03 March 2009

Universalism: All means ALL! (Pt 2)

OK, picking up where I left off the other day, let us delve into the original languages some; something most universalist promoters I have talked to do not like to do, or deny what is being said. Either they are trying to be dishonest to the text to fit their position, or they are just not wanting to admit that the English translation can only mean what it means in English as we use it today.

There are two main root words that are usually used and translated in some form of the English term all. Anyone with an interlinear Bible, Strong concordance, or electronic Bible program would have no problem quickly looking this up:

The first of these words is Strong's number 3650 - holos

In the KJV, it has been translated "all" 65 times, "whole" 43 times, "every whit" 2 times, and "altogether" 1 time

The meaning is listed as - all, whole, completely and would be more of what we would consider a word for all-inclusive, the whole of something.

The second word is Strong's numbered 3956 - pas

In the KJV, this one has been translated "all" 748 times, "all things" 170, "every" 117 times, "all men" 41 times, "whosoever" 31 times, "everyone" 28 times, "whole" 12 times, "all manner of" 11 times, and "every man" 11 times.

The meaning of this word is two-fold:

When used in the context of an individual:
1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

When used in reference to a large number, or collectively (of a group, etc.):
2a) some of all types

So, in a nutshell, holos would mean whole, all-inclusive, the whole of what ever is the topic; pas would depend on what the topic is, but in the case of speaking of a large number or group, is speaking of part of them, all-types of the group; not all-inclusive or every single one, but a selection of them. Now, with the original understanding in hand, let us go examine some of the usages in Scripture. Let us start where we left off in part one, and put one of those verses I used to the test:
And Jesus went about all (holo) Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of (pas) sickness and all manner of (pas) disease among the people. (Matt. 4:23)
So, we have both words used here, "holo" meaning whole, meaning he did go throughout all of the land, but did he heal every single disease and sickness in the place? No, the word "pas" tells us he healed all kind and types of them, but not every single one without exclusion. Let us look at the very next verse for an example of translation confusion for those not knowing the original word and usage:
And his fame went throughout all (holo) Syria: and they brought unto him all (pas) sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Again, both words are used, but the English translates slightly different, even though the same root words are used in the same manner. He was known throughout the entire, whole land of Syria, and they brought to him "pas" - speaking of a large group of people - so "all types" or "all manner of" sick people; not every single sick person without exception.

There are so many numerous examples I could use, but for the sake of brevity, I will stop with these examples (look further, here are just a few more, Matt. 14:35; 24:14; 26:56; Mark 12:33; 12:44).

Lets turn back to one of the key passages the universalists like to toss around, which is 1 Tim. 2:4, which states about God "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." But now, let us put it back into it's context and look closer:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 1-4)
God wills for all men to be saved...and you guessed it, every single use of "all" in these series of verses in pas. How are we to understand the use of pas here; look at the context, he is talking about groups of people...kings...and all those in authority; therefore pas refers to "all manner" of these men, and not every single solitary one of them. So a more proper rendering of this verse would be (in summary), "pray for kings and those in authority, for God wills for all manner of men to be saved (even the rulers, in other words). Hmmmmmmmm.

The few verses that follow and finish up this section of Paul's address are even more revealing, bringing this entire section into more understanding from a covenantal standpoint, but I will save that for next time.

Continue to part 3