Why doesn't Romans 9 silence fairness debates?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I have lost count how many times Arminians argue from a perspective God would be "unfair", or would it would "violate His Divine Justice" if God [fill in the Arminian blank].

    Generally, what goes in the "fill in the blank" space is "if God did not offer salvation to all", or "if God chose one person over another", and so on. Then we tend to argue about whether God does [fill in the blank]. I'm beginning to think that's a total waste of time.

    Here's why. One would think that reading this part of Romans 9 would silence any such arguments. Why doesn't it?

    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

    Here we have the clear, plain statement that God's choice of whom he grants mercy has nothing whatsoever to do with what man wills or what man does. God will have mercy on whomever He wants to have mercy, period, end of story.

    IMNSHO (in my not-so-humble-opinion), this makes any statement to the effect of "God is not so unfair that He would do this or that", or "God cannot do this or that because it would violate His Divine Attribute of Whatever" to be one of supreme arrogance.
     
  2. StefanM

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    I would agree on the argument of something being unfair, but it is a legitmate argument to use the divine attributes. For example, God cannot lie, for lying would violate his holiness.

    As far as soteriology goes, the whole system is patently unfair, and I praise God all the more for it being so.

    Ergo, I would agree with you that applying divine attributes to soteriological purpose is invalid. God is sovereign. He chooses the system. The fairness question is irrelevant; the only debatable thing is how the system actually works. We should strive to know how, not why.
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    npetreley asked:

    IMSO, because man is totally depraved he could not see God's sovereignty an iota of an inch from his nose.
     
  4. StefanM

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    IMSO, because man is totally depraved he could not see God's sovereignty an iota of an inch from his nose. </font>[/QUOTE]What about Christians? They are no longer totally depraved!
     
  5. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    StefanM

    No ?
    Then why did David murder a faithful general so he can marry the man's wife with whom he first committed adultery ?

    No ?
    Then why did Paul ignore the Holy Spirit's warning not to go to Jerusalem, otherwise he will be beheaded.

    No ?

    Then why did Noah get all drunk and sleep totally naked even if he had company ?

    No ? Then why did Solomon marry all those 700 wives and get 300 concubines ? Was it simply a case of strong libido ?

    No ? Then why did the Corinthians have one who married his father's wife, why did they use the Lord's Supper as means for eating their supper and drinking ? Why did they seek for other signs like tongues ? Why did they sue each other in court ?

    No ? Then why do we have pastors in our time who do adultery, enrich themselves using the word, rob their churches, and all those scandals we read about ?

    No ? Was npetreley asking about unrenerates ? do the unregenerate argue and debate among themselves on this board ?
     
  6. npetreley

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    Maybe, but we don't need to resort to theological implications to know that it is impossible for God to lie. The Bible simply says so in Hebrews.

    But I'm glad you brought up the topic, because I think I can illustrate from that fact exactly what's wrong with reasoning by "divine attributes".

    Actually, I would say "divine attribute of truthfulness" or something like that rather than "holiness", which really just means God is set apart, but let's go with "holiness" for this example.

    We know from scripture that it is impossible for God to lie. But can we assume from this that God has an attribute of holiness that would prohibit God from using lies to accomplish His purpose? Can we say "God would never do that because it would violate His divine attribute of holiness"?

    If we did, we would be wrong.

    1 Kings:22:21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, "I will persuade him.' 22 The LORD said to him, "In what way?' So he said, "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the LORD said, "You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.' 23 Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you."

    The lesson is that we look to scripture, not our personal interpretations of His divine attributes, as the final authority on what God can and will do.
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    Sorry, Stefan, I hit the enter key by mistake.

    My point is that Christians simply have a new nature added to them. The old nature is still there. That is why we need to be taught, that is the purpose of the gospel, to teach and instruct, to save from the pitfalls and traps and deaths of sin in the timely sense, because the gospel is the good news of our finished salvation in the eternal sense.

    Sin is still living 'in' us, though we no longer need to necessarily be living in sin. Paul put it this way:

    I've lost that thread about how it is the regenerated man that is truly the one with choices to choose, with options to do good or do evil, not the unregenerate who will not come to God on His terms, and I don't care to look for that thread anymore, because most there are denser than a mountain in their insistence that God's sovereignty does not necessarily man God cannot allow man free choice to choose good or evil.

    While I do not judge anyone's salvation based on how he considers God's sovereignty, I may have my reservations, but, we can only know in eternity.
     
  8. StefanM

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    To npetreley:
    I'm with you 100%. [​IMG] Theological conjecture is not the basis for stating God's attributes. The only attributes we can safely argue from are those explicitly stated in scripture. You are correct; I should have stated "truthfulness" instead of "holiness"--my apologies.

    Since I do my best to maintain a Biblical theology, I see no problems in God using sinful actions of sinful beings to achieve his holy purpose.
    ------------------

    To pinoybaptist:

    I was just merely saying that the Christian is capable of doing good, through the grace of God. I am WELL aware that a Christian is capable of sinning (personal experience :( ) ; I was just saying that Christians have the ability to choose good, so they would not be "totally depraved."
     
  9. npetreley

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    I figured you'd agree, but I couldn't resist the illustration. Thanks for triggering that thought!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. StefanM

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    You could always throw Pharaoh in there if you're looking for another illustration of God using sinful people to achieve his will! :D
     
  11. npetreley

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    Well, you and I know that, but the Arminians tend to dismiss it with the excuse that Pharaoh hardened his own heart first. According to their reasoning, it was only after Pharaoh (of his own free will) passed some magical point of no return that God hardened him more in order to use his wickedness for His own purpose. That's their way of letting God off the hook, even though scipture clearly says God told Moses he'd harden Pharaoh before Moses even re-entered Egypt -- and God also clearly said he raised up Pharaoh for this very purpose. [sarcasm on] No sense letting scripture speak for itself when you can add a lot of stuff to make God appear the way you want him to appear. [sarcasm off] ;)
     
  12. pinoybaptist

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    To Stefan:
    I got ya !
     
