Rightly Divide the Word of truth - 2 Timothy 2:15
DOES GOD DETERMINE EVERYTHING?
IS ALL OUT OF GOD?
WHAT DOES ‘TA PANTA’ MEAN?
By Otis Q. Sellers
This study is one of major importance. It was first brought to my mind in the year 1934 when certain newly acquired friends who were attending my Bible classes came to me declaring that they had come upon a glorious truth. This, they said, had brought them great joy and peace. The idea they sought to present to me could be summed up in these few words: All is out of God. The bad as well as the good. He determines everything that comes to pass. They insisted that I would have to believe this and teach it if I desired to be found believing and declaring all that God has spoken. The passage they were using in support of this idea was Romans 11:36, where it says of God:
For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things.
They pointed out to me that in the original language this passage reads, "For out of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things." This I verified at once from a Greek Testament which they had opened to this passage and placed before me. There could be no doubt but that the simple prepositions here declare that God is the source, the agent or channel, and the object of whatever is meant by the term "all things."
To my friends, the meaning of "all things" was very simple. "All things mean all things, what else could it mean", said one. Others declared that it meant the universe and everything in it, without exception or distinction - that every act, every happening, every event were all out of God. They even went so far as to say that Satan, in his present character, is out of God, and that in due process of time he would again be reconciled to God. After about an hour of conversation along these lines, they were somewhat upset because I would not at once take the plunge into their viewpoint.
I brought it to their attention that the Lord Jesus had said to certain Pharisees who were His malignant enemies, "You are out of your father the devil"(John 8:44); and that John had said in his first epistle, "He that committeth sin is out of the devil" (1 John 3:8). I showed them that this is what the Greek said in the same Greek Testament which they had shoved at me. I summed up my arguments against their position by saying that as long as the Scriptures declare that there is even one thing in the universe that is not out of God, it would be impossible for me to believe that all things without exception are out of God.
When I made this statement, they began to put pressure on me, declaring that I must either believe that all things are out of God, or else believe that some things are out of God; and that if I did not believe that all things are out of God, then I had to reject the plain statements of Romans 11: 36. My answer to this was that I did not want ever to be guilty of rejecting even one statement in the Word, but I would need to give the most careful thought to what "all things" in Romans 11: 36 meant. They felt that this was unnecessary, that "all things" means "all things"; but I reminded them that several years ago I had severed myself entirely from that company of people who proved things by such statements as "when the Bible says hell it means hell" So our conversation ended with them expressing disappointment that I was unable to receive such obvious truth. As a final gesture they presented me with certain pamphlets written by Mr. A. E. Knoch, the translator of the Concordant Version, the teacher from whom they had received this "wonderful truth”.
A few days later I had opportunity to read some of this literature which they had given to me. I came upon such statements as: All is of God. The bad as well as the good. The basic truth of divine revelation, that all is of God (Rom. 11 :36) is so severe a strain on the faith of Christendom, that men instinctively reject it, excusing their unfaith on the ground that it is repulsive to their spiritual
natures. There are many passages in God's Word which bear out the truth that all things - the evil as well as the good - find their source in the one and only God, Who alone can originate. These quotations give the tenor of the material which they gave to me, and this experience marks the beginning of my studies in ta panta, the Greek words translated "all things" in Romans 11:36. I determined to know what these words meant as used by the Spirit of God.
In the almost twenty years that have passed since then, I have taken up this study again and again. My first written material on it appears in Volume 1 - Number 7 of THE WORD OF TRUTH (December 1936). While I have ever been open to new light, no change in my convictions has taken place since then. However, I have greatly enlarged my understanding of many contexts in which ta panta is found, so I purpose to take it up again and present my latest light in this matter.
Principles of Interpretation
There is a principle in the study of the Bible which is of infinite value to all who want the truth. If: it is disregarded we can make the Bible seem to say anything that we desire it to say, but if we adhere to this principle we will discover what the Spirit actually said. This principle can be summed up in these words, What is the context? If we do not consider the setting of a passage, we can easily be deceived as to its meaning. In regard to any text put forth in proof of any teaching we must always ask, "What is the subject of the portion from whence this text is taken? Once we
know the subject of a portion, then we are ready to determine what the text has to say about the subject.
Another great principle in Bible interpretation is that when we find a word or phrase which is not crystal clear in the passage under consideration, we should try to find this same word or phrase in another passage where its meaning cannot possibly be misunderstood. Then we should let this be the key to the meaning in all other verses where this word or phrase is found.
The Greek word pas means all. The neuter form of this word is pan. In the accusative, singular, masculine form it is panta, and in the nominative and accusative plural, neuter it also reads panta. The word panta occurs many times in the New Testament, but in thirty-seven of these occurrences it is preceded by the definite article ta. It is ta panta that is the subject of our study, and in order that the reader will have all the facts before him, a concordance to every occurrence is given. The words in italics are those used in the King James Version to translate ta panta.
Concordance to Ta Panta
Mark 4:11-all these things are done in parables
Rom. 8:32-with Him also freely give us all things
Rom. 11:36-0f Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things
1 Cor. 8:6-the Father, of whom are all things
1 Cor. 8:6-Jesus Christ, by whom are all things
1 Cor. 11: 12-but all things of God
1 Cor. 12:6-God that worketh all in all
1 Cor. 12:19-and if they were all one member
1 Cor. 15:27-which did put all things under Him
1 Cor. 15 : 28-and when all things shall be subdued
1 Cor. 15:28-that put all things under Him
2 Cor. 4:15-For all things are for your sakes
2 Cor. 5:18-and all things are of God
Gal. 3:22-hath concluded all under sin
Eph. 1: l0-in one all things in Christ
Eph. 1:11-who worketh all things after the counsel
Eph. 1 :23-that filleth all in all
Eph. 3 :9-that created all things by Jesus Christ
Eph. 4:10-that He might fill all things
Eph. 4:15-in all things which is the Head
Eph. 5:13-But all things that are reproved
Phil. 3:8-suffered the loss of all things
Phil. 3 :21-to subdue all things unto Himself
Col. 1:16-by Him were all things created
Col. 1:16-all things were created by Him
Col. 1:17-by Him all things consist
Col. 1:20-to reconcile all things unto Himself
Col. 3:8-But now ye also put off all these
Col. 3:11-but Christ is all, and in all
1 Tim. 6:13-God, who quickeneth all things
Heb. 1 :3-upholding all things by the word of His power
Heb. 2:8-For in that He put all in subjection
Heb. 2 :8-not yet all things put under Him
Heb. 2:10-for whom are all things
Heb. 2:10---:by whom are all things
Rev. 4:11-for Thou hast created all things
Rev. 5: 13--and all that are in them
A review of the list above will show that to a certain extent ta panta is a Pauline
phrase. Mark uses it but once, and John uses it twice in Revelation, but all other
occurrences are found in the writings of Paul.
