Friday, September 22, 2006

More thoughts on translating -theon- in v. 22 (see earlier post)

Do note that this is neither an exhaustive list of translations or interpretations ... far from it. Just a couple that at the moment I feel most plausible. I will expand in later blogs on supporting context and verses for some of the interpretations.

Possible Translations:

(Causal)
What if God, although he desired to show his wrath and make known his power, endured with much patience, vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory to vessels of mercy, whom he made beforehand for glory.


(Concessive)
What if God, because he desired to show his wrath and make known his power, endured with much patience, vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory to vessels of mercy, whom he made beforehand for glory



Possible Interpretations from translation 1 (concessive):

1.1 God wants to show his wrath and his power but , by patiently enduring with vessels of wrath he could instead show his glory to vessels of mercy. Or...he didn't just destroy the vessels of wrath after the fall, but instead let his plan continue so that he could show his mercy by saving the vessels of mercy through his redemptive plan with Christ at the center, - therefore two sets of vessels, some have been prepared for destruction, some prepared for mercy. Elect and reprobate.

1.2 God wanted to show his wrath and his but instead gives the vessels of wrath chance to repent and become vessels of mercy. So ... vessels of mercy come out of vessels of wrath. All were 'made' for destruction as all fall short of the glory of God, but some were made beforehand for glory, those who God foreknew would repent, those whom he predestined for glory. God also knew those vessels of wrath that would not become vessels of mercy, however, just as in the case of Pharaoh, they are responsible for their lack of repentance. So God elects them as 'reprobate' however their own responsibility confirms them in that. God is sovereign, yet man responsible.


Possible Interpretations from translation 2 (causal):

2.1 God wants to show his wrath and power, and does so against vessels of wrath made for destruction and this also allows God to show glory more especially by showing his mercy to vessels of mercy made beforehand for glory. Two groups of vessels, one for glory, the other for wrath, shows more fully God's character, therefore shows more of His glory.

2.2 God wants to show his wrath and power, and does against vessels of wrath made for destruction. However, as in 1.2, some of those vessels, in God's foreknowledge repent and become the vessels of mercy. Therefore all made as vessels of wrath (cf. Eph. 2:3 – we were all children of wrath), yet out of these, through Jesus, God chose a people for himself who would repent through his grace and become vessels of mercy...as they were prepared for beforehand. So again, God is sovereign, yet man still fully responsible.



Its my feeling that either 1.2 or 2.2 is the most likely in the context of Paul, the teaching of Jesus and further systematic implications. This obviously though leads us with some difficulties:.
> If God truly does elect before the foundations of the earth, why is man still held responsible?
For the answer to this I direct you to Rom. 9:19f., noting particularly that our sense of justice and morality is soaked in the tree we ate from, and therefore apart from grace, warped.

> Is God completely just in holding us responsible if he moulded us this way?
See Rom. 9:14f. Noting that our sense of justice too is 'tree-justice' and we know that God is completely just, and his actions must also therefore be just. To further understand the depth of true justice we must submit to God's word as it teaches us about himself. God's justice often doesn't make sense to us, especially if we are unwilling to submit to his word, who would have thought that justice meant the Father pouring his wrath upon his Sinless Son to call us into his glory as vessels of mercy.

> How is God completely Sovereign in predetermining vessels if man is held fully responsible for his actions?
This is a complicated question in which there is no easy answer. I believe it to be a working, biblical paradox which is held in the counsel of God but cannot be fully grasped by human-kind. However there are things that help us, such as first, we know that it must work with God's character, therefore must be totally holy, and just, and loving, and righteous...etc. And also second, this biblical paradox is not unique, we see another closely related working biblical paradox in God's means of grace...such as shown in in Jude. - v. 21 says 'keep yourselves in the love of God,' and v. 24 says 'to him who is able to keep you.' So you keep yourself...in him who keeps you.

19 comments:

Edgar said...

>> > Is God completely just in holding us responsible if he moulded us this way?

- snipped -

God's justice often doesn't make sense to us, especially if we are unwilling to submit to his word, who would have thought that justice meant the Father pouring his wrath upon his Sinless Son to call us into his glory as vessels of mercy.<<

I think God's justice doesn't make sense to us ONLY if we think that God moulded us this way. There is no other conclusion but that God is UNJUST if he moulded as this way and yet he holds as responsible. It's like holding a blind person responsible for not READING the rules or holding a seahorse responsible for not flying.

To argue that God's justice is not the same with our sense of justice is unbiblical. As if there is another form of justice in the Bible that we've learned other than God's.

Rat said...

