The Empty Set Criticism of Corporate Election

, posted by Martin Glynn

One of the most common criticisms that I have heard against corporate election is the argument of the empty set: if God elects a group what happens if there is nobody in that group.

There are a number of problems with this argument. First of all, the group isn’t empty, so the question is moot. This isn’t something which God generally does, but something which He has done once (with some redactions as history has progressed). These kinds of hypotheticals are only really worth considering if alternative possibilities are possible. But God isn’t going to choose another people, so why worry about what would happen if God’s chosen people had no people in it?

Second it was created with members already within it so it being empty isn’t even possible. In the OT, when God first chose His people, it already had Abraham in it. So, it wasn’t empty then. If you want to think about the church, the church began with the remnant of Israel: not just the 12 apostles but also the 120 in the upper room. The actual design of corporate election is that a person is chosen to start the group, and then the group expands around that person. The group isn’t formed empty and then filled.

Therefore this entire argument is not only moot, but ignorant in terms of understanding what we are saying.

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