When I was out walking the dog this afternoon I realized I left off one of the most glaring problems with David Houston’s marriage analogy. Remember, this analogy is intended to explain why it is sweeter to discover that God hates some and loves others rather than the Arminian milquetoast view of God loving all.
Let’s consider the analogy again:
If my wife tells me that she loves me then I feel great! But that quickly changes when she tells me that she has an equal love for all men. Likewise, should I feel all warm and fuzzy inside if God loves me but he also loves the people in Hell, unbelievers, the demons, and Satan himself?
I responded initially by pointing out that the biblical metaphor of God’s bridal love for his elect cannot be used here because that love is not essentially exclusive of particular individuals. But there is another glaring problem. Even if the analogy worked, it would only support the universal love stream of Calvinism in which God is said to love all creatures but to have a special love (i.e. an electing love) for some of those creatures.
Why is this?
Consider, while spousal love is exclusive that doesn’t mean the spouse is obliged to hate all the other men in the world. It just means that she extends the love of eros to but one man. The rest get another type of love (e.g. agape, storge). And yet, if David’s analogy is to be sustained then the love his spouse has for him must be complemented with hatred for all other men.
So David’s illustration commits him to the view that God loves all, but has a special love for the elect. But this view faces huge problems including the fact that it is very difficult to see how God can love in any way those he reprobates eternally. (Remember, I defined love at its core as the desire that one achieve shalom. Thus, if I don’t desire that you achieve shalom, I cannot be said to love you. If I desire instead that you suffer maximally for eternity, I most surely cannot be said to love you.)