God So Loved the World?

John 3:16 is a mainstay of Christian evangelism.  It is “salvation in a nutshell.”  The verse says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God loved the world so much that he even sacrificed his Son (Jesus) for it.  And according to 1Jo 4:11, we ought to love what God loves:

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

So if God loved the world, and we ought to love what God loves, then we ought to love the world.  But according to 1 John 2:15, if we love the world, then our love for the world indicates that God’s love isn’t in us (since presumably, if God’s love is in us, then we ought to love as God loves).  1 John 2:15 says:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Does the Love of God dwell in you?  Do you love what God loves?  Do you love the world as God loves the world?


27 Responses to God So Loved the World?

  1. yes it does…but sometimes i am ashamed of the way i treat people…i think i need an extra portion of love

  2. The Atheist says:


    Welcome to the blog!

    I understand the last part of your statement – we could all be nicer and more loving towards others than we are, and most of us aspire to be better people than we are. But what did you mean by “yes it does”?

  3. Den Relojo says:

    Sometimes, I am tempted to think that Biblical verses are just sets of phrases taken from a well-written fairy tale.

  4. francisco says:

    “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(I John 5:19)

    “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. For 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. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, .etc.) ;-(

    And the “strongest thing” in the evil one’s worldly systems? “Woman”…… yet The Truth, that which is of The Only True GOD, is stronger even than woman. (read I Esdras 3&4 of the Apocrypha) And Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Hope,,,etc,,, all that is “good”, is of The Only True GOD and is of HIS Spirit, not of this world. Those born of The Spirit, those born of The Only True GOD, are the brethren of The Messiah, for they received “a love of The Truth that they might be saved”. Reborn!

    And those who have received “a love of The Truth” have separated themselves from this world and those of this world, for they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come out of her MY people.” They are “in, but not of this wicked, evil world”, and The Only True GOD has received them, and is “A Father unto them, and they are HIS sons and daughters”. And they follow, and desire to be like their Master and Brother, The Messiah, He Who was “the firstborn of many brethren”. And as “The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD”, so also His Brethren are “servants of The Only True GOD.”

    The called out ones are not “adulterers and adulteresses”, they are not “friends of this wicked, evil world”, they do not “fornicate with the god of this world” for they know that “to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of The Only True GOD.” They are at war against the evil spirits that possess those who are of this world.

    And they do not “allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach. For she teaches others to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. The Only True GOD gave her a chance to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev 2:20-21)

    “fornication” and “adultery..” in that which is recorded above signifies spiritual fornication with “the god of this world”, which is to love that which is of his world.

    Once again, the “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”. Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18) Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”. And as stated, “woman is the strongest thing of this world”. Yet stronger than woman is The Truth, which is in those who have “received a love of The Truth”. The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things, nor do they love their own lives in this world”. They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible” ndeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”. Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22) And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And Faithful women are exhorted to “be in silence.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11,12,14) A man and woman joined together in obedience and submission unto The Only True GOD are blessed indeed. All who are not obedient, all who will not submit themselves unto The Only True GOD will have to answer to HIM..period.. Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, .etc.)!

    “The Only True GOD is The HEAD of The Messiah, The Messiah is The Head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman”. Multitudes pervert GOD’s Order because they have been seduced by ” the commandments and doctrines of men and devils”. Multitudes are seduced by the religious systems that are in and of this evil world. Seduced because they love this evil world and their own life in it! “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto the call to ”Come out from among them and be separate!”

    Once again, “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the religious systems. “Come out” from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation and be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world……. francisco

  5. The Atheist says:


    Welcome to the blog!

    Personally, I think the Bible is a rather diverse collection of writings. The oral traditions that the writings transmit span thousands of years and they span diverse cultures and geographic locations. Some writings are songs and poetry, other writings are hero’s tales, others are legal treaties, and still others are beliefs about gods and other supernatural beings. And yes, some of the writings, like the book of Daniel might even be “fairy tales” as you say – that is, stories written for the purpose of entertainment.

