The question of fault

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by nwells, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. nwells

    nwells
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    Whose fault is it?

    Romans 9:18 (NASB95)
    "So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires."

    I have heard many who after reading this and reading what Paul has to say about Pharoah say this: "The only reason God hardend Pharoah's heart was because Pharoah hardened his own heart first."

    And that is what I want to discuss.

    IF God hardned Pharoah's heart only because Pharoah did it first then there is no question as to whose fault it is that Pharoah's heart was hardned - it was Pharoah's fault - Pharoah was the one who did it!

    But I ask then - Why does Paul's agument not take that turn but rather the opposite! Paul poses the question that we would ask if someone said this statement, "God hardened Pharoah's heart because God wanted to use Pharoah to display His awesome power."

    Then we say to that, "That's not fair! Why does God then still find fault with Pharoah? Because Pharoah didn't really DO anything! God did it!"

    Which is exactly the question Paul poses:
    Romans 9:19 (NASB95)
    "You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”"

    If God hardends people ONLY and IF they first harden their own hearts then WHY does Paul sense that his readers will ask this question?

    I would say that the reason Paul poses the question is becuase in Paul's Theology the question exists - as to who is to blame for Pharoah's sin because God was the one who hardended Pharoah's heart.

    Do you see the need for the question?

    I am not going to talk about what I think as to what this means - only to say the question exists in Paul's Theology - shouldn't it exist in ours?
     
  2. Skandelon

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    I don't believe anyone questions if Pharoah's heart was self hardened before God judicially hardened him. Of course Pharoah didn't want to let his slaves go. The judicial hardening was to prevent Pharoah from changing his mind after seeing such convincing plagues. God wanted to make certain His ultimate purpose was accomplished--The Passover.

    In the same way, the Jews were being hardened in the time of Christ so as to accomplish the real Passover.

    Calvinists make the mistake that Paul's diatribe is in response to the objections of an Arminian free will advocate. It's not. It's in response to a Jew.

    The Jews thought of themselves as the chosen ones and it was unthinkable that God would grant dirty Gentiles entrance into his covenant and his Kingdom. Like the brother of the prodigal and the all day labors in the vinyard the Jews are envious and they are crying "foul". Or "That is unfair"

    When Paul explains that God can have mercy on any one he chooses he goes on to say that it doesn't depend on how much you may want to be saved and how hard you work for it (as the Jews were in regard to the law) but it depends on God who shows mercy, even if its to dirty Gentiles. Furthermore, Paul goes on to explain that the Jews have been hardened. But if you read on into Romans 11 you will see that this hardening was "temporary" or "in part" and that once the Gentiles are ingrafted the Jews will be provoked to envy and might be saved. (Rom 11:14)
     
  3. Ray Berrian

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    nwells,

    'God did not harden Pharaoh's heart to place him in the position of becoming a damned soul. Anyone without Christ is damned even while on the earth, of course, unless that one yields to Jesus. [John 3:18] God's sole purpose what to make His power known that the Lord of Heaven was mightier than this Egyptian ruler. Finally, God won with the killing of the first born.

    "Pharaoh Hardened His Own Heart" "The Lord Hardened Pharaoh's Heart"

    Exodus 8:15, 19, 32 Exodus 7:13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27
    Exodus 9: 7, 34, 35 Exodus 11:10
    I Samuel 6:6 Exodus 14:8

    Romans 9 is not a treatise on how God selects men and women for Heaven and Hell as Calvinists suggest, but is rather an explanation, from the Lord's viewpoint, as to how and why He rules in all of human history in the affairs of humankind including Jacob and Esau.

    Some of this research is from my dissertation for the Th.D.

    Regards my brother,
    Ray
     
  4. Ray Berrian

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    PHARAOH HARDENED HIS OWN HEART

    Exodus 8:15, 19, 32
    Exodus 9: 7, 34, 35
    I Samuel 6:6


    THE LORD HARDENED PHARAOH'S HEART

    Exodus 7:13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27
    Exodus 11:10
    Exodus 14:8

    Now trustingly you can read it better.