I disagree with Edgars post. I ask for him/her to find evidence from Scripture to point that God's Justice, and our Justice is the same. God is the only truly just being. Our 'justness' is corrupted my sin, selfishness, rebellion.

Edgar said...

What I mean is this: The justice that God taught us in the Bible is the justice that God exercises. In short, there is no difference with the justice we learned from scripture and God's justice. That's the reason why I said in my previous comment, "As if there is another form of justice in the Bible that we've learned other than God's."

timgough said...

Thank you for your comments. To pursue this line further lets have a look at what the Bible -does- teach us about mans justice.

Your arguing (I think) that God's divine justice is taught in the bible for man to imitate. Which in theory sounds fine.

But as man we find it hard to imitate God's divine traits don’t we? Simply because we are fallen, and we ate from the tree. So our whole self is marred, we have 'all sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23), we have 'blind' hearts (2Cor. 4:4), 'hard' hearts (Eze.11:19; 36:26), 'dead' hearts (Eph. 2:1, 5), we are unable to submit to God's law (Rom. 8:7-8), and by nature we are even called 'children of wrath' (Eph. 2:3).

This makes for a powerful hindrance to know the things of God. We only know God because of his grace causing us to love Him. God has to 'circumcise our heart' so that we can respond to him in love and so we can live (Deut. 30:6).

Therefore, to go back to my original point in the post, we cannot understand the great Justice of God because our whole perception of justice is 1. not divine, and 2. sinful. I mean, honestly 'who -would- have thought that justice meant the Father pouring his wrath upon his Sinless Son to call us into his glory as vessels of mercy?' No human justice would have come up with such a man-humiliating thing - but that is what the Justice of God demanded.

For us to truly understand God's justice we must imitate his Son Jesus. This comes by -submitting- to what his word teaches, even when it feels uncomftable to us (at first) and doesn't make sense to our human and fallen mind.

Thanks for your comments.

Edgar said...

Hi Tim,

>>>Therefore, to go back to my original point in the post, we cannot understand the great Justice of God because our whole perception of justice is 1. not divine, and 2. sinful. <<<

That's why we need the Scripture to base our understanding of what justice is. And it is clear in Scripture that God commands us not to punish the innocent but the guilty. This kind of justice is divine because it is he who gave it. Therefore, for God "to mould us this way and yet holds us responsible" is UNJUST for God to do.

>>>I mean, honestly 'who -would- have thought that justice meant the Father pouring his wrath upon his Sinless Son to call us into his glory as vessels of mercy?' No human justice would have come up with such a man-humiliating thing - but that is what the Justice of God demanded.<<<

The reason God was able to do that is because of his LOVE for us, not merely justice. But to mould us this way and then hold us responsible is not love; but ruthlessness. Thus, I dont believe God mould us this way (sinners) and then hold us responsible. The Romans 9 passage about moulding does not mean God moulding us as sinners. it was just an illustration used by Paul to emphasize God's sovereignty in choosing whom he wants to use or not to use (as in using Jacob and not Esau).

Thanks for allowing me to make a comment.

Blessings,

Edgar

timgough said...

Halo again
>> >And it is clear in Scripture that God commands us not to punish the innocent but the guilty.< <<

What do you make of the sacrificial system, punishing the innocent for the guilty, so that the innocent are not punished as they deserve? + What do you make of Job, who, although innocent, God allows Satan a degree of reign to harm him?
And it’s also worth mentioning that when coming to humans, your proposition rests on the fact that humans -are- innocent, or God would be unjust to hold them guilty. However it’s blatantly clear from scripture that humans are -not- innocent, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3). In fact -all- humans deserve eternal punishment, but God out of his mercy has taken a people for himself.


>> >The reason God was able to do that is because of his LOVE for us, not merely justice.<< < I totally agree, God so loved the world that he sent his Son, and it is not -merely- justice. However to reduce God's character and actions on the cross to -just- his love is equally wrong. If God was moved only by love, and not by a vigorous sense of justice, then the price would not have to be paid, but we know that it is precisely that God -is- just that somebody must pay for sin. Either man in hell, or Christ on the cross. And in with this it is an act of divine grace, mercy, holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath, joy, and love. You cannot isolate a trait at the expense of another.


>> >The Romans 9 passage about moulding does not mean God moulding us as sinners. it was just an illustration used by Paul to emphasize God's sovereignty in choosing whom he wants to use or not to use (as in using Jacob and not Esau).<< <

hmm...don't miss hear me, I'm not blankly saying that 'God moulds sinners' - sinners mould themselves, in fact the entire human race in Adam -has- moulded themselves irretrievably as sinners, apart from grace. God does however 'harden who he wills and has mercy on who he wills.' As in the case of Pharaoh (vv. 17-18).

