Thursday, January 23, 2014

Supralapsarianism - Common Objections 3A

The 3rd objection against Supralapsarianism is that it is unfair.

3 This objection, as far as I can see, fails to even reach the level of being an objection because it smuggles in illegitimate premises. One must ask first of all from whence comes this notion of fairness. If Scripture makes anything clear, it is that the decree of predestination is an act of God’s sovereignty, not His justice.

Let me make good on that assertion. In Romans 9, Paul makes the argument that predestination is an act of God’s sovereignty, not His justice. Paul is completely aware of how this will sound to his opponents, those who view God’s choice and/or rejection of individuals as being based on foreseen merit or demerit. Paul is completely aware that to the unregenerate mind this will come off as unfair. The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul anticipates this objection. So we find it written:

“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?’” Romans 9:14-19

If this objection had been due simply to a misunderstanding of Paul’s doctrine, he could easily have rectified the problem by simply modifying his statements. But we do not find Paul saying in response to this objection, “You misunderstand me, friend. I am not suggesting that God’s sovereignty extends even over the will of man. He only hardens those who resist His best efforts to save them.” Had Paul said something like that the opponent's objection would’ve dissipated instantly. The fact that Paul does not say something like this proves that he clearly concedes that he has been understood correctly by his opponent. He is therefore teaching that salvation is absolutely of the Lord, and that predestination is absolutely an act of divine sovereignty, not justice.

This is further seen by what Paul actually does say in response to this objection. Romans 9:20 says, "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?'” Notice the argument of this passage. This is not an appeal to justice or fair play. It is an appeal to God’s absolute sovereign power. He goes on to say, “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?” And this is a very powerful statement because it tells us, not that there was a fallen lump out of which honorable vessels and dishonorable vessels were formed, but that the one lump is comprised of vessels with a specific use already purposed. For in verses 22-24, he says, “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?” This is incredibly strong language. For Paul not only says that some vessels were actually “prepared for glory,” which is a reference to election, but he also says that some vessels were actually “prepared for destruction,” which is a reference to reprobation. He furthermore says that reprobation serves election. And on top of it all, Paul makes it undeniably clear that predestination, which comprises election and reprobation, is not an act of God’s justice, but of his sovereignty. It is therefore unconditional.

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