Out of all these occurrences of ta panta it is now our task to find a passage in which
the meaning of ta panta is so clear that even "wayfaring men, though fools, shall not
err therein." This is a very simple matter. As we trace down the list, Colossians 3:8
stands out at once. This will be the first passage which we will consider.
But now ye also put off all these (ta panta), anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy,
filthy communication out of your mouth.
The reader will note that here the translators have used "all these" to translate ta panta.
Since beyond any question ta means the and panta means all, if we would translate
literally here it would read, "But now ye also put off the all." This would not make
sense. However, no matter what it means, Paul told these Colossians that they should
also put off ta panta and we need to find out what he meant. When we find what he
meant here, we will have a most positive clue to the meaning of ta panta in all other
Did Paul exhort these Colossians to put off the universe? No, that would be utterly
ridiculous. Ta panta could not possibly mean "the universe" here.
Did Paul exhort these Colossians to put off everything without exception or
distinction? No, that would be just as ridiculous, and it would make no sense
whatsoever. So ta panta here could not possibly mean everything without exception or
distinction. In this passage there can be no mistake as to what ta panta means. It is
translated "all these," and I do not believe that anyone can improve on this translation.
This same thing can be said in different ways, but there is no need for this. The words
"all these" set forth what Paul had in mind. A. E. Knoch in his Concordant Version
translates it "all these," even though he has already translated ta panta as "the
universe" three times in the first chapter. This is discordant translation and it reveals
Colossians 3:8 is one place in the New Testament where the meaning of ta panta is
crystal clear, and it establishes what Paul meant when he used this term. On the basis
of this clear example we can say that ta panta is a demonstrative expression, idiomatic
in character, referring to something which had just been said or which is about to be
mentioned. It can best be translated all these or all this depending upon whether the
subject requires a singular or a plural. It always refers to that which is set forth in the
context. The reader should note that the context may come before, follow after, or
both. ['The idiomatic character of ta panta needs to be fully recognized. An idiom is an
expression that is peculiar to itself in grammatical construction; one the meaning of
which as a whole cannot be derived from the conjoined meaning of its elements. Take
for example our idiom "a pair of pants," We may define pair and then define pants but
this will not give us the meaning of a pair of pants. The meaning of an idiom cannot
be obtained from the meaning of its elements. If we say, "Many bombs fell on London
during the war", our statement can be understood by analyzing each word and joining
their meanings together. However, if we say, "Many a bomb that fell on London failed
to explode," we have used an idiom and the meaning of our statement cannot be
gained from its elements. In order for anyone to understand this, he must discover
what English speaking people mean by "many a”. That ta panta is an idiom is seen by
the fact that the article is never used with any other form of pas (all). In this
expression literal translation makes no sense whatsoever. What we want is not an
exact reproduction of the Greek words. We want to reproduce the thought and
meaning of the idiom. The words all this or all these will do this perfectly in every
In Colossians 3:8 it is evident that ta panta refers to something which is about to be
said, although it may be that it also refers to that which has just been said. Paul has
already mentioned "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence,
and covetousness. He declares that they had at one time walked in these things and
lived under the power of them. This indicates that they had already been delivered
from and had put off these sins. Then he lists seven more sins, exhorting them to "also
put off all these."
That ta panta is a demonstrative term, referring to something which has just been
mentioned or is about to be mentioned can be shown just as clearly in other passages
as it has been shown in the one we have just considered.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things (panta) but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all
things (ta panta), and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
While the word panta can be limited by the context, it is not necessarily so limited. If
it does not refer to something which has just been mentioned, then it can be unlimited,
taking in the greatest possible number. This is not so with ta panta. It is always limited
by the context, and always refers to something just mentioned or is about to be
mentioned. An example of this is seen in this passage.
Paul has just set forth a list of seven things which were gain to him. These are his
circumcision, his place in Israel, his tribal place in Benjamin, his true Hebrew
character, his attitude toward the law, his zeal, and the righteousness he had obtained
by keeping the law. He then states that the things, that is, the things just mentioned,
which were gain to him he had counted as loss for Christ. He then declares that he is
counting all (the things already enumerated) but loss because of the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus, because of whom he has forfeited all these (ta panta). "All
these" of course refers to the things just mentioned.
The two passages already dealt with are sufficient to show that ta panta is a
demonstrative term (idiomatic in character) that is used to refer to something that has
just been mentioned or is about to be mentioned. However, instead of selecting
passages at random let us take them in their order, examining each one as it appears in
the New Testament. This will show that ta panta means all this or all these, that it
always refers to the context in every passage in which it occurs.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom
of God: but unto them that are without all these things (ta panta) are done in
"All this is done in parables" is a much better translation here. Weymouth translates
it "all this is spoken in figurative language." Here we see that ta panta means "all this,"
that it refers to the context and is limited by it.
Romans 8 :32
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall
he not with Him also freely give us all things (ta panta).
To those who insist that "all things" means everything without exception or
distinction, I would like to put this question. Do they believe that some day they will
be given one of the twelve thrones upon which the twelve apostles are to sit? Or, it
may be that they believe that they will be given all twelve of these thrones, since "all
means the greatest possible number." It is most evident here that ta panta should be
translated all these, and that this term refers to the various blessings set forth in the
eighth chapter. Again we see that ta panta is a term which in this case refers to
something which has just been mentioned and also to a matter which is about to be
mentioned. It cannot possibly mean the universe, it cannot possibly mean all things
without exception or distinction. It is limited by the context and gets its meaning from
Romans 11 :36
For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things (ta panta): to
whom be glory for ever.
This is the verse constantly put forward by those who insist that all is absolutely out
of God. In connection with this passage, I feel it will be best to let Mr. Alexander
Thomson speak. Mr. Thomson is a resident of Edinburgh, Scotland and numerous
articles by him will be found in Unsearchable Riches, a magazine devoted to the
teaching of universal reconciliation, of which Mr. A. E. Knoch is Editor. In times past
Mr. Knoch has referred to Mr. Thomson as "our esteemed friend, Alexander
Thomson." In my judgment, possibly right and maybe wrong, it seems that Mr.
