In Romans 9 Paul wrote a dialogue he had with some Jews about why God punishes people if he created them to be disobedient in the first place and Paul never really answers them, only saying pretty much we are not to question God or his ways.
Am I alone in wondering why such a brash answer to a very real question? Is it true that God creates some people just to destroy them in hell? And if so wouldn't that mean that not all people can receive salvation?
I know this leads into a deep... DEEEEEP discussion about predestination and such, really not intending it to be, only trying to wrap my head around why God says he wants all to be saved and yet creates people for the purpose of disobedience and punishment....
I've had difficulty with that myself, but I try to look at the larger view of scripture. Is Paul saying that God makes some for Hell, or is he challenging the assumption that God is unfair? It says God raised up Pharaoh, not that God forced Pharaoh to be evil. Yes, in Exodus, God hardened Pharaoh's heart, after Pharaoh had repeatedly hardened his own heart.
The balance of scripture says that God is not willing for any to perish. So if some are vessels of destruction is it because they were made that way and God is unjust, or is it because God already knows their final condition and uses their hardness to work His own purpose in those who will be and already are saved? The rest of the Bible says the latter.
Pharaoh was not willing to obey God, and God used that to free His people.
At least that's how I see it.
I can spend more time on this later. As usual, good discussion Bryan.
This is an excellent response Jim. I had not really thought of it that way before. I think the language Paul uses can be a bit less ambiguous, but I suppose even Peter had a hard time comprehending his message, but found it no less scriptural.