Challenge to all here.

Give ANY explanation to verses in Romans 9:11-13 that can elicit a response that Paul knew would come in verses 20-23. If you can do this by saying it is not discussing election and reprobation you win.

11 (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not by works, but by Him that calleth),
12 it was said unto her, “The elder shall serve the younger.”
13 As it is written: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

20 But nay, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, “Why hast thou made me thus?”
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?
22 What if God, choosing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction;

Why don’t you start his way…what do those passages mean to you?

And why do they mean that way to you? And why should your interpretation be believed? Where did your interpretation come from?

The Church looks at the whole of Sacred Scripture within Sacred Tradition in determining truth in this, as in all matters of faith and morals. Having said that, I am not an expert on predestination, however, I can give you a link to Haydock’s Bible Commentary on the chapter you quoted that may be helpful to your researches:

Also, I’d recommend you look for predestination in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

All the best to you. :slight_smile:

Why should we take this as a challenge? Catholics believe in predestination and reprobation, put simply.

^ Yes, this is a very odd thread. It assumes what Catholics believe and then “challenges” them based on a presupposition.

How about instead of issuing a challenge, ask Catholics what the passage means to them?

And Catholics do believe in predestination and re-probation. Maybe someone told you differently? There are a lot of misrepresentations of Catholic beliefs these days, even among Catholics themselves, so be careful where you get your information from. :thumbsup:

The passage does touch on the subject of election, but not reprobation in the sense of double-predestination. An understanding of the passage I find compelling is to recognize Paul’s use of Jacob and Esau as avatars for Israel and Christians; Esau corresponding to Israel (the elder child) and Jacob corresponding to Christians (the younger). In the story of Jacob and Esau, Esau was the elder, and thus the one due to receive the elder’s inheritance according to the law - yet Jacob, even though the younger, ends up getting the inheritance. In the same way, it is by way of the younger “Christian” that the “inheritance” of eternal life is acquired—through the path of the younger that salvation is attained. Thus, when Paul says God eudured the “vessels of destruction”, that is in reference to the unsaving tenets of the Old Law, for these do not lead to salvation. He is not saying that God created Esau for the purpose of sending him to hell - an idea that is not articulated in the text. We can recognize that Paul is concentrating on the two covenants he is continually comparing the two throughout the book, including through chapters 8-9. God’s emotion is anthropomorphized in Paul’s text, saying that God “hated Esau” - meaning God rejects the inheritance of the elder, the Old Law. And the “elder shall serve the younger,” in that the Old Testament ultimately points to the New Testament, leading the way to salvation through Christ, forfeiting it’s laws which are fulfilled in Christ. God’s “purpose of election” is demonstrated as something not confined to the Old Law; God is not obligated to exclude the “younger” from the inheritance as would the Old Law have demanded.

I can see where where you can say Catholics believe in predestination. The challenge I posed was Romans 9 is specifically teaching predestination and reprobation and to deny that God chooses who is elect or reprobate is based solely on His will. So what do you think Romans 9 is teaching, with verses 20-23 in the mist of this chapter which presupposes a “that’s not fair response”?

So may I assume some RC’s do actually believe as Paul and Calvin teach? If so I have not met any. :slight_smile: I will stand corrected if you tell me Romans 9 concerns the will of God in who is saved or not.

So how would your explanation of Romans 9 elicit a response that is found in verses 20-23? IOW I could post your response and most would not say “that’s not fair”.

The reason I say such is that the ONLY response I have heard of “that’s not fair” comes from a Calvinistic reading of Romans 9.

Catholics accept Paul, Aquinas and de Molina, but reject Calvin.

But yes, Catholics do accept predestination and reprobation because they are scriptural. As mentioned earlier, we read Scripture as a whole and therefore reconcile the doctrines of predestination and reprobation in harmony with God’s desire for the salvation of all.

You can take a few passages out of the Bible to tesify to anything at all. Protestants do it all the time. That’s why we see the huge difference between and among the Protestant Churches.


