Romans 9: God’s Freedom

People don’t like to talk about condemnation. Specifically, many people have a hard time with the doctrine of hell. They don’t understand how a loving God could banish people away from Himself for all eternity simply because they did not trust Him. Romans 9 might be able to give a little bit of insight into this dilemma.

Rom 9:20  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

This does point out something very important. If God is the creator, then He has the right to do whatever He wants with His creation. When an artist is unhappy with a painting, many times he or she will paint over the entire canvas and start over or eliminate certain parts of the original piece of work. Even though we might not understand why the artist was unhappy with a piece of artwork, it is not as if the artist as done something wrong. After all, all of those rights belong to the artist.

God is a similar way. Even if we do not understand His mind, doesn’t He have the right to do whatever He wants with what He has created?

Of course, even though many people might be willing to affirm that God has these rights, they still might wonder why God would create people who would ultimately reject Him. After all, is it not possible that God would have created only people who He would ultimately have in heaven with Him? Even from a free will perspective, is it possible that God could have known ahead of time that certain people would choose freely to reject God, and God could have never created them?

I don’t know that that’s possible. That would not really be freedom. The only people who therefore would have been created would have been engineered in a sense by God to be the ones who would choose God. Again, God has the freedom to do whatever He wants, but if He decided to truly give people free will, there has to be an alternative for people who choose not to follow Him.

To bring this all together then, God has ultimate freedom as we see in Romans 9, and it seems to be the case that God has given human beings free will. Therefore, given that gift of free will, it is contradictory that God would then compel everyone to follow Him. Compulsion is not free.


Posted on June 12, 2015, in Romans and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s a shame that so many people read Roman’s 9 as God choosing to damn some and save others for no particular reason. What Paul is actually explaining is that God has not failed to keep his covenant because most Jews did not accept Jesus. You can see this at the start of the chapter:

    6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

    7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

    And later is Paul’s summary, He tells us that God’s choice is about whether or not people had faith, so it’s not an arbitrary choice.

    30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

    But, you bring out a good point. If God had created only those who would choose him, (universalism) there could be no free will choice of faith. Blessings….

    • I appreciate the comment. I certainly do think that God has a reason for His decision, and I think that He is ultimately allowing people the logical consequence of their free will. If they don’t want Him, then He is going to give them that freedom to be separated from Him for eternity

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