The Potter's Wheel

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by ScottEmerson, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
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    What I find missing in all the comments about the allusion to the potter in Romans 9 is the obvious referral to Jeremiah 18.

    "Jeremiah 18

    1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
    5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord . "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it."

    So it seems that the potter, who is sovereign, makes the pot based upon the response of man. God is sovereign enough to allow man a chance to repent or do evil. Compare with Romans 9:21, "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" It seems that what God makes depends upon the response of man, comparing Scripture with Scripture, right?

    Comments?

    [ July 15, 2002, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: ScottEmerson ]
     
  2. KenH

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    Wrong. Flawed exegesis. That is not what Romans 9 is saying at all as we have already been through.

    Apparently, you are confusing God's sovereignty with the means He uses. Apparently, you think if God uses means to carry out His sovereign will then He has given up part of His sovereignty to man. Not so.

    Please read the passage in Jeremiah in context with the whole Bible. [​IMG]

    One in the hands of the Potter,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...

    [ July 15, 2002, 10:30 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    Then why does Paul use this exact same allusion?

    And you consistently misrepresent me by saying that I'm making God lose some of his sovereignty or that I don't want him to be sovereignty. If God allows man to choose freely - if God does exactly what Jeremiah says He does - then God is no less sovereign. He has dictated that His creation will be predominantly free in regards to blessings or judgement.

    I have. There are many, many examples of times where God declared judgement, the people repented, and God withheld judgement. How is that not context? Or is what you're saying is "please read the passage in context with my interpretation of Romans 9?"

    Because it's awfully clear what Jeremiah meant in the passage.
     
  4. Calvinist Dude

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    ScottEmerson said:
    Although this has been rebutted time and again by Pastor Larry and others on this board, I will take a shot at it again. Sovereignty is all or nothing. There are no gradations to sovereignty; in other words, there is no such thing as more or less sovereign. Sovereignty is like pregnancy, either you are or you are not.

    If God grants total freedom to mankind, then He is no longer sovereign. There is absolutely no logical alternative. He might have been sovereign prior to giving freedom to mankind, but that sovereignty would have been ceded the moment He gave mankind the ability to make their own choices. Think about it. How on earth could God have guided history to the Incarnation and the fulfillment of the OT prophecies related to it if He doesn't have the ability to control mankind's choices. The only alternative you're left with is that He had to sit idly by waiting for an opportune moment to send His Son, one when it just so happened that the couple pregnant with Him was in Bethlehem where He was supposed to be born; crucifixion, the prophesied method for Him to die, just happened to be the standard method of execution of the day; His propehesied messenger just happened to be born immediately before Him; the Roman empire just happened to be in power at the time; the prophesied 70 weeks of Daniel just happened to be ending at that time, etc. I could go on and on because there are literally hundreds of prophecies that He fulfilled that, according to the Semi-Pelagians, would had to have been the result of the random decisions of free humanity. If you reply that God intervened to guide certain events toward this destiny, then you have conceded that mankind has no such thing as free will. Even if you attempt to argue that God isn't actively intervening in every moment of time, the mere potential to intervene still abolishes any kind of freedom for mankind. For if God can intervene into your life at any moment to stop you from doing something or to change the course of your life, even if He isn't doing that at this moment, you are not free! So there is no way to have it both ways. You cannot say that God is sovereign, yet He has given mankind free will because the two concepts are mutually exclusive.
     
  5. ScottEmerson

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    Here is the problem with your argument. You are basing it on a definition instead of on Scripture. If we are arguing based on a word, one could mention that a king of a state is a sovereign, yet he doesn't control the day by day activities of his subjects.

    If as you say, sovereignty is all or nothing, you've concluded that God is the cause of all things. If we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in God and leads to passiveness.

    God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme (since we're using definitions, that one is in the dictionary). There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn't make our choices for us.

    How about this - can you (or anyone) provide conclusive Scripture that favors your interpretation over mine? I've shown you the passage in Jeremiah that shows God's plan is based upon how His people respond. I'll also add "GOd is not willing that anyone should perish" and when he told Moses that he would spare the Israelites for Moses' sake. Such examples clearly show God in complete power, in complete supremecy, but who still has a relationship with His servants.