And you say that Rom. 9 is about God sovereignty choosing who he is going to -use- illustrated by using Jacob not Esau, and not salvation. There are some difficulties with this view from the passage as Rom. 9 says that God's choice -results- in people receiving his 'mercy' (vv. 15-16, 18, 23) and his 'glory' (v. 23). If those on the other side of this have not received mercy, then their not simply not chosen for service, but are trapped in their sin, and therefore await punishment.
Also, look closely at your illustration, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' - this is strong language - God doesn't just simply not 'use' Esau, in fact quite the opposite, he is used in service of Jacob, -but he is -hated- by God.

Thanx
Tim.

EDGAR said...

Hello Tim,

>>>What do you make of the sacrificial system, punishing the innocent for the guilty, so that the innocent are not punished as they deserve? + What do you make of Job, who, although innocent, God allows Satan a degree of reign to harm him?<<<

Who or what kind of innocent moral beings are punish for the guilty in the sacrificial system? I don’t read in the Scripture that God clearly punish innocent moral beings (feel free to help me). If you are referring to Christ, then of course it’s a different story since Christ is God who offered himself as a ransom for all. He is not an innocent being declared as guilty then punished.

>>>And it’s also worth mentioning that when coming to humans, your proposition rests on the fact that humans -are- innocent, or God would be unjust to hold them guilty. However it’s blatantly clear from scripture that humans are -not- innocent, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3). In fact -all- humans deserve eternal punishment, but God out of his mercy has taken a people for himself.<<<

I think you miss me here. I’m not saying humans are not guilty. What I’m saying is that in Calvinism, God CREATED some to go to heaven and the rest were CREATED for hell (see Institutes 3:21:5)

Not only that, in Calvinism as well, God decreed whatever comes to pass. And so when a man became a sinner, he became one because it was eternally decreed by God that he become one. And to add insult to injury, he is held responsible for becoming a sinner.

>>>hmm...don't miss hear me, I'm not blankly saying that 'God moulds sinners' - sinners mould themselves, in fact the entire human race in Adam -has- moulded themselves irretrievably as sinners, apart from grace. <<<

Sorry, Tim, but Calvinism says God decreed whatever comes to pass. In Calvinism, it is God who is ULTIMATELY responsible why man became a sinner, because God, by his SOVEREIGNTY, decreed that man should become one. Let me ask, will man become a sinner had not God decreed him to be a sinner?

>>>God does however 'harden who he wills and has mercy on who he wills.' As in the case of Pharaoh (vv. 17-18).<<<

The common misunderstanding among Calvinists of verses 17-18 is that they apply to salvation. I don’t think that it is the necessary interpretation. The context gives away us what these verses means. Paul used Moses as an example of God showing mercy. Paul referred to Exodus 33:19 about God “showing mercy.” But it is clear that the incident in Exodus 33:19 has nothing to do with salvation of Moses but God’s choice of whether he will allow Moses to see his glory or not. Thus, it speaks of God giving privilege or not.

When Paul speaks of God harden whom he wants to harden, again, it does not refer to damning Pharaoh to hell. Pharaoh probably is in hell right now not because God chose him to be there. The sovereign choice of God that Paul talks about concerning Pharaoh is God’s choice of letting Pharaoh remain as leader of Egypt and not killing him on the spot for a specific purpose to make God’s glory known throughout all the earth. Read the context of Exodus 9:17:

**Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.’”**

Again, God chose not to destroy Pharaoh on the spot, instead God used this situation to make his glory known throughout all the earth.

Therefore, the “showing of mercy” and the “hardening of Pharaoh” do not mean God choosing some to salvation and others to damnation.

>>>And you say that Rom. 9 is about God sovereignty choosing who he is going to -use- illustrated by using Jacob not Esau, and not salvation. There are some difficulties with this view from the passage as Rom. 9 says that God's choice -results- in people receiving his 'mercy' (vv. 15-16, 18, 23) and his 'glory' (v. 23). <<<

I did not say the whole of Romans 9 has nothing to do with salvation. What I would say is that, the Jacob and Esau passage (9:6-13), the “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” passage (9:14-19), and the molding passage (9:20-21) have nothing to do with salvation but only Paul’s illustration of God’s sovereignty in giving privilege to others and withholding it from others.

Notice how Paul used the phrase “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” in Romans 9. He did not intend to mean salvation but privilege. Notice that he took this from Exodus 33:19, and this passage has nothing to do with salvation, but with privilege. In that case there is no injustice with God because he could show his glory to a person and not to another. Therefore, “mercy” in the context of how Paul used it (by referring to Moses’ case) has nothing to do with salvation. It is when we change the idea of how Paul used the words that we have troubles with the Scripture.

