According to Randal Rauser:
Many Christians assume that God loves all people. This is hardly surprising since scripture declares that God loves all creation (John 3:16-17) and desires to see all people saved (1 Tim.2:4; 2 Pe.3:9).
i) Since Rauser denies the inerrancy of Scripture, why is he prooftexting his position? According to him, the Bible frequently misrepresents God’s character. Frequently misattributes actions to God. So even if we grant his interpretation, what presumption is there that these passages accurately reflect God’s true intentions?
ii) How does Jn 3:16 teach the omnibenevolence of God? Isn’t that promise restricted to believers only–a rather small subset of humanity at large?
iii) Apropos (ii), why would an omnibenevolent God even require faith? If he were really omnibenevolent, wouldn’t he create a physically pleasant afterlife for unbelievers? Why could they not spend eternity on a tropical paradise, forever ignoring God–if they so choose?
iv) Is kosmos synonymous with “creation” in Jn 3:16-17? No. As one commentator explains:
Some argue that the term ‘world’ here simply has neutral connotations—the created human world. But the characteristic use of ‘the world’ (ho kosmos) elsewhere in the narrative is with negative overtones—the world in its alienation from and hostility to its creator’s purposes. It makes better sense in a soteriological context to see the latter notion as in view. God loves that which has become hostile to God. The force is not, then, that the world is so vast that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it, but rather that the world has become so alienated from God that it takes an exceedingly great kind of love to love it at all.
A. Lincoln, The Gospel According to St. John, 154.
This meaning is attested in standard Greek lexicons, viz. BDAG, EDNT.
iv) 2 Pet 3:9 doesn’t denote all human beings.
God’s patience with his own people delaying the final judgment to give them the opportunity of repentance, provides at least a partial answer to the problem of eschatological delay…The author remains close to his Jewish source, for in Jewish though it was usually for the sake of the repentance of his own people that God delayed judgment.
R. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 312-13.
v) 1 Tim 2:4 doesn’t denote all human beings:
The purpose of the reference to ‘all people,’ which continues the theme of the universality in this passage, is sometimes misconstrued. The reference is made mainly with the Pauline mission to the Gentiles in mind (v7). But the reason behind Paul’s justification of this universal mission is almost certainly the false teaching, with its Torah-centered approach to life that included either an exclusivist bent or a downplaying of the Gentile mission…Paul’s focus is on building a people of God who incorporate all people regardless of ethnic, social, or economic backgrounds.
P. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, 177-78.
It may be that they [the false teachers] were consumed with genealogies because they restricted salvation along certain ethnic lines (1 Tim 1:4)…When Paul says that God desires all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), and that Christ was the ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6), he may be responding to some who excluded Gentiles from salvation for genealogical reasons…Titus 2:11 should be interpreted along similar lines…Paul counters Jewish teachers (Tit 1:10,14-15; 3:9) who construct genealogies to exclude some from salvation.
T. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, 184-85.
Back to Rauser:
Indeed, the notion that God is loving to all, a doctrine known among theologians by the fancy name “omnibenevolence”, would qualify for many as a basic axiom, a starting point for all further theological reflection.
According to a Catholic philosopher, that’s actually a theological innovation:
As such, it may be surprising to discover that theologians within the Calvinist tradition reject the doctrine of divine omnibenevolence.
If Rauser were intellectually serious, he’d interact with Paul Helm’s essay “Can God Love the World?” in chap. 8 of Nothing Greater, Nothing Better.
The other position stakes out a more unambiguous position by declaring without qualification that God does not love those he does not save; indeed, he hates them.
The love/hate lingo is a carryover from Mal 1:2-3. It’s a Hebrew idiom for select/reject. A hyperbolic rhetorical contrast.
And why does he hate them? I will argue in a subsequent post that the reasons are arbitrary. That is, he could just as easily have loved those he hates and hated those he loves as hated those he hates and loved those he loves. That, I would submit, is a deeply disturbing implication, both theologically and pastorally.
An alternate history doesn’t have the same set of people. An alternate history has different genealogies as well as different tradeoffs.
Throughout his post, Rauser does what Rauser usually does: just wing it. He's a theological hack.