    Many of these traditions have been around long before the emergence Judaism (and so even longer before Christianity). As such, I find it rather unremarkable that the Bible, this diverse collection, contains contradictions. What I find quite remarkable is the insistence by fundamentalists that there are no contradictions in the Bible, even when we can all read these contradictions for ourselves.


    Thanks for the comment and welcome to the blog! And thanks for all the quotes – I’m not sure what your view is vis-a-vis the contradiction I have pointed out. Could you clarify?

    Many of your quotes are about the “earth” (ge in Greek or aretz in Hebrew) versus the “world” (kosmos – literally all existence and all peoples – in Greek and goyim – literally “nations” – in Hebrew). For example: “The meek shall inherit the earth” (ge, not kosmos) and “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (ge, not kosmos). Are you perhaps suggesting that whatever is said about “ge” in the Bible should inform our interpretation of what is said about kosmos?

  6. Lloyd says:

    Trying to figure out this website- if you’re an atherist or not.

    It seems the verses you posted are actually well fit and not contradictions. What we are to love is the section of the verses you did NOT bold, so the 3 verses seem to fit together very well. Though we all seem to do a better job of loving the riches portion of the world (that we’re not supposed to) and a poor job of loving the ‘one another’ (what we’re supposed to).

    Oh well- nice graphics on the site.

  7. The Atheist says:


    Thanks for stopping by!

    Sorry if I didn’t describe the contradiction clearly enough. The contradiction is this:

    – God loves the Word (the 1st citation)
    – We ought to love what God loves because God loves it (the 2nd citation)
    – We are to hate the world (3nd citation)

    Does that help?

    • Hello Lloyd,

      To my knowledge John 3:16 refers to the love that God has for the world (people individually) to the extent of providing a second chance, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, to atone for the sins of the world (people) so that people could receive salvation.

      1 John 4:11 “If God so loved us, we ought to love each other.” This verse is an attitude people must have. Recognizing what God has done through Jesus Christ, in love as is said in JOhn 3:16, so yo should express this same love towards others, your fellow human beings.

      1 John 2:15 “Love not the world.” The world is a term used to refer to the sinful behavior of people (collectively). Not everyone is going to accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice therefore not listen to any of God’s commandemets, thus these people will be sinning and comprise the “World” term used here. Yes one is to love their neighbor as a brother, a human being, but not to love the sinful things he or she does.

      God loves the people in the world that he provided us with a second chance at salvation. God does not condone sin but wants us to express the love he had for us to others. Those that sin are considered in the world and God does not want us to love the sin being committed nor the “things of this world,” which include greed, envy, lust, etc.

      Hope this makes some sense!

  8. This selection of verses (not to mention the comparison of extracted and rigidly absolutised principles – with the intent to propose some kind of irreconcilable contradition) is shameful. :D

    You surely can’t be serious, can you? Do you really think kosmos must mean the exact same thing in each and every context, in dull, rubber-stamp-like fashion?



  9. Steve says:

    Dear Atheist:

    I read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity,” and I thought of you. He wrote this book during or just after WWII, a time when many European Christians doubted their faith. One of Mr. Lewis many wonderful analogies stays with me and is perhaps applicable here.

    Mr. Lewis compared God and humans to an aquarium full of fish. God is the owner of the aquarium, and the fish are all of us humans. Mr. Lewis explained that no matter how many times the owner came to the aquarium to feed the fish or clean the aquarium, the fish swam for cover and hid in fear. The fish thought the owner was there to harm them, no matter what he did. So, the owner decided to become a fish and go into the aquarium to tell the other fish in fish-language just exactly what the owner’s nature is like. In this analogy, Jesus is this fish that the owner became to show and tell the other fish about the gracious and caring nature of the owner.

