In the Death of Death in the Death of Christ (1647), Dr. John Owen offers a famous argument for a limited atonement. That was explored in another post. In chapter 1 of Book I there is another challenge presented to those who hold to a general atonement, in which Christ “died to redeem all and every one”.
The dilemma for those rejecting a limited atonement
Anyone holding the view that Christ died for “all the sins of all men”, according to Owen, should logically arrive at an unsatisfying conclusion, thus demonstrating that the view is incorrect.
In a nutshell:
if he died for all, all must also be justified, or the Lord failed in his aim and design, both in the death and resurrection of his Son (Book I 7.1)
At the end of opening chapter, he also argues:
Wherefore, to cast a tolerable colour upon their persuasion, they must and do deny that God or his Son had any such absolute aim or end in the death or blood-shedding of Jesus Christ, … but that God intended nothing
According to Dr. Owen my options, should I hold that Christ died “for all the sins of all people”, are:
- Accepting that God had no purpose or intention behind the cross
- Accepting that God had a purpose behind the cross but failed to achieve it
Way to box someone into a corner.