Romans 9 and Predestinaion


#1

Would someone care to explain Romans 9: 6-24 since I'm getting some strong Calvinistic vibes from it, thanks:

6But it is not that the word of God has failed. For not all who are of Israel are Israel,e 7nor are they all children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.”f 8This 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.g 9For this is the wording of the promise, “About this time I shall return and Sarah will have a son.”h 10And not only that,i but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac*— 11before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue, 12not by works but by his call—she was told, “The older shall serve the younger.”j 13As it is written:k

“I loved Jacob

but hated Esau.”*

14* What then are we to say? Is there injustice on the part of God? Of course not!l 15For he says to Moses:

“I will show mercy to whom I will,

I will take pity on whom I will.”m

16So it depends not upon a person’s will or exertion, but upon God, who shows mercy.n 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “This is why I have raised you up, to show my power through you that my name may be proclaimed throughout the earth.”o 18Consequently, he has mercy upon whom he wills,p and he hardens whom he wills.*

19* You will say to me then, “Why (then) does he still find fault? For who can oppose his will?”q 20But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God?r Will what is made say to its maker, “Why have you created me so?” 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for an ignoble one? 22What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction?s 23This was to make known the riches of his glory to the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared previously for glory, 24namely, us whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.


#2

Predestination as seen in its salvific and elective view of the Church is accepted in the Catholic Church (Think Augustine and Aquinas)(Also Molina but different from the other 2)

Double predestination - is not accepted by the Church. Everyone of us gets an opportunity to turn from our ways.

Otherwise what Paul and Peter say here doesn't count:

1 Tim 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. 3 This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (RSVCE)

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

This doesn't mean that all will be saved (That's Universalism), but that God gives everyone an opportunity to repent.


#3

ccmnxc,

Know this, you are only 'feeling' a strong Calvinist interpretation of the passage. :)

Those who adhere to Reformed theology or Calvinism have their own idea of what the whole chapter means and they thrive on drilling it into everyone's heads whom they can keep interested. It took me a good while, no too long ago when I was a Protestant, to see clearly that Romans 9 does not support Unconditional Election and Double Predestination.

It is important that you read the ninth chapter in context of chapters 10 and 11. In all three chapters St. Paul uses different terms but tells the same thing, and it's all about national Israel and the Gentiles.

Look at Romans 9:22-23,

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, 23 That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory? (DRA)

Notice it says that God endures with much patience the vessels of wrath?

Now look at Romans 10:21,

But to Israel he saith: All the day long have I spread my hands to a people that believeth not, and contradicteth me. (DRA)

Finally, look at Romans 11:22,

See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (DRA)

One can be a vessel of mercy and suddenly a vessel of wrath. Nothing here supports the Calvinistic doctrines known as Unconditional Election and Perseverance of the Saints.

I have to admit that my understanding of Romans 9, 10, and 11 is a result of my own study; I have yet to read these chapters with St. John Chrysostom or know what other Church Fathers wrote of them.


#4

Ah, that's a passage I've had my own tussles with, back in the day.

Here's an interesting, line-by-line refutation of the "Calvinist interpretation" passage from a Molinist point of view, written by a Protestant apologist. It's pretty interesting:

tektonics.org/tulip/bubba9.html


#5

[quote="ccmnxc, post:1, topic:321389"]
Would someone care to explain Romans 9: 6-24 since I'm getting some strong Calvinistic vibes from it, thanks:

6But it is not that the word of God has failed. For not all who are of Israel are Israel,e 7nor are they all children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.”f 8This 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.g 9For this is the wording of the promise, “About this time I shall return and Sarah will have a son.”h 10And not only that,i but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac*— 11before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue, 12not by works but by his call—she was told, “The older shall serve the younger.”j 13As it is written:k

“I loved Jacob

but hated Esau.”*

14* What then are we to say? Is there injustice on the part of God? Of course not!l 15For he says to Moses:

“I will show mercy to whom I will,

I will take pity on whom I will.”m

16So it depends not upon a person’s will or exertion, but upon God, who shows mercy.n 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “This is why I have raised you up, to show my power through you that my name may be proclaimed throughout the earth.”o 18Consequently, he has mercy upon whom he wills,p and he hardens whom he wills.*

19* You will say to me then, “Why (then) does he still find fault? For who can oppose his will?”q 20But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God?r Will what is made say to its maker, “Why have you created me so?” 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for an ignoble one? 22What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction?s 23This was to make known the riches of his glory to the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared previously for glory, 24namely, us whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.

