1

I suppose this is question to challenge the Calvinists/ Reform Baptists/Presbyterians who support the predestination doctrine.

Romans 1:24 & Romans 1:26's claim that God gave over women & men to their homosexual lustful sex acts could be seen like a snowballing effect since it starts off small, and then God just gives them over by letting it roll down a hill with snow.

Could the Exodus's hardening heart of Pharaoh be similar to the Romans 1:24 & Romans 1:26's claim that God gave over women & men to their homosexual lustful sex acts?

Exodus 7:2-3 New American Standard Bible 1995

2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 8:13-15 New American Standard Bible 1995

13 The Lord did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields. 14 So they piled them in heaps, and the land [a]became foul. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he [b]hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Exodus 9:11-12 New American Standard Bible 1995

11 The [a]magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians [b]as well as on all the Egyptians. 12 And the Lord [c]hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

(Romans 1:22-27) New American Standard Bible 1995

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [a]crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [b]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [c]forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [d]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [e]indecent acts and receiving in [f]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

1
  • 2
    (The presence of) the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart. That is to say the presence of the Lord associated with Moses' presence. The Lord did not do something to Pharoah's heart (other than being present). It was a reaction of Pharoah to the presence of the Lord.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 11, 2021 at 8:55

4 Answers 4

3

This is not actually a question about predestination, but of what causes a person's heart to become spiritually hard, and then hardens further to the point where that person is proven to all and sundry to be justifiably condemned by God.

First, the verses in Romans speaking of God 'giving over' people to certain things. You could read that as 'giving them up' to those things. Or, 'abandoning them to'... whatever.

There can be a time when God deals with a person to get him or her to repent of their sin and thus get into a right relationship with him. Or, God knowing they love their sin and despise his righteousness, sits back (as it were) and lets them get on with it.

Does that square with the account of Pharaoh in Exodus? He fits the bill precisely. He was a ruler who continued the oppression of God's people that his predecessor had started long years before. Indeed, that obvious hatred of God's people had been going on from before Moses had been born 80 years earlier, and the account shows it was getting worse. Thus the time came for God to publicly expose the wickedness of that new ruler, so that the whole world would know God was righteous in his judgment of him and his pagan nation. Ten plagues later, and that Pharaoh had shown the true depths of hatred in his heart against God, and God's people. Who could deny it?

The cause of beginning to develop a hard heart lies in one's attitude to God, which shows in liking that which God hates, and often manifests in attitudes to God's people (who hate what God hates). They then become objects of hatred or derision in those with hearts hard towards God. However, here's a salutory tale about how God knows if a hard heart can be transformed by grace. I read this in a letter only today, by a man I personally know, who helps refugees in Europe. He told of a criminal who was greatly feared in Greece, who he had to have dealings with. That led to explaining the gospel of grace to him, that God calls sinners to repentance, to draw them out of moral and spiritual darkness, to walk in the light of Christ. The man's eyes began to fill with tears. This was a hard man, born into crime, living by crime, and expecting to die in crime. Yet he responded to the gospel, repented and was publicly baptised in the Aegean Sea. Years later, my friend met him again (this time in Germany) and his transformation was genuine. He was helping others and leading others to Christ, and his letter was about that. He wrote, "The beauty of the Christian faith is that the Holy Spirit takes a savage man ruined by sin and turns him into a saint with a heart of compassion and selflessness (2 Cor.3:3).

Your question is not a challenge to people who believe in God's predestination. It just requires the simple answer, "Yes, those two accounts in the Bible are similar", but I've added another 21st century one to show how even those with apparently hardened hearts can be given a heart-transplant by the God of grace, who knows what people are truly like, and what they will truly become.

2

The practise of God allowing evil to further it's wicked impact on humanity is summed up by Paul in 1 Cor 5:5 I include the preceding verses to give context.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and sexual immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, namely, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 I have decided to turn such a person over to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

This is a clear example that opposes the 'this is the only day of salvation' doctrine.

God does not want to lose one - be it Pharaoh, the sexually dysfunctional as the OP mentioned and Paul's example or many other matters where deception has cause deep sin and evil in people.

  • God is well aware of the cause of evil.
  • He is also quite capable of calling all to Him should He desire to do so tomorrow!
  • He has a plan for the salvation of all His creation and whether we understand the resurrection process or not, does not change the fact of their place in His plan made complete through Jesus - who died for all!

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6the one having given himself as a ransom for all 1Tim 2:6 (Acts 15:11)

God doesn't harden people's hearts or blind their minds - but He does allow evil to remain and have its effect for His purposes in this age. In the next age when all have chosen Christ (or rejected and died the second death), humanity will not have an issue with evil nor be troubled/tempted by it.

