Does "All" Mean Every Single Person Without Exception?
Updated: Mar 7
Does "all" mean "all" in the Bible? There are a number of verses in the Bible that show the word "all" can be referring to people, but not necessarily every single person on earth without exception. However, there are verses that clearly show that "all" can mean every single person without exception. Context matters.
The Calvinist interpretation of predestination is this: Out of the billions of people that God created, he chose to “save” a few, showing how wonderful he is. He wills the damnation of most, for the sole purpose of his glory and to prove his sovereignty. If he chose your child to be damned, it is what is best.
I believe the biblical interpretation of predestination is this: God sovereignly elected that the saved would be those who are corporately “in Christ.” There are conditions for being “in Christ”, which the bible makes clear (Romans 10:9, 10; Hebrews 5:9). We become a part of this predestined body when we submit to Christ as Lord. God wills that all people meet these conditions, and in his sovereignty, he created a world in which freewill exists because he values loving relationships. For love to truly be love it must be freely chosen – which means the opposite could also be chosen. Thus, he did not choose for your child to be damned – when your child is capable of moral reasoning God will begin calling him to submission.
It has been proclaimed that the so called “Golden Chain” of salvation in Romans 8 is referring to saints of the past (those foreknown by God) and God’s continual aid to them as an encouragement to the Christians that Paul was writing to at the time. This interpretation is aligned with the biblical teaching that salvation is available to all.
God chose Israel to be his elect nation and this election was corporate, not individual. Just so, God chose the Church to be his elect people and he gave the conditions for individuals to become a part of this elect group. When you become a part of this elect group, you become a partaker in what God predestined for this group. God is resourceful and intelligent enough to remain in control even when millions of people reject his rule over their lives. So do not despair over the poisonous lies of Calvinism. When it comes to the fact that God wants all to come to repentance, all means every single person without exception.