Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why Then Is He Still BLAMING....




IT IS a great advance in faith to truly accept the basic truth of

divine revelation that {all is of God}. Even so, while one may

{accept} that it is the teaching of Scripture that, ultimately

speaking, all is out of, through, and for God, one may still find

this teaching problematic or even troubling.

Such unrest and worrisomeness over questions of God's deity

is by no means surprising among members of our society, in which

the teaching of free will holds such a central place and is

considered to be the touchstone of righteousness. As the English

mathematician and philosopher Whitehead so astutely observed,

"Western peoples exhibit on a colossal scale a peculiarity which

is supposed to be more especially characteristic of the Chinese.

Surprise is often expressed that a Chinaman can be of two

religions, a Confucian for some occasions and a Buddhist for

other occasions....But there can be no doubt that an analogous

thought is true of the West, and that the two attitudes involved

are inconsistent. A scientific realism, based on mechanism, is

conjoined with an unwavering belief in the world of men and of

the higher animals as being composed of self-determining

organisms. This radical inconsistency at the basis of modern

thought accounts for much that is half-hearted and wavering in

our civilisation. It would be going too far to say that it

distracts thought. It enfeebles it, by reason of the

inconsistency lurking in the background." 1)


1. Alfred North Whitehead, SCIENCE AND THE MODERN WORLD, p.73

(New York: The Macmillan Co., 1925).

p164 Fleshly Pride and Confidence

If all is of God, however, it does indeed follow that the

popular notion of freewill responsibility is false. This is so

notwithstanding the fact that freewill responsibility is the

foundational assumption of western ethics and jurisprudence, even

as the implicit if not explicit dogma of the home, the church,

and the school.

Ironically, those who rail against the teaching of God's

deity, in so doing, only expose their own worldliness. They fail

to realize that the present state of one's conscience is not the

arbiter of truth, even as that societal mores are not decisive in

the determination of righteousness.

It is not difficult to see how, long ago, free will became

the morally-acceptable, societal norm, every way of a man seeming

right in his own eyes and the wish becoming the father of the

claim. The Latin saying, {Abeunt studia in mores}, sums it up

well: "Practices zealously pursued pass into habits."

There is nothing more characteristic of the flesh than its

desire to be independent of God; hence, its aversion to any

thought of divine determination and control in the affairs of

men. And, there is nothing more desirable to the flesh than the

maintenance of self-pride; hence, the repudiation of the teaching

of God's deity, since it leaves no room for self-pride.

It is often confidently claimed that the teaching that God

judges men for their acts even though their acts fulfill His

intention, "makes no sense," and is "unjust." In saying that this

teaching of God's deity makes no sense, the thought is that it is

absurd; and, in saying that it is unjust, the thought is that it

is contrary to morality.

Any such claims, however--which are the principal bulwarks

of free will--are purely subjective in nature, and can only be

true themselves, if free will itself, first of all, is true.

Obviously, if the teaching of free will is true, then the

teaching of God's deity which contradicts it, is absurd

p165 Whatever God does is Right

and unjust. But to assert, {a priori}, that the teaching of God's

deity is absurd and unjust--apart from having proved free will to

be true--is, at once, the moral failure of conceit as well as the

fallacy of circular reasoning. 2)

The fact that such invalid arguments are nonetheless so

persuasive and pervasive, and seem so upright to nearly all,

merely evinces the power of conceit and prejudice--as well as the

baneful, widespread effects of paucity of reasoning skills.

Let us not somehow feel "guilty" for believing that all is

of God (and that free will, therefore, is false). We should

instead recognize that the fact that to most people the denial of

free will seems deeply absurd and unjust, is not any indication

whatsoever that it {is} absurd and unjust.

Even if unwittingly, those who advocate free will nearly

always appeal to their own sense of rectitude concerning this

issue, implicitly equating that which {seems} right to them with

that which actually {is} right, in fact. Yet if we who deny free

will were to appeal to {our} own sense of rectitude concerning

this question, likewise implicitly equating that which seems

right to us with that which actually is right, our opposers,

quite properly, would not be slow to expose any such "appeals to


Those who cannot wholeheartedly and unreservedly affirm that

whatever the Scriptures actually reveal is true, and whatever God

actually does is right, are disqualified even to approach this

issue concerning God's deity and the question of free will. Those

who claim that they would gladly believe that all is of God if

this were truly the scriptural teaching who at the same time

insist that this selfsame teaching is unreasonable and unjust,

expose their own hypocrisy.


