Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 2
Universal Negatives in John's Gospel, Part 1
What is Truth? Is Truth Unchanging Law?
Absolute truth, when it comes to God's law, demands a precise definition. Something like:
What is sinful for one person is sinful for anyone in the same time and same circumstances.
This (by the inclusion of "in the same time and same circumstances") accommodates situational ethics—prevalent in scripture, while denying its ugly sister: moral relativism. It says: what is not sinful for person A (e.g., an Old Testament priest sacrificing animals for atonement) can be sinful for B (a Christian) because the time and/or circumstances (situation) differ. However, it precludes moral relativism in that it also implies that what is sinful for person A is sinful for everyone in the same time and circumstances.
Nevertheless, today is about absolutes!
• Absolutes in the form of a Universal Negative
• In Logic, a universal negative is the proposition that no A is B.
The Venn diagram demonstrates the difference between a negative and a universal negative.1
John's Universal Negatives
Universal negatives are absolutes. They offer no wiggle room. They are not case law. John is quite fond of the construct. We find, in his gospel:
No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (John 6:44)
No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the father. (John 6:65)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life, No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)
I give them eternal life and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:29)
The first two put the U in TULIP. The first and third contribute to the I. The third also contributes to the L. The last two put the P in TULIP, i.e., we must be concerned with the ability of Satan/his minions/the world/our sinfulness/ to entice us to (in effect) curse God—but we don’t have to be concerned with losing our salvation. We cannot be snatched away.
Calvinism (the minimal five-points variety) is largely (but by no means exclusively) built on a foundation of John's Universal Negatives.
1 To first order, everything can be demonstrated by the venerable Venn Diagram.
[END PART 2]
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