Thomson tried to follow the teachings of Knoch, but found it impossible. There has
been a definite rupture of fellowship between them, which seems to have come out of
Mr. Thomson's repudiation of Mr. Knoch's idea that God "has a cut-and-dried
'intention' with regard to every small event."
In an article on Does God Will Everything? published in The Differentiator, Volume
12 - Number 3, May-June 1950, Mr. Thomson takes up Romans 11:36 and says:
What is the subject of the chapter? The subject is, Has God thrust away His People?
Here again, for the third time, we find a contrast between two parties or opposites.
Once again, the two are complementary, and God requires, and uses, both of them.
Israel has just had his innings. He fails. Then the Gentiles get their innings, until the
fullness of them enters in. They too will fail. Then Israel will get life from the dead,
and this time he will not fail. Of both these parties, throughout the centuries, it is true
that at one time or another God locks them all up unto unyieldingness (this is the best
equivalent of Greek apeitheia, a negative term. This is true of every human being at
some time, but it is not true that everyone is obstinate or stubborn). To both the parties
in this age-long drama God will shew mercy. Only God could so have operated the
general scheme of things to bring about the necessary result. The chief matter in Paul's
mind is the vast blessing that God will bring to the saved ones out of each party,
especially to His ancient People. Paul alludes to world-conciliation, or perhaps we
might put it more positively, world-befriendment, but we dare not drag in here any
reconciliation of the universe. Nor does Paul mention dead people, or the period
before the Nation began.
It is quite undeniable that out of God and unto God and through God are all these
things of which Paul here tells us. But as Paul has not been writing about the entire
universe, or even all mankind, have we any right to go beyond him and give verse 36
a universal application? We should never do so if this were a legal document. The fact
that the definite article stands before the words "all things" (ta panta) necessitates that
we bear in mind all the time the subject matter which has preceded.
There is no need to label any brother an apostate simply because he reads Paul
logically. The Concordant Version note here attempts to demonstrate that the subject
of this passage is the universe. Paul, however, is speaking of God's judgments, His
ways, and His mind. He has not been dealing with the universe or with creation. There
is a passage where He does deal with creation and the universe (Col. 1). It is pure
assumption, mere wishful thinking, to conclude that Romans 11 :36 takes in universal
history, and all creation. Such a view may outwardly seem to glorify God. But are you
really telling me that your God is the "source" of all the disgusting vices, all inhuman
barbarities, all the malignant lies, which revolt your right-loving heart? Is that what
Paul means when he says God's judgments are inscrutable, and His ways untraceable?
What Paul is saying might be put this way: All these foregoing things are out of God
and through Him and for Him, because there was no one who knew His mind, no one
who became His adviser, no one who could first give to Him and be repaid by Him.
These things are out of this Sovereign Being, just because they could not have sprung
out of any other being. (By Alexander Thomson)
Without placing any stamp of approval on every detail of interpretation set forth
above by Mr. Thomson, I find myself in complete accord with the main theme of his
study - that Romans 11: 36 has a context and we must not go beyond this context in
any application we make of this passage. A. E. Knoch agrees with this principle. In
Unsearchable Riches, January 1928 he declared:In the Scriptures the meaning of
any text depends on its context. In other words, in a new and different context,
a passage may mean something altogether foreign to the will and word of
I say Amen to this. However, I insist that Mr. Knoch and his followers have violated
this principle in their handling of Romans 11: 36. They remove this statement from
the subject matter of the chapter and give it a new and different context, making its
subject to be the universe. By so doing they make this passage to mean something
which is altogether foreign to the will and word of God. In harmony with the positive
truth established in Colossians 3:8, I believe that this passage should be translated:
For out of Him, and through Him, and unto Him is all this, to Him be glory for the
I hardly need to say that "all this" refers back to the matters set forth in chapter eleven.
Again we see that ta panta is a demonstrative term, referring back to something which
has just been said. This same truth is seen in the next two occurrences.
1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things (ta panta), and
we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things (ta panta), and we
After careful consideration of all the factors involved in this passage, I believe that
an accurate translation would be: Nevertheless to us there is one God, the Father,
out of whom is all this, and we for Him, even one Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom is all this, and we through Him.
The subject of this portion is sacrifices or offerings made to idols. However, in order
to fully deal with this matter Paul takes up first the matter of knowledge and love. It
may have been that the Corinthians made a statement in their letter to him that they
were in full possession of knowledge in regard to idols and to meat offered to idols.
Paul admits this, saying, "We are aware that we all have knowledge," and then adds,
"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up:' These Corinthians needed something else in
addition to knowledge, something that would enable them to use it right. They needed
to combine love with their knowledge. He then reminds them again that any
knowledge which they possessed came out of God, and it had come to them for His
glory, not to minister to their pride. In fact, this is a repetition in different words of
something he has already said before: For who maketh thee to differ from another?
and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why
dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? 1 Corinthians 4:7.
In 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul takes up this same thought again and declares that the very
knowledge which had caused some to be puffed up is out of God, that it had been
given to them so that they might be for His glory. This knowledge is through the Lord
Jesus Christ, and they were also through him. Paul declares that this knowledge is not
in all, and warns that they should not let their knowledge become a stumbling block to
1 Corinthians 11: 12
For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but
all things (ta panta) of God.
In harmony with the pattern of sound words which we have established from many
plain passages, the last part of this verse should be translated, "Yet all this is out of
God." Of course, "all this" refers to that which has just been declared.
In the context of this passage, the Apostle has set forth a number of divine
arrangements. He has stated (1) Man is in the image and glory of God, (2) the woman
is the glory of the man, (3) the man is not out of the woman, (4) the woman is out of
the man, (5) the man was not created because of the woman, (6) the woman was
created because of the man, (7) the woman is not apart from the man, (8) the man is
not apart from the woman, in the Lord, (9) even as the woman is out of the man, (10)
the man is also through the woman. These are some of the divine arrangements that
Paul sets forth. However, following this, lest any should think that this is some human
creation, imposed by the males upon the females, or something that is fixed only by
social custom, Paul declares - "All this is out of God."
This passage is often quoted as being the final and conclusive proof that everything
without exception or distinction in the entire universe is out of God. This is a most
flagrant example of taking text out of context. This cannot be the meaning of this
statement. No sane writer would finish off a paragraph by bringing in a matter that is
entirely foreign to his subject. Paul does not do this here. Ta panta here refers only to
the subject matter of the previous verses. Again we see that this is a demonstrative
term which in every occurrence refers to something which has just been mentioned or
which is about to be mentioned.
1 Corinthians 12:6
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which
worketh all (ta panta) in all (en pasin).
