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送交者: 古道 2017年10月11日14:25:45 于 [彩虹之约] 发送悄悄话

Double Predestination

Romans 9:13–18

Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all? For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

When I began the last study I pointed out that, in my judgment, we are examining the most difficult portion of the entire Bible. Not only because it deals with election, which troubles many, but even more because it deals with reprobation, the doctrine that God rejects or repudiates some persons to eternal condemnation in a way parallel but opposite to the way he ordains others to salvation. Reprobation is the teaching we come to specifically in Romans 9:13–18, which makes these verses an excessively difficult passage for many, if not most, people.

The doctrine is brought into our text by two Old Testament quotations: Malachi 1:2–3 (“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,” cited in v. 13) and Exodus 9:16 (“I raised you [Pharaoh] up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth,” cited in v. 17).

Paul summarizes the teaching in these texts by concluding, “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (v. 18).

In the view of many people, the doctrine these verses express is a “monstrous doctrine” that turns God into an indifferent deity who sits in heaven arbitrarily assigning human destinies, saying, as it were, “This one to heaven, and I don’t care. This one to hell, and I don’t care.”

This is a caricature夸张讽刺, of course. But it is something we must deal with, since no one can seriously attempt to study or teach the Bible, as I am doing, without confronting it. More to the point, it is impossible to study election without also dealing with its negative counterpart. Some years ago the theme of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, which I began in 1974, was “predestination,” and the subject of reprobation was assigned to Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, Escondido, California. He had been talking to his wife about his subject and asked her what she thought he should call it.

She said, “Call it: ‘Double or Nothing.’ ”

That may be a bit frivolous毫无意义的、轻率的, but it is accurate, since it is impossible to have election, the positive side of predestination, without reprobation, which is the negative side. John Calvin recognized this, as have many others in the course of church history. He wrote, “Election [cannot] stand except as set over against reprobation.”

It is easy to distort this doctrine, of course, as the caricature shows. We must proceed slowly and humbly, recognizing our own limited understanding. Still we must try to see what the Bible does teach about reprobation, since the subject cannot be avoided.

Proof from Scripture

The place to begin is with the fact of reprobation, as taught in the Bible, regardless of the questions we may have. In other words, we must follow the same procedure with reprobation as we followed in the last study with its positive counterpart, election.

There are many texts that teach reprobation. Here are a few:

Proverbs 16:4. “The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

John 12:39–40. “They [the people of Jesus’ day] could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: ‘He has blinded their eyes / and deadened their hearts, / so they can neither see with their eyes, / nor understand with their hearts, / nor turn—and I would heal them.’ ”

John 13:18. [Jesus said,] “… I know those I have chosen. But this [Jesus’ betrayal by Judas] is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ ”

John 17:12. [Jesus prayed,] “While I was with them [the disciples], I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”

1 Peter 2:7–8. “Now to you who believe, this stone [Jesus Christ] is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Jude 4. “Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. …”

There are many other texts along these lines, but the clearest are those in Romans 9, which we are studying, since they use the word hate of Esau (“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”) and “harden” of Pharaoh (“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden”). In fact, verses 1–29 are the most forceful statement of double predestination in the Bible.

“Hated” Or “Loved Less”?

The language of this chapter is so strong that quite a few writers have tried to soften it.

1. The word hate. There are people who, quite understandably, have found themselves unhappy with the word hate and who have therefore tried to interpret it in the sense, not of outright hatred but of merely “loving less.” The great Charles Hodge has done this, writing, “It is evident that in this case the word hate means to love less, to regard and treat with less favor.

Here is where we have to begin to tread very carefully, for there is something to be said for Hodge’s view. For one thing, “hate” is used this way in Scripture. For example, in Genesis 29:32–33 it is used of Jacob’s feelings for Leah, his less-favored wife, where the New International Version rightly has Leah saying, “I am not loved.” Or again, in Luke 14:26 Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” It is generally felt that Jesus is not speaking of a literal hatred here but of priorities.

Another very telling argument for Hodge’s view is that nowhere else in the Bible is God said to hate any specific individual, though he does hate the deeds of evildoers and is even said to hate “all who do wrong” in Psalm 5:5. God hates sin.

What shall we say about this interpretation? Two things. First, even if the word hate should be understood to mean “love less,” this loving less is nevertheless of a sufficiently negative nature to account for Esau’s being rejected by God rather that being chosen, as Jacob was. For that is the point of the citation. Paul is using the example to illustrate how God chooses one and not another, call the rejection what you will.

