According to Thomas Talbott in his book The Inescapable Love of God, there are three postulates found within Christianity. Every Christian will reject one of these postulates while leaning on the other two as the foundation for how they approach their faith.
The three postulates are:
1.) God is omnipotent and will achieve all that He desires. (Luke 1:37, Psalm 135:6, among others)
2.) God desires for all men to be saved. (1 Tim. 2:4, among others)
3.) Some, if not many, will never obtain salvation and will either be cast into everlasting torment or annihilated. (Matt 22:1-14, among others)
I would say that a person cannot consciously believe all three of these without committing some sort of intellectual dishonesty. And all three of these postulates seem to have strong biblical support… although, if scripture is inerrant, then one of them must be a misinterpretation of scripture.
What a person truly believes of God will determine which postulate is ultimately rejected. Many rifts throughout church history center around these three ideas. Many have been burnt at the stake for rejecting the “wrong” postulate.
Once a person settles on the two postulates they believe to be true, they will read and view all of scripture from this perspective. For that person, the passages that support the rejected postulate will lose all strength or be seen in an entirely different way… it is amazing how differently the same scriptures can be interpreted. To this person, the bible will seem to fully support what they believe.
This is entirely natural. Every person carries a world view with which they interpret everything they encounter. It is no different with our view of God. Somehow, we either choose or “fall into” what we believe of God, and then we interpret all of scripture from this perspective.
Talbott makes the point that at one time, mankind interpreted the movement of the stars and planets from the preconceived idea that everything revolved around the earth. Men went to great lengths to describe why the motion of the heavenly bodies followed what seemed to be very irregular patterns. Then we discovered that the earth is not at the center of the universe…
So, What do you believe of God? Which postulate do you reject? How did you come to that decision?