In 9:22, the vessels of wrath became vessels of wrath when they rejected Christ, the CORNERSTONE (see my blog entry http://uk.blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-IUdyrPU0f6G3rEaOLxhwEUJz3g--?cq=1&p=220) and not because God chose them to be such. The vessels of mercy became vessels of mercy not by eternal unconditional choice.

The sovereign choice is clear in v.22, viz., that God, instead of pouring his wrath upon those who’ve rejected Christ as the Corner stone chose not to but he endured them with much patience so that he can show the riches of his glory upon those who do not reject Christ (the vessels of mercy). I have explained this further in my blog.

If you will follow Paul’s thought right through his conclusion in 9:30-31, you will see that the vessels of mercy (from among the believing Jews and Gentiles) attained to this position because they PURSUE righteousness by faith, while the vessels of wrath (the non-believing and Christ-rejecting Jews) did not pursue righteousness because they did not believe (v.32) and they rejected the Cornerstone (v.33)

>>>Also, look closely at your illustration, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' - this is strong language - God doesn't just simply not 'use' Esau, in fact quite the opposite, he is used in service of Jacob, -but he is -hated- by God.<<<

It is a strong language indeed in the English language. But we must understand it in the way they (Hebrew/Aramaic) used such phrase. Jesus told us that if we don’t “hate” our own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, then we cannot be his disciples (Luke 14:26). Does Jesus teach that we should “hate” our father, mother, wife, brother, and sister the way we understand the strong English word “hate” in our culture? I don’t think God hating Esau means the same way we understand “hate” in our culture today.

Thanks, brother.

Blessings,

EDGAR

timgough said...

Hmm ... I have a little difficulty with your using the word 'Calvinism.' Although generally I would affirm a Calvinistic framework, and of course my arguments will to ‘some degree’ appeal to this, that is not immediately in the context of the arguments you have responded too. Therefore your clarifying of ‘but Calvinism says’ and ‘in Calvinism’ in response to some of my arguments is not, I feel, responding to -my- argument, but a larger Calvinistic assumption.

Other than that, I feel you presented me with a fine response which is helpful. I would appreciate clarification on what you mean by 'morally innocent' as apposed to 'innocent.' This would affect how I take that particular part of the response. Thanx.

>> >He is not an innocent being declared as guilty then punished.< <<

I thought that Jesus taking the Fathers wrath on the cross was precisely because he was declared guilty for our deeds in our place. Hence the reason we are saved from God's wrath.

>> >I did not say the whole of Romans 9 has nothing to do with salvation. What I would say is that, the Jacob and Esau passage (9:6-13), the “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” passage (9:14-19), and the molding passage (9:20-21) have nothing to do with salvation but only Paul’s illustration of God’s sovereignty in giving privilege to others and withholding it from others.< <<

The two obvious questions to push then is -does- God give privilege to some and not others, and if he does what is this privilege? I believe it to be 'mercy' and 'glory' as is said, which seems to be salvific language, as does the original propositions of vv. 1-5. And referring to Moses, surely salvation from Egyptian captivity towards the promised lands of God is beautiful typology of saving captive sinners to the mountain of the Lord, Jesus Christ. - Namely salvation, not just privilege without salvation. Also note that even those who are 'withheld' privilege in your view, are shown privilege in being shown patience, and opportunity to repent. So we must, I feel, in Rom. 9 be talking about Salvation.

>> >If you will follow Paul’s thought right through his conclusion in 9:30-31, you will see that the vessels of mercy (from among the believing Jews and Gentiles) attained to this position because they PURSUE righteousness by faith< <<

2 Things, first, when you look carefully at the structure of the passage you find it hard to make the link from vv. 22-23 vessels, to the epilogue of vv. 30-31. Especially because it doesn't say there are Israel and Gentiles in both sets of vessels here, simply Israel and Gentiles.

Second, the verse says, '...That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith.' The verse does -not- say that they pursued righteousness by faith, it says that they -obtained- it. The only part of this clause which uses the word 'pursue' is in the negative - 'they did not pursue...'

>> >But we must understand it in the way they (Hebrew/Aramaic) used such phrase. Jesus told us that if we don’t “hate” our own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, then we cannot be his disciples<< <

Indeed, however the context tells us a different story. (Also note the difference in a human hating and God hating - but that’s for another time) The words around this passage are Pauline worlds usually attached to Salvation. First 'call' -(See Rom. 8:28), 'election' (Rom. 11:5), 'not of works' (Rom. 4:2-8; 11:6).