Back to Paul, just because someone has been 'churched', does not mean this is their day of salvation. Only God knows who He has called and begun a work in, and will finish it at the end.

being persuaded of this very thing, that the One having begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6

2

The best way to answer this question is to consider a few examples where the data is much clearer:

  • 2 Sam 24:1 vs 1 Chron 21:1 – Who tempted King David to have a census? God (as per 2 Sam 24:1) or Satan (as per 1 Chron 21:1)? Both are correct because to the Hebrew mind, God is omniscient and omnipotent and thus events only occur if He allows. James 1:13 explicitly states that God tempts no one.
  • Job 2:3 - God says that Satan "incited" God to ruin Job, even though it was Satan that was the direct cause of Job's ruin.
  • 1 Sam 16:14, 16, 18:10, 19:9 – God sent an evil (literally, unclean) spirit on Saul? God does not have an evil spirit to send! Again, the omnipotent God is deemed responsible for that which He does not prevent.
  • Judges 9:23 has an identical idea of an evil spirit from God.
  • 1 Kings 2:22, 23, 2 Chron 18:21, 22 all have a “lying spirit” from the LORD.
  • In Eze 14:9 says, “I the LORD have enticed/deceived that prophet”; whereas James 1:13 says that God does not tempt anyone.

Thus, God is often thought of as the ultimate cause of all things, even though it is Satan who is the direct cause of evil. We see this mind-set in lam 3:38:

Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?

The key to understanding this tricky question about who is to love God (or not) is to look at the alternatives. Either:

  • A: God decides who loves Him and this we have no choice; thus those destined to love God must love Him and those destined not to love God are condemned to die eternally. This was the position of Calvin and the "5-point" Calvinists since
  • B: We have a choice about whether respond to God's invitation to love Him. This was the position of James Arminius and his followers since.

In his 1537 Instruction in Faith, John Calvin says:

“For, the seed of the word of God takes root and brings forth fruit only in those whom the Lord, by his eternal election, has predestined to be children and heirs of the heavenly kingdom. To all the others (who by the same counsel of God are rejected before the foundation of the world) the clear and evident preaching of truth can be nothing but an odour of death unto death.”

However, the whole point, axiomatically, about love is that it cannot be commanded nor contrived. Love is either by choice and genuine, or if it is forced is not love at all!

A direct consequence of Calvinism is "Limited Atonement" meaning that God only died for the sins of those He decided to save before people were even born. This is at odds with the Bible facts - see the appendix below - Jesus died for ALL sins and ALL people.

Thus, I agree with the assertion of the OP that God, because of our persistent and poor choices, sometimes allows the consequences of our choices to reap the havoc that come with the, That God, God, "gives us over" to the consequences of our sins,.

Note the part of the story about Pharoah that is often NOT quoted: Ex 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8 – God causes Pharaoh to harden his heart??? Clearly not! Compare Ex 8:15, 32, 9:34 where Pharaoh hardens his own heart. The same is tue in Rom 1:24, 26 where God allows the consequences of bad choice to work their degrading effects.

This is often expressed literally in places where God allows sin and evil to reap its own consequences and cause its own downfall.

  • Job 5:13 - He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.
  • Ps 5:10 - Declare them guilty, O God; let them fall by their own devices. Drive them out for their many transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.
  • Ps 9:16 - The LORD is known by the justice He brings; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
  • Ps 69:22 - Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
  • Ps 141:10 - Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
  • Prov 11:6 - The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the faithless are trapped by their own desires.
  • Prov 12:13 - An evil man is trapped by his rebellious speech, but a righteous man escapes from trouble.
  • Prov 28:10 - He who leads the upright along the path of evil will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit what is good.
  • Hos 11:6 - Job 5:13 - He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

APPENDIX - Christ Died for ALL

  • John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • John 12:47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
  • Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
  • Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
  • Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
  • Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
  • 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”
  • Isa 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray … and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
0

Since Pharaohs were already oppressing the Hebrews, and executing their children (Exodus 1) for about eight decades (Exodus 2 & 7:7) before the dialogue with Moses and Aaron (Exodus 5-11), it is therefore logically possible to interpret this passage in the manner suggested; namely, as a divine abandonment of someone not only already engaged in evil, but also persistently resistant to any subsequent divine correction.

3
  • +1 Thanks for giving a broader context by bringing up a events from earlier historical time period. Context, Context, Context. ---Also, sort of like a "snowball effect" Dec 11, 2021 at 13:58
  • 1
    The Pharaoh who oppressed the Hebrews and sought to murder their new-born sons was long dead before Moses returned to Egypt, to deal with a different Pharaoh - Ex.2:23. Of course, the new Pharaoh was evil and persistently resistant to divine correction too, but the first half of your one-sentence answer cannot stand.
    – Anne
    Dec 14, 2021 at 13:22
  • 1
    The pope, the king, the pharaoh, the czar, etc. is not just one man, but an institution; at any rate, text amended.
    – Lucian
    Dec 15, 2021 at 3:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.