2. Circular reasoning, or "begging the question" {petitio

principii}, occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly,

the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated.

p166 Foolish, Fleshly Protestations

Few there are who are not ready to join voices with Paul's

representative {protestor} of +Romans 9:19 in declaring, "Why,

then, is He still blaming? for who has withstood His intention?"

This protest is entered in response to the protestor's own

consideration of the preceding propositions made by the apostle:

(1) The children not of the flesh but of the promise are those

whom God reckons for the seed (+Rom.9:8); (2) The blessing of

Jacob instead of Esau was such that the purpose of God might be

remaining as His own choice, not out of acts (+Rom.9:11); (3) God

will be merciful to whomever He may be merciful and be pitying

whomever He may be pitying (+Rom.9:15); (4) Consequently, then,

it is not of him who is willing, nor of him who is racing, but of

God, the Merciful. For the scripture is saying to Pharaoh that,

"For this selfsame thing I rouse you up, so that I should be

displaying in you My power, and so that My name should be

published in the entire earth." Consequently, then, to whom He

will, He is merciful, {yet whom He will, He is hardening}


It is at this juncture that the {protestor} rejoins (as Paul

puts it, "You will be {protesting} to me, then"): "{Why, then},

is He still blaming, for who has withstood His intention?"

It is vital to note that these words are not those of an

innocent inquirer, asking in faith, nothing doubting, but of a

vocal {protestor}, one who does not hesitate to drag the Deity

before the bar of his own justice.

The protestor is not actually asking a question at all, but

is instead entering a criticism. He is using a figure of speech,

termed Rhetorical Question, in which a question is asked merely

for effect, with no answer expected. The sense of the protestor's

rhetorical question is this: "{It is wrong, then}, for God to

blame Pharaoh [for example], since God Himself hardened his

heart, and, since his disobedience in which he resisted the

revealed will of God was the fulfillment of God's own intention."

p167 Metaphors of God's Deity

In replying, Paul answers this {protest} thus, by a

rhetorical question of his own in which he declares: 3)

"O man! {who are you}, to be sure, who are answering again

to God? That which {is} molded will not protest to the molder,

`Why do you make me thus?' Or has not the potter the right over

the clay, out of the same kneading to make one vessel, indeed,

for honor, yet one for dishonor" (+Rom.9:20,21)?

The protestor entirely ignores that it is {God} Who does

these things. No one has the right to be "answering back" to God;

by insinuation, effectually informing Him of what He must do if

He should wish to maintain His righteous character. O man! {who

are you}, to be sure, who are answering again to God?

Remarkably, in replying to his protestor, rather than

somehow "backing off" under the supposed weightiness of the

protestor's argument, Paul seeks instead to put him in his place

through the use of metaphors, ones which, far from constituting a

denial of God's deity, rather illustrate and confirm it. Paul has

gone to considerable lengths to show that the human is that which

{is} molded of God, and now only adds that it is not befitting

that which is molded to {protest} to the Molder, saying, "Why do

you make me thus?" (that is, "How dare you, God, if indeed You

are righteous, {make} me the way that I am?").

By speaking of the {right} of the potter over the clay, out

of the same kneading to make one vessel, indeed, for honor, yet

one for dishonor, Paul makes it clear that, among men, God has

the right--and is right in exercising that right--to make men

thus: some as "{vessels} of indignation, adapted for destruction"

(+Rom.9:22), and others, as "{vessels} of mercy,


3. The apostle does not herein directly respond to the literal

question which one might well ask who is simply seeking

enlightenment as to {why} it {is} so, in fact, that God

nonetheless "blames" those who fulfill His intention.

p168 God is Able to Enlighten

which He makes ready before for glory--us, whom He calls also,

not only out of the Jews, but out of the nations also"



In the preceding exposition, "Divine Foreknowledge and Its

Significance," I proved that the correct understanding of Paul's

words in +Romans 11:36, "seeing that out of Him and through Him

and for Him is all," is that all that exists and all that occurs,

except for God Himself, is out of, through, and for God.