Also I feel that 'hatred' is seen as the opposite here of 'love.' -God loved Jacob and from him bought forth Israel. A 'privilege' not granted to Esau. He was not to be the 'vessel' of God's mercy as Jacob was to Israel. He was hated -or- maybe better translated 'rejected' by God. And this decision to reject Esau was held in the counsel of God 'before they had done anything good or bad.'

Paul does seem very insistent in this passage that -election- to -salvation- is a decision held in the counsel of God, not in the hand of man. And to argue for the contrary seems to belittle Paul’s emphasis on Election to Salvation as an act totally of God's grace from 'the riches of his mercy.'

Thanx again!

Tim.

EDGAR said...

Hi Tim,

>>>Hmm ... I have a little difficulty with your using the word 'Calvinism.' Although generally I would affirm a Calvinistic framework, and of course my arguments will to ‘some degree’ appeal to this, that is not immediately in the context of the arguments you have responded too. Therefore your clarifying of ‘but Calvinism says’ and ‘in Calvinism’ in response to some of my arguments is not, I feel, responding to -my- argument, but a larger Calvinistic assumption.<<<

I think I’ve got messed up about that Calvinism issue. Sorry aboutt hat. But when you said, “And it’s also worth mentioning that when coming to humans, your proposition rests on the fact that humans -are- innocent, or God would be unjust to hold them guilty,” I think I never said that humans are not guilty. I guess the question that must be asked is when did God hold humans guilty? Was it before they were created or after they’ve sinned?

>>>Other than that, I feel you presented me with a fine response which is helpful. I would appreciate clarification on what you mean by 'morally innocent' as apposed to 'innocent.' This would affect how I take that particular part of the response. Thanx.<<<

I mentioned “morally innocent” to make sure that we are talking here about “moral beings” as opposed to “amoral creatures” like animals. Animals cannot be logically called “innocent” since they are not moral beings. That’s only my purpose for mentioning “morally innocent.”

>>>I thought that Jesus taking the Fathers wrath on the cross was precisely because he was declared guilty for our deeds in our place. Hence the reason we are saved from God's wrath.<<<

The Bible never teaches that He was declared guilty. How can GOD HIMSELF be guilty of sin? For him to be guilty of sin is to say that he had committed sin or he is responsible for a particular sin, which I think a blasphemous thought at the very least, not to mention that if he is declared guilty of sin then he is not a perfect sacrifice.

>>>The two obvious questions to push then is -does- God give privilege to some and not others, and if he does what is this privilege?

I believe it to be 'mercy' and 'glory' as is said, which seems to be salvific language, as does the original propositions of vv. 1-5. <<<

Nope. The privileges are not “mercy” and “glory”. The privilege is clear from the illustration. When God said to Moses in Exo. 33:19, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” God was referring to whether he will answer Moses’ petition to see his glory. That statement (i.e., “I will be merciful…”) God was a response to Moses’ petition. Moses asked God to show His glory to him (v. 18), but God answered him, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” Thus, it neither refers at all to salvation nor to “mercy” per se, but to the privilege of seeing God’s glory or not. And Paul said that there is no injustice in God regarding this. In other words, Paul was showing how sovereign God is that he can even refuse to grant Moses’ petition to see his glory.

>>>And referring to Moses, surely salvation from Egyptian captivity towards the promised lands of God is beautiful typology of saving captive sinners to the mountain of the Lord, Jesus Christ.<<<

We are in Exodus 33:19 and not in Exodus 13 or 14, so I don’t think the phrase in 33:19 has something to do with Moses’ exodus from Egypt.

>>> - Namely salvation, not just privilege without salvation. Also note that even those who are 'withheld' privilege in your view, are shown privilege in being shown patience, and opportunity to repent. So we must, I feel, in Rom. 9 be talking about Salvation.<<<

The Christ-rejecting Jews (those whom God patiently endured) are indeed given privilege – both to time to repent (perhaps) and not bringing these “wretches to wretched end” right away. And God can do that because God is sovereign. That is the point here of Paul. And like I said (here or in my blog?), Paul was in a series of examples of how God exercises his sovereignty which at the latter part of Romans 9 he shows that God by his sovereignty can withhold judgment to these “wretches” (Christ-rejecting Jews) and instead use that situation to make known his glory to the Body of Christ (united Jews-Gentiles).

We cannot pick up some verses like vv. 14-18 and immediately say that God show mercy to some that’s why he saved them and to others he has no mercy and so he did not save them. That is not what Paul is saying here and that is quite clear from the examples he used.

