For, we, humans, our finite minds seem fixated on only understanding things in a black / white either or manner. When it comes to predestination, this is apparently so, so much so that people forget this: For God to be absolutely sovereign involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally.
God's sovereignty is not threatened or deemed weakened by human choice — how could it be since God knows everything about a person before they were ever born [Jeremiah 1:5]? Without his word, his call, every one of us would be damed. Now that God has called in various ways and means declaring his Word, we now have a choice thrust upon us midst our hiding in sin. That choice is initiated by God and not man — is it not?
Lay aside the black / white either or of Calvinism verses Arminanism and simply ponder this: God absolute sovereignty involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally.
God is a just potter saying too the clay: “"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.... 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it,” Jeremiah 18:6-8 — ESV
Notice: God is the potter — he speaks — if repentance is true — punishment is relented.
Jeremiah 18:9-10, “And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. “ ESV
If a people fail to do what? Be puppets on strings? Or fail to listen to God voice?
Before God shapes the clay — he speaks to it - keep reading...
Isaiah 42:9, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them." ESV
This is a theological principle — God declares his word and how people respond to the choice God offers determines how he shapes the clay - never forget he foreknows our answers before we ever came to be — now continue to read:
Isaiah 45:9-10, "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'? 10 Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in labor?'" ESV
Context is crucial to understand the Potter and the wheel. Problems begin with the doctrine of predestination because many stop here shouting 'eureka' reading no further and miss the point. However for you please precede a few verse further in same chapter:
Isaiah 45:19-23, “...I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right. 20 "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. 21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance...'” ESV
God confronts humanity forcing a choice upon us all. God speaks to the clay before shaping it — what manner of vessel will you be — one of honor or wrath? Read Jeremiah again as well as the Isaiah quotes again and you'll unlock what Paul is really saying Romans 9. Never forget that God already knows our answers before he even speaks to us and can so shape destinies of men for his own purposes before our time began…
God already foreknew all our answer but he still asks — unstopping the ears or hardening the heart…
Keep pondering this mystery: Since God's absolute sovereignty involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally he can also preordain without any violation of justice toward the creature he endowed with his gift of an intelligent reasoning mind. Sin remains the creature's own; thus, God righteously requires an account. Before that accounting comes, he speaks, shaping the clay.
Now that is sovereign!
We serve a truly great God!
Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)
Old Polish Proverb:
Not my Circus....not my monkeys