I was having a talk with my mom about exactly what parts of the Bible mean when they say the word “all”.
Take for example, this commonly used verse from Romans.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Who exactly is all? Is it all humans? Is it all creatures on earth? The solar system? Universe? Does it include God himself? Even if you define what sin is, the all is a complete mystery.
The key is given in verse 9
3:9 What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin,
Since the context of the chapter is talking about two groups of people, the jews and the greeks, my mom had suggested that maybe the English word “both” would make more sense than “all”. For example, we would say that apples and oranges are both fruit.
Either way, someone could use these verses to say that both jews and greeks have sinned, but to say that all the jews or all the greeks have sinned is simply not true. Babies who have not been born yet can’t really do much of anything. They can’t do anything which would be considered good or bad by any standard. By this logic, it only makes sense that this “all” doesn’t include the unborn.
Another example two sources that say that God created all things.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 1:2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 1:3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, since you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!”
When I think about it, I have a problem with God creating “all” things. Does this include Mosquitos, Cockroaches, Spiders, or Flies? I think not.
A year ago I decided that God can’t be all knowing or all powerful. I found a lack of support for that in the Bible and it contradicts free will. I don’t disagree that God has more power and knowledge than any human does. It’s the “all” part that I disagree with.