[/quote]

17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Rom 11:17-21

We need to read the whole bible in context, and we'll find that those verses that seem to point to predestination (in the Calvinistic sense) or OSAS are always tempered by practical admonitions to believers to remain in Christ, live in the Spirit, invest their talents, keep oil in their lamps, be vigilant, persevere, refrain from sin, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, be holy, be perfect, remain faithful, etc, generally with the loss of the kingdom/becoming a branch cut off as a consequence for those not heeding the admonitions.

If only God can know with 100% certainty who will be saved and who won't, who will persevere and who won't, who will be cut off and who will remain, who might be predestined and who might not be, then we realize that Paul is speaking in idealistic and hypothetical, general terms in Rom 9-nothing untrue but at the same time nothing that can be applied specifically to any particular individual believer. According to Phil 3:7-14, Paul wasn't even certain of his own eternal destiny.


#6

9:22 "made for destruction" - The Greek can mean the vessels of wrath have prepared themselves for doom by rejecting the gospel. Paul is not saying God predestined the unbelievers of Israel for damnation; otherwise he would not be praying & working for their salvation.


#7

It frequently is noted about Pharoah and that God hardened his heart. But we know from our own experience that we, I repeat, we are not forced. I cannot recollect one moment in time when God forced me into doing anything. All men are free and are not forced into decisions. And so too we know that not from being told this by others, but by our own knowledge we are certain that we make our own decisions.

So when it says that God hardened Pharoah's heart, Pharoah was not forced into his decision but made it because he considered it to be in his best interests at the time, whether for bad or worse who knows. But Pharoah himself decided this matter and not God.

Now having said this, how can it be said that God hardened his heart? Because God led him to consider how important this decision was to his future, and let him poo poo the idea of any good coming out of letting them go. Tho God directed his thinking in some way, he still did not force Pharoah to make his decision against letting them go, but rather Pharoah made it on his own after considering both sides.

And so between our decision making and God's directing our thoughts, there is no conflict with freedom of choice. So the expression of hardening is one that merely points out that God is in complete control tho not interfering with our human nature.

So then God sends noone to unhappiness, but they themselves decide on their own by what they freely determine what they want to do.

Just some thoughts.


#8

Strangely enough Martin Luther provides a great answer against Calvin on this. BTW Calvin thought Luther was heretic a superstitious papist so why should that be surprising?

Luther points out that those who object to the passage on Pharaoh assume that he would have done differently if God had not hardened him. That is they assume God caused Pharaoh to sin. Of course this is wrong. And the Calvinists make the error but in the other direction. They assume that had God not hardened Pharaoh he would not have sinned. Which is also wrong.

See St Augustine On Teaching Christianity concerning the affections on this one btw.

St Paul clearly says in Romans 1 (which conveniently Calvinists ignore like plague ridden bed sheets even though it is the opening of their favorite book) that all creation knows God and sees Him as God. All men, ALL MEN, reject this knowledge and choose to worship the created instead of the Creator and so God gives them over to a debased mind.

So hardening follows upon our rejection of the grace to us in Creation itself.

But God, who is rich in mercy, sent forth His Son to die for us while we were yet sinners, and so by special grace we are restored to what we were meant to be. C S Lewis clearly grasped this when he said that men do not sin because they are human, but rather that sin makes men less than human and mere brutes before God. But God raises us up out of our lowly state and restores us in Christ because He loves His enemies and seeks to save all who will come.

But the Calvinist says, "Then man chooses to be saved and so saves himself."

The irony of this argument is that if you go to a Calvinist Church they will probably initiate the call to salvation by asking people to invite Jesus, make Jesus the Lord, ask Jesus to be Lord, etc. All of which sound remarkably like men choosing to be saved.

And if you go to a Catholic Church we baptize babies who can no more choose to be saved than they can answer an altar call.

Just saying.

Of course no one Catholic would ever argue a man saves himself and would say anyone who seeks baptism as an adult is first drawn by the Holy Spirit and of course this work is apart from him because it is done to him and from outside of him. The same is true of all Sacraments. We receive them and do nothing to merit them nor do we bring God down in them to save us but instead down and take what God offers to us through His priest.

How this could ever be called a work is a mystery to me.

