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Featured Calvinism's strongest Biblical text

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Kilk1, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Hello! This is my first thread on the site. Many say that the strongest evidence for Calvinism from the Bible is Romans 8:28 through 9:24. Having studied the passage from multiple sides, I'm not sure Calvinism is actually taught here. While 8:29-30 mentions that there are people God foreknew and that these people are predestined, etc., it doesn't reveal the means by which some are foreknown and others aren't. If the context does, it could be that God simply foreknows "those who love God" (8:28, NKJV)--allowing free will to be a factor.

    Paul does mention in 9:10-12 how Jacob was chosen over Esau before they were born, not "having done any good or evil." However, to show this, he references Genesis 25:23 and Malachi 1:2-3, passages that speak of Jacob's nation (Israel) versus Esau's nation (Edom), not salvation/condemnation of the individuals. Furthermore, wouldn't this have meant that even doing "evil" (v. 11) is irrelevant to being condemned? The only application Paul draws from this is that God's purpose is "not of works but of Him who calls." Works are later contrasted with faith (vv. 30-32).

    And although Paul says God "has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens" (v. 18), his example is Pharaoh (v. 17). To my knowledge, almost no one claims that God's hardening was to make him wicked "but," as Albert Barnes states, "to leave a sinner to his own course, and to place him in circumstances where the character will be more and more developed."

    Finally, and perhaps most crucially, Paul addresses the following question: If God uses sinners to accomplish His will, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will" (Rom. 9:19)? Paul answers these objecting question with rhetorical questions of his own. First, he asks, "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?'" (v. 20). This sounds similar to Old Testament verses that Jews would accept (Isa. 29:16; 45:9).

    But Paul continues the analogy in verse 21: "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" Thinking of God as potter and man as clay could be interpreted to mean He makes some of us to be good and others to be sinful. It especially could sound this way when He mentions making "one vessel for honor and another for dishonor. "

    Do we follow or reject God based on how He fashions us, or does He fashion us based on whether we follow or reject God? Paul asks us a question: "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..." (Rom. 9:22)? But God wouldn't be longsuffering toward people if He never intended for them to be saved, would He? This suggests He does desire the vessels of wrath to repent and be saved!

    Furthermore, by mentioning honorable and dishonorable vessels, Paul seems to be alluding to Jeremiah 18:1-10. Here, God discusses how a potter begins "making something at the wheel" (v. 3). However, the vessel ends up getting "marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make" (v. 4). Notice that while the potter was going to make one thing, the marring of the vessel led him to remake it "into another vessel." In the same way, God says that if He decrees to destroy a nation (i.e., make them into a vessel of dishonor) but they repent, then He'll change His plans for them (vv. 5-8). The same works in reverse as well (vv. 9-10).

    When we go to the passages Paul quotes from and alludes to, does it actually seem that this passage from Romans goes against the Calvinistic belief that man lacks free will to repent and follow God? Does God actually fashion us for honor or dishonor if we serve him, rather than it being that we repent and serve Him based on how He fashions us? Please let me know if my line of thought is flawed here. Thanks!
     
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  2. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    i think the idea of karma has an inference in this idea that before anyone is born, they have negative/positive karma they bring with them into the incarnation.

    couple of inferences to karma and regeneration.

    John 9 [Full Chapter]
    [ A Man Born Blind Receives Sight ] Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. ...

    sin creates negative karma. in the passage above jesus doesn't dispute karma, or the law, but denies that it was because of sin that this fellow was born blind. so then we can only determine that the case was that positive karma was applied so that this individual would be born as such and to show the glory of love.
     
  3. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Well, show me if I'm wrong, but I don't think karma or reincarnation is in the Bible. As for the passage you referenced in John 9, no mention is given of karma. All it says is that the parents sinning or the child sinning wasn't the reason the child was born blind.

    Right now, I'm mainly intending to discuss Romans 9.
     
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  4. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    reincarnation is a word that was coined only in the mid 18th century. prior to that it was known as metempsychosis, and prior to that as regeneration in the bible. that word, regeneration, transliterates as palin+genesis; which is metempsychosis.


    reincarnation

    regeneration

    palingenesis

    metempsychosis


    the word karma simply means action. the bible talks about actions and consequences, or results of those actions. past and current actions result in future circumstances; whether you're christian, or hindu.
     
    #4 Fool, Mar 29, 2019
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  5. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Roman 9:13

    Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
     
  6. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26, NKJV). Yet obviously, we should love our family. Sometimes in the Bible, we're told to hate in the sense of not giving preference. Our love (preference) should be God, hating (i.e., not prefering) family.

