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Election Nightmares – Romans 9 and the Stories of Men

monet at dusk 150x150 Election Nightmares   Romans 9 and the Stories of MenI had fallen asleep to Romans 9 and the Elect. How depressing! I groped for a pen to get down the image.

I had died with the last wave. Somehow I was able to still view those still left as they planned their next skirmish. Death was inevitable. They simply sought to do the most damage to the enemy on the Way out. They were simply so much fodder for the Master’s cannon. Never a chance of being anything more.

Now sleep is farther away. Am I really saved or am I just another pawn in this game, set to die in this life and burn forever? And do I even want to be saved if it means serving such cruelty? Where is the God who is all love? The Elect offers nothing of an all loving God.

Yet I know I am saved. And I see that others are not. And I know it was He who opened my eyes. He had made a full frontal assault at softening my heart 20 years before. I tried to find him but it all just seemed like so much wishful thinking. Was He reaching out to me that time as a way to prepare me for now? If He truly knew how I would answer, it was only a dress rehearsal.

The Bible offers so much a greater view of a loving God. Romans 9 a repressive dictator.

I don’t know anyone who has escaped linear time. We can relive the past in memories or think about the future, but we are trapped at this point of time, living at this moment.

God experiences as I have no idea. He’s passionate, so I assume He experiences. Is He trapped in time? That wouldn’t do. He is outside this universe, so outside this universe’s time line. But to interact with us, does He enter at certain points in time? Even to view us?

And what a view that must be. Beautiful at times to be sure. But absolutely terrifying at others. I’m not the best of persons, not the worst. I have plenty of unflattering moments & moments of terrible thoughts. But what displays of absolute horror do some offer in full color to be viewed by God? Horrific torture & murder. Does the Bible say God is saddened? How awful can the, more than images, be?

I don’t know what decisions you must make, what cruelty you must live, by being a personal God. But please don’t create someone for the sole purpose of killing them in horrific fashion. Can you really be that God?

Now I can’t sleep. I’m translating something for church. It includes 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in love.” I can’t see why God does everything, anything. I can’t see creating beings led to falsely believe they are loved by God, without chance, without hope, only to find out they were never loved at all. I can’t be sure this is the correct way to view the situation, if this view is correct. But how can this be love?

The Doctrine of Election sucks!

I scribbled the above onto paper after waking up from a nightmare at 3:30 this morning. Can’t say I normally have such disturbing sleep. I was biased because just before sleeping I had been reading a blog article on Election partially using Romans 9 as proof God creates some people to be saved and some not.  For lack of a better vernacular, this is crap!

Maybe the dream was worth going to sleep with such disturbing thoughts. In Romans 9, Paul laments that many of his people, the people of Israel, will face God’s wrath. Not all. Some are saved through faith. But if Paul’s preaching is correct and salvation lies through faith in Christ, then some Jews rightly wonder what has happened to God’s word. Has it failed? He made a covenant with the people of Israel and they sought righteousness through the law. To which Paul points out it is God’s prerogative to show mercy to those he chooses to show mercy.

Rom 9:11     Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:
Rom 9:12     not by works but by him who calls-she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
Romans 9:12 = Genesis 25:23, the older will serve the younger. This is God stepping into a worldly system, throwing it upside down, showing His sovereign power and probably that we shouldn’t rely on the world, but Him. He elected Jacob in the womb and chose Esau to be his brother’s subordinate. From the two were to come two nations. Were all in the one nation righteous and all in the second nation wicked and so damned by this ‘election’? Was Esau destined to be damned his entire life or to be his brother’s subordinate?

Rom 9:13     Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (God hated Esau. That’s what the Bible says here and in Malachi 1:2-3. We don’t know all that occurred in Esau’s life. But Romans 9:12 does not say God hated Esau while he was in the womb.)

Pharaoh, who is discussed in Romans 9, hardened his own heart before God hardened it further. Had Pharaoh sought God with all his heart, would God have hardened him away from Himself to serve God’s purpose? Does anyone actually suppose God is not great enough to have worked through that situation as well to bring about His plans? Were all outside of the house of Israel throughout time damned before the coming of Christ?

Romans 9:21-23 talks about a potter. At the first pass, I found it particularly disturbing.

Jeremiah 18:1-4     This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Jeremiah 18:5-10     Then the word of the Lord came to me:  “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

Romans 9:22     What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath-prepared for destruction?

