Why does God love a world ( John 3:16) that he tells us not to love ( 1 John 17:9) and why does Jesus say " I pray not for the world ( John 17:9) that God loves?
Hi Scott, hope this answers your question.

The word “world” is used in many ways. God loves the “world” (John 3:16) of mankind which He created in His image and likeness, although His image in man has been corrupted by sin.

In I John 17:9 the word “world” is used of this world of mankind that is controlled by Satan.

Jesus only prays for the believer or future believers (John 17:20). If He prayed for the unbeliever His prayer would have to be answered since He is God. That would take the responsibility away from man and we would be robots.

Eph.2:2 Wherein in time past (before you were saved) you walked [conducted yourselves] according to the course of this world, according to the prince (Satan) of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: [Those that refused to be persuaded]

II Cor. 4:4 "In whom the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not..."

I John 5:19 “the whole world lies in wickedness” [the wicked one] (i.e. Satan).

Definition of this world of mankind that Satan controls:

I John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, (the cravings of the old nature) and the lust of the eyes, (the evil cravings of the eye for satisfaction) and the pride of life, (an insolent and vain assurance in one's own resources) is not [ou] of the Father, but is of the world.

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