When you place the discernment of the Will of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in terms of “winning” or “losing” you have already lost. You wish to be right instead of wishing to understand. That being said…

You do know it’s a letter, right? It’s a letter written by a brilliant legal and theological mind, who is also gifted with mystical insight. This means you must LOOK AT THE WHOLE DOCUMENT. Paul constructed one of the greatest writings of Christianity here and you can’t understand it if you cut and paste it. So, let’s dispose of something right away by going back to the beginning of the letter and finding this:

Chapter 2:

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11** For God does not show favoritism.**

Nothing Paul says can be taken as correct if it contradicts the Word of Christ Jesus who also said we would be judged on our works of mercy, on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked. Paul reiterates Christ.

Now, let’s look at the full context of what you did quote,

But it is not that the word of God has failed. For not all who are of Israel are Israel, nor are they all children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For this is the wording of the promise, “About this time I shall return and Sarah will have a son.”And not only that, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac —
before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue

Do you have any idea why Paul wrote this letter? Do you know he had yet to visit Rome, but knew there was trouble between the Christians of Jewish descent who tended to lord it over the Christians of pagan origin? Paul is telling the Jews that all are children of God equally and proving it to them using their own Scripture. The “elective plan” doesn’t mean only some, it means that it is at God’s Will, at His choice (election) not human rules, that people become Christians.

When Paul speak later of “works” not making you righteous, he means “works of the law” which is how he first refers to “works” in Romans, and then he just says works, as he assumes his readers are actually reading his whole letter.

3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

In the section you partially quoted, he is telling the Jews that if the other Christians don’t follow the food laws or the ceremonial washing, it doesn’t make them not righteous because these things aren’t now, since the advent of Christ, the path. And that’s God’s choice, it is what God elects to do.

Read this:

It’s very long, but in the end, you will understand Scripture and especially Romans much better.

I’m not quite sure what the OP is exactly wanting, probably because I am too tired right now to put alot of thought into it. But I am going to give commentary from the Aquinas Study Bible

9:11 Not yet born: By this example of these twins, and the preference of the younger to the elder, the drift of the apostle is, to show that God, in his election, mercy and grace, is not tied to any particular nation, as the Jews imagined; nor to any prerogative of birth, or any forgoing merits. For as, antecedently to his grace, he sees no merits in any, but finds all involved in sin, in the common mass of condemnation; and all children of wrath: there is no one whom he might not justly leave in that mass; so that whomsoever he delivers from it, he delivers in his mercy: and whomsoever he leaves in it, he leaves in his justice. As when, of two equally criminal, the king is pleased out of pure mercy to pardon one, whilst he suffers justice to take place in the execution of the other. (Bishop Richard Challoner)

9:12 With what intent then did God say this? Because He does not wait, as man does, to see from the issue of their acts the good and him who is not so, but even before these He knows which is the wicked and which not such. (St. John Chrysostom) Although God knew what would happen, he is not a respecter of persons, and condemns nobody before he sins, nor does he reward anyone until he conquers. (Ambrosiaster)

9:13 Esau I have hated: Now every one of God’s creatures are good (see 1 Tim 4:4), and every person is a creature, as a person, not as a sinner. God is therefore the creator of the body and the soul of a person. Neither of these two realities is evil, and God does not hate them, since he hates nothing that he has created. Now the soul is superior to the body. But God, author and creator of both, hates only sin in human beings. A person’s sin is disorder and perversion, that is, separation from the supreme Creator and attachment to inferior creatures. Therefore God does not hate Esau the man but Esau the sinner. (St. Augustine Various Ques to Simplianus 1.2.18)

9:19-24 Wherefore I have always considered that the learned modesty and most wise humility of the seraphic Doctor St. Bonaventure were greatly to be admired and loved, in the discourse which he makes of the reason why divine providence ordains the elect to eternal life. “Perhaps,” says he, “it is by a foresight of the good works which will be done by him that is drawn, insomuch as they proceed in some sort from the will: but distinctly to declare which good works being foreseen move God’s will, I am not able, nor will I make inquiry thereupon: and there is no other reason than some sort of congruity, so that we might assign one while it might be another. Wherefore we cannot with assurance point out the true reason nor the true motive of God’s will in this: for as St. Augustine says: ‘Although the truth of it is most certain, yet is it far removed from our thoughts.’ So that we can say nothing assuredly of it unless by the revelation of him who knows all things. And whereas it was not expedient for our salvation that we should have knowledge of these secrets, but on the contrary, it was more profitable that we should be ignorant of them, to keep us in humility, God would not reveal them, yea the holy Apostle did not dare to inquire about them, but testified the insufficiency of our understanding in this matter when he cried out: O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!” Could one speak more holily Theotimus of so holy a mystery? Indeed these are the words of a most saintly and prudent Doctor of the Church. (St. Francis of Sales Treatise on the Love of God 7)

9:20-21 Paul takes this from Isaiah 29:16. (Interlinear Gloss)

Why do you think what Paul was talking about was “election and reprobation” when those terms did not even exist until the 14th century?