    (It is not a logical contradiction to state that God's allowing man a free choice can somehow cut into the sovereignty of God. If you simply examine the parable of the wicked servant who was forgiven when he begged for the chance to repay and then punished when he didn't forgive his brother - Can you not see a king who exercises complete sovereignty there? "So shall my Heavenly father be if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.")
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    God does not will that sinners commit evil nor does He will that Christians sin. If He did we would not have been told that God does not even tempt humankind with evil. [James 1:13d] People are tempted when they are drawn away when enticed by the Evil One.
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    Yes. God is sovereign.

    There may be some confusion about what you believe free will (or "total freedom" as you expressed it) to be.

    1.) We do *not* say that God steps aside and lets human beings run the show and God waits passively nearby. God is active in His creation and is constantly at work in the affairs of humankind.

    2.) We do *not* say that human beings have the ability to do anything they want without the possibility of running into the restraining hand of God. Have you ever wondered why we haven't had a nuclear war yet? The devices to do it have been around for 50 years. I'm fairly sure God has restrained evildoers from launching nuclear attacks because it is not appropriate for God's purposes. I believe that God often frustrates the plans of the wicked -- He doesn't remove their free will, but he makes it so guns misfire, appointments are missed, and conspiratorial plans are misunderstood.

    NOTE: This debate is not whether God has the *ability* to control people, but rather if God *does* violate their free will.

    God can bring prophecies to fulfillment without human cooperation, but at the same time, God has His people listening and obeying Him more than we probably realize. When we are obedient to the Spirit of God, we are helping God accomplish His purposes in the world.

    Joseph and Mary were very obedient to God. It wasn't random even though they probably had no idea how astounding their lives were to become. As far as Jesus goes, there were times the hostile crowds tried to seize Jesus, but He slipped away (miracle?) because it wasn't His time yet. That sounds like God working in the midst of human freedom to me.

    The pregnancy of Elizabeth was an explicit miracle of God. Check out the beginning of the Luke's gospel.

    I'm convinced God is very active in the rising and falling of nations. Have you ever read an account of the Battle of Midway between the full power of the Japanese Navy and the weakened U.S. Navy during World War II? It is an amazing story -- in short, the U.S. defeated the Japanese because (from human terms) the U.S. was not able to follow through with their planned attack. If the U.S. had been able to follow the battle plan, the U.S. Navy would have most likely been badly defeated. Instead, the very problems with the American attack (including squadrons getting lost and finding the Japanese Navy at exactly the right time) and a large number of "random" problems on the Japanese side allow the U.S. to break the back of the Japanese Navy in one day. Looking at the amazing story through eyes that believe God is active in the world, I see the hand of God working in the midst of free will to bring about the desired effect.

    Not random at all. Simply a combination of God's actions and humankind's actions (free will).

    Not at all. You seem to assume that only one being's will can be in action at the same time. When a person is married, both the husband and the wife have opinions and the freedom to act (unless one is physically restrained). The dominance of one or the other does not prevent the dominated person from acting unless they submit to the will of their spouse -- (I'm not trying to paint a picture of a good marriage, but just a relationship). In the situation describe, both husband and wife have freedom to act in relation with each other, but they exercise it in different ways.

    I think you are confusing the ability to act with the action itself.

    I'm a big guy and have the ability to beat up a lot of people I don't particularly like. What stops me from doing it (besides the police)? It is not in my character, it is not an interest of mine, and I recognize that even people I don't like have a right to be jerks without having to worry about me attacking them.

    But I also used to work for a private school where I and a team of others were responsible for protecting the children from kidnappers (there were some ultra-wealthy families that had their children at the school). If anyone were to try to threaten or harm the children, I would have taken them down swiftly and potently. If they threatened a life, we might have to end theirs.

    I have no interest in controlling other people or being mean, but when it comes to protecting the innocent, my attitude changes very quickly. In a similar way, even though He has the power, God often does not act, even when innocent people suffer, because He has purposes and plans I don't understand. But sometimes God does act although we don't necessarily see His hand moving.

    Nope, but thank you for playing. [​IMG]

    [ July 17, 2002, 02:16 AM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  8. KenH

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    In the context of that Scripture - 2 Peter 3:9 - Peter is writing to God's people so he is saying that God does not want any of His people to perish.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...
     
  9. ScottEmerson

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    In the context of that Scripture - 2 Peter 3:9 - Peter is writing to God's people so he is saying that God does not want any of His people to perish.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...
    </font>[/QUOTE]"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

    Looks universal...