    The whole issue is the release of Moses and the people of God from Egypt in these passages and also in Romans 9:17.
     
  5. nwells

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    Skandelon and others who took time to reply (thanks!):

    You are right when you say the Bible does say that Pharaoh hardened his own heart as well as God hardened it. But I differ with you in your thinking that God's hardening was judicial, meaning that God did it because Pharaoh had already chosen to keep the people of Israel as slaves and not follow the command of God to let them go - I would point attention to this verse (keep in mind God said these things BEFORE Moses went back to Egypt):

    "The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. " (Exodus 4:21, NASB95)

    Many times people say, which if I understand you correctly you are saying as well, "God was able to harden Pharaoh’s heart because Pharaoh did it first and so God just did it a little more but only because Pharaoh did it first. If Pharaoh had not hardened his heart first than God would not have been able to harden Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh still be guilty for his sin. Making the hardening a judicial act rather than a free act by God to use Pharaoh against Pharaoh’s own free will."
    But I see one problem with that idea: God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart from the very beginning and we can see God was at work in every hardening (whether by Pharaoh or by God) as we see here:

    "Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said." (Exodus 7:13, NASB95)

    The key part is, "...as the Lord had said."

    So I grant that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but I also see that God was behind the whole situation - Pharaoh had a hard heart because God willed him to have a hard heart.

    In response to your words about Israel having the response "that's not fair" to gentiles receiving salvation there is a major problem with your interpretation.

    Paul wasn't talking about Gentiles when he raised the question - He was talking about Jacob vs. Esau

    Jacob was in the house of Israel (actually that is where the name Israel came from as God re-named him).

    So thinking that the Question "There is no injustice with God, is there?"
    comes from Jews considering God crazy for accepting dirty Gentiles is not an option.

    To the second question that Paul raises which you have stated is in reaction to God moving his mercy onto Gentiles:
    God didn't accept Pharaoh - He rejected him and yet accepted Moses (had mercy on him) who was an Israelite so how could a Jew come to question what God was doing as he - in BOTH examples given chose a Jew and not a Gentile. So there would be no need to question the examples given by Paul (as the questions are in direct response to the examples Paul sites).

    Also - if what you said is what you believe about the choice of God, and I quote:

    "When Paul explains that God can have mercy on any one he chooses he goes on to say that it doesn't depend on how much you may want to be saved and how hard you work for it (as the Jews were in regard to the law) but it depends on God who shows mercy, even if its to dirty Gentiles."

    If that works with Jews would it not be the same for all men? God chooses and that is first causation where as men are secondary?

    I would say that is exactly what Paul was saying - God has mercy and hardens people not based on what they do or will do but based on God's good pleasure - mainly His glory.

    Like Ray said, all of this must be viewed through the glass of the fallen state of man - all men are fallen and therefore are damned - but you said that,

    "Romans 9 is not a treatise on how God selects men and women for Heaven and Hell as Calvinists suggest, but is rather an explanation, from the Lord's viewpoint, as to how and why He rules in all of human history in the affairs of humankind including Jacob and Esau."

    I don't understand how you got this - since it is through the mercy (a type of non-justice) of God that men are saved and through justice they are rightly condemned.

    I fail to see the difference between human history and the individuals who make up that history - Esau went to hell - Pharaoh went to hell - Because God chose not to have mercy on them but to harden them as Paul says:

    Romans 11:7 (NASB95)
    "What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;"

    Paul is proving that children of the promise are the real people of God (Rom 9:6) (it doesn't matter who your parents are but what matters is God's choice).

    God did not wait for Pharaoh to harden his own heart - God was behind the whole thing

    I am not arguing why it is God does this yet - that is another subject (as Paul answers his own question in the following verses) but that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart not as a judicial act (meaning that God had to wait for Pharaoh to harden his own heart before He could act) but that Pharaoh’s whole purpose in being created was to be hard hearted and deny Israel from leaving so that God's wrath would be displayed and that His power would be made known.

