] person." And the Bible says he had "compassion on the multitude" (Matthew 15:32). Compassion is simply another word for the kind of love that we ought to feel toward those who suffer. We even read that Jesus "loved" (Mark 10:21) the rich young man who refused to become our Lord's disciple. But that love was certainly not the same as his love for his believing disciples. When Jesus commanded us to love our enemies (Luke 6:35) he gave, as a reason for doing so, a reference to the character of God! Since God "is kind to the unthankful and evil" we too are to be "merciful" toward them. And, according to our Savior, doing so is an act of love patterned after the character of the God who made us to be in his likeness, his images.

Does God love everyone in the same way, and to the same degree? No, he does not. But can anyone say that God did not love them at all, in any sense? Again the answer is No.

Thank you for a worthwhile question.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

Return to Formatted Page