I assure you election and reprobate are indeed used in the bible. They may not be in the exact spelling you like, but the concepts are indeed are as codified in scripture, as is the word Trinity which is not “used in the bible”.

If Catholics accept Paul I will wait to see if you can answer the challenge. Calvin brings out “thats not fair” in the explination of how the will of God chooses who is saved based on His will. I do not see anybody here rising to the challenge.

Did you even bother to read the Haydock commentary that was linked in one of the other posts, or the excerpts from the Aquinas Bible Study? My goodness.

Why do Calvinists even bother? You believe we are all going to hell (we’re the great Babylon, after all, right?), so there’s really no point for even ‘evangelizing,’ except to pridefully prove to yourself that you are one of the elect, and then, again out of pride, you challenge centuries of theological insight reconciling free will and election.

Why does God even give us commandments? Is He taunting us? How can He be just if we are not condemned justly? Perhaps a just and merciful God, election, and free will can exist together? Not for the Calvinist: they limit the infinite God to their level of understanding, and, as all Protestants, use Scripture in a manner that was never intended.

We are all dead in sin. If God shows mercy to some of us, it is more than we deserve. We cannot complain against Him for showing mercy to some, when we all deserve death, and we cannot complain against Him for allowing others to die in their sins. The extent of our earthy inheritance (Esau) or our status (Pharoah) doesn’t matter. When some reject God by sinning (as they did), how can we question God for allowing them to die in their own sins?

Read the commentary. Both the Haydock commentary and Copland’s Aquinas Study give more than adequate explanations.

Now explain this verse: “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3: 9).

and this one: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 1-4).

and this one: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live…” (Deuteronomy 30: 19).

Seems kind of strange that God would not wish any to parish, want all to reach repentance, want us to pray for ALL MEN, desire all men to be saved, and have all come to knowledge of truth. Additionally, it makes very little sense for God to set both life and death before Israel, if He didn’t desire for them to actually choose life, but rather willed them to choose death. If this is the case, then not only is God not just, but He’s also a liar, AND the creator of evil (since He willed all evil). My, oh my. Some theology may need to be rethought…

I’ve been watching a lot of shows on the universe and I have developed a particular fascination with time. One particular theory that interests me is the idea that everything that has happened (and will happen) has already occurred, and that “time” is a veil of sorts. Theoretical physics suggests these slices of time can be accessed at any given point, but for whatever reason, time continues to push us in the direction we call forward.

This could be true or it could just be astrophysicists getting excited about mathematics. In short, knowing the answer to the question of time doesn’t do anything for our salvation; it only serves curiosity. However, it does have a strong correlation to how we view God, as He is past, present, and future. Time, and its forward motion, is not a restraint God experiences.

I think most people view predestination and re-probation in terms that limit God to our perception of time. God doesn’t say, “You are going (here) because that’s what I’ve decided.” He already knows the choices we’ve made, are making, and will make, all while leaving our free will intact.

Regardless of what we think about theories of time, it’s important to understand that God is not restrained by it and He is not making random decisions. He already knows. :slight_smile:

I have heard this explanation and like it. God is not limited by time, and is present throughout time. He was I AM, He is I AM, and He will be I AM. Who are we to question how He then gives His grace to those who serve Him, and not to those who reject Him? People could ask, ‘Why even create them if they will simply choose death? Why not give them more grace?’ To which we could quote Paul perfectly.

St Chrysostom’s commentary is somewhat similar (he says God didn’t wait to see by the actions of Esau that he was evil, but knew always):

Calvin’s theology was that only certain people are predestined to Heaven while God predestines people to Hell. That is very different than the Catholic understanding of predestination. We believe that God has predestined everyone to Heaven and that man’s freewill can keep him from partaking in God’s love and forgiveness. God does not want any of his children to go to Hell. He sent his Son to die for all so that we may ALL inherit the Kingdom of God. Peace be with all!

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