    Do not hate Jesus because his followers do not understand him or fail to write about him in Ivy League fashion, with perfectness. Most of us fish are not as perfect as you. Yet, God is real, he loves you (and me), and he is radically different than most of us fish think he is.

    I love your webiste, btw. When atheists believe scriptures contain wisdom, I am awed by the owner’s cleverness.


  10. The Atheist says:


    Do you really think kosmos must mean the exact same thing in each and every context, in dull, rubber-stamp-like fashion?

    I personally don’t think so since I don’t think that the Bible had a single author (i.e., God) ;) I think kosmos, like other words, can mean different things in different communities, and the meaning can change over time even in the same community.

    However, if one holds to the theory of plenary verbal inspiration, then one should also expect that the Author’s language would be both precise, as well as unchanging from community to community or over time.

    In any case, it seems to me that the meaning of kosmos in verse 3:16 (physical creation, including it’s denizens) is close enough to the meaning of kosmos in 1 John 2:15 (physical creation – as opposed to the spiritual kingdom – and all its denizens) to be a bona fide contradiction. Your thoughts?


    Thanks for stopping by to comment!

    Mr. Lewis compared God and humans to an aquarium full of fish…

    Neat analogy. Now imagine that the aquarium owner actually created the fish, and instead of creating them in a way that they could know that the aquarium owner existed, he created them in such a way that they could not perceive him. Then imagine that the aquarium owner would make all of the fish, who did not believe that the he existed, live forever in an aquarium of sulfuric acid.

    Do not hate Jesus because his followers do not understand him or fail to write about him in Ivy League fashion, with perfectness.

    That sounds to me like an insult to the Christians who are ivy-league university graduates and those Christians who are talented writers. ;)

    When atheists believe scriptures contain wisdom, I am awed by the owner’s cleverness.

    Great! I hope your sense of awe will keep you around to further share your views.

  11. 1. Verbal plenary inspiration (VPI) is not held by all Christians – but hey, if it helps you write this kind of post, then knock yourself out! :)

    2. VPI need not require such a strict homogenization of terms (like ‘kosmos’). Only if a divine author totally, completely and utterly by-passed all of the personality, experience and ability of the writer would that be the case. The bible is soaked with the personalities, debates, characteristics and passions of the times it was written in…

    3. John’s gospel is all about the enfleshed Word, so john 3:16 would have the incarnational world-loving-ness of God in view. 1 John, however is written in the context of proto-gnosticism, making different points – namely that it matters how one (bodily) lives (contra the proto-gnostic view that one’s ‘spirit’ was safe, and that bodily actions – i.e. temple prostitution, etc. – was all good…). 1 John admonishes that community not to ‘love the world’ – meaning don’t live like the ‘world’ around them… This is blatantly simple stuff – I think you’re just stirring here. :) It’s quite obvious how God could both a) love the ‘world’ (creation including humanity) so much to give his son, AND at the same time, b) want believers to ‘not love the world’ (the ungodly way of life contrary to the life of the Kingdom)…


  12. The Atheist says:

    Actually, many of my comments are directed toward the fundamentalist crowd who insist on plenary-verbal inspiration. Those who do not hold to biblical literalism are capable of discussing interpretations based on evidence and reason. Those who hold biblical literalism seem unable or unwilling to do so – so any dispute with this crowd is confined to questions of biblical authority. Contradictions based on a literal interpretation is one way to undermine biblical authority.

    I’m particularly motivated to talk to this crowd because they seem as a group to have more authoritarian tendency than most other groups. I feel that an excessive tendency toward authoritarianism has proven time and again to be a significant danger throughout history.

    To date, I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation of how biblical authors can write the exact words that God wanted them to write, all the while maintaining their own person. The alternatives seem to be that the authors took dictation from God, or God simply gave the writers the desire to write about certain concepts and the writers wrote those concepts in their own fallible words. Then I suppose one could posit that what happened was somewhere in between, or one could posit that God impersonated the author when dictating word-for-word (which would be a fraudulent act on the part of God). The latter of the first 2 alternatives, that the authors wrote in their own fallible words, undermines biblical infallibility and is virtually always rejected by fundamentalists (by fundamentalist, I mean those who believe that every word in the bible is infallible).

