[#] The Atonement in John 3 [1 of 2]

I need to clean this up before moving on or I'm going to become the world's longest unfinished blog.

The argument from someplace -- and I can't even remember where at this point, I think it was a poster at BHT -- was that John 3 cannot possibly be talking about Limited atonement when Jesus is talking to Nicodemus in the discourse which includes John 3:16.

And a lot of people would agree with this person -- Adrian Rogers, (not to pick on the heroes of the faith) for example. But whoever may agree with this idea, what does John 3 actually say?

Here's the verse they always start at:
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16, right? And Dr. Rogers was always very keen on the. Whole. W_O_R_L_D. I am sure the person who brought this up recently is keen upon it, too.

But before we get to "world" here, let's look at the first word in this sentence: "for". It means "in this way" or "toward this purpose", right? m-w.com this about "for":
1 a -- used as a function word to indicate purpose {a grant for studying medicine} b -- used as a function word to indicate an intended goal {left for home} {acted for the best} c -- used as a function word to indicate the object or recipient of a perception, desire, or activity {now for a good rest} {run for your life} {an eye for a bargain}
It also has 9 other possibilities, but all of them revolve around the idea that "for" denotes an object of purpose -- as in, "in honor of" or "with respect to".

So when John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world", it is saying "in this way God loved the world". The phrase is anticipating some action which demonstrates God's love; it is not a phrase which describes the scope of the action but the purpose or intent of the action.

Now, before we go on, think about this: "For I loved my family so much that I worked 7 days a week in a coal mine." The love of my family was my purpose; the scope of my action is inside a coal mine. The coal mine is where the work is done.

In exactly the same way, John 3:16 goes on "that he gave his only Son". God's love for the world was the purpose of giving the Son, right? Nobody questions or denies that, I think. But is that the end of the sentence?

Of course not: the sentence ends "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Think on it: the Son was for the purpose of God's love, and also for the purpose of giving eternal life to the ones who believe." There is no way to make the words here say "for the purpose of giving eternal life to the whole world".

In that, the advocate for something other than limited or particular atonement generally hangs the rest of his argument on one English word: "whosoever".

And whosoever reads this blog tomorrow will find out what I think about that.