>>>2 Things, first, when you look carefully at the structure of the passage you find it hard to make the link from vv. 22-23 vessels, to the epilogue of vv. 30-31. Especially because it doesn't say there are Israel and Gentiles in both sets of vessels here, simply Israel and Gentiles.<<<

Not really, the structure actually reveals the clear link of vv. 30-33 from the rest of Romans 9. Notice carefully what Paul said after mentioning vv.1-29. He said in v. 30, “What shall we say then?” The phrase “what shall we say then” has something to do with the rest of what he mentioned earlier. He is now making a conclusion of everything he mentioned earlier in the chapter.

Your difficulty lies in the fact that you’re not taking the passage as a whole. What you are trying to do, for example, is that you look for the word “vessels” in vv. 30-33, and since the word “vessel” is not found in those verses, your judgment is that vv. 30-33 has connection to vv. 22-23. I don’t think that’s the right way to understand the whole passage. You must rather look for connecting words or phrases or thoughts, like “therefore,” “for,” “because,” and in this case, “what shall we say then.” In short, Paul was asking, “What shall we conclude then?”

>>>Second, the verse says, '...That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith.' The verse does -not- say that they pursued righteousness by faith, it says that they -obtained- it. The only part of this clause which uses the word 'pursue' is in the negative - 'they did not pursue...'<<<

What Paul was saying in vv. 30-33 is that the Jews pursued a law of righteousness, that is, they try to obtain righteousness by obeying the law, but they failed. On the other hand, the Gentiles, without pursuing righteousness through the law have attained righteousness by faith.

>>>Indeed, however the context tells us a different story. (Also note the difference in a human hating and God hating - but that’s for another time) The words around this passage are Pauline worlds usually attached to Salvation. First 'call' -(See Rom. 8:28), 'election' (Rom. 11:5), 'not of works' (Rom. 4:2-8; 11:6).

Also I feel that 'hatred' is seen as the opposite here of 'love.' -God loved Jacob and from him bought forth Israel. A 'privilege' not granted to Esau. He was not to be the 'vessel' of God's mercy as Jacob was to Israel. He was hated -or- maybe better translated 'rejected' by God. And this decision to reject Esau was held in the counsel of God ‘before they had done anything good or bad.’<<<

I disagree. The immediate context of “God hating Esau” explains what it means. Let’s read the passage again:

"for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "the older will serve the younger.” JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Take note: “the older will serve the younger.” JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” It is not “hating” in the sense that God abhors Esau. Rather, it means that God did not find favor upon Esau to become the chosen nation so that God, by his SOVEREIGN CHOICE, the older (Esau) WILL SERVE the younger (Jacob), the chosen nation.

>>>Paul does seem very insistent in this passage that -election- to -salvation- is a decision held in the counsel of God, not in the hand of man. And to argue for the contrary seems to belittle Paul’s emphasis on Election to Salvation as an act totally of God's grace from 'the riches of his mercy.'<<<

Romans 9 is never about election unto salvation. From the very first few verses Paul was talking about his “kinsmen according to the flesh” (v. 3), the Israelites. He was concerned about them because of their rejection of the Cornerstone (Matt. 21:33-42; cf. Rom. 9:32-33). He then went on about their election (9:6-13) and what God can sovereignly do without doing any injustice (9:14-21) including not to bring Paul’s kinsmen who’ve rejected Christ to “wretched end” right away so that he can show the riches of his glory to the Body of Christ, which is composes of Gentiles (9:24-26) and the remnant Jews (9:27).

If taken as a whole by following Paul’s thoughts, Romans 9 is hardly about election unto salvation.

Again, thanks.

Blessings,

EDGAR

timgough said...

Hi Edgar
Sorry this is going to be short. Unfortunately I really haven't got the time to address everything in long comments as I'm hardcore into my dissertation.

I think we have both grasped our differing opinions on this passage. I believe this passage is talking about individual election to salvation from collective bodies, and I believe God is just and sovereign and man still responsible. - These are obviously areas of my reading that you have difficulty with, and I respect that.

However, just a couple of small things; I would encourage you first to be very careful not to respond to arguments that -I don't make-. And also, I think you need to recognise that although the conclusions I come to may be different from your own, this does not necessarily imply my study/exegesis of this passage as some way defective/inferior to one that did not come out with a different set of conclusions.

Again thanx for your comments. You have very helpfully and graciously made me think about many angles of the text and have refined my thinking. However I'm still currently very comfortable in my translation of this passage, and comfortable knowing I'm arrived at similar conclusions to commentators through the ages.

Many Blessings, please feel free to comment on posts (I’m just setting my boundaries so I don’t become addicted to the comment debating and detract the purpose of my blog).
Tim.

Dave said...