    Tell anyone that God chose to love Jacob (show him mercy) and hate Esau (harden him) not because of anything they did or did not do - but only so that God's choice would stand and you will get this reply: "That isn't fair"

    I do not understand how you came to think that Israel was saying, "that's not fair" to a story that God chose them and their father - if in fact that is what Paul is talking about.
    I would think they would say, "God made a good choice choosing Jacob, because he is our father and followed the law of Moses" (even though he really wasn't all that nice of a guy, as we see no one is sinless).

    I have rambled on - sorry - but I am interested in your replies.

    Thanks for your time [​IMG]
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    We need a chapter and verse saying that Esau ended up in eternal destruction.

    Did not all of the fathers of faith see the beatific vision of God above in Heaven? [Hebrews 11:1-40]
     
  7. nwells

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    Ray:

    I took what I said from

    Hebrews 12:15-17 (NASB95)
    15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
    16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
    17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears."

    It seems clear to me that the author of Hebrews is saying that Esau (by coming short of the grace of God for those who come short are "like Esau") was not saved and therefore we can correctly say that he went to hell.
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    Brother Enwells,

    Esau was somewhat like Lot in the Genesis account chapter nineteen. They were sons of the covenant but not as spiritual as you would like the Elders of your church to be. Esau was foolish and careless enough to lose his birthright. It was his brother Jacob who would through his lineage produce the Son of the promises, namely, our Lord.

    In verse seventeen he was not saddened because of a loss of salvation, but because Jacob would live a better lifestyle than he, plus he would never produce a son with one of the Twelve tribes accredited to the name Esau. In this way God could say in Romans nine, Jacob have I loved and Esau I have hated, or loved less.

    Some scholars have pointed to the fact that the same Greek word for 'hate' in Romans nine is also found in Luke 14:26. No one believes that Jesus really wants us to hate our parents as an expression of our love for our Lord. Thus, this Greek word, scholars have used as an expression meaning 'to love less' or to hate. God absolutely did not want to express that He was going to damn one of the sons of the covenant, as some people staunchly suggest.

    A simple and sincere confession of sins to the Lord wipes the slate clean in the blood of the Lamb, so 12:17 is referring to the fact that Esau would never ever be able to reinstate his standing as the first born son of Isaac, along with all of the blessings that would attend that, if it could have again happened. So Scripture tells us that he sobbed with 'tears' at this unchangeable providential fact. Esau lost his title and not his hope of Heaven.

    King David murdered and committed adultery and no one who I know thinks that this destroyed his relationship to God. In Scripture David vs. 32, Isaac, Jacob, and Esau {vs. 20) are listed among the O.T. greats, or fathers of the faith.

    Few of the saints were flawless. Sometime study Jephthae in Hebrews 11:32 and you will find that he killed his own daughter as a result of a vow made before the Lord. Samuel cites Jephthah's leadership in the slaughtering of 42,000 Ephraimites, therby delivering Israel from their enemies so they might dwell in the safety the Lord had promised His people.

    One aspect of my dissertation was to make a thorough study of all the saints in Hebrews chapter eleven, pointing out their godliness and their faults as free moral agents who were owned, if you will, through God's redemption. :cool:

    Best regards to you,
    Ray
     
  9. nwells

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    Ray, in response:

    You Said:
    "In verse seventeen he [Esau] was not saddened because of a loss of salvation"

    Hebrews said that Esau fell short of the glory of God as Romans 3:23 says all of us have because we are sinners. But I do not believe the author of Hebrews would warn us about being sinners (as all of us are), but that we have fallen short of the glory of God and NOT been justified by Jesus Christ (as Romans 3:24 says)


    "Some scholars have pointed to the fact that the same Greek word for 'hate' in Romans nine is also found in Luke"


    Yes, I would be in that same camp.


    "Esau lost his title and not his hope of Heaven"

    and

    "King David murdered and committed adultery"


    BUT there is a problem with putting Esau and David in the same category.