    We can't say "you" means "the people who are coming to repentence," as the "you" is already saved. Where is this context?

    Why do people want to limit the scope of Christ's salvation? (more of a hypothetical question we Arminians ask ourselves)
     
  10. swaimj

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    Nice post to open the thread ScottEmerson. I look forward to a direct response to it from someone who disagrees with your position.
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    The way that Irresistible Grace got established was through St. Augustine. Dr. Geisler in his book "Chosen But Free" offers this missed truth. Here is his quote.

    ' . . . the extreme Calvinist view is an historic anomaly, having the support of the late Augustine as the only significant voice before the Reformation. This it calls a 'mature' view when it does not grow out of any significant position in church history before it but is based on an overreaction against a schismatic group (the Donatists) forced to believe in the doctrine of the Catholic Church against their choice.'

    Study Augustine's troubles with the Donatists. Irresistible Grace does not have such a noble beginning.
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    Sovereignty is correct in the matter of salvation. Christ has sovereignly decided in eternity past that He ' . . . wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.' [I Timothy 2:4]

    Life is our probationary period. Will we invite Christ in or will we remain in our depraved and lost condition alienated from the Presence of God.
     
  13. tyndale1946

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    Ray Berrian said:
    Now we have the power to do what we couldn't do in the Garden of Eden?... Where did this LIE come from?... Even Apostle Paul didn't believe that!... Nevermind I know!... Brother Glen :eek: :eek: :eek:

    [ July 19, 2002, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  14. Primitive Baptist

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    Does He have to R.S.V.P. too?

    [ July 19, 2002, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: Primitive Baptist ]
     
  15. AITB

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    Hi Scott [​IMG]

    Have you read the Septuagint?

    It says the pot 'fell' rather than it was marred.

    I always find it intriguing when the Septuagint varies from the Masoretic. To me that hints at the passage being rather 'hard'. The Septuagint often seems to 'soften' a tricky passage, imo...

    Kinda like Matthew takes Jesus' tricky words to the rich man that sound almost like he's denying it when he is called 'good', and softens them somewhat. (imo)

    [It doesn't matter; in those days it wasn't a big deal, evidently, whether you quoted someone's words exactly - even if they were Jesus' words]

    Anyway I think either version of that Jeremiah verse is intriguingly mysterious. I mean, how could a pot be marred in God's perfect hands? How could it fall? Nothing can snatch us from His hands...

    Fwiw, this element of mystery in the OT text - or so it seems to me - is not often present when Calvinists discuss Romans 9.

    AITB [​IMG]
     
  16. tyndale1946

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    AITB said:
    God didn't marr the pot or vessel but the vessel marred itself. Didn't God say everthing he made was good... indeed very good. The Septuagint said the pot fell instead of marred but that still doesn't take away from the meaning only adds more light to it. The pot or vessel fell or was marred in Adam... when Adam and Eve transgressed Gods holy law. In Adam ALL had sinned and come short of the glory of God. God of this same lump fashioned a vessel to honor and by his own hand set those vessels aside for redemption. The other vessel that was marred he left it as it is. It does not belong to him it is a vessel of dishonor and is not one of his sheep.

    John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

    38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

    39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  17. ScottEmerson

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    But the passage in Jeremiah says the same pot that was changed into the Master's hands was the one that fell. Reading the next verses gives a very, very, clear explanation that what the pot is formed into is directly dependent upon how the "pot" responds.
     
  18. russell55

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    Why do you think that the Romans 9 is refering back to Jeremiah rather than the passage from Isaiah 45 that it seems to more directly quote?

    [ July 19, 2002, 06:57 PM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
     
  19. ScottEmerson

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    I think that Paul uses both of them. The Isaiah one speaks about questioning the potter. The Jeremiah one speaks to the noble and common purposes for the clay.

    "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker,
    to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.
    Does the clay say to the potter,
    'What are you making?'
    Does your work say,
    'He has no hands'?
     
  20. Eric B

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    The passage still ascribes God with "making" both vessels that way, even though one would wonder "who could resist His will". I thought that was the whole point of quoting Romans 9 when people object to people having no chance of salvation. Now everyone's saying that God didn't fit the vessels of wrath to destruction after all. But Calvin and many other Calvinists say He did.

    [ July 20, 2002, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Eric B ]
     

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