Second, it is hard to escape seeing that although hatred in God is of a different character than hatred in sinful human beings—his is a holy hatred—hate in God nevertheless does imply disapproval. John Murray is at pains to explain this in his commentary, replying to Hodge, where he concludes rightly that “Esau was not merely excluded from what Jacob enjoyed but was the object of a displeasure which love would have excluded and of which Jacob was not the object because he was loved.” Since the selection involved in the words love and hate was made before either of the children was born, the words must involve a double predestination in which, on the one hand, Jacob was destined to salvation and, on the other hand, Esau was destined to be passed over and thus to perish.

2. The word harden. The second term commentators have tried to soften is the word harden, usually pointing out that, in Exodus, Pharaoh is also said to have hardened himself (Exod. 8:32; 9:34). The argument is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart only in the sense that he allowed Pharaoh to harden it himself, or hardened him judicially as a punishment for his prior unbelief or self-hardening.

There is no question but that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, of course. The verses say so. But here are a few observations. First, there are many more texts that say that God hardened him than say that he hardened himself. Second, in Exodus, the first references are to God’s hardening of Pharaoh (cf. 4:21; 7:3, etc.) and not to Pharaoh’s self-hardening. Third, even if Pharaoh’s self-hardening is given the strongest possible meaning, it is still in the category of “secondary causes” for which God always assumes primary responsibility. In other words, just as in the case of prayer or witnessing by Christians, what we do matters but is effective only because God has determined beforehand that it should be, so also here. Though human beings have responsibility for what they do or do not do, God nevertheless is in control of his universe. It is he (and not we) who rules history.

Two Important Distinctions

But now it is time to make a few important distinctions between election and reprobation. The question we must ask is: Are the actions involved in these two doctrines to be thought of in exactly the same way? Specifically, to use the proper language for this theological differentiation, are they equally ultimate?

What is meant by that question is this: Does God determine the destinies of individuals in exactly the same way so that, without any consideration of what they do or might do, he assigns one to heaven and the other to hell? We know he does that in the case of those who are being saved, because we have been told that election has no basis in any good seen or foreseen in those who are elected. In fact, we are told that in Romans, for Paul’s point is that salvation is due entirely to God’s mercy and not to any good that could be imagined to reside in us. The question is whether this can be said of the reprobate, too, that God has consigned them to hell apart from anything they have done, apart from their deserving it.

Here, I think, there is an important distinction to be made between election and reprobation. Nor am I the only one who thinks so. This has been the view of the majority of Reformed thinkers and is the teaching embodied in the great Reformed creeds.

Take the Westminster Confession of Faith, for example. Here are the two paragraphs concerning election and reprobation:

Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto: and all to the praise of his glorious grace. (Chap. 3, Sec. 5)

The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by: and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice. (Chap. 3, Sec. 7)

Those two statements concerning election and reprobation teach that in some respects they are the same: both flow from the eternal counsels or will of God, rather than the will of man, and both are for the end of making the glory of God known. In that respect we can speak of equal ultimacy.

But there are two important points of difference.

First, the confession speaks of the reprobate being “passed by.” Some will argue that in its ultimate effect there is no difference between passing by and actively ordaining an individual to condemnation. But while that is true of the ultimate effect, there is nevertheless a major difference in the cause. The reason why some believe the gospel and are saved by it is that God intervenes in their lives to bring them to faith. He does it by the new birth or regeneration. But those who are lost are not made to disbelieve by God. They do that by themselves. To ordain their end, God needs only to withhold the special grace of regeneration.

Second, the confession speaks of God ordaining the lost “to dishonor and wrath for their sin” (emphasis added). That is a very important observation, for it makes reprobation the exact opposite of an arbitrary action. The lost are not lost because God willy-nilly consigns them to it, but rather as a just judgment upon them for their sins.

In these two respects election and reprobation are dissimilar.

Infralapsarian堕落后预定论者 or Supralapsarian堕落前预定论者?

That leads me to two of the longest theological terms you will ever hear me utter. In fact, with the exception of “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which has nothing to do with theology, these are the longest and most confusing words I know: supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism. I mention them here only because they describe a matter about reprobation that we need to touch on briefly.

Here is why we have to think about it. I have distinguished between election, which is unrelated to anything the elect might do or not do, and reprobation, which is, according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, “for their sin.” But the question then is: When does God determine this in the case of the non-elect? If he ordains them to be punished for their sin, does he wait for them to sin before he makes this determination? That can’t be right, because we know that election (as well as the passing over of the reprobate) has been determined by God before the foundation of the world. What, then, is the relationship of his preordination of the lost to their sin? Did God foresee their sin and then ordain them to be lost because of it? Or did he first ordain, after which sin inevitably entered into the world, and the lost are punished for it.