The object is prepared for destruction, as in waiting for destruction, not created for the purpose of destroying. Katartizō is the word Paul uses which is translated as prepared. This is the one and only time it is translated as prepared. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, 2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 3:10 Paul also uses the word which is translated as made perfect, perfected, restored, complete, supply what is lacking.  In other words, it is ‘ready for’ a purpose. Look at Strong’s biblical definition.
1) to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete
a) to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair
1) to complete
b) to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust
1) to fit or frame for one’s self, prepare
c) ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be

ktizō is the word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 11:9 that is translated as created (made). Created, ktizō, again in Ephesians 2:10, Ephesians 2:15, Ephesians 3:9, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 1:16, Titus 4:3 and Colossians 3:10 as Creator. Here is Strong’s biblical definition for ktizō.
1) to make habitable, to people, a place, region, island
a) to found a city, colony, state
2) to create
a) of God creating the worlds
b) to form, shape, i.e. to completely change or transform

poieō is used for simply ‘make’. It is translated 113 times as make. Romans 9:20  But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed (plasma-only place used) say to him who formed (plassō-twice as formed) it, ‘Why did you make (poieō) me like this?’ ” (Plasma and plassō are by the way pottery terms.) It’s the same verb Paul uses in Romans 9:21.

Taking Romans 9:22 to mean God creates particular men with the intention that prior to them being created they are without question going to hell, part of the Doctrine of Election, reads something into the verse which it does not say. The passage says there are some people who are slated for destruction. God is simply making a decision to use this unfortunate outcome to further His plans at a time beneficial to His plans, as is His prerogative. Reading it the other way contradicts Jesus saying he will draw all men towards him. Whoever the unfortunate people are who are awaiting destruction, God has promised all he will show mercy if they call on Him. Obviously as you can see from how this story started, I can see how anything written about the elect, those who form God’s church/His Kingdom, can be read as God has decided before he creates that person that they will be saved or burned. I say, I can understand how such verses can be read this way. But I’m not buying it anymore.

These references are always obscure and open to interpretation and consistently are inconsistent with other parts of the Bible. For example John 12:32, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”  The word translated as all men, pas, can be considered to contain even more than all men, but not less. It can be more inclusive, not less. This is a very clear and direct verse. And from the easy, direct verses we are to interpret the more complex, like Romans 9.

John 12:32 also shoots down the idea of ‘irresistible’ Grace as well, which this whole line of thinking on the Doctrine of the Elect will take you. As clearly given to us in John 12:32 all men are drawn, yet we know from throughout the Bible that most are not saved. He shows us His splendor, majesty and mercy. And time and time again, we turn away. I was very guilty of this. The Bible is filled with the stories of those who turn from God. Is there somewhere I missed which says these people were unable to turn towards God? Is that not what God laments over time and time again, desiring people to trust in Him? Is that not one of the central themes of the entire Bible, to turn towards God?

Luke 7:30  But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.

God had a purpose for these Pharisees and experts in the law. Yet they rejected this purpose. This teaching of the Bible directly and in easy terms contradicts the idea 1) that God decides the direction/activities of the individual before birth; 2) that an individual is unable to reject a/the purpose God has planned for them; 3) of unconditional election; 4) that God who mercifully draws all to him does it in a coercive, irresistible manner.

I’m sure some people will judge me. For them, I give these to ponder (1 Corinthians 4:3-4 & 1 Corinthians 5:12 -13). Oh well. I know it is only because of God’s abundant Grace that this sinner is saved. I would also say that anyone who follows Christ while believing in the Doctrine of Election, not to be confused with the concept of the elect, is also saved. Of course, this is for God to know, who knows everyone’s heart. This man-made idea of the Doctrine of Election, unbiblical from the way I read the Bible, would change the way you view God’s character, change dramatically how you view others especially the unsaved, diminish any sense of urgency to reach the unsaved, and also change how you view prayer and its power. What a boring prayer life if my prayers don’t actually affect change. If someone is saved whether or not I talk with them about the Gospel or pray for them, what difference do my actions have at all?

Another fun verse I just ran across. Acts 17:30-31 In the past God overlooked such ignorance (idolatry), but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.

All men have been given proof. The entire world is to be judged. God commands all men to repent. What more proof does anyone need that God has NOT predetermined that some where to be saved and some not, but that He desires all to come to Him?

1 Comment

  1. You made a few good points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found nearly all people will go along with with your blog.

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