Notes on Scary Stuff in Romans 9 (Re-blog)

This article is written by Mark Horne, and is re-blogged from Theopolis.


What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea… (Romans 9).

Ultimately, there is great mystery and terror in contemplating the infinity and power of God. The fact that he knows and plans all things, the fact that he “works all things according to the counsel of his will,” cannot be escaped. Trying to solve the problems this seems to bring by making the ultimate plan to be what falls together from the conglomeration of human choices simply transfers mystery and terror from God to “reality,” “the universe,” or some other title for the metaphysical casino that results when we make ultimate reality impersonal rather than personal…

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