I would translate this, "God who is operating all these in all." The context deals
with gifts, administrations, and operations. Some men had one of these, some had
another. Nevertheless, no matter how great or small the gift, the service, or the
operation, it was the same God who operated all of these in all who possessed them.
1 Corinthians 12 :19
And if they were all (ta panta) one member, where were the body?
A more accurate rendering of this would be: Now if all these were one member,
where would the body be? In the context of this question Paul has dealt with the foot,
hand, ear, eye, and nose; then he asks if all these were one member, where would the
body be. The answer is, of course, the body would be in that one member.
1 Corinthians 15 :27, 28
For He hath put all things (panta) under His feet. But when He saith all things
(panta) are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all
things (ta panta) under Him. And when all things (ta panta) shall be subdued
unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things
(ta panta) under Him, that God might be all (panta) in all (en pasin).
In this passage the word panta occurs three times, the term ta panta occurs three
times, and the term en pasin is found once. This provides us with an excellent
opportunity to test the proposition that ta panta is a demonstrative term, idiomatic in
character, referring to something which has just been mentioned.
First we are told that Christ must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.
This does not indicate the preservation of either all or any of His enemies, for in the
next statement we are told that the last enemy to be abolished or done away with is
death. Then, comes the sweeping statement that He has put all (panta) under His feet.
Since there is nothing in the context to limit the word panta here, it is unlimited in its
character. However, the Apostle realizes that there is need for one exception to be
made to this all inclusive statement so he declares that when He saith all things (panta)
are put under Him, it is manifest that this does not include the one who subjects or
puts all these (ta panta) under Him. Here ta panta or "all these" refers to that which has
just been declared - everything with one exception. Following this Paul states that
when all these (ta panta) shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself
be subject unto Him that put all these (ta panta) under HIm. The purpose of this
subjection is to the end that God might be all (panta) in all (pasin), or that God might
be everything in everyone. This great goal will be a reality in the new heaven and
earth. It will be accomplished by the elimination of some. It is not to be accomplished
by the salvation of all.
The theme of this portion is subjection, not salvation. I am somewhat amazed at the
ignorance of those who read the idea of salvation into the word subjection, as if these
two were the same. Have these people ever taken even one five minute period to give
careful thought to what the words subject and subjection mean? It might be well for us
to do this at this time.
I am a United States subject. Mr. C. H. Welch is a British subject. This does not mean
that I am President of the United States or that he is the Prime Minister of England. It
means simply that by birth he owes allegiance to the British government and I owe
allegiance to the United States government. The recently executed Rosenbergs were
also United States subjects, but due to acts that were considered as treason they were
eliminated from among the citizens of the United States.
There have been times when I have gone into a place of business that I have said
within myself that if that clerk were subject to me, he would be discharged at once.
However, since he was not subject to me, I could do nothing but keep my mouth shut.
If I owned the house next door to mine I would eliminate certain trees and bushes at
once. But I do not own it and therefore it is not subject to me. If it should become
subject to me, the axe would at once be laid to the root of certain trees.
All we need to do is to think it through and we will realize that subjection does not in
the least carry in it any ideas of preservation, exaltation or salvation.
To return to the portion we are considering. I would translate this as follows:
For He has subjected all under His feet. But when it says "All is subject" it
is evident that this does not include Him who subjects all these to Him. Now,
whenever all these are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject
to Him who subjected all these to Him, that God may be everything to everyone.
2 Corinthians 4:15
For all things (ta gar panta) are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through
the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
This should read: For all this is because of you. And we need only to read from verse
8 onward to find out what is meant by "all this,"
2 Corinthians 5: 18
And all things (ta panta) are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus
Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
I would translate the first part of this passage, "Yet all these are out of God." This
passage has been so abused by men who see in it nothing more than words to be used
to describe their Christian experience, that one would almost despair of any hope of
making plain here what Paul meant when he said, "Yet all these are out of God." In
view of this, I believe it will be well to publish the words of Mr. Alexander Thomson
who has made some very pertinent remarks on this portion.
“Another verse which has been flung about in a manner both irreverent and irrelevant
is 2 Corinthians 5:18, Taken by itself, "Yet the all things are out of God" looks very
convincing, But these words are circumscribed by a context. Dr, Bullinger and others
have shown the danger and folly of acting upon detached statements of Scripture.
There was once a soldier of the United States, who, during the War with Spain, was in
great agony, because he had read in the Bible, at Romans 15 :28, "I will come by you
into Spain," and Spain was the last place into which he wished to come. This method
of shutting the eyes an dropping a finger on the first verse it may encounter, or
perhaps laying a finger on to a text and then shutting one's eyes to the context, ought
not to be used by those who wish God's exact truth.”
In this passage we find the Flesh Creation contrasted with the New Creation. The
primitive things are contrasted with the new things. First we have in verse 16, "So
that," then "Yet even if," then "Nevertheless now." Then in verse 17, "So that, if . .."
Then Paul sums up, with reference to his subject matter, "Yet the all (plural) is out of
God," No Greek speaking person would conclude that Paul was referring to anything
other than what had gone before. Just as the primitive things were out of God, so were
the new things. The Greek Definite Article has the force of "the aforesaid" and refers
to something just mentioned or prominent in the mind of the speaker or writer. The
words "the all" are like "these all things." Alexander Thomson in The Differentiator,
Volume 12 - Number 3.
Galatians 3 :22
But the Scripture hath concluded all (ta panta) under sin, that the promise
by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
In this passage the King James translators were forced to omit the word things, a
word which they inserted in almost all other occurrences of ta panta. This was done
because ta panta is neuter, but this insertion only serves to confuse and it sheds no
light on the truth set forth in the Greek. This is an attempt to render an idiom as literal
as possible, but no understanding of an idiom can ever be gained by examination of its
elements. The constant insertion of this word by translators has been a veil that has
kept many from seeing the true meaning of this term.
While it is positive truth that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"
this is not the truth that is stated in Galatians 3:22. The Greek of this passage reads:
But the Scripture locks up all these together under sin in order that the promise
might be given as a result of faith in Jesus Christ to those who are believing. The
context of this passage deals with the seed of Abraham, the children of the promise,
the very ones Paul referred to in Gal. 2:15 when he said "We who are Jews by nature
and not sinners of the Gentiles." Yes, even those who were Jews by nature were also
locked up under sin. This is the truth declared in Galatians 3:22, and the use of ta
panta here is in harmony with its use in all other passages.
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one
all things (ta panta) in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;
even in Him.