    It doesn't seem that Paul is meaning, "Jacob I saved to heaven, but Esau I condemned to hell." The statement Paul makes is actually a quote from Malachi 1:2-3:


    "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness."

    The person Esau never had mountains, etc. in the first place. "Esau" is referring to the nation that came from him, Edom. Does this make sense?
     
  7. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Not to me.. That's why I doubt all the sayings attributed to God.

    The Red mountains of Edom
     
  8. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    I'm confused. Why bring up Romans 9:13, attributed to God, if you question it? Maybe I'm misunderstanding where you're coming from.
     
  9. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Because there really were mountains in Edom.
     
  10. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    What does karma have to do with Romans 9 and the Calvinism debate. Sorry that I'm not making the connection.
     
  11. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Oh, I see where you're coming from. Edom (the place) had mountains, but Esau (the person) did not. The Edomites descended from Esau, so Esau (the person) is being spoken of as representative of Edom (the place) in Malachi 1:2-3, quoted in Romans 9:13.

    The reason all this is significant is because in context, God isn't hating Esau in the sense of condemning to hell and Jacob in the sense of saving him; it's in the sense of favoring Jacob's nation (Israel) over Esau's (Edom). Paul's only application, from what I see, is that God's choice is "not of works but of Him who calls" (Rom. 9:11, NKJV).
     
  12. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    God hated Esau before the twins were born .. and the mother conspired to disinherit her first born..
     
  13. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    God's views are important. I don't think the mother's opinions are relevant to the discussion; otherwise, it can also work in reverse, as their father had the opposite preference (Gen. 25:27-28). Where does it say Rebekah tried to disinherit her son?

    As for God hating (i.e., not prefering) Esau, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it means God predestined him to hell. Instead, it seems to be that God would favor Jacob's nation (Israel) over Esau's nation (Edom). When Paul said, "The older shall serve the younger" (Romans 9:12, NKJV), he's quoting from Genesis 25:23, which clearly is about Jacob and Esau's nations, not themselves.

    Now, the biggest thing for Calvinism that I see in Romans 9:11 is Paul mentioning "the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand." However, if Paul's reason for pointing this out was to teach that election to salvation has nothing to do with following God, wouldn't this also require that doing "evil" is irrelevant to being condemned? Are people subject to damnation without sinning? The only application Paul gives to Jacob (Israel?) being chosen over Esau (Edom?) is that God's choice is "not of works but of Him who calls."

    Works are later contrasted with faith (Romans 9:30-32). This means that just because election is "not of works" doesn't mean faith isn't a factor, right? So the debate boils down to how we can "[attain] to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith" (v. 30). Does God make a Christian into a "vessel for honor" (Romans 9:21) because he serves God in faith (the freewill position), or does he serve God in faith because God made him into a "vessel for honor" (the Calvinistic position)?

    The freewill position is supported because 1) God is "longsuffering" toward "the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22), suggesting He wants them to repent, and 2) Paul's discussion of honorable/dishonorable vessels seems to allude to Jeremiah 18:1-10, which teaches that God's decrees can change if we change. If my trail of thought contains any errors, let me know. Thanks!
     
  14. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Rebecca helped her son Jacob deceive his father so he could steal the birthright from Esau.

    Genesis 25: verse 27 and …..
    Genesis 27 – Jacob Deceptively Gains the Blessing of Isaac
    A. Rebekah and Jacob plot to deceive Isaac.

    Genesis Chapter 27
     
  15. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Okay, but what does this have to do with the topic of this thread? Does this help show whether Calvinism is true or whether we have free will?
     
  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @Kilk1.....no matter where we look in scripture God always allows free will. That is not to say that our choices are without consequences.

    If we had no free will, then the command not to eat of the TKGE in Eden would have been meaningless and the consequences unjust.

    When we choose the action, we choose God's reaction.

    Welcome to RF BTW. :)
     
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  17. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    You were going on about Esau and Edom, weren't you?

    Well, Rebecca and Jacob tricked Isaac and cheated Esau of his birthright because God hated Esau and loved Jacob. There's no morality in that story either.
     
  18. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    your OP on predestination and calvinism
     
  19. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    To me, Calvin's belief on this really doesn't make any sense. If we don't have any free will, why preach? Why study? Why read scripture? Why try and covert people?

    To put it another way, it twists and turns the entire Bible on its head.
     
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