Objections Answered to the paper: Is it God's will that all people be saved?


Someone posted a rebuttal to my paper. For the purpose of Clarification, I have color-coded this paper to make it clearer. My original paper's quote is in black. The rebuttal to it is in brown. My response to that is in green. I've not responded to every objection because some of them weren't that important and tended to miss the main point of the immediate context.

It is obvious that the person responded to my paper as he was reading it, instead of reading the whole thing and then responding. This accounts for his comments which I covered in the paper later, and sometimes immediately after his comments.

"[sic]" means the error in either syntax or spelling is original to the author.

This person's attempt to answer the paper fell short. It did not refute the original conclusion, but, in fact, only affirmed it. Also, something rather disturbing was that other universalists agreed with this person in affirming his "refutation" as excellent. I fail to see that with his comments.

  1. To begin with, are God's desires always accomplished? No, they are not. God's desire is that people do what is right and not sin: "To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice," (Prov. 21:3).
    1. "God would rather have people obey him out of their own love/will then to obey him out of necessity as a type of "fire insurance". Are we of our own will able to save ourselves?"
      1. I fail to see how the above comment has anything to do with the point I was making in the paper at that time. It isn't a refutation. At best, it is only an opinion.
  2. But people still sin in spite of God's stated desire.
    1. "I suspect that Matt see's [sic] sin as the foremost problem in the world today, what if God in fact uses it as the solution. In fact most fundamentalist christians [sic] all they seem to discuss is sin and not the solution. They discuss what Jesus did for us and then carry on discussing how not to SIN."
      1. I am completely amazed here. Of course God uses people's sin. I said in my paper, "It means that He simply permitted it by allowing the fall. He then uses it, and other sins, for His glory and purpose." Apparently, he didn't read it too clearly.
    2. "how could God accept creating a species with whom he would consign 90+ percent to an "everlasting" torture. Is that Good? To say that God's will is not always done is to take the view that God could be "suprised" [sic] by the actions of his creatures."
      1. Is this a refutation? Not at all. It is only a question. To ask it is to be guilty of a non-answer. God can do what He wants. He can damn all if He chooses and be perfectly just and right in so doing without changing His loving character one bit. It isn't a context of who gets the most souls. Besides, God orders that people refrain from sin, yet everyone sins. Does that make God a failure? Hardly. As I stated in my paper, it is part of God's sovereign plan.
      2. "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14"For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it," (Matt. 7:13-14). See also, Luke 13:22-27.
  3. In theology, when examining this issue of God's will and His allowance of sin, we distinguish between what is called God's perfect will and His permissive will. In His perfect will, He desires that all refrain from sin. But in His permissive will, He allows sin to exist. In this sense, He has two wills regarding sin. He desires that sin not exist because it is contrary to His nature, yet He wills that it does by making provision for it in His sovereign plan. This does not mean that God brought sin into existence. It means that He simply permitted it by allowing the fall.
    1. "This of course depends on your definition of SIN. Matt as well as most ET's make SIN sound like an object. A sticky, ooze, tar like substance not particularly well defined, somewhat dark but basically bad (stay away from it)."
      1. This is ludicrous. This "refutation" is far from substantial. Sin is breaking God's law and if this person had read my definition of it on my site, he would not have stated such an absurdity.
  4. Do you see how God predestined Herod and Pontius Pilate to carry out His will? Didn't they sin in condemning Jesus? Yes! Did God predestine them to do what He planned? Yes! Did God make them sin? No, for God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). Yet, God, in His sovereignty predestined them to do what they did.
    1. "If God predestined them, and his will was for Jesus to be crucified, did Herod and Pilate really truly sin. Did they truly fall short of God's expectations in this situation? Did Judas truly fall short of God's desire for him, Jesus told Judas to turn him over to the authorities. He could have convinced him otherwise or said nothing at all. God does not tempt anyone? Did he not tempt Judas? Did God not tempt Adam & Eve, he allowed Satan in the garden, what is the natural conclusion to those conditions. God himself may not tempt, but he allows the tempting to occur."
      1. The obvious answer is yes, they really sinned. Again, this response isn't a refutation of anything. It has no value with no point to it. Again, God allows sin to exist in the world as part of His permissive will in His sovereign plan.
  5. Again, simply because God states that He desires all people to be saved does not mean that all will be saved.
    1. "Likewise it doesn't automatically mean that they won't all be saved."
      1. It is nice to see that this person admitted one of the points of my paper.
  6. This is particularly important when we notice that God elects people (Matt. 24:24,31; Mark 13:20; Rom. 8:33), predestines them (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:1-11), appoints them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), and grants that they believe (Phil. 1:29).