It would be profitable to deal at length with the meaning of this passage, but this
would require an exposition of the long sentence of which the passage quoted above is
only a small part, and this is not the place for that. There are so many opinions in
regard to the meaning of this passage, and so many conflicting translations that one
hesitates to add still another. In view of this, I will not attempt any translation, but will
by means of a paraphrase set forth what I understand the Greek to say. To those
addressed in this portion Paul says: God has made known to us the secret of His will,
in harmony with His good pleasure which He purposed in Him, to have an
administration when the times are ripe for it to sum up all these in Christ, those which
are among the heavens as well as those which are on the earth.
There is nothing universal about this passage. It has to do with those who are to
extol the glory of His grace, those chosen as His own and predetermined for the son
place. These in association with certain beings from among the heavens (the heaved
ones) are to be summed up in Christ. In other words, add them up and the sum will be
Christ. This is because He has given Himself to them. In regard to this passage Mr. C.
H. Welch has said: "All things" here is not the universal panta, but the limited ta panta
"the all things," some entity that is under immediate review, namely the redeemed and
the heavenly beings with whom their lot is cast. Only those "in Christ" are thus
"headed up" but these are not limited to things on earth, things in heaven are included
and this fact must be considered. We cannot stay to give an extended examination of
these two terms, but one example may indicate the Scriptural intention in the use or
absence of the article "the." We know that ALL THINGS (panta, good and bad, all
things without restriction or limitation) work together for good (no one needs an
inspired revelation to inform that "good things" work together for good). Here the
absence of the article is understandable (Romans 8:28). "He that spared not His own
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give
us ALL THINGS. (Here the original is ta panta, some specific "all things" that can be
freely given us with Christ as Redeemer) Romans 8:32. From The Berean Expositor,
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to
the purpose of Him who worketh all things (ta panta) after the counsel of His
Here we have before us the passage which is constantly put forth as a proof text by
those who insist that every detail in the universe has been determined by God, and that
everything that takes place is the result of God having brought it to pass as the counsel
of His own will. Those who hold this do not hesitate to claim that every move of man,
his thoughts, his motives, and his acts are all predetermined by God and they come to
pass even as He has determined them.
I remember well that I first came upon this teaching in 1920, just a few months after I
had received Jesus Christ as my Savior. My father and I had been greatly benefited by
reading certain small pamphlets written by Arthur W. Pink, and we had sought out
more of his writings. One of these we found was titled The Sovereignty of God. My
father happened to read this one first and he was greatly disturbed by it. After I read it,
I suggested to him that we did not need to be in any hurry about either accepting or
rejecting it; we had only recently set ourselves to be students of God's Word, and that
we had better wait to see if we found this in the Bible. He agreed with this, and so as
to be fully familiar with the teaching, we went on to read other articles by Pink along
this same line.
In his articles, Pink made use of 1 Corinthians 11: 12: "For as the woman is of the
man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God." Concerning this,
Arthur W. Pink said: All is according to His eternal purpose which He purposed in Himself
before the foundation of the world. My friends, it was predestined by God before this world
began that I should occupy this pulpit tonight, and that you should sit in those chairs
tonight, and that I should speak on the subject that I am speaking on tonight, and
that you should hear it. It was all fixed by God before this world began, and if any of
you question that, I bring you back to these Scriptures, "All things are of God. !"
As I read these words it came to my mind that there must have been hundreds of
meetings going on that day in Sydney, Australia, where this message was given: -
high church, low church, broad church, Christian Science, Catholic, Baptist,
Methodist, modernist, fundamentalist, and spiritistic seance. If Pink's reasoning were
true then it must have been predetermined by God before the world began that each
preacher, priest, or medium should also stand in their pulpits that day, that certain
hearers should be present, and that each speaker should give a message that had been
determined by God.
Thus, a God-directed man might go to a God-directed seance and
hear a God-directed medium, give a God-directed message that the living can talk to
the dead. Then that same day this same God-directed man might go to a God determined
meeting in a Baptist church, and hear a God-directed preacher, give a
God-determined message that the living cannot talk with the dead. This could happen,
and if it did, it would lead to great confusion, a confusion which would also be
predetermined and of which God would be the author. However, we can rest assured
that God is not the author of confusion. Having thought this through, I rejected Mr.
Pink's ideas and determined that before I ever believed any such teaching I would
have to have undebatable and unassailable proof that it was in complete harmony with
everything revealed in the Word of God.
[These messages were not given by an irresponsible man to an irresponsible audience.
They were delivered in the Ashfie1d Baptist Church, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, of
which Dr. L. Sale-Harrison was then the Pastor. In this connection it will be well to
note that throughout Christendom there is a multitude of men who have accepted as
divine truth certain doctrines commonly called Calvinistic, such as election, predestination,
and fore-ordination, and these men are always on the verge of being
pushed into the extreme supralapsarian position as set forth by such men as Pink and
The position of the Calvinist is such that if he takes the next logical step, he
must make God to be the author of sin. The Calvinistic ministers avoid this step
because they have too much to lose, but at regular intervals it seems that some
irresponsible person comes along and leads a lot of so-called Calvinists into the
extreme supralapsarian position. The Westminster Confession of faith declares: "God
from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy council of His own will, freely and
unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass, . ," and even though it goes right on
to say that God is not the author of sin, the first statement cannot be true if the
qualification of it is true. It is high time that men should turn their back upon both the
Calvinistic and Arminian theology, and set their hearts to discover the truth of God in
regard to election and predestination.]
In another study Pink attempted to show by Scripture that God's sovereignty over us
extends to every department of our lives, and "that our lives are ordered by the
Creator." He said as follows:
First of all, in connection with our temporal affairs, God determined when we
should be born. That was fixed by Him, before any of us came into this world
at all. God the Creator ordered when we should be born. Now in proof of that
turn first of all to the Book of Ecclesiastes, the third chapter and the first two
verses: - - "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose
under heaven: a time to be born."
Mr. Pink ends the quotation here, and then diverts attention from the balance of the
passage by going on at length to show that God determined the time of Isaac's birth. If
the reader will read the whole portion Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, he will see that this passage
also, could be used to prove that all hate is predetermined, and that every time anyone
dances it is also predetermined by God.