    Regardless of our acceptance that the authors were inspired in some non-controlling way, we may still agree that the writers wrote under their own steam. From this position, we have latitude to read what they wrote in the context of history and in the context of the social landscape. I think you are right that John and others were combating competing theologies like gnosticism (as well as others like docetism, arianism, etc).

    Maybe this last bit of discussion helps to clarify my position on John’s kosmos vs 1 John’s kosmos: my assertion is that these truly are contradictions if the bible is to be understood as the infallible Word of a single author (a.k.a. God). Kosmos in either context means virtually the same thing (physical creation and its denizens). Using the biblical-literalist’s style of “exegesis” (that is, stringing together unrelated verses to find meaning), I can seek to answer what our attitude to Kosmos should be. We are told to love as God loves, and that God loves the physical creation and its denizens, but we are also told not to love physical creation and its denizens. If we have to find an alternate meaning to these statements in order for us to harmonize them in a way that makes sense, then either the words are not perfect and are not infallible, or the biblical-literalist’s style of exegesis is unreliable. Either way, the biblical-literalist’s position is undermined.

  13. Damian says:

    A bit off topic but here is a pattern I have noticed quite a bit over the last few years:

    Richard is an atheist who sees no need for a God hypothesis to explain the world.
    Dale is a Christian who acknowledges all scientific findings but also sees a place for God behind it all.
    Kevin is a Christian who takes a literal interpretation of the Bible and is highly distrustful of any science that contradicts it.

    When Richard tries to address Kevin’s misunderstandings of science and criticise the flaws in the logic of his literal interpretation it is not Kevin but Dale who replies to say that Richard obviously doesn’t understand the complexities of theology and that he’s being rather brutish. Kevin sees this as a confirmation that Richard is wrong about how the world works. And nothing is resolved.

    I would suggest that when an atheist addresses issues that are specific to the fundamentalist view of the world that they are very clear as to who they are addressing and that, when they do so, the Christians who are not in this category stop giving false comfort to their fellow Christians who they also believe are making mistakes in their reasoning.

    This way there will be a greater chance that we’ll all get nearer to the truth which is what any of these conversations should be trying to achieve anyway.

  14. The Atheist says:


    Good observation and good advice. I try to say so when I’m attacking the fundamentalist position but I don’t always remember to do it.

  15. Dale says:

    Cheers Damian and A3,
    The simple recognition of the diversity in Christian interpretation would go a long way. No offense, A3, but this post was SO lacking in such recognition, that it actually seemed a bit of a poke/jest…

    To go further, because a) VPI (or even the most rigid and mechanistic understanding of inspiration) in no way necessitates the flat, one-dimensional meaning of kosmos, confirmed by b) the fact that no Christian I’ve met (with whatever view of inspiration they may have) would see a problem with these verses, it follows nearly undeniably that this collection of verses has nothing at all to do wtih VPI or any other theory of biblical inspiration, but rather has everything to do with interpretation.

  16. The Atheist says:


    The simple recognition of the diversity in Christian interpretation would go a long way.

    Point taken… again ;)

    …one-dimensional meaning of kosmos

    In our discussion about the meaning of “tongues”, you cited Acts’ usage of “tongues” to mean human language as evidence that 1 Cor’s used “tongues” to mean human language. How is this form of exegesis different than my claiming a meaning of kosmos in John based on its usage in 1 John? (please note that I did give you the last word on the tongues pos, and that stands – so I’m not attempting to reopen the issue here; my point here is the form of exegesis, not the outcome)

    this collection of verses has nothing at all to do wtih VPI

    Since I personally do not accept the theory of VPI, I recognize virtually all pronouncements about what the Bible means requires interpretation.