  13. StefanM

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Long Live Eisegesis Maximus!

    :D
     
  14. Me2

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    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

    this scripture expresses the fullness of the justice of God. as seen through the use of these two opposing forces God calls
    In fact look carefully. theres no determination of wrath...but only the two selections between mercy and compassion.
    not the "anger" of God overagainst mankind, but the inordinate expression of tender mercy towards Gods enemies.

    we could if anyone is interested look at the conclusion of Gods plans from romans 9 in romans 11.

    Rom 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: (those receiving mercy)
    Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. (those receiving compassion)
    Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
    (those together who receive mercy and compassion)

    romans 9 does silence fairness debates if one were to skim on over to the conclusion found in romans 11.

    Me2
     
  15. npetreley

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    Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

    You're missing the point of this, especially because you're using the KJV. More accurate translations are:

    NIV
    32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

    NKJV
    32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.


    Or, to take the whole thing...

    30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

    In short, God has bound us all over to disobedience so that the only way to Him is through His mercy.

    Which takes you right back to Romans 9 -- on whom will God have mercy? God has mercy on whomever He wants to have mercy, and God hardens whomever He wants to harden.
     
  16. Skandelon

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    15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

    This is not about the elect individual verses the non-elect individuals. The issue of Pauls day not Cal vs. Arm its about Jews vs. Gentile.

    Paul is saying God can have mercy on anyone, even the dirty unclean Gentiles who are not thought of as being God's people. Therefore, it is not of him who strives and works for his salvation (ie THE JEWS), but on him who has mercy.

    That interpretation is consistant with the rest of the chapter which is clearly seen in his summary of that chapter...

    30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.
     
  17. Me2

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    npetreley,

    I dont think Ive missed anything...Paul is portraying a story of two opposing forces. it is in short, a discription of the law of the firstborn.

    one is described as sacrificing their life for the life of another.
    and God is hinting to be the force found moving within both to bring mankind to the understanding of what His Agape love means within his creation.

    can We deny that if God speaks of only two forces and states that all found within these two forces are eventually saved.
    then the mystery of one group expressing compassion towards the shortcomings of the other group could fall within the discription of the law of the firstborn. one dying or giving over to the needs of the other.

    your interpretations of including all of mankind within one of the two groups of righteous and unrighteous is eventually correct as far as one could see Gods plans. but as far as I see It here in romans 9-11 paul was focusing on the two opposing forces God has called to oppose each other. as they teach Gods creation the knowledge of Good...and Evil.

    God is not partial. he treats one the same as another. If he loves one. He loves the other.
    It is time that will display the entire understanding here.
    only as towards the group shown the future compassion deserves it moreso for they are more ashamed of their thoughts and actions against their Lord.

    Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
    Rom 11:28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes.

    throughout time the idea is still the same. those chosen by God to live their lives under the law without righteousness as opposing those living by the faith of and the righteousness of another. "israel or the jews" represented here in romans by those living by Law without righteousness. as the scripture figuratively states: all "israel" will be saved. when the fullness of the "gentiles" has been completed.

    although literalizing this could get one into trouble but a little stretch of the imagination and even these statement of all OT Israel that lived under the law could be saved. God is still the controller of Time and space.

    Me2
     
  18. BobRyan

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    In Romans 9 the "unfairness" that God is said to have - is in SHOWING MERCY and grace and REACHING out to those that He knows will not choose to accept eternal life.

    Calvinists insert into the chapter the idea that those who do not choose life CAN NOT choose life.

    That is not found in Romans 9.

    Rather Romans 9 shows that those who ACCEPT eternal life come from BOTH the chosen-holy people of God - the Jews AND from the Gentiles.

    It also shows that those who FAIL are also among the chosen-holy people of God (the Jews) AND the Gentiles.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. John Owen

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    stefan... I have been away for some time, and while I see some of the same crowd, I do not recall you... are you Arminian in your soteriology? I ask this because I am a bit confused (nothing new there!) about something you said... it was :
    And I have to say that as a thorough-going Calvinist, I have rarely seen the simplicity of the gospel so succinctly put... it gave me GREAT joy to read your words, no matter if you are Arminian or not...

    bless you for reminding me that we would ALL be in big trouble if we ever dared to insist on fairness from a Holy Sovereign God, who cannot tolerate sin in His presence, and who will by no means clear the guilty....

    blessings
     
  20. BobRyan

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    It is true "IF" the fairness question is limited to WHY God chooses to save mankind rather than condemn all to hell. But IF the fairness question is used to justify "Arbitrary selection" -- then the "roaster" scenario comes into play.

    In other words - the only way a Calvinist can rejoice about "arbitrary selection" is if they presume THEY are selected AND so is their precious daughter - and ONLY the unknown strangers for whom they have little ties and emotion are "not arbitrarily selected". Only then might they choose to "rejoice" as you describe above.


    Obviously such could not be assumed to be the case - IF that Calvinist principle of arbitrary selection were true.

    If on the other hand they are willing to conceed that their precious darling daughter is NOT among the arbitrarily select - and they STILL rejoice then they do so by adopting an "It is all about Me" defense for Calvinism. And this is obviously the case since they would not rejoice as a lost person. Only the fact that THEY are saved - results in that rejoicing without concern for the lost who are not "arbitrarily selected".

    For that reason I seem to recall some Calvinist suggesting that God might pith the brains of the saints so that they would not be aware of their suffering loved ones.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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