Mr. Pink goes on in his message to declare that God "has also appointed the place
where we should be born," and quotes Acts 17: 26 in proof of this, going on to show
that God determined Christ should be born in Bethlehem; and "God has also
determined the time of our death," in proof of which He quotes Job 14:5, that "God
has determined how far we shall prosper in temporal things," and quotes Deuteronomy
8:18 in support of this; that "God has appointed our life's partner" for which He gives
Proverbs 19:14 as proof. He turns aside here to say, "I know it is qualified here a
prudent wife. I will not turn aside now and speak about those men who have
imprudent wives." This brings to our mind the fact that Paul said of certain widows
that they were "at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 7:39. Mr. Pink's next proposition is such a gem that I will quote it in full:
“Now God has also determined whether we should have children and, if any,
how many. The subject is too delicate for me to enter into, but if you want to
find many proofs of that you will find them in the book of Genesis. You can
read it through for yourselves.”
This can be answered by asking one question. Will those who believe this tell me if
God today is determining in America that Catholics shall have more children than
Pink made much use of Ephesians 1: 11 in all his messages, but he handled it in a
most careless manner. Here is an example. Pink said: Now one other Scripture.
Ephesians 1, verse 11: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being
predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of
His own will"! That does not need any explanation; it just means what it says.
This bit of sleight-of-hand is a favorite among men when they are taking a text out
of a context in order to prove something which they desire to be true. The fact is that
Ephesians 1: 11 does need explaining. We need to explain here that there is no word
for "things" in the Greek of this passage; and we need to explain that while the word
translated" all" here is the common word that means all, it is preceded by the definite
article. We need also to explain that Colossians 3: 8 gives positive proof that when
panta is preceded by the definite article ta it is a demonstrative term, idiomatic in
character, referring to something which has just been mentioned. It is also necessary
for us to have some explanation of the meaning of "counsel" and "will." Those who
use this text as a proof text never bother to explain these things.
In regard to the idea that "all things that happen are the result of God's
determination," which some insist they find proof of in Ephesians 1: 11, I must say
that I cannot accept an interpretation of any passage if that interpretation divorces the
passage from its context. This is exactly what this interpretation does to Ephesians 1 :
11. No man can truly say that that which God is operating after the counsel of His will
covers every minute happening in the whole history of the universe. I would translate
the final part of this passage: - according to the purpose of the One who is operating
all these according to the counsel of His own will.
Several months ago, I was discussing this matter with Mrs. Sellers. I said to her that
if it were true that everything that happened was determined by God, that if every
incident were something that occurred because it was the counsel of His own will,
then we should be able to pick up today's paper and see what God brought to pass
yesterday. Acting on this impulse, I reached for the paper. It was The Chicago
Tribune, and in the first column I read the following: James Dodd, 32, a machine
operator, confessed late yesterday as he was about to undergo lie detector tests, to
brutal treatment of his son, James Jr., 2, who died early in the day in County hospital.
He said he had flung the child headlong across the room and then stamped on him
with his heel "five or six times." He said he became angry because the child had soiled
himself and wouldn't stop crying. An autopsy report showed that the child had died of
extreme injuries to the brain and abdominal cavity.
Does any reader care to insist that Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God worked this after
the counsel of His own will? It is simple indeed for a man to stand before a Christian
audience and say that God determines every detail of our lives, that he determined the
preacher, the message and the audience. Yes, that is almost believable, but what is he
going to say about the awful, ugly, realities of life. These are of men. They are not of
Ephesians 1 :23
Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all (ta panta) in all (en pasin).
This passage reads in the Greek: Which in fact is His substance (or, body), the
fulness of Him that fills all this in all. The out-called ones (body of Christ, the
church, are in fact, His substance. They become this because He gives them of what
He is, of His fulness. The words "all this" in this passage refers to His substance.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the
beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things (ta panta) by
That God is the Creator of all things by Jesus Christ none will deny. John 1: 3 gives
witness that this is the truth. However, it is not this truth that is set forth in this
passage. The fact that God is the first cause, the Creator of all things has no bearing
upon the truth that is being presented in this portion. In fact, some unknown scribe has
tried to help all this along by adding the words "by Christ Jesus," This is a gloss that is
devoid of any manuscript authority.
Having set forth glorious truth related to God's secret administration, Paul declares
that up to this time it had been hid in God who created all this. "All this" is limited to
the context, the matter under consideration. The fact that we now know that God
created all the divine arrangements that are a part of this secret administration should
cause us to honor them all the more. May we never be guilty of saying or even
thinking anything that would contradict the revealed truth that this is the
administration of the grace of God.
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens,
that He might fill all things (ta panta).
He ascended far above all of the heavens (the heaved ones) that He might fill all these,
not all things. "All these" refers to those of the heavens whom He "captivated" and to
the men to whom He gave gifts. This is not universal. It deals with specific things that
are given to specific men. We may not yet have arrived at a full and definitive
understanding of Ephesians 4: 10, but we can be sure that ta panta here does not mean
all without exception or distinction.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things (ta panta)
which is the Head, even Christ.
This is another clear example of the truth that ta panta always refers to that which is in
the immediate context. If as some insist "all things" means everything without
exception or distinction, then it would follow here that we are to grow up in evil
things as well as good things. Paul exhorts us here that in love we should grow into
Him in all this which is the Sum, even Christ. So many today are growing and waxing
strong in things which have no place in the Sum. Let us be sure that all that we do
adds up to Christ.
But all things (ta panta) that are reproved are made manifest by the light:
for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
No comment is needed here. It is plain that ta panta here is limited to the things
that are reproved.
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious
body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things
(ta panta) unto Himself.
The Lord Jesus Christ will transfigure the body of our humiliation in order that it
might conform to the body of His glory, in harmony with the working which enables
Him to subject even all this to Himself. True, everything is to be subject to Him, but
that is not the truth declared here. The Apostle is dealing with one specific thing, and
he tells us what the outcome of this subjection is to be.
For by Him were all things (ta panta) created, that are in heaven, and that are
in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers: all things (ta panta) were created by Him, and for Him.
And He is before all things (Panton), and by Him all things (ta panta) consist.
The words ta panta occur three times in this portion and the word panton one time.
Since it is in this epistle that we have the crystal clear example of the meaning and
usage of ta panta (Colossians 3:8): But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath,
malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. I refuse to be stampeded
into believing that there is anything universal about the statements made here.
As this passage is one of great importance, I would suggest the following resultant
version, adding the preceding verse to that already quoted above.
Who is the image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creation, for in Him were
created all these, those in the heavens and those on the earth, the visible and the
invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or sovereignties, or authorities, all these
have been created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all these are
held together in Him.
As said before, that all things were created through Jesus Christ none can deny. John
1:3 tells us that all things came into existence through Him. However, this is not the
message that Paul is declaring here. He is speaking here of certain specific things that
came into existence in Him. As an example of this, we can point to the fact that those
who have formed the government of the United States have seen fit to create a number
of offices, powers, and authorities in the presidency. The President of the United
States is Commander in Chief of the armed services. We elect the man to be President,
but the office of Commander in chief inheres automatically in him.