    But if one would hold as many do that “inspiration” means direct dictation from God, one should anticipate that the correct interpretation would be the most perspicuous, and expect that any reasonable person would agree with any other reasonable person on what the correct interpretation is – but that’s obviously not the case (see note below). One should also anticipate a certain consistency throughout the Bible, including the consistency in the language (style and nomenclature for example). Such consistency should enable us to “interpret scripture in light of scripture” as Frank Hanegraaff often says. That is, we should be able to use any part of the Bible to constrain the meaning of any other part.

    Note: I’m not claiming here that I think my interpretation of the above verses is correct (I don’t think it is) and that I’m a reasonable person, so therefore VPI is defeated.

    I do claim that this particular style of exegesis is an expression of a fundamentalist view that the Bible is to be taken literally as the very Word of God, which permits me to draw egregious conclusions as I demonstrated in this post. The fundamentalist view that declares itself though this style of exegesis is flawed.

  17. Thanks A3,
    Exegesis is a detailed process, involving lots of factors (textual/literary context [within section, book, author], rhetorical context, canonical context, historo-socio-cultural context, etc.). If you really need me to show you how the use of ‘glosson’ differs from the use of ‘kosmos’ then I can take the time to work through the detail with you (when I get time), but you seem to know enough about exegesis to know that sometimes words have a similar meaning in different contexts and sometimes they don’t.

    As for VPI, etc.; I still don’t know any christians (even the ones with the most woodenly-literal views) whose view of inspiration would prevent words from meaning different things in different (literary, rhetorical, etc.) contexts. In other words, I don’t know any Christians who hold that God completely by-passed the personality of the biblical authors. So I still don’t know who your criticism can be fairly aimed at. It certainly cannot (to my mind) be aimed at ‘many’ Christians.

    (and it’s Hank Hanegraaff…) :)

  18. The Atheist says:


    Exegesis is a detailed process, involving lots of factors

    I agree – and I agree with the factors. As an example, I completely agree that if we want to understand what Luke means, we should identify and compare his sources (e.g., Q and Matthew, and possibly Josephus) and attempt to understand his motives for modifying those sources (for example, what social accusations or christological assertions he was refuting). However I disagree that this exercise is consistent with a belief in VPI. It is not sensible to believe that Matthew was inspired such that his text is the Word of God, and also believe that Luke’s text was inspired such that his text was the Word of God, and at the same time admit that Luke’s text is in part a result of referencing other sources and modifying them to make them “more correct”. More generally, searching for Luke’s motives for what he wrote is a tacit denial of VPI (especially the “plenary” part of the hypothesis).

    I don’t know any Christians who hold that God completely by-passed the personality of the biblical authors.

    The majority of Southern Baptists (SBC affiliates in particular, but other non-Baptist fundamentalists as well) with whom i that I regularly communicate hold that the words in the Bible are actually God’s Words, word for word, and with this as their premise, feel justified in using any verse out of context, and using any combination of verses, to pronounce “God’s Will”.

    By the way (and apart from our discussion here) – I would love to see your process for determining that the use of glosson differs from the use of kosmos, when you have time of course.

  19. The Atheist says:

    and it’s Hank Hanegraaff…

    D’oh! I knew that – I used to listen to his radio program “religiously” :)

  20. Cheers A3,
    Re: VPI and interpretation.
    I don’t think I need to say much – other than we appear to have different senses of what ‘many’ christians believe. Whilst I struggle to think of any Christians I’ve known who would agree they can take “any verse out of context, and [use]any combination of verses, to pronounce “God’s Will”, (regardless of whether or not they are un-knowingly or un-intentionally doing that very thing), nonetheless, if there are such Christians, your criticism of them is fair.

