Romans 9:14-30 - God Hardens Hearts?

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#16

Post by puritan lad » Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:51 pm

Did you read my Limited Atonement post in the Calvinism thread? I explained those verses there. But for they sake of argument, let's suppose that your interpretation of these verses is correct. What will you do with the following verses?

Proverbs 16:4
"The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."

Romans 9:19-23
"You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,"

1 Peter 2:8
"They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed."

If phrases like "all men" and "the world" refer to every single person on the planet, then you have universal salvation. After all, God, through Christ, has reconciled the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).

By the way, the promise in 2 Peter 3:9 was written "toward us", the elect of God (see 1:1), not every person on the planet.

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#17

Post by j316 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:59 am

In situations such as the above, a biblically supported impasse, the only thing you can fall back on is the great love for humanity that Jesus demonstrated and the grace He offered.

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#18

Post by Jesus_restores_souls » Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:28 am

puritan lad wrote: What about Satan? He is more powerful than man. Can he use his free will to "give his heart to Jesus" and be saved?
satan and the fallen angels (demons) were in paradise with God, they got to see AND experience the best of the best. Despite all of this, they foolishly rejected God and His will...they wanted to be separated from God so that's what God gave them...hell was made specifically for them, not for us humans. However, humans that don't want anything to do with God will get their desire...in hell...apart from fellowship with God. Think about how bad hell must be that Jesus left Heaven, let soldiers mock Him, beat him, rip His flesh, and put a crown of thorns on Him. He suffered and died so we wouldn't have to go to hell. How amazing that the King of kings would die for us...would President Bush die to save Osama bin Laden?

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners [[[His enemies]]], Christ died for us" -Romans 5:8

All praise, honor, and glory to the King of kings and LORD of lords...forever and ever!

It's amazing how blind satan is in his pride that he actually thinks he'll de-throne God, that's like a lump of clay overthrowing the potter, it's simply impossible. Sin really makes one blind...it's sad how many people are spiritually blind...the New Testament records Jesus curing many blind people, I think it's one of His many ways of telling those who aren't in Him that they're spiritually blind.

"I once was blind but now I see"...THANK YOU JESUS!

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#19

Post by Fortigurn » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:21 pm

Kurieuo wrote:I think it should be noted that God didn't intervene to change Pharaoh's heart in such a way that it went against Pharoah's freedom of choice. Pharaoh had hardened his own heart numerous times before God intervened and hardened it more. Pharaoh had already clearly made the decision not to let Israel go as is written in Exodus 3:19—"But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him." So God didn't change Pharaoh's decision, rather in His foreknowledge he knew how Pharaoh would respond and used it to produce an outcome that He had promised to Abram—that Israel would have a land their own.
This description is perfect. Note that no one forced Pharoah to come after Israel after they had left Egypt. That was his own choice.
I think Geisler summarises it well who has said that God does not harden hearts initially, directly, or against free choice. However, he does harden them subsequently, indirectly, and through free choice.
Good summary.

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#20

Post by puritan lad » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:12 am

The problem with the above theory is that it is just not Biblical. Pharoah is an impossible obstacle for Arminianism to deal with (at least while remaining true to the scriptures). Absolutely nothing is said about Pharoah's free will. This is what the Bible says concerning Pharoah.

1.) God Hardened Pharoah's heart, so the He could judge Egypt with Great Judgements (Exodus 7:3-4).

2.) A king's heart in under full control of a sovereign God. (Proverbs 21:1)

3.) God raised Pharoah up for the very purpose of destroying him so that God could get the glory in delivering His people (Romans 9:17-18).

Lest one object by trying to throw "free will" into these passages, Paul explains very clearly that "It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy" (Romans 9:16). His point is clear, that man can only be saved by a sovereign move of God, not by free will.

To further explain this doctrine, Paul could have explained this as Geisler tried to, by inserting Pharoah's free will into this passage. But Paul does the opposite and takes is another step further.

Romans 9:19-21
"You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?"

Geisler's theory sounds pleasing to the ear, but cannot be supported by relevant scriptures. In fact, the entire passage of Romans 9:10-23 is a death blow to the idea of "free will salvation", teaching very clearly all five points of Calvinism.

Romans 9:18
"Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens."

What does this passage mean? Exactly what it says.
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#21

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:46 am

Puritan, of course you would take that path. You're Reformed. ;) I have nothing against God's sovereignty to do as he wills in accordance with his nature, but in this case I believe you need to add into the equation Exodus 3:19.