Accordingly, I affirmed that since this truth precludes the

validity of the ethical notion termed "free will," free will

cannot be true. I also proved that since both determinism and

indeterminism or any combination of the two preclude free will,

free will is therefore not only a false notion but a notion

concerning which it is impossible to give any objective account

of how it might exist. Finally, in addressing the subject of

divine foreknowledge, I proved that the existence of God's

knowledge of those events of which the future consists, entails

the necessity of the consequence, namely that of the

inevitability of the events foreknown, which teaching also

precludes free will.

Now, at present, on behalf of those who have understood and

accepted those previous considerations, as well as that stressed

already in this present writing as to it being so that God {is}

righteous and wise in blaming men for their wrongdoing even

though their wrongdoing is according to His intention, the

following thoughts are set forth.

Only one who has come this far is in any position to go any

farther. This is because, logically, acceptance of truth precedes

understanding of truth. God, first of all, {informs} us of what

is true and what is right. It is only through His further

granting of wisdom and insight that the {wisdom} of truth and the

{rightness} of righteousness become more evident, and, more


p169 Wisdom Granted for Realization

Those whose settled response to truth is to pass it by

unrecognized, since, to them, it is "absurd and unjust," seem

beyond human help. Still, we must remember that those who may

indeed be beyond our ability to convince, are by no means beyond

God's ability to enlighten. We may be assured that in God's own

time, all will come into a realization of truth, for it is the

will of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel

of His will that this should occur (cp +1 Tim.2:4; Eph.1:11).

Since even after we accept the truth that God nonetheless

judges those who, ultimately, are not responsible for their

actions, we may not see why this should be so, let us freely make

our requests known to God concerning this question. That is, let

us, then, prayerfully and reverently, in humility and

meekness--not at all in a spirit of protest and unbelief, but in

an attitude of faith and trust--simply {ask} our God and Father

to enlighten us as to why it is so--seeing that it {is} so--that

He "blames" His creatures for their wrongdoing, even though,

therein, they have fulfilled His intention.

Now, for some, it may be God's wisdom for them to remain in

such a spirit of confidence and trust for an extended period,

without His granting their request for understanding. If so,

however, this may become a most salutary experience in itself,

for how wonderful it is for us to grow simply in confidence and

trust in God, which, at least for a time, may be taught best in

the absence of the justification of truth instead of through its


I would say, however, that insofar as the Scripture

enlightens us on this issue and I myself am able to perceive, the

answer to our question here may be found in the answer to the

wider question, Why does evil exist? specifically, Why, in the

universe of the almighty and all-wise God, Who is love, does evil

exist? The answer to this question is that God is doing all

things well; that, specifically, in order that

p170 The Sinners Needs are Met

in God's Justice and His Love

His own glory as {Saviour} might be made known, and that His

creatures might enjoy the greater blessing of {deliverance} from

sin and evil than that of never having experienced these

maladies, God has wisely ordered that sin and evil should exist.

If Christ would become our Saviour, He must first be crucified.

Sin and evil, then, are indispensable to the greater, permanent

good. 4)

It is not casting any disagreeable reflections on the

Almighty to say He determined all things for good. Indeed, it is

glorious to learn not only that there is one God, the Father, out

of Whom all is, but that we are "for Him:" "There is one God, the

Father, out of Whom all is, {and we for Him}" (+1 Cor.8:6a). Why

are we here? For what purpose do we exist? The answer is, "for

God;" that is, for God Himself, even as for His purpose in which

we have a place. Just think of it: God actually has a {purpose}

for each one of us, that we should exist rather than not exist

and that His goal concerning us should be realized. Each one of

us, then, is important to God; and, lest His purpose concerning

any one of us should fail, He has ordered the universe in such a

way that all is out of Him and through Him; all, in the end,

being for Him as well.

