Today’s Passage: Romans 9
I fell into a trap. Instead of sharing my thoughts on the daily passage, as I originally intended, I started summarizing it. I begin each post by linking to the entire passage specifically so that you can read it without relying on me to summarize it! So, I apologize for falling into the trap. I am climbing out of the trap now.
It seems to me that Paul is grappling emotionally with his Judaism in Romans 9, but intellectually he’s quite convinced that God is right to have mercy on whomever he pleases, and to spend his wrath on whomever he pleases. But then I have to grapple intellectually with Paul! Because his pottery analogy doesn’t appear to leave room for free will, and a God who creates evil beings just so he can demonstrate his justice by punishing them hardly seems just at all.
Let me put it this way. If a king created the laws delineating good and evil for his kingdom, created robots programmed to break those laws, then stood as judge in the courtroom and sentenced the robots to be dismantled for their lawlessness, shouldn’t the king be made to stand trial for creating the evil robots? What kind of a king refuses to play by his own rules? A king who is above the law, I suppose. But the scenario doesn’t sit well with me.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in a good God. But I also believe in free will, and sometimes I wonder if I, in believing in free will, am disagreeing with Paul.
I haven’t really touched on the 1st-century-Jewishness of this passage, but this is a very 1st-century-Jewish passage. I feel that I should mention that, even if I don’t really comment on it. The passage is dense with Old-Testament quotations, and Paul digs in depth into Isaac’s status as the child promised to Abraham, and then into Jacob and Esau as a contrast. He also develops his idea of there being a Judaism of ancestry and a kind of “spiritual” Judaism. There’s a lot going on in here.
Today’s chocolate is the last of the Chocolove coffee crunch. Well, was the last of the Chocolove coffee crunch.