Saturday, October 29, 2011

The John 6:44 Argument

The first time I heard this argument, it seemed so obviously flawed that I just replied directly to the person and thought that I wouldn't hear of it again. However, I have heard that same argument used several more times, so I realized that I actually need to address it once and for all.

First, there is the verse:

John 6:44

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”


Then, the argument goes like this:

  • Everyone who the Father draws comes to Christ.

  • Everyone who the Father draws is raised up at the last day, and obviously that only included those who have come to Christ.

  • Therefore, whichever way you look at it, everyone who the Father draws comes to Christ and is raised up at the last day.


The trouble is, that isn't what the verse actually says. Perhaps God only draws those who end up being saved, but THIS verse doesn't say that... maybe other verses do, but this one definitely doesn't. I'll explain. First, I'll break up the verse into components and examine each part and show how it fits together, and then I will give an example of similar sentence structure.

Here are two basis statements made in this verse:

  • No one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him

  • Christ will raise [him] up at the last day


The first part says that without the drawing of the Father, humans are unable to come to Christ. Without X, no one can do Y. This is similar to saying that without having hands, you cannot drum your fingers on your friend's head.

It does NOT follow that everyone who has X actually goes on to do Y. Without X, no one can do Y. With X, a person may or may not do Y... that isn't addressed. For example, if you have hands, you may or may not drum your fingers on your friend's head.


Without the drawing of the Father, humans are unable to come to Christ.

Without X, no one can do Y.

With the drawing of the Father, humans... ? [Are able to come? Will come?]

With X, a person [may or may not do Y...?]


To know what happened with X in place, to all people, we would need further information. However, we do get some information from the next part. Christ will raise “him” up at the last day. Who? The one who comes to Christ: A human cannot come to Christ unless the Father draws that human, and Christ will raise that human [the same one who was drawn and came to Christ] in the last day.

From this, we learn that there are people who are drawn by the Father who also come to Christ. We learn that whoever falls under that category is raised up on the last day. What category? The category of those who both

A) Come to Christ

B) Were drawn by the Father


Obviously, no one can be in category A without also being in category B – since the first part of the verse says so. So those who come to Christ fit BOTH categories, and are raised up in the last day. However, the verse didn't say whether someone could be in category B without being in category A. It didn't address that.


No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.


This does NOT say that all those who are drawn come. It says that all who come were drawn.

It does not say that all who were drawn are raised. It says that those came and were drawn are raised.


Analogy:

No one can murder his brother unless God first gives him existence; and the American law will send him to jail.


This does NOT say that all who are given existence murder their brother. It claims that all those who murder were given existence.

It does not say that all who were given existence are sent to jail. It claims that those who murder and were given existence are sent to jail.


Logic, people. Logic.


.

4 comments:

bossmanham said...

Very well done. Couldn't have put it better.

Peter Pike said...

Except that over looks the context of John 6, such as verse 39, which says: "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day."

Furthermore, verse 40 says: "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

Clearly, those who are raised up on the last day are not just drawn by the Father, but also given to Christ by the Son -- and none given are lost -- and they are equivalent to those who believe.

Furthermore, verses 64-65 clarify the very verse by explaining that the drawing is to distinguish between those who are saved and those who are not. Namely: "'But there are some of you who do not believe.' (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.'"

If your interpretation is correct, then that explanation makes no sense. Let's use your murder example for a moment:

----
No one can murder his brother unless God first gives him existence; and the American law will send him to jail.

But there are some of you here who will not murder. That is why I have said that no one can be sent to jail under American law unless I have first given him existence.
---

That makes no sense; yet the structure is the same as yours. Therefore, your analogy is a false analogy.

Thus, as you should now see, verse 65 loses all explanatory power if verse 44 is limited to only saying "Those who come were drawn, but not everyone who was drawn will come." Because in what way does "that is why I said no one can come unless it has been granted to him of the Father" make sense unless there are a group of people not granted to the Son?

And that's the distinction. Perhaps you might now claim, "Oh, there's three groups of people: those who were drawn and came, those who were drawn and did not come, and those who were not drawn." Yet Scripture only shows two groups: those who were drawn and those who were not. And of those who were drawn, it nowhere says that anyone who is drawn is lost.

In fact, since the group of people raised up are described as 1) given to the Son by the Father; 2) those who believe in the Son; 3) those who it is the will of the Father to raise up at the last day; then LOGIC demands that if you are drawn, then you will be saved. Verse 44 does not exist in a vacuum.

Context, Arminians. Context :-)

Skarlet said...

Peter,

I know we ended up talking about this blog over text, but I'll go ahead and respond to your comment here as well.

First of all, you made an interesting argument for the idea that all who are drawn by the Father are saved. However, that's off the topic of the original post, and so as shiny as the topic is, I'll leave it along for now.

The main point of this blog was not to contradict that belief (that all who are drawn by the Father are saved), but just was a critique of one specific argument for that belief. Indeed, to say that the belief is wrong merely because that *one* argument is wrong would be very insufficient, to say the least.

At the end of your comment, you write “Context, Arminians. Context.” I totally agree that context is important; in fact, you are agreeing entirely with the point of this blog. I am saying that a person cannot prove the point by this one verse, by itself, without context.

I was responding to a specific argument used by some Calvinists who use this ONE verse to try to prove their point. When I try to bring in context or other verses, they don't want to, because they think that their point has already been indisputable proven by John 6:44 alone. This blog is pointing out the flaw of *that* argument, which as you mentioned is an argument that you yourself would not use. In your above argument, you bring in other verses. This is good. This makes for a more substantive argument than the one that I was addressing in this blog.

You mention that my analogy would not work with other verses. Very true. I was not trying to address the context, since the context was not included in the argument I was criticizing. I was only trying to point out how the sentence structure in that one verse alone does not prove show that being drawn is sufficient cause for a person to come to Christ, though it is obviously listed as a necessary cause.

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