To say that God "blames" us for our sins (even though


4. It is true that the measure of evil which exists will result

in greater glory and blessing than that which would have resulted

from a lesser measure of evil. It does not follow from this,

however, that a greater measure of evil ought to obtain than that

which, in fact, obtains. The will of God is not confined solely

to issues of ultimate glory and salvation. It encompasses His

present desires as well, including whatever present experiences

of life He wishes to grant to each one of His creatures. In kind

and degree, God gives humanity that particular "experience of

evil" (+Ecc.1:13; cf John 3:27) which accords with His wisdom and

desire. This is evident, for all that God desires, He does

(+Psa.115:3; cf Isa.46:9-11). God is not simply operating all,

but He is doing so according to the counsel of His own perfect

will. Therefore, all things considered, our world is the best of

all possible worlds.

p171 The sinners Needs are Met

in God's Justice and His Love

our sins are ultimately sourced in His counsels), is simply to

say that God {charges} us with wrongdoing where we have done

wrong. 5) As the Authorized Version has it, God "finds fault"

with us. Hence, since we thus {are} "at fault" (that is, simply

in the sense that we {have} done wrong), it should not be

surprising that God charges us accordingly.

It is true, however, that our {liability} for our

wrongdoing, is also hereby connoted, indeed, that it is entailed.

That is, it is true that we who have engaged in wrongdoing, are

not only charged therewith, but are also subject to whatever

consequences God deems appropriate for that selfsame wrongdoing.

Pragmatically, however, why should this surprise us? It is

simply a fact--however we came by our sinfulness--that, in so

many things, both our deeds and our motives {are} sinful;

frequently, they are very sinful. Those who are sinful both in

heart and hand, are sinful indeed, {and, are therefore in need of

judgment}. That is, the sinner is in a terrible way. He must not

be left to himself, simply to continue on in his refractoriness

interminably. Here it is not a question whether the sinner is

ultimately freewill-responsible for his own corrupt condition;

the vital consideration is simply that neither Justice nor Love

can ignore Sin.

It is true that our injustice serves God's purpose, in that

by way of contrast, it commends His own righteousness. It is not

true, however, that God--Who, through Christ, Who is the Emblem

of God's assumption (in this case, that of God's assumption of

"indignation;" +Heb.1:3)--is unjust in "bringing on indignation"

(that is, in subjecting the sinner to His own wisely contrived

indignation, notwithstanding the good purpose which man's

injustice serves; +Rom.3:5). Even as Paul declares, "May it not

be coming to that! Else


5. Nothing concerning free will follows from this fact; hence no

such notion should be read into the text.

p172 The Discipline of Chastening

how shall God be judging the world" (+Rom.3:6)? That is, since

man's injustice serves God's {purpose} (and, it is true, is

purposed of Him), it must not be imagined that man is therefore

somehow to be exempted from judgment. Else (that is, If that were

true), it would be impossible for God to judge the world at all.

Therefore, the sinner--{for the glory of God as well as for

his own good, and certainly according to his own need}--is to be

subjected to God's own {justice}, which, like all of the divine

attributes, is in accord with the essence of God's nature, which

is {love} (+1 John 4:8). For the unbeliever, this will consist of

"{chastening} in the day of judging" (+2 Peter 2:9). "Chastening"

{kolasis} is judgment which, though it may entail penality, is

nonetheless imposed {with a view to amendment} (cf +Acts 4:21).

Aristotle distinguishes "chasten," which is {disciplinary} (cf

+Heb.12:7-13) and has reference to the one who suffers, from

"punish" {timooreoo}, which is inherently penal and has reference

to the satisfaction of the one who inflicts (cf KEYWORD

CONCORDANCE, entries "chasten" [p.47] and "punish" [p.236]).

Thus, through such considerations as these, we are learning

why God, Who is love, is "still blaming" men for their sins.

While their sins fulfill His present intention, they do so only

with a view to the realization of His ultimate goal, which is to

glorify His own name as Saviour, and to bless His creatures in

such a way that would be quite impossible apart from the

temporary presence of sin. O, the {depth} of the riches and the

{wisdom} and the knowledge of God (+Rom.11:33a)! How we marvel

and praise our God and Father in consideration of His operation

of all and His wisdom concerning all. Even as the Psalmist

declares, "Behold, You delight in truth even in the hidden parts,

and in the secret parts You cause me to know wisdom" (+Psa.51:6).

Hence we declare again, What a joy, and what a peace, in

believing (+Rom.15:13)! J.R.C.

· · Share · Delete
    • Mark Phillips
      Consequently, then,
      it is not of him who is willing, nor of him who is racing, but of
      God, the Merciful. For the scripture is saying to Pharaoh that,
      "For this selfsame thing I rouse you up, so that I should be
      displaying in you My power, and s...See More
      4 minutes ago ·

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