That is what these two terms deal with. Infralapsarianism means that in the timeless mind of God, this decision was made in view of the fall (the Latin word lapsus means “fall”). Supralapsarianism means that in the mind of God, this decision was made without any prior reference to it.

I am not sure this matter is of great importance or even if it is a true alternative, since it requires us to think in time categories, and God is clearly above or beyond time. Who are we to force time sequences on God? For what it is worth, however, it should be said that all the Reformed creeds are infralapsarian, simply because they want to keep from suggesting even for a moment that God consigns innocents to hell. They want to insist that God does nothing inconsistent with righteousness when he determines human destinies.

A Useful Doctrine

I suppose at this point some will be wondering, “If the doctrine of reprobation is as difficult as it seems to be, why should we speak about it at all?” The first answer to that is that the Bible itself does. It is part of the revelation given to us. This is also the primary answer to a person who says, “I could never love a God like that.” Fair enough, we may say, but that is nevertheless the God with whom you have to deal. Nothing is to be gained by opposing reprobation.

But this is not a very satisfying answer, and there are satisfying and meaningful things to say about reprobation. It is a doctrine that, like all other parts of Scripture, has its “useful” aspects (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).

1. Reprobation assures us that God’s purpose has not failed. The first benefit of this doctrine is the very thing Paul is teaching in Romans 9, namely, that God’s word has not failed (v. 6). We might ask the question in a personal way, wondering, “Will God fail me?” But the answer is that God has determined the outcome of all things from the beginning, and his word does not fail either in regard to the elect or to the reprobate. God does not begin a work he does not finish. He does not make promises he does not keep. So if you have heard his promises and believed his word, you can be sure he will be faithful to you. If others are lost, it is because God has determined that they should be. It does not mean that you will follow them.

“But am I one of the elect?” you ask. It is easy to know the answer to that question: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and begin to obey him. Those who do are the elect. That is how we determine who those persons are.

2. Reprobation helps us deal with apostasy. We all know people who have seemed to believe at one time, but who have then fallen away. Does this mean that God has failed them? No. It means that if they continue in their unbelieving state, they are not among God’s elect people. Apostasy does not show that the plan of God has failed. Reprobation helps us understand it.

3. Reprobation keeps before us the important truth that salvation is entirely of grace and that no works of man contribute to it. If none were lost, we would assume that all are being saved because somehow God owes us salvation, that he must save us either because of who we are or because of who he is. This is not the situation. All are not saved. Therefore, the salvation of the elect is due to divine mercy only. We must never forget that. Indeed, as we will see over the next few studies, this is the dominant note of these important texts in Romans.

4. Reprobation glorifies God. As soon as we begin to think that God owes us something or that God must do something, we limit him and reduce his glory. Election and its twin, reprobation, glorify God, for they remind us that God is absolutely free and sovereign. We have no power over him. On the contrary, “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (Rom. 9:18). God does as he wants in his universe.

One final question: Is reprobation an evangelical doctrine? That is, Is it part of the gospel? I believe it is, for this reason: Because reprobation stresses the glory of the sovereign God in his election, it inevitably highlights mercy and reduces those who hear and accept the doctrine to a position of suppliancy. It forces us to cry, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” As long as we believe we are in control of our own destinies, we will never assume this posture. But when we understand that we are in the hands of a just and holy God and that we are without any hope of salvation apart from his free and utterly sovereign intervention, we will call out for mercy, which is the only right response.

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” says the Almighty. If we believe that, our cry will be the cry of the tax collector: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). And who can fault that doctrine?

 

 Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1051–1067). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.


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  1 - repentant 10/11/17 (30)
    好好读经,把时态搞清楚,双子未生以前、、、、  /无内容 - 古道 10/11/17 (18)
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              你否定了我说的了?😊  /无内容 - repentant 10/12/17 (14)
                蠢得要死  /无内容 - 古道 10/12/17 (14)
                  不敢回答了吗?😎  /无内容 - repentant 10/12/17 (7)
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      若有新意,也是为预定REPROBATE所做的恶心辩护。  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (27)
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          没有不信的,就亏缺了神的荣耀?:)))  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (20)
            哦,这里花徒说了:没有不信的,无法体现神公义。:))  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (10)
    你从圣经中找到一个神使人下地狱的证据出来反驳一下  /无内容 - 古道 10/11/17 (8)
      矫情! 我说话,你听了吗?  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (25)
        他怎么会听你的,他只是装着听完你的话,因为 - 职老 10/11/17 (38)
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          :))  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (9)
          你听完也不过是装个样子,然后继续是宿命论,继续的 - 职老 10/11/17 (33)
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  太长,阿古总结一下。😊  /无内容 - repentant 10/11/17 (17)
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