Paul's first great statement here concerning Jesus Christ is that He is the image of
the invisible God. He follows this by saying that He is "Firstborn of every creation."
The word "Firstborn" is a title descriptive of a high position. It has in it the ideas of
ownership, responsibility, government, and disposal, Christ is thus declared to be the
owner of, responsible for, governor of and the disposer of every creation. This brings
us face-to-face with the question, "What is a creation?" The quack theologian will
laugh at this question. He will declare that everyone knows what a creation is, it is
This general statement could easily be demonstrated to be true. However, our
question is, What was Paul referring to when he said "every creation"?
In 1 Peter 2: 13 those to whom Peter was writing were told to submit themselves "to
every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or
unto governors." The word translated "ordinance" here is the same Greek word (ktisis)
that is translated "creature" in Colossians 1: 15. It should read every human creation,
rather than "every ordinance of man." These human creations are seen to be kings and
governors. Peter calls these "human creations," therefore, they could not be among the
creations that were created in Christ. The very fact that Paul goes on to mention
"thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers" is proof that he too is dealing with
such things. However, he is dealing with divine institutions and not with human
In Matthew 19:28 we read of "twelve thrones" that are to be given to the twelve
apostles, and in Luke 1:32 we read of "the throne of his father David:' These thrones
are not human creations. They are among the creations which were created in Christ.
From this we can see what Paul meant when He declared that Jesus Christ is the
Firstborn of every creation. He is this because in Him were all these created, those
among the heavens and those on the earth, abstract as well as concrete, whether
thrones, or dominions, sovereignties or authorities, all these were created through Him
and for Him. That He is before all, no one will question, and that all these divinely
created thrones, dominions, principalities. and powers have their cohesion or
permanence in Him is a truth which all will heartily admit. There is nothing universal
about this portion. Paul is dealing here with certain specific matters. The meaning of
any statement in this portion can be derived only by considering the context.
The "human creations" spoken of in 1 Peter 2:13 were not created in Christ. He is not
Firstborn of these creations. They were not created through Him or for Him, and they
do not find their cohesion in Him.
Colossians 1 :20
And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all
things (ta panta) unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or
things in heaven.
This is the passage most often quoted by those who hold the idea of "universal
reconciliation." It is constantly brought forth by them as being the final and
irrevocable proof of their position. They are so emotionally committed to this idea that
it seems almost useless to ask them to consider it logically and objectively. I am
convinced from long experience in dealing with those who hold this idea that it is true
even as Alexander Thomson has said: The great majority of people who profess
belief in universal ultimate reconciliation do so because they wish this to
Yes, they wish it to happen, and since Colossians 1: 20 can be perverted to teach it,
they refuse to consider that it might be saying something quite different. They
steadfastly refuse to recognize the most obvious fact that whatever Paul meant here by
apokatallasso (translated, reconcile) it did not even include the Colossians unless they
continued in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of
the gospel. How can a thing be universal if even redeemed and forgiven men must
"continue in the faith" in order for it to be their portion? Failure to recognize these
most obvious facts have been the basis of every mistaken conception of Colossians 1:20.
Men read the salvation of sinners into this passage, when that is not the subject of
One of the great mistakes of traditional theology, especially the covenant theology,
has been to regard the whole purpose of God as essentially soteriological and
concerned only with unfolding of the plan of salvation. They see salvation and nothing
but salvation in every passage. To them the kingdom of God is the realm of salvation,
and when John said "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" this meant that
they were to repent in order to be saved and enter heaven. Even the second coming of
Christ has been said to be the salvation of a sinner, that He comes each time a soul is
While many have been delivered from the creedal theology which interprets every
passage as setting forth the plan of salvation, they are still inclined to read salvation
into passages which in reality deal with other matters. Ephesians 2 :6-10 is a good
example of this, This passage does not tell us how a sinner can be saved or how a
sinner is saved. It tells us the purpose of our salvation, the thing for which we have
We have the same situation in Colossians 1:20. Early translators, seeing nothing but
salvation, saddled upon this portion the word "reconcile" and this has confused the
passage from that time until the present time. The word reconcile is a traditional
theological term which is used as the equivalent of salvation. I do not believe that
reconcile or reconciliation is the proper translation of any New Testament Greek
word, and I do not believe that apokatallasso, the Greek word used here, means
reconcile. This Greek word has nothing to do with the salvation of a sinner. It
describes the highest glory that will ever come to a saint. It describes a special
blessing which is to come upon some of God's redeemed. It is a glorious reward, and
it is not to be the portion of all. Even the Colossians, a redeemed and forgiven people,
had no guarantee that this great blessing would be their portion, They would not
partake of it if they did not "continue in the faith," And yet, in spite of this plain
declaration of Paul, teachers like Knoch and his followers spread this great blessing
out until it becomes the promised possession of even Satan and Judas Iscariot.
['The idea that "all things" in Col.1:20 means the universe and everything in it,
immediately following which Paul adds, "and you" reminds me of the young lady who
complaining of the perfidy of her boy friend said: "Not only has he broken my heart
and ruined my life, but he has spoiled my entire evening," If Colossians 1:20 is an ailinclusive
statement, why then does Paul add a statement so as to include the
Colossians, providing they qualify?]
To every universal reconciliationist I would say: Ta panta does not mean the
universe, apokatallasso does not mean reconcile. There is nothing universal, and there
is nothing about reconciliation in Colossians 1: 20. This passage does not have to do
with the reconciliation of sinners, It was written to a redeemed and forgiven people,
and it has to do with a unique and peculiar blessing that is to be the portion of some of
However, to deal with the meaning and message of Colossians 1:20 is not our
present purpose. Our subject is ta panta and I submit that it means the same here as it
does in Colossians 3:8. It should be translated "all these," and it refers back to the
divine institutions set for in verse 16. These creations were created in Christ. Those
who gain and hold these positions will need to be metamorphosed to the person of
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision,
Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all (ta panta) in all.
The subject of this passage is "the new man" or the new humanity which is renewed
in knowledge after the image of Christ who created it. In the former humanity men
were Greeks, Jews, circumcised, uncircumcised, slave and free. In the new man Christ
is all this in everyone.
1 Timothy 6:13
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things (ta panta), and
before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.