    Re ‘glosson’ and ‘kosmos’
    Just quickly, it’s not so much that “the use of glosson differs from the use of kosmos”, but more that all kinds of words are often used differently in different contexts.
    Glosson is a good example, having 2-3 meanings: 1) a human language, 2) the physical organ, or (possibly – though I, as you know, question this one) 3) a spiritual/’angelic’ language.
    Likewise, the suggestion in this thread is that kosmos can be a) a word referring to all created reality (sun, moon, stars, earth, animals, plants, humans, etc.), b) a word used of persons whose way of life is set against the way of God (in either century before/after Jesus, ‘the world’ would often refer to the Roman Empire), or (possibly) c) all humanity.

    Hope that helps,


  21. Oh yes, regarding Hank (acronym man) Hannegraaf, (L.I.G.H.T.S., M.A.P.S., F.E.A.T., F.A.C.E., etc.)

    And I too used to be a ‘religious’ listener to ‘The Bible Answer Man’ (what an arrogant-sounding name for a broadcast!!??). I’d still agree with much he says, but would also have quite a few bones to pick, etc. :)

  22. The Atheist says:


    we appear to have different senses of what ‘many’ christians believe.

    Here is a recent example (of many on this very blog, and in a large percent of fundamentalist conversations:


    Here, a poster is attempting to redefine a Hebrew term, “SNE” (saw-neh, meaning a personal hatred) as ‘not choosing’. But the clincher is that the evidence this poster offers for the redefinition of the term is Heb 12:16-17 – which she claims is a “continuation” of Mal 1:3. This sort of thing happens much more frequently than you might have noticed.

  23. Hi A3,
    I certainly do not deny that many Christians will make such statements as the example you give. Indeed, we Christians have plenty of work to do.
    However (and I’m not trying to get the last word, etc.), I still think your ‘world’ scenario in the original post is so easily understood, I really do think that few (if any) Christians would have any problem working it out…

  24. franklinmonroe says:

    You have made a non-literal leap: The Bible never says we ought to love “the world”. Supposedly based on 1 John 4:11 you conclude, “So if God loved the world, and we ought to love what God loves, then we ought to love the world.” But that verse only says that we’re to love “one another” (the words are not “the world”). If you going to operate in literalness then you may not extrapolate “love the world” from the instruction to “love one another”. Literally, there is no contradiction. If you want to prove that “the world” and “one another” are the same thing then you might have a case. [But you need not to try to prove that assertion, since they are NOT the same thing (trust me on that for now).]

    You have made another mistaken assumption: None of those verses actually teach us that we can love anything in the manner God loves that something. We’re not God, so we are incapable of loving with the same exact love that God emotes. So even when no distinction at all is made between what “the world” represents in each verse, IF we could love the World in the same way that God loves the World, there would be no problem. Still no contradiction in these verses.

    But I’ll answer your questions anyway. Does the Love of God dwell in you? Yes! Do you love what God loves? Mostly, but in my own limited (human) way. Do you love the world as God loves the world? No, and I’ll never be able to match that kind of love (but with God’s help, I’ll try).

  25. The Atheist says:


    You have made a non-literal leap: The Bible never says we ought to love “the world”.

    I was using “logic” :) … If A, then B. Please look for that in the original post and let me know if I can further clarify.

    If you going to operate in literalness then you may not extrapolate


    None of those verses actually teach us that we can love anything in the manner God loves that something.

    I’m not considering whether we have the ability to love in the manner that God loves. I’m proposing that 1Jo 4:11 implies that we ought to love what God loves.

    But I’ll answer your questions anyway.

    Thanks for answering the question! Most people don’t bother. In this case, it was actually rhetorical. While I maintain that my overall argument has merit, you found a flaw in my last question which is designed to illustrate the point of the argument. A better question would simply be: “Do you love the World?”

    The problem would be this: if we are to understand that we love the world because God’s love dwells within us and God loves the world, then the 1 John 2:15 statement, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” contradicts that understanding.

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