    Hebrews says in 12:17 that, "he [Esau] found no place for repentance"

    But in David's case in 2 Samuel 12:13 -
    "Then David said to Nathan, “aI have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die."

    If Hebrews was only talking about the title - why did the author say that we should not fall short of the glory of God as Esau did?

    I didn't sell my birthright - so am I OK? The intention of the author was to say that Esau did not have a repentant heart for this warning occurs other times as well:


    Hebrews 3:12-13 (NKJV)
    "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."


    And again:

    Hebrews 4:1-2 (NKJV)
    "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
    For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it."


    The issue is salvation - not Esau loosing his birthright - he sold his birthright because he dispised it and he never repented of it. If he repented He would have been saved as David was. But his heart was not right and so he fell short of the glory of God - and was NEVER justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

    Because He lives,
    Nathan
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    Brother Nathan,

    How many sons did Isaac bless? One or two?

    If you or your pastor ministers a benediction over the congregation, do sinners receive that blessing or just the saints?

    In Hebrews 11 we are told that Abel felt and had the witness that he was saved by faith. Cain did not get into Heaven which would probably be a true fact. If I counted right there are sixteen more saints who went to Heaven because of their faith. These are the fathers of the faith. Why do you like to exclude just Esau, merely to bolster Romans chapter 9:13. Understand that the Romans passage cannot be sending Esau to Hell, while Hebrews is speaking of the brother’s hope as ‘. . . concerning things to come,’ as in eternity.

    Dr. Merrill C. Tenney and I and others believe that both brothers were sons of the covenant. And remember, Jacob was the deceiver who also was flawed with wickedness.
     
  11. nwells

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    Ray:

    When you said:
    "How many sons did Isaac bless? One or two?"

    I don't think you realized that you were speaking against Scripture rather than my own words.

    For it is written:

    Hebrews 12:17 "For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." italics added for emphasis

    It is "the" blessing. Not "a" blessing.

    "The" blessing, being the one that Isaac gave to Jacob.

    I did not make that up - I was quoting Scripture.

    You said:
    "If you or your pastor ministers a benediction over the congregation, do sinners receive that blessing or just the saints?"

    In the end, no one will say of sinners they are blessed. So I would say - that no sinner, in the end will receive any blessing from God (they receive life, rain and other things, but when it comes down to it, they are not blessed). I would take that from Matthew 5 when Jesus talks about those who are blessed. Those who are blessed are the saints.

    You said:
    "Why do you like to exclude just Esau"

    Why? Because Esau is mentioned. I am only excluding him because I believe it is plain enough to see that he is excluded from salvation - that he fell short of the grace of God.

    Rather than making blanket statements about what you believe - it would be helpful to me to know how your belief interacts with the Scripture I have cited - I am open to other opinions, but those opinions must be based on the firm foundation of the Word.

    You said:
    "Understand that the Romans passage cannot be sending Esau to Hell, while Hebrews is speaking of the brother’s hope as ‘. . . concerning things to come,’ as in eternity."

    Why should I understand that the Romans passage is not about the destination of both Esau and Jacob?

    For later in the passage Paul is talking about vessels of mercy and of wrath. Since Paul is separating things into two piles - can we not make that assumtion about Esau?

    Two types of vessels that are from the same lump of clay - and who better than to give as an example than twins! One for mercy and one for wrath!

    As far as Hebrews:
    That the author was warning the brothers about their future in eternity was my point. My point was the author continues to do so througout the whole book - and so he does with Esau - to show us an example of one who failed so that we will not do the same.


    Because He lives,
    Nathan
     
  12. Wes Outwest

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    Then the question begging to be asked is "how does God harden hearts?" The answer is exactly the same as for the question "how does God soften hearts"? With Softening meaning: "coming to faith in God" While hardening meaning resistance to the softening of the heart. God softens hearts through the hearing of his word for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. With the Pharaoh, his entire "slave labor force" was to be let go while there was yet much work to be done. Egypt was no where close to "complete" as far as construction was concerned. A president or prime minister or King or Pharaoh would be stupid to lose his labor engine with yet so much to be accomplished. If you were put in the Pharaoh's position you would not let them go either. You would not pay heed to a "foreign God", which is what the Jews had in Egypt. Thus to have a hardened heart means that you become too filled with, "the cares of the world" to pay attention to God.

