Dear Pastor Andy, where in John 3:16 does it say that God loves every inhabitant to have ever lived on earth? John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
What gives Christians the impression that “the world” (KOSMOS in GREEK) insinuates every single inhabitant of the earth? Is this their only response to Romans 9:11-13 where God makes His perfect pronouncement of hatred towards a baby yet to be born (Esau)? And what about Psalm 5:5 and 6:8 where God expresses His perfect and RIGHTEOUS hatred for ALL WORKERS of iniquity? And His perfect determination to have all reprobate souls DEPART from Him? His perfect determination to send the SINNER (not the disembodied sin) straight to the depths of hell?
My Reply: I’ll admit, I’m not too clear on what your question really is, for it seems to be all over the place. Are you asking what gives us the impression that God loves everything that He created? If so, then I’m glad you mentioned “Kosmos” in the Greek, for if you’ll notice, in the English, “Kosmos” is often translated “world”. So people look at it and say that God so loved the whole world. But if you want to really look at the passion of Christ and the intention of God, then I’d suggest you translated “Kosmos” as “all of creation” (as is also its definition). For notice, John 1 tells us that everything that exists, Jesus made. Genesis tells us that when Man (male and female) sinned, all of creation was tainted. Keep in mind, the humans weren’t the only ones kicked out of the garden, but everything that breathes). So Jesus’ incarnation wasn’t only to people, but all of creation. “For God so loved all of creation, that He sent His One and Only Son.”
I think a fatal error of this verse though is when it’s taken out of the context in which it was written, and made a doctrine of the Christian faith. So many people read verse 16, then stop there. But if you’ll read the rest of that passage, you’ll see it reveals that the offer of salvation isn’t only to a select few, but to everybody. The offer is on the table, we just have to accept it and receive Christ in order to live and not perish. So you see, God didn’t send His Son to condemn His creation, but to save His creation through Him: “…that whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Now in terms of Esau, God didn’t actually “Hate” Esau. Yes, the scriptures say this, but it’s not in the way that we understand the word in the English. However, it is important to realize that Jacob was the chosen one through whom the Messiah would be born, regardless of how deceptive he (Jacob) was.
Interestingly, you mentioned Psalm 6:8: “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.” When taken out of context (as you just did), one might think that God hates all sinners. But then, we all fell into that category before accepting His Son. Does God then hate us? No, for then it would contradict with what we already talked about in John 3:16-17. If anything, I would compare Psalm 6:8 to John 3:18-21: “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s One and Only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right, come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (NLT)
So does God love all of His creation? Yes, He does. Did Jesus die for everybody? Yes, He did, but we (humans) have to accept Jesus, God’s One and Only Son, as Lord if we’re to receive the benefits of His death and resurrection. In other words, if you’ve accepted Jesus, then verses 16-17 concern you. But if you don’t accept Jesus Christ, then you fit in with verses 18-21. But you have to read it all together and in context if you’re to fully understand.