    1. "With regards to the people that were not "predestined", "appointed", "elected" etc: what gave God the right to choose one for eternal life and another for eternal damnation. You say he decided, presumably before they were made, where they would spend eternity. What function or purpose do those that God not predestine serve?"
      1. "What gave God the right...?" This is an unfortunate question. God, by His nature of being God, has the right to do whatever He wants. Who is this person to question God? "On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?'" (Rom. 9:20). God does this after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:1-11) which I so stated in my paper and which, it seems again, was not sufficiently read by this person.
  7. We can see that God says He does not wish any to perish. But, we can also see that God gave Israel eyes to not see with and ears to not hear with. Likewise, Jesus, who is God in flesh, purposely spoke to people in parables so they would not perceive and repent (Mark 4:11-12). If God wants all saved, why would He arrange it so people were blinded and prevented from seeing? Some will say that the people did this to themselves. But that is not what the text says. Clearly, God is the one performing the actions in preventing them to see. In this case, He desires one thing and does another.
    1. "The parables were spoken so that those of a religious and rigid mind would not understand. Jesus wanted the lay person to understand but not the religious. Matt 11:25"
      1. Apparently, this critic of my paper did not read it carefully at all. I already answered this objection in the paper. Mark 4:11-12 says, "And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven," (Mark 4:11-12). As you can see, it was not to strengthen their blindness. Jesus actually stated that He spoke in parables in order that they might not see. Instead of addressing this verse, the objector quotes Matt. 11:25 which says, "At that time Jesus answered and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes." What confuses me in this person's response is why he would quote a verse that further proves my point. As you can see above, the Father is the one hiding the truth from the "wise" on earth... etc. Again, I fail to see any point of refutation of my paper here.
  8. Does God want pain and suffering in the world? The obvious answer is no. God created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect world without pain, without suffering, and without loss. That is God's desire because that is the way God made things in the beginning. Yet, we have pain, suffering, and loss in the world. Why? Because that is the nature of our sinful system -- and God permitted it. But are we to say that God is not in control? Again, no. In fact, God causes some of the very things we believe He does not want.
    1. "But again what is the purpose of this "SINFUL SYSTEM". Is it some cruel, sick joke being played on the human race. If people experience varying amound [sic] of pain, suffering and loss in this world why does God need to eternally punish. We have people who are in a literal hell right now on Earth. God knew the results of his actions before he did them, so again why did he do it the way he did. Perhaps you misunderstand what it is that God wants."
      1. What is this except more questions without answers? This is not how one refutes a paper. If I have misunderstood what God wants, then this person should offer something as a correction. But, he does not...again.
  9. Why would God compel people to come into His house so that it can be filled and yet send a deluding influence upon the same people? Are not those people in 2 Thessalonians, at the time of the Antichrist, the same people included in the highways and hedges? Does not God compel all to enter into His house regardless of when and where they are in history?
    1. "Lets examine this: does God compel all to be drawn to himself? Not if you accept many modern church viewpoints. People in faraway lands who have never heard of God apparently are consigned to hell without any chance of redemption. They would have you believe that he doesn't care or is unable to save. After all the "holy mother church" hasn't sent any representatives."
      1. This is another subject altogether and needs to be dealt with elsewhere. Nevertheless, whatever God does is holy and right. They will be judged according to Rom. 2:11-16. Again, this isn't a refutation at all.
  10. God did not cause the people who crucified Jesus to sin. But, He sure used their sin and He predestined all of it to occur. He used the sins of Herod and Pilate along with the Gentiles to do His divine will. In fact, God anointed them to do what they did. Why? To carry out His purpose and His plan to bring His Son to the cross, to save sinners, and to bring glory to Himself.
    1. "Again you discuss God's plan without revealing his overall divine purpose. You make it sound as though the lay person is incapable of even beginning to understand the overall design. Us uni's simply believe that he has already saved all us sinners. Most people however still lack that understanding."
      1. I did reveal what I believed was the overall purpose in God's plan. I stated in my paper, "What is that plan? I believe God was arranging history to lead to the ultimate goal of Christ's crucifixion, resurrection, and return, along with the redemption of God's people." This objector has demonstrated yet again that he did not thoroughly read the paper. As far as the rest of the statement from him, he is only begging the question by assuming the very thing under discussion as a proof for his point.