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#22

Post by puritan lad » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:20 am

Exodus 3:19 isn't a problem for Calvinism. It doesn't address why Pharoah wouldn't release the Israelites. Was it free will, or was it God hardening His heart?

To clarify, Calvinists believe that Pharoah was a free moral agent, fully responsible for his actions. But the question is, could Pharoah have overcome God's hardening of his heart and repented? If so, how would God's purpose been fulfilled?
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#23

Post by Fortigurn » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:18 am

puritan lad wrote:The problem with the above theory is that it is just not Biblical. Pharoah is an impossible obstacle for Arminianism to deal with (at least while remaining true to the scriptures). Absolutely nothing is said about Pharoah's free will. This is what the Bible says concerning Pharoah.

1.) God Hardened Pharoah's heart, so the He could judge Egypt with Great Judgements (Exodus 7:3-4).
But how did He harden Pharoah's heart?
2.) A king's heart in under full control of a sovereign God. (Proverbs 21:1)
This is just saying that all a king thinks or does is subject to God's will. It does not say that he is a Calvinist puppet.
3.) God raised Pharoah up for the very purpose of destroying him so that God could get the glory in delivering His people (Romans 9:17-18).
This doesn't say anything about Pharoah having no free will. Note that the act which killed Pharoah (following Israel all the way into the Red Sea), was not the product of God hardening his heart supernaturally - that was his own free will decision in response to God's deliberate act of parking the Israelites within easy reach (this is a passive hardening of Pharoah, not the Calvinist active hardening).
Lest one object by trying to throw "free will" into these passages, Paul explains very clearly that "It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy" (Romans 9:16). His point is clear, that man can only be saved by a sovereign move of God, not by free will.
You're exegeting the English if you're interpreting 'will' there as the will of man. All that is being said there is that Divine mercy is in the hands of God to bestow, not man to merit.
In fact, the entire passage of Romans 9:10-23 is a death blow to the idea of "free will salvation", teaching very clearly all five points of Calvinism.
It might be if it said anything about salvation.

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#24

Post by Fortigurn » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:19 am

puritan lad wrote:Exodus 3:19 isn't a problem for Calvinism. It doesn't address why Pharoah wouldn't release the Israelites. Was it free will, or was it God hardening His heart?

To clarify, Calvinists believe that Pharoah was a free moral agent, fully responsible for his actions. But the question is, could Pharoah have overcome God's hardening of his heart and repented? If so, how would God's purpose been fulfilled?
That doesn't sound like Pharoah was a free moral agent fully responsible for his actions.

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#25

Post by puritan lad » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:28 am

Fortigurn wrote:This is just saying that all a king thinks or does is subject to God's will. It does not say that he is a Calvinist puppet.
As far as the "puppet" comment goes, it shows an ignorance of Calvinism again. However, the Scripture is clear.

Proverbs 21:1
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes."

You are correct in that "all a king thinks or does is subject to God's will." That includes letting God's people go and "accepting Christ".
Fortigurn wrote:This doesn't say anything about Pharoah having no free will. Note that the act which killed Pharoah (following Israel all the way into the Red Sea), was not the product of God hardening his heart supernaturally - that was his own free will decision in response to God's deliberate act of parking the Israelites within easy reach (this is a passive hardening of Pharoah, not the Calvinist active hardening).
As if this makes any difference whatsoever.

Romans 9:17-18
"For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens."


Pharoah served God's purpose in his life. (I didn't find this example in Rick Warren's book)
Fortigurn wrote:You're exegeting the English if you're interpreting 'will' there as the will of man. All that is being said there is that Divine mercy is in the hands of God to bestow, not man to merit.
Free will = Man's merit. How about John 1:12-13?
Fortigurn wrote:
In fact, the entire passage of Romans 9:10-23 is a death blow to the idea of "free will salvation", teaching very clearly all five points of Calvinism.
It might be if it said anything about salvation.
Maybe you can tell me what it is talking about then. (Hint: Destruction is the opposite of Salvation.)

Romans 9:19-23
"You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,"

The Phrase "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" seem to fit Esau and Pharoah quite nicely, especially when this passage is an explanation of both of them.

While you are at it, deal with Proverbs 16:4 and Ephesians 1:1-11. There are many more as I have pointed out on another thread, but this is a good start. If you don't like the English, what does the Greek Word pro-tasso mean? It's used quite a bit in references to both salvation and destruction.

