Friday, September 18, 2020

Rebuttal Thoughts - Romans 9 Debate

These will not make a lot of sense without the context of the debate, and I may pull this post shortly.

The main counter-point to consider is this: what does God take credit for?  The short answer: everything.  Remember how all things work together for good to those who are the called?  The same point is bookended at the end of Romans 11.


Romans 9:14 - Jewish objector or Arminian Objector

Actually, it's neither.  It's a Roman objector.  That said, it's more important what the objection is, and what's behind it, as well as how it's answered.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

What's the thrust of the objection? The thrust of the objection is that God is showing favoritism.  The answer is, it's not unjust because God is the one who decides these things.  Paul doesn't back away from the claim - he doubles down on it.

What about the claim that what the Jews got wrong was confusing law and promise? Well, is that what Paul answers? Not here.  Instead, what God answers is the challenge to his righteousness for picking some. The answer is: God can do what God wants to do.


Romans 9:15-16 Salvation vs. Unconditional Individual Election

It is a false dichotomy, since Election is what leads to salvation, as we've previously established.  Moreover, it is a consideration of things ex ante - namely from before they occur, as especially comes out in vs. 17.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.


Notice as well that when it comes to the objection about "who has resisted God's will," how would that mesh with the supposed thread about confusing law and promise? It wouldn't.  

It does, however, align with preceding point properly understood about God's authority to do what God wants.

Thus, when God makes the pottery illustration it is to affirm his absolute right to do with mankind as God wishes.

Romans 9:17-23 Hardening vs. Unconditional Reprobation

Once again, we are dealing in false dichotomy.  Also, there is an asymmetry between election and reprobation that the heading does not reflect.  Even setting that aside, since reprobation is the source of the hardening - in other words God takes credit for it - the dichotomy is false.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

9:24  οὓς καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς οὐ μόνον ἐξ Ἰουδαίων ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν

What does the "ek" there mean? It's that the calling is not universal, it is particular.  And that connects us back to the previous discussions.

As a side note, I do find it interesting how often non-Calvinists will go to Jeremiah 18 simply because it also mentions a potter and clay.

The similarities and differences chart was interesting, but missed the main point.

"Although willing" as concessive? 

9:22  εἰ δὲ θέλων ὁ θεὸς ἐνδείξασθαι τὴν ὀργὴν καὶ γνωρίσαι τὸ δυνατὸν αὐτοῦ ἤνεγκεν ἐν πολλῇ μακροθυμίᾳ σκεύη ὀργῆς κατηρτισμένα εἰς ἀπώλειαν

This seems to be based on the English use of "I'm willing to," as distinct from the Greek use of thelo.



No comments: