From an Email on Unconditional Love
Question: Would you do something for me? Would you find scriptures for me that prove that Jehovah doesn’t love people unconditionally, and that the ones He does love, He doesn’t love equally?
Jehovah doesn’t love people unconditionally…
The best proof (to me) that I found were texts that specified conditions! In other words, if Yehovah had loved unconditionally, why would He give conditions for His love? Wouldn’t He have just stated that He loved all under all circumstances? For example,
2 Corinthians 9:7 So every man shall give according as he purposes in his heart—not grudgingly or of necessity. For God loves a cheerful giver.
Why state this if He equally and unconditionally loves a reluctant giver or a non-giver?
Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight! Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. 6Thou shalt destroy them that speak lying! Yehovah will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
Now, if He also loves the workers of iniquity and the bloody and deceitful man while hating the one group and abhorring the other, what is the benefit of His love? If He loves folks He is sending to the Lake of Fire and Sulfur, what consolation is the love of God? Telling a person, “God loves you!” while knowing that that is not necessarily a benefit, but could be a one-way ticket to Hell removes the purpose and usefulness of God’s love!
Psalm 146:8 Yehovah opens the eyes of the blind. Yehovah raises them who are bowed down! Yehovah loves the righteous! 9Yehovah preserves the sojourners! He relieves the orphan and widow! But He turns the way of the wicked upside down!
If He turns the way of the wicked upside down, which often means that He slaughters them in the Bible, is this an act of love toward them (as opposed to turning their hearts to righteousness and salvation)? If Yehovah loves the righteous, does He love everyone? If so, why specify?
Proverbs 3:12 For whom Yehovah loves He corrects—the son in whom He delights—even as a father.
Does He correct all? Are all saved? I know He doesn’t correct all, for all are not corrected. Yehovah is not so impotent that He is incapable of correcting all! He doesn’t chastise all evildoers. He doesn’t even correct the vast majority of the world’s populations.
John 14:23 Yeshua answered. And He said unto him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my words! And my Father will love him! And we will come unto him and make our abode with him!”
This text is rather specific, telling whom Yehovah the Father will love. Why specify those whom He will love if He already loves all?
John 13:1 Before the feast of the Passover, when Yeshua knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.
Whom did He love? Everyone? Either the Bible is true, or the opinions of folks are true, and the Bible is filled with lies.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The verb loved appears to be in the past tense. It is actually in the Greek aorist tense, as are several other verbs in this verse. The translators had a real challenge with this verse. The last two verbs are in the subjunctive case, which indicates some type of possibility (rather than certainty) or some type of iffy condition in English. I propose that the Greek subjunctive of the Bible is usually not iffy. (If it is iffy, certainly no certainty is present!) Thus, I propose that the flavour of the text is more like the following:
John 3:16 For God, so loving the world, that He, giving His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not be perishing, but have everlasting life…
The Greek aorist tense indicates an action without reference to its time (that is, without reference to past, present or future tense) considering it only in a single point of unspecified time. That is why I adding the ‘ings’ to the verbs. If this is the case, other texts must be used to see if God’s love for the world still continues to this day.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passes away, and its lust. But he who does the will of God abides forever.
The command to not love the world is blatant.
Does Yehovah command Saints to not love what He does love? How would that fit in with having the mind of Christ?
Does He Equally Love Those Whom He Loves?
Some of the above texts appear to demonstrate equality in His love. His loving sons (children) and not loving bastards indicates equality in the two separate groups:
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. 7If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons. For what son is he whom the father doesn’t chasten? 8But if ye are without chastisement (of which all are partakers), then are ye bastards and not sons.
It is evident to me that Yehovah does not chasten many in this world. All children are partakers of chastisement; all non-children are not. They are classified as bastards instead of sons.
The following Psalm shows that Yehovah can love in degrees of less and more:
Psalms 87:2 Yehovah loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
I can’t find more proof of the degrees of Yehovah’s love beyond logic arguments. He made man in His image, and humans are quite capable of showing degrees of love; I cannot see where Yehovah is less capable than man.
Daniel 9:23 “The commandment came forth at the beginning of thy supplications, and I am come to show thee. For thou art greatly beloved. Therefore, understand the matter and consider the vision.”
Daniel 10:11 And he said unto me, “Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright. For I am now sent unto thee.”
Daniel 10:19 And he said, “Man greatly beloved, fear not. Peace is unto thee. Be strong! Indeed, be strong!”
The Hebrew word rendered “greatly beloved” is from khamad, a word indicating great desire and affection. It indicates a very strong love—more akin to cherish.
The next text refers to great love. No reader can possibly understand this text (and all like it) without paying very close attention to the pronouns. We, us and our refer to the Israelis; ye, you and your refer to the Saints in Ephesus. The text will make sense if these are ignored—the wrong sense:
Ephesians 2:1 And you who were dead in trespasses and sins 2in which ye walked in past time according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air—the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience 3among whom also we all had our lifestyle in the lusts of our flesh in past times, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were the children of wrath by nature, even as others—4but God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in sins, He has made us alive together with Messiah (by grace ye are saved) 6and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavens in Messiah Yeshua 7so that He will show the exceeding riches of His grace via kindness toward us in the ages to come through Messiah Yeshua.
If there are not degrees of love, the use of great is improper.
A Statement on Equality of Love
Humans reflect so many aspects of Yehovah. Good parents give to children who need more love. If love is seeking the highest, best interest for another without regard to self, some require more of this seeking than do others. Concepts of equality and fairness are almost never part of the character and behaviour of God in the Bible. Needs differ; depths of sin (and therefore, forgiveness) differ; responses to God differ.