Let me ask you point blank, do you believe that Jesus redeemed the entire world and that all are redeemed and some don't know about it.
Yes ... and No. :)
Here's the yes part:
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved. John 3:17
The word "should" is conditioned upon something, but not upon a human factor. It was spoken in advance about what Jesus was about to do. In other words, the saving of the world is contingent upon the finished work of Jesus. It was his purpose to save the world and he did not fail in this.
Here's the no part:
all are redeemed and some don't know about it.
Have you read anything in the Bible that comes even close to saying this? I haven't. It is a manufactured phrase that only fits within the logic of the whole teaching. I know, I'm probably confusing you more than ever. I'm going to include a small portion of an ongoing project of mine called The Whole World. This is the result of years of batting this stuff back and forth. I had planned on having it out on the site a year ago but it (along with many other things) have been left unfinished in favor of other projects (both my writing projects as well as home improvement projects ... and family projects, etc).
Anyway, it should give you more than enough for one morning, huh? I know it begs a lot of questions and I would love to hear them.
Later dude! Jim
Having said this, let me establish right here what I do NOT think the whole world means:
- everybody, OR a portion of everybody, OR all men, OR all men, women and children
- everybody after the resurrection, OR everybody before the resurrection
- the elect, OR "the world of the elect", OR the chosen
- those who believe, OR the "whosoever wills"
- the earth, OR the church, OR members of a covenant
Now, how do you have a swordfight with someone who won't pick up any of the swords? :) You're probably thinking: "Okay then, who did God love so much, Mister Smarty-pants?" And the question would be a fair one.
There is one reason I've discarded all the usual answers to this question. If you grab hold of this one thing you should be able to see it for yourself. I don't mean to give you some logic in order to change the meanings of the verses in question. No, I'm going to tell you what that reason is, and then I'm going to take you to the Bible, starting in Genesis 1, to point out something that should stick out like a sore thumb.
The reason? The answers you've heard are built upon a false assumption; for the world cannot be defined by what it is, it can only be defined by what it was created to reflect.
Step back a moment and consider a mirror. It's made of glass, which means it's fragile and will break easily, creating razor sharp edges. The front surface is hard and smooth, the back has a dark coating. But do we buy mirrors and hang them on our walls and put them in our cars and in our purses because of what they are made of? Though we frame them the decoration is not the reason we love mirrors, is it? Our understanding of a mirror is not found in an aspect of one of its parts or the sum of its parts, nor do we define a mirror by what it is. We define it and value it by what it reflects. Simply stated, you look in a mirror not to see the mirror, but to see YOU in the mirror.
But when it comes to "the world" we have accepted a definition based upon the raw materials and NOT a definition based upon the reflection factor. In actuality, it makes no difference whether we refine our definition to include all humans, or just a select group of humans! Why not? Because our understanding revolves around what we know about people ... and NOT around what it means to BE "human". Human ... you know, the thing many of us try to rid ourselves of, instead of understanding that to be truly human is true freedom ... and is our destiny.