    We all can become too filled with the cares of the world to respond to the call to righteousness but when your responsibility is great, your hardness of heart can become that much greater.
     
  13. nwells

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  14. johnp.

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    Ray Berrian.

    Why did you leave Exodus 4:21 out of your list of places of the Lord hardening Pharaoh's heart?

    Does it read better without 4:21?

    johnp.
     
  15. johnp.

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    Wes.

    Common sense would have prevailed if God had not hardened Pharaoh's heart. Men may hate God but they are not stupid. Self interest would have freed the Israelites long before God wanted them to go.
    That is what the passage is about. God's Sovereignity over men's wills. This is what Arminians deny. But that is what the passage is about.

    johnp.
     
  16. johnp.

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    notification!
     
  17. Wes Outwest

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    Common sense would have prevailed if God had not hardened Pharaoh's heart. Men may hate God but they are not stupid. Self interest would have freed the Israelites long before God wanted them to go.
    That is what the passage is about. God's Sovereignity over men's wills. This is what Arminians deny. But that is what the passage is about.

    johnp.
    </font>[/QUOTE]That's a nice opinion, but realizing what most men of "power" would do in the Pharoah's position, I disagree with your opinion. You do not lay your "treasures" on the street for someone to take from you, You hold on to them with all your strength! That is what the Pharoah was doing! Yes, his heart was heardened, and God's insistance on him giving up "his treasure" made him harden it all the more. You witness this in children and in big business all the time.

    Literal interpretation of Scripture tends to make one miss the truth contained there in.
     
  18. nwells

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    Wes,

    You said:
    "Literal interpretation of Scripture tends to make one miss the truth contained there in."

    That is a dangerous saying. It leads men to think themselves above what God has said clearly in His Word - No man is above the Word of God.

    There are different styles of writing in the Bible - but all can for the most part be clearly seen.

    For instance - when the Bible says:
    Isaiah 7:14 (NASB95)
    14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.


    It doesn't mean - the Lord will be born in a person "like" a virgin, meaning someone who is pure in their actions - but actually a virgin, as it says.

    Where as in other parts of the Bible it is clearly understood that what being said is a symbol or an Anthropomorphism:
    Psalm 118:15b (NASB95)
    "The right hand of the Lord does valiantly."


    That verse does not necessarily mean that God has a right hand in the same way we do. We are in the image of God - God in not in the image of us. But it is said of Him that He has a right hand so as that we can relate to Him - He is showing Himself to us, so that we can understand that which is heavenly while we are still of the things that are earthly.

    As Jesus says to Nicodemus (after saying that he must be born-again and Nicodemus being confused):
    John 3:12 (NASB95)
    "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"


    Do not twist the Bible - there is ONE truth - and it comes from the Word of God not from men.


    Because He lives,
    Nathan
     
  19. johnp.

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    Thanks for the advice Wes. So when God says, "...But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go." Exodus 4:21. That is my opinion! But then we are not given a chance to see what Pharoah might have done left alone are we?

    God said He would harden, not that Pharoah would harden. "I will cause Pharoah to harden his own heart." You say He did not. God says, "...But I will harden..."

    What He did with Pharoah He can do with anyone. That is the point of the story. God's Sovereignity over man's will.

    johnp.
     
  20. Ray Berrian

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    Pharaoh was not stupid; he had free slaves in his kingdom to do his dirty work. Pharaoh had heard about the Lord through Moses but he did not want to give up his religion and traditions. So God used this human agent to portray His sovereign power over this 'paper tiger' called a man of mighty power. Romans 9:17 and you will see that the Lord has given to all of us a permanent example of His authority in human history. Nothing is said in Romans nine about God damning the relative majority of souls, while only elevating His elect to Heaven and eternal life. You have over shot the runway! :(
     

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