Friday, August 14, 2009

Divine Will and Election in Romans 9-11

As we get ready for the next BNTC in Aberdeen in early September, I still remember John Barclay's paper from last year on, "Two Versions of Grace: Romans 9-11 and the Wisdom of Solomon". Moreover, I've finally been able to access a quote from that presentation that has stuck in my head:

"The purposes of God are reducible to his will, a will that initially appears equally set to harden or to save, but turns out on closer inspection, and in the end, to harden only in order to save, to hate only in order to love, and to consign all to disobedience only in order to have mercy on all. What has twisted Paul's theology into this strange shape is his understanding of a "gift" that has redefined the meanings of charis and eleos and defies explanation or rationale. That gift is the Christ-event which reconciled the world "while we were enemies" (Rom 5:6-10) and justified the ungodly (4:4-6)"
- John Barclay

4 comments:

Chris said...

Nice quote...

I recently heard about a new student in my alma mater (Assemblies of God College, so Wesleyan/Arminian in slant) who is an adamant believer in double predestination. A very strange phenomenon indeed, especially given the fact that his father is an AG pastor.

But his logic regarding Romans 9-11 is that if God can harden the hearts of humans like how he is described as doing in this passage, then logically, all those who don't believe in God must have been hardened to a state of disbelief; and since this disbelief leads to eternal destruction, ergo, God hardens them to eternal destruction.

He should read some Barclay...

Sean said...

So where did you track down that article? It sounds fantastic!

AndrewCas said...

I think Barclay got it wrong. God shows people mercy because he 'Mercies whom He Mercies' due to his own free will. Not contingent on having to show love or hate.

James said...

Great quote from Barclay. The trick is to not quit reading at Romans 9 but to go to the end of chapter 11 and only then draw conclusions.