That God quickens or generates life in every living or animate thing is a most
positive truth. He can even generate life in inanimate things, as is seen in Aaron's rod
that budded, or the rod of Moses which became a serpent. But it is not things such as
this that Paul is dealing with here. In this passage Paul sets forth a number of activities
such as pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. He
declares that God generates life in all of these. The true Christian walk is not a
stagnant following of rules or keeping of laws. Its true activities are living vibrant
matters. They are made so by God. Yes, even the difficult matter of being patient can
be a living and enjoyable thing.
Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His
person, and upholding all things (ta panta) by the word of His power.
The Greek word which in this passage is translated "upholding" means carrying on.
In harmony with the true meaning of ta panta, which has already been established
from numerous passages, this should read: - and carrying on all this by the word of
His power. The demonstrative expression "all this" refers to that which has just been
mentioned in the preceding verse.
Thou hast put all things (panta) in subjection under His feet. For in that He
put all (ta panta) in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under
Him. But now we see not yet all things (ta panta) put under Him.
This passage provides an excellent example of the truth that is being demonstrated
in this study - that ta panta is a demonstrative expression, idiomatic in character,
which never stands alone, but always refers to something which has just been
mentioned or is about to be mentioned. It is also being demonstrated that panta
without the definite article ta is not an idiom, that it can and often does stand alone,
that it can be unlimited, or it may be limited by the context.
In considering Hebrews 2:8 it needs to be noted that Paul is not speaking of the
extent of creation, or the extent of salvation. He is setting forth the extent of things
that are to be in subjection under the feet of Christ. The meaning of subjection has
already been dealt under the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28.
The first statement of Hebrews 2: 8 is that God has put ALL in subjection under the
feet of Christ. This is unlimited. The word panta stands alone here, and it is not
limited by anything in the context. There will be nothing in the universe that is not put
in subjection to Him. That this is universal is seen in the further statement that "he left
nothing that is not put under Him." When this is a reality, He will then perpetuate or
eliminate as He sees fit. That all is not to be perpetuated is seen in such declarations as
In the statement, "For in that He put all in subjection," we find the expression ta
panta, which means all these. This refers back to the subject, the all (panta) that is put
in subjection. Since the subject sets forth something that has no limitations, ta panta in
this passage means something that is unlimited. Note the progression of these
1. "Thou hast put all (panta) in subjection." This is unlimited and it is the subject of
2. "For in that He put all these (ta panta) in subjection." This refers back to the
subject. Since the subject has no limit, "all these" has no limit. If I speak of a hundred
dollars, and later refer to it by the pronoun it, then it stands for a hundred dollars too.
3. "But now we see not yet all these (ta panta) put under Him." Here ta panta
refers back again to the main subject, the unlimited panta of the first statement. These
occurrences show that the only way ta panta can ever be unlimited is for it to refer
back to something in the context which has no limit.
Hebrews 2 :10
For it became Him, for whom are all things (ta panta), and by whom are all
things (ta panta) in bringing many sons unto glory to make the captain of their
salvation perfect through suffering.
The pronoun "Him" in this passage refers to God. The term ta panta in both
occurrences means all this, and it refers back to the statement that Christ "by the grace
of God should taste death for every man." For it became Him, because of whom is all
this and through whom is all this, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the
Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Thou are worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast
created all things (ta panta) and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
There is a beauty of truth in this portion that is truly majestic. The ones who speak
these words of praise are the twenty-four elders. In Revelation 4:4 these have been
described. Each one is seen with a crown of gold upon his head. These crowns are not
decorative head-pieces. They are symbols of high position, and they tell us that each
one of these elders is related to a divine creation or institution, such as a throne, a
dominion, a sovereignty or an authority. Just before these words of praise are spoken,
these elders are seen casting their crowns before the throne and saying to the One who
is upon it: Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou
hast created ALL THESE, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. It hardly
needs to be said that the expression "all these" refers to the glories, honors, and
powers which their crowns represented.
Revelation 5: 13
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth,
and such as are in the sea, and all (ta panta) that are in them, heard I saying,
Blessing, and honor, and glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the
throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
In this passage ta panta (or, all these) refers back to every creature in heaven, on
earth, under the earth, and in the sea. It would seem that these words cannot express
anything less than absolute universality; however, there is a major difficulty which
must be overcome before anyone can honestly ascribe universality to the scope of this
passage. It is strange indeed that some find in this passage the most positive proof of
universal salvation and reconciliation. They see here all creatures offering praise to
God so they conclude that they must all have been restored to His love and favor.
This idea can only be held by separating this passage from all the rest of the book of
Revelation. If, as it seems, there is no limit, if at that point in history marked by
Revelation chapter five, every creature of God is offering praise unto Him, then where
do all the enemies come from which we read about in the chapters which follow.
Strange indeed that we should seem to see here a universal ascription of praise, yet
after this we read: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the
beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for
pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores,
and repented not of their deeds. Revelation 16:11.
Is it possible that these who are seen here blaspheming the God of heaven could have
been among those who were giving praise as recorded in the fifth chapter? I cannot
believe that they were among that number, therefore, I see no evidence for universal
salvation or reconciliation in Revelation 5:13.
The truth that is being set forth in Revelation 5:13 is quite obscure. There is difficulty
in clarifying the text due to the condition of the manuscripts. And while there may be
a vacuum here so far as our present knowledge is concerned, we cannot accept the
childish ideas of those who would rush in to fill this vacuum by saying, "I know what
it means; it means universal reconciliation."
We have now examined all the leading texts which are used to prove that "all is out
of God," and we have examined the leading texts which are used to prove that God
has predetermined everything. It has been shown that these passages contain no such
teaching when they are considered in the light of their contexts. At the risk of being
tedious, every passage in which the Greek expression ta panta occurs has been
examined. It has been shown that ta panta is a demonstrative expression, idiomatic in
character, always referring to something that has just been mentioned or is about to be
mentioned. We have seen that it never means "the universe," and that it is never
unlimited unless it should refer to an unlimited matter in the immediate context. It has
been demonstrated that since ta panta is an idiom it cannot be literally translated, and
that the best English rendering is all this or all these as the need may require. This
rendering does no violence to he Greek and it is true to the truth.
I have refrained from going into many positive arguments which would show that
all is not out of God. I have chosen to deal with the passages which men use to prove
that everything that happens is God's will and that all is out of Him. Those who hold this
doctrine must recognize that if we can show from the Word even one thing which is
not out of God, then everything cannot be out of Him. James wrote:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted when he is drawn
away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death. (James 1:12-15)
There are two positive facts revealed in this passage. The first is that men are
tempted, the second is that God does not tempt any man. In this passage we find the
origin of all human sins. They do not originate in God.