In Romans 11:7-10 (NASB)

7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,

Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,

Down to this very day.”

9 And David says,

“May their table become a snare and a trap,

And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.

10 May their eyes be darkened to see not,

And bend their backs continually.”

In this passage we read that the heart of some was hardened. This hardening can be comprehended in two ways

  • God doing something that goes beyond our control (Romans 9:21)
  • A person hardens the own heart (Exodus 9:34)

This is leading me to think that, independently of whether we accept / reject God's salvation plan, that we are not really rejecting. So, even though Mario (user persona) thinks he's being disobedient to God by rejecting the Gospel, he is actually obeying to a higher purpose on another level.

  • God has given men free choice, the passage in Rom9 is not linked to salvation, it is linked to God choosing a lineage through which the messiah would come. Esaú was not condemned to eternal hell, rather God chose Jacob’s lineage over Esau’s descendants. Given the poor exegesis I don’t believe this question has any merit other than to push a false Calvinist narrative that is not Biblical even though it uses Bible verses. God would be a liar if He said choose but in fact we had no choice. And God is no liar. The plain reading of the text must be redefined to enforce an erroneous interpretation Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 11:36
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    Another Calvinism vs Arminianism question!! Do you expect that this will be resolved suddenly after more than 1000 years of debate?
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 11:36
  • @NihilSineDeo the reference of Romans 9:21 was to the analogy of the potter and vessel Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 11:41
  • The potter and the vessel only occurs as per Jeremiah’s passage on the clay, after the clay refuses to be molded how the potter wants to mold it initially, so then the potter makes the clay how it(the clay) wants to be molded. God does the molding but the clay accepts or rejects the molding process Jer18(:4). We (clay vessels) can accept to be molded into vessels of honor, or we resist and are molded into vessels of dishonor. The choice remains with us, the molding is in God’s hands Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 11:44
  • @NihilSineDeo I also don't see how this implicates there's no free will (which in fact I disagree with that vision) Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

This verse shows God's sovereign power over his creation from the verticle perspective. The next verse shows the horizontal perspective that man hardens his own heart.

Exodus 9:34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts.

The two perspectives do not contradict. Further, they actually complement each other. This is the concept of Co-Reality. They are both, by logical necessity, true.

When it comes to rejecting/accepting the Gospel, are we always obedient to God?

The word "obedient" here is misleading. How does it apply in the context of God's sovereignty? From the verticle perspective, God reigns over his creation, including who will reject or accept the Gospel. From the horizontal perspective, man's volition is responsible for his own decision to reject or accept the Gospel. The two perspectives are both true. Complementarity makes them so.

  • God has sovereignly decided to hold men responsible to love or reject Him. God made creatures free and certainly responsible. It could not be any other way. God created relational beings and because of that freedom is needed. But unfortunately men have chosen another way. So, by being obedient, I meant that they will be following want God wants them to in terms of the consequences of not following / rejecting His plan of salvation Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 14:09
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    When it comes to rejecting / accepting the Gospel, are we always obedient to God? Yes, according to your definition of obedient.
    – user35953
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 14:14
  • Explain that @TonyChan are you saying that those who reject the gospel they are obeying God? Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 14:15
  • Yes, but only according to Tiago's definition. As I said in my answer, it is misleading.
    – user35953
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 14:16
  • Just to clarify, you are saying that God is sovereign over those who freely choose to obey Him and those who freely choose to disobey Him. His sovereignty is unhindered by man’s free choice. This does not mean that God predetermined that men who choose, correct? Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 14:32

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