"Should we speak of a univeral salvific will? And if we should, does it require a univeral extent, pro omnibus et singulis, of the atonement? The love of God for all also refers to their ultimate salvation. Such statements as Ezekiel 18:32 and 2 Peter 3:9 (an implicit restriction to the elect is little likely) declare such a will. Yet other texts seem to say the opposite (1 Sam. 2:25 is an old book and 1 Pet. 2:8 in a foundational epistle). Since God, the auctor primarius, does not contradict himself, we must distinguish two senses of "will." I choose to speak of God's will of desire (which also generates his precepts), and God's will of decree. The inescapable teaching of Scripture is this: God "desires" that all enter Life, but he "decrees" that some will not. This decree is permissive: God (in whose hand is even the king's heart; Prov. 21:1) moves no creature to anti-God dispositions; the creature misuses created freedom against the fountain of all goodness, and bears the guilt; yet, God remains sovereign (Eph. 1:11), and therefore the creature's refusal to repent is (permissively) part of the divine design.
"This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" The permissive character of the sovereign decision over the "vessels of wrath" makes it possible for it to coexist with the salvific "desire" and universal love."
"Some of the Reformed, it seems, have denied the universal love of God. Though they could quote verses such as Psalm 5:5 and "Esau I have hated" (Mal. 1:3), their denial is so opposed to the drift of Scripture and the "analogy of faith" that I rule it out of court. The vast majority of definite atonenent theologians have firmly held to the doctrine of the love of God extending to the non-elect, as a beautiful article by Andrew Swanson expounds (based on R. L. Dabney, W. T. Shedd, and John Howe)." Ibid., 564.