Guys,

Can I ask a specific -Edgar is very strong in his view that Exodus 33 v 19 is in the context of showing Moses his face and not salvation. But God doesn't show Moses his face otherwise he will not live. God graciously allows him to see something of his goodness and he graciously pronounces his name -but that by definition isn't to do with mercy. So do we need to link the comment about "I will have mercy" to the wider context? Or rather is it linked to the specific context of what God will show Moses i.e. His character/his name. So then it is inheritant in his name to choose who he will have mercy on Secondly -do we even need to tie it into the narrative context -is Paul using it that way -or do we need to spend more time seeing how Paul uses the phrase in his context?

EDGAR said...

Hi Tim,

I do respect your view and I never meant to imply that your exegesis is inferior or defective. I'm very sorry if you find my way of deliberating suggests something like that.

Keep up your good job with your dissertation. More power and God bless.

Cheers,

EDGAR

EDGAR said...

Hello Dave,

>>>Can I ask a specific -Edgar is very strong in his view that Exodus 33 v 19 is in the context of showing Moses his face and not salvation. But God doesn't show Moses his face otherwise he will not live. God graciously allows him to see something of his goodness and he graciously pronounces his name -but that by definition isn't to do with mercy. <<<

You are correct in stating that God did not show his face to Moses but GRACIOUSLY allowed him to see his goodness and GRACIOUSLY pronounced his name and that is exactly what God meant when he said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."

In the English and Filipino (my native dialect) languages, we can probably say that by definition, graciously showing something to Moses has nothing to do with “mercy,” but it isn’t so in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word “chanan” could mean either “be gracious” or “to show mercy”. In fact, there’s another Hebrew word, "chesed", and it is often rendered mercy, lovingkindness, or grace in the Old Testament. Therefore, what God did was an act of grace to Moses, thus he said, “I will be chanan to whom I will be chanan".

>>>So do we need to link the comment about "I will have mercy" to the wider context? Or rather is it linked to the specific context of what God will show Moses i.e. His character/his name. So then it is inheritant in his name to choose who he will have mercy on Secondly -do we even need to tie it into the narrative context -is Paul using it that way -or do we need to spend more time seeing how Paul uses the phrase in his context?<<<

Just by observing the context and the flow of Moses dissertation we would already know what he meant by the phrase, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”

In v. 11 we read: “for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice (election) would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” Here we find Paul talking about the election of Israel, and not the election unto salvation of individuals; that God chose Jacob not because of what the twins have done, but because of him who calls. So it’s about the CHOOSING of Jacob. God chose Jacob to be served by Esau (v. 12). Why? Why did God choose Jacob to be served by Esau? It’s because by God’s Sovereignty God loved Jacob and hated Esau (v. 13), meaning, God loved Esau lesser than he loved Jacob. Still, Paul’s thought at this point was on God’s choice of Israel. Let’s continue.

In v. 14 Paul asked: “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! Paul posed this question to his readers because they might entertain the thought that God’s choice of Israel means that God is unjust. So Paul continued saying, “Nope, there is no injustice with God in his choice of Israel” (and here is now the verse in question… ) “FOR He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (v. 15). Notice that Paul mentioned v.15 only as the REASON for the fact that there is no injustice with God’s CHOICE OF ISRAEL and this has nothing to do with God saving or not saving the rest of humankind. We should understand v. 15 according to Paul’s line of thought rather than according to our theological position.

Blessings,

EDGAR

Dave said...

Edgar,

Apologies -I believe my sloppy use of English may have destroyed the sense of what I was trying to ask. Ignore the word graciously -it's a bit of a red herring. My point there was do we attach the "showing mercy" as a statement of what God will and will not do -i.e. is it linked forwards to God not showing his face or is it linked to God saying he will say his name -in other words it is a filling out of what Yahweh means. Is there anything in Hebrew that indicates it that way. Now a further question -what does it mean for God to show mercy or be gracious to Israel? When God chooses one over the other what is he doing. Is salvation purely a negative as in saved from something or is it saved to something? Isn't God's relationship with Israel salvation based. Isn't the issue with Moses that God will be gracius and save Moses from the death that should go with such an encounter with God to a meaningful relationship with him where he sees God's character. Now obviously the Old Testament situation will deal with physical realities in terms of salvation but that doesn't prevent us from moving in Romans to eternal salvation as a comparison.

EDGAR said...

Hello Dave,

That's alright Dave, Im more sloppier than you when it comes to your own language.

When God responded to Moses, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion to whom I will show compassion,” it was a RESPONSE to Moses’ PRAYER: “I pray You, show me Your glory.” The prayer is non-salvific and therefore the divine response is non-salvific. Moses’ prayer was not about salvation and so God’s response should be understood along this line.