  11. God can and does control people's hearts and actions so that they will accomplish His purpose. He does this sovereignty and He does it without causing people to sin. He can even make someone's heart hard for the purpose of carrying out His plan.
    1. "Once again are interests are barely conflicting, you believe that God desires to save all men, but is either unable or unwilling to save all. We believe that God desires to save all men and is able and willing to acheive [sic] that goal."
      1. Incorrect, I fully believe God is able to achieve whatever goal He sets up. He has devised His plan and it will be carried out. Again, nothing here that refutes the paper.
  12. "And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17"For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled. -- as quoted in my paper from Rev. 17:16-17.
    1. "You assume that God who did not show mercy, will never show mercy toward those he destroys/chastens. That he will be eternally vengeful. You assume they are eternally lost. The scriptures about the harlot above show that though he will try her, he will not punish forever but "until the words of God should be fulfilled." Are we not all God's people? Or are only those that say the sinners prayer "of God". And if so then how does anyone who was not "predestined" get saved? And since it is not "of works lest anyone should boast" we can't even claim to be saved by saying the sinners prayer since that would be a "work"."
      1. I assume no such thing. God indeed shows mercy to people He chastens. I am a good example. This person's opinion of what the verse means is only his opinion and nothing more. Most Christian commentators understand and accept the eternal nature of damnation.
  13. In the above verses you can see that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked yet he delighted in destroying the wicked people. Is this a contradiction? No. Because God has a purpose and a plan and He has the sovereign right to accomplish His will. On one hand, He doesn't want people to suffer and die, yet on the other hand, He is delighted to carry out His divine plan which necessarily includes the death of the wicked because it is in accordance with the Law which He Himself has given us. His divine plan will be accomplished. This is further proof that God can desire one thing and bring another to pass.
    1. "And you believe that somehow these men are hindering God's will, and therefore have to be bulldozed to make way for the "divine plan"."
      1. Again, I believe no such thing and did not say that at all in my paper. In fact, I clearly stated that all of what they did was in God's sovereign plan. It seems this person has not read my paper very clearly and is trying to read into it what I did not say. He is constructing straw-men to shoot down.
  14. Though God hates sin, He permits it for the greater glory of Himself and His plan. In this, He desires all to be saved, but has not ordained that it be so because, according to the Law, He must punish sinners.
    1. "The reason "God permits sin" is because it is the cornerstone of his plan, his plan for redemption of all. God hates sin only in that it seperates [sic] himself from us."
      1. No, the cornerstone of God's plan is Jesus' crucifixion, not sin. To say that God hates sin only because it separates Him from us is incorrect. Sin is an affront to God's very character and nature. It is breaking His law which He gave and which is a reflection of His divine character. This person's theology is too man-centered for me. It stresses God needing or wanting us. Mine, on the other hand, stresses the glory of God's righteousness and the fact that sin is an offense to His holiness and righteousness.
  15. God has worked all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:5) and has engineered history to bring not only the cross as the means of redemption, but also the culmination of all things for the declaration of His own glory, righteousness, holiness, and character. Sin will be shown to be utterly sinful and horrible. The cross demonstrates His righteousness and grace and His sovereign will is carried out.
    1. "Here we have your horrible icky "SIN" thing. To Sin is nothing less then to fall short of God's expectations. It is no more horrible then [sic] a child falling short of it's parents expectations. If a person commits a heinous act during his life against another is he not usually punished by the secular world. Is it then just and righteous for God to punish him further. Are we not all God's children? Apparently you think otherwise."
      1. Again, a failure to understand what sin really is. It isn't "nothing less then [sic] falling short of God's expectations." It is an affront to God Himself. Sin is rebellion against God, a violation of His law and character. It brings death and wrath. When this person demonstrates an inability to rightly understand sin, he demonstrates the tendency for further error as is demonstrated in his next response.
  16. Do 1 Tim. 2:3-4 and 2 Pet. 3:9 prove that all will be saved? No, not at all. But they do show us that God is not simplistic and that He has a divine plan that we must truly seek to fathom if we are to rightly understand His word.
    1. "Apparently only a few such as yourself are able to fathom the divine plan of God. I personally believe that which is simple, is usually the truth. Religious/buerecratic [sic] man complicates and adds layers upon layers of half truths upon virtually every thing that is good and right and true."
      1. Such mockery is not how a refutation is done. To say that that which is the simplest is the truth is to oversimplify the issue. There are difficult things in scripture and being simple about them will only lead to error.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.