So before you go jumping over the Calvin Cliff because of Romans 9 read Romans 1 and the rest of Romans in light of what it says. Because Romans 2-16 explain Romans 1 and so must be understood in light of it the way we would understand any other letter ever sent to us by anyone ever.

God Bless


#9

=ccmnxc;10571190]Would someone care to explain Romans 9: 6-24 since I'm getting some strong Calvinistic vibes from it, thanks:

6But it is not that the word of God has failed. For not all who are of Israel are Israel,e 7nor are they all children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.”f 8This 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.g 9For this is the wording of the promise, “About this time I shall return and Sarah will have a son.”h 10And not only that,i but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac*— 11before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue, 12not by works but by his call—she was told, “The older shall serve the younger.”j 13As it is written:k

“I loved Jacob

but hated Esau.”*

14* What then are we to say? Is there injustice on the part of God? Of course not!l 15For he says to Moses:

“I will show mercy to whom I will,

I will take pity on whom I will.”m

16So it depends not upon a person’s will or exertion, but upon God, who shows mercy.n 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “This is why I have raised you up, to show my power through you that my name may be proclaimed throughout the earth.”o 18Consequently, he has mercy upon whom he wills,p and he hardens whom he wills.*

19* You will say to me then, “Why (then) does he still find fault? For who can oppose his will?”q 20But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God?r Will what is made say to its maker, “Why have you created me so?” 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for an ignoble one? 22What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction?s 23This was to make known the riches of his glory to the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared previously for glory, 24namely, us whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.

Douay Bible verses 11:15
For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,) Not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy"

One must ask WHY?

Jacob was informed and OBEDIENT
Esau was by his choice evil and disobedient.

So what this IS saying is:
God Loves Good
& Hates Evil.

"Predestination" in Romans means ONLY that God: "All Knowing and Perfect" Knows before hand what our choices for Eternity will be. BUT that He does not [actually cannot] because of His Perfect; Just, and Fair Devine Nature CAUSE or send anyone to Hell. By Grace he can infludence ones eternity to heaven; BUT everyone is offered at least "sufficient grace" that could lead them to the Beatific Vision.


#10

Here is a Catholic line-by-line look at Romans 9:
catholicnick.blogspot.com/2012/03/does-romans-9-condemn-unconditional.html

Here is a Catholic vs Calvinist debate on Romans 9:
catholicnick.blogspot.com/2012/09/romans-9-debate-announcement.html


#11

In addition to other good posts... :)

An understanding of the passage regarding Jacob and Esau I find compelling is this: 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.

Again, regarding v. 20-23, the contrast between vessels of destruction and of mercy are, again, the Old Law and the New Law. You know how Paul contrasted the 2 covenants at the end of Galatians 4 regarding Sarah and Hagar (v. 24 "Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants.") and he goes on to describe how the 2 women parallel the 2 covenants---well, we have the same idea here with Jacob and Esau. Just because Paul is citing specific OT individuals, it doesn't mean he's teaching something specifically about those individuals - rather he teaches by way of what their lives represent. You see, Catholics, and Paul explicitly in Galatians 4, read Scripture in part with a typological eye. Typological interpretation seems forbidden by Calvinistic thought on Romans 9, which instead imposes on the text certain limits which are unnecessary and improper. So we look at the context of Romans 9, and see how Paul is already setting up Israel as the character of Esau when he says in v. 4: "They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship...." That is what was due to Esau according to OT law - the father's blessing as the elder son. But in the story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob ends up getting the blessing - the sign that Christianity - though it came along second, is the blessed one, the vessel receiving mercy. The whole passage ties together when you see the analogs of the old and new covenants in Esau and Jacob.

This is in fact what is stated in the Navarre Bible commentary on Romans and Galatians which states:*These examples [like Jacob and Esau] taken from sacred history help the Apostle explain to the Jews why they should not be surprised to see the Gentiles being called to the faith.*See also the following by Cardinal Journet on grace and keyword search "Esau" also.


#12

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:11, topic:321389"]
An understanding of the passage regarding Jacob and Esau I find compelling is this: 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. ... 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,

Again, regarding v. 20-23, the contrast between vessels of destruction and of mercy are, again, the Old Law and the New Law. You know how Paul contrasted the 2 covenants at the end of Galatians 4 regarding Sarah and Hagar (v. 24 "Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants.") and he goes on to describe how the 2 women parallel the 2 covenants---well, we have the same idea here with Jacob and Esau.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Great insights!!!


#13

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