If Moses’ prayer was: “I pray You, SAVE me and my people” and then God made the same reply, then the “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, blah..blah” should be understood along that line as well. But again, the payer was not about salvation but of privilege, which go inline with the privilege God gave to Jacob as the chosen people of God.

Having said that and since we are talking about Romans 9, I think what we must do is to observe the immediate context of vv. 14,15 of Romans 9.

When Paul asked the question, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” what possible charge of God’s injustice he was anticipating from his readers? Was he anticipating his readers that they might charge God of being (1) unjust for saving some and not the rest or that they might charge God of being (2) unjust for electing Jacob and not Esau?

From its immediate context, which of the two Paul was talking about – (1) or (2)?

Cheers,

EDGAR

Dave Williams said...

Edgar,

But what point was he using the Esau example for?

EDGAR said...

Hi Dave,

Paul mentioned Esau because Esau was the older brother and yet he is the one who will serve the younger Jacob, JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN... Jacob I love, but not Esau.

Take note of the phrase "Just as it is written". That phrase (including the "Jacob I love, but Esau I hated") was used by Paul illustrative of God's sovereign choice of Jacob the younger.

If you will observe Paul's line of thought, Esau was not mentioned with the purpose of damnation. The "just as it is written... (v.13)" is linked to "The older will serve the younger." (v.12). In other words, v.13 is explained by v.12. Paul mentioned v.13 to further illustrate God's choice that the older will serve the younger.

If v.12 reads, "The older will be damned and the younger is not", then followed by v.13, "JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated," you can be sure that the phrase "Esau I hated" means damnation. But that is not the case here.

Cheers,

EDGAR

timgough said...

Hmm... sorry I know I opted out of this a while ago for fear of my time allocation, but just to throw an inconvenient spanner in the works; Paul quotes this in the context of (and to illustrate the point of) 'in order that God's purposes in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls - she was told...'

I know you would like to make this primarily about the 'choosing' of Jacob, however the active frustrating and destruction of Esau is the context the original quote sits in:

2"I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How have you loved us?" "Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob 3but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert." 4If Edom says, "We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins," the LORD of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called 'the wicked country,' and 'the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.'" 5Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, "Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!" [Mal. 1:2-5].

And you could always see more of this in the book of Obadiah.

So this seems to be the election to life or destruction of 'peoples.' Which contras a couple of your points I feel.

However I do feel that Paul is primarily referring to the individual people Jacob and Esau here, not Israel and Edom directly. For several reasons;
First, Paul uses language which is clumsy when applied to nations (and he doesn't do throughout Romans) such as 'birth.'
Second, Paul is using salvation language, 'calls,' 'election.' - Not applied to nations (as Paul does not believe that entire nations are chosen by God acording to their ethnicity).
Third, this would be awkward from v.6 (saying not all who are physical Israel are Israel).
And finally, in light of Paul saying so much about all of Israel not being Israel, not all being saved, not all Children of the promise; a statement here about choosing Israel over Edom wouldn't help his argument at all!

So yea, Individuals, election language, and noting that the quote really does talk about Esau's destruction.

I'm done; I'll let you two get back at it.

Blessings

Tim.

EDGAR said...

Hi Dave,

Just one last jab. You said,

"However I do feel that Paul is primarily referring to the individual people Jacob and Esau here, not Israel and Edom directly."

I guess that statement above is very important in the whole argument.

To say that Paul is referring primarily to the individual people (i.e., Jacob and Esau) and not to Israel and Edom is to miss the whole point of Paul. Remember at the beginning of Romans 9 he said he could wish he himself was accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Israelites (vv. 1-4). It was his concern for his Jewish brothers that he started penning chapter 9. So Paul had not in mind the salvation or damning of individal persons like Jacob and Esau respectively. Rather, he had in mind his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Israelites.

YOu also mentioned Malachi 1. But it only demonstrates the fact that the election being spoken here is NOT INDIVIDUAL since it was Edom which was laid desolate.

And like i said, when Paul quoted "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" it was only to further illustrate God's choice of Israel over Edom. As a matter of fact, Gen. 25:23 (quoted in 9:12) and Malachi 1:1-4 (quoted in 9:13) have nothing to do with each other as far as the OT literatures are concerned, but why did Paul say, "JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN?" So here, the quotation of Malachi 1:2 is for illustration purposes only. But what is there for Paul to illustrate about? Paul illustrates God's choice of Israel over Edom, which goes back to Gen. 25:23 where two nations were inside Rebekah's womb. So again, the whole thought here is that Paul was talking about the election of israel and not individual people.

God bless.

Cheers,
EDGAR