PS. I really don't like the NIV verses. I changed my default to NKJV, but it does take. Any idea?
Last edited by puritan lad on Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#26

Post by B. W. » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:31 pm

Great Topic and Post!

Try examining what God's All-Knowing is — you may discover your answers there…

Since He knows All — He can harden whom He will without any violation of justice or trust to them endowed with reason to think. Yes, He could place individuals in the scheme of time because He knows all...

Yes, Profound to gaze upon this mystery :idea:

I'll drop in from time to time and give my two cents worth!

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#27

Post by puritan lad » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:57 pm

To clarify, Calvinists do believe that man has a will. However, man's will is limited by his own sinful nature. (For example, can man use his free will to go a lifetime without sinning? Of course not. Therefore, even the staunchest Arminian has to acknowledge some limits on free will). One of those limits is salvation. Man cannot use "free will" to get saved. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). We are born again "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13)

John 6:65
"And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”"

Here are a few good materials that address this issue. Be forewarned, if you are an Arminian, you might get offended.

The Idol of Free Will by Dr. John Owen

The Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink
"To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." - JOHN OWEN

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#28

Post by Fisherman » Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:34 pm

puritan lad wrote:(For example, can man use his free will to go a lifetime without sinning? Of course not. Therefore, even the staunchest Arminian has to acknowledge some limits on free will.)

Here are a few good materials that address this issue. Be forewarned, if you are an Arminian, you might get offended.
I was wondering about that. Do Arminians have less trouble with sinning than Irishmen? Sorry. I had to ask. :)
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#29

Post by Felgar » Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:16 pm

puritan lad wrote:To clarify, Calvinists do believe that man has a will. However, man's will is limited by his own sinful nature. (For example, can man use his free will to go a lifetime without sinning? Of course not. Therefore, even the staunchest Arminian has to acknowledge some limits on free will). One of those limits is salvation.
Of course we cannot live our lives without sin, even if we will it. Also, we are saved by God's Grace; salvation is clearly not an act of man. However, the acceptance of that salvation is our Faith, which is why we are saved by Grace through faith.

God offers salvation, and we accept or deny it. We don't save ourselves we simply accept the gift of salvation offerred by God. If the local radio station calls me up and says "congratulations, you've won a car" but I tell them I'm not coming to pick it up, do I have the car? I do not have a gift until I accept it.

It is the same thing with salvation; Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14)

Jesus gives the water, but whether the person drinks is their own will. Both you and I agree that we must drink; that we must believe in Jesus. The only difference is that you believe God decides who will drink, and I believe that each person decides. We both agree that only some will be saved; you say that God decides who is offered the gift, and I say that God offers the gift to all makind, and only those who accept it are saved. We both agree that no man can act against the will of God; you say that God wills some to eternal damnation, and I say that God's will is to provide each of us with a free choice by not imposing His will.

But we've been over this before... I guess I just felt that I had to respond for the benefit of those who didn't follow our first discussion.

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#30

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:14 pm

puritan lad wrote:Exodus 3:19 isn't a problem for Calvinism. It doesn't address why Pharoah wouldn't release the Israelites. Was it free will, or was it God hardening His heart?
I believe Pharaoh made his decisions, and God purposefully "played" Pharaoh in such a way as to generate a further obstinate attitude against letting them go.
To clarify, Calvinists believe that Pharoah was a free moral agent, fully responsible for his actions. But the question is, could Pharoah have overcome God's hardening of his heart and repented? If so, how would God's purpose been fulfilled?
Don't get me wrong, I'm more in agreement with Reformed grace-oriented doctrine than anything Arminian. Although I don't agree to all their theology, mine here is certainly not anything against Calvinism as you appear to believe it is.

A response I believe one needs to look at is if God hardened Pharaoh's heart directly, then how did God do it? Is this something really logically possible? Are our hearts literally some sort of substance that can be taken and hardened? Now God may have did something like possess Pharaoh to control him, but then that isn't hardening Pharaoh's heart for Pharaoh's heart has nothing to do with the issue if God has taken over his entire being. I see the only way God can harden someone's heart, is for God to "play" them. He did this also with Jonah, "playing" him into make a decision to go to Ninevah. He knows how we will react in different situations (as he did with Pharaoh which Exodus 3:19 reveals), and can use such to his advantage to get his will accomplished.

Kurieuo
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