THE TOUGHEST VERSE IN THE BIBLE

 

 “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

                                                                             Romans 9:13

 

Taken literally and accepted fully, this verse would make Presbyterians out of everyone.   A committed Calvinist has no trouble accepting the idea that God could choose one unborn twin for heaven and sentence the other unborn child to hell.

            This is what Paul believed and taught.  It was part of his theological upbringing as a Pharisee.  (Josephus says that Pharisees taught Predestination and Sadducees taught Free Will.)

Favoritism is one of the central themes of the Bible.

It was the accepted viewpoint of ancient societies that special treatment could be expected for the favorites of the king.

Favoritism was not questioned; it went with sovereignty.

It was acceptable for a man (like Jacob) to have a favorite wife (like Rachel) and a favorite son (like Joseph).

God showed mercy on whom He showed mercy (divine whim).

He loved some and hated others.

He chose the Hebrew race and rejected all the others (racism).

He predestined only the “elect” to salvation (divine bias).

His “grace” was His unmerited favor on His special pets.

The term often described as “divine love” (agaph) really means        “selective love” or “preferential love.”

Those who were “elect” or “chosen” held a place of esteem that was made sweeter by lording it over the also-rans:  God pours the overflowing cup “in the presence of my enemies,” so that the favored person can enjoy watching his rejected foes burn with envy.

 

Evaluation:

            1.  The doctrine of Predestination fails the test of Theodicy,                       which is the theological study of whether or not God is good.

            2.  If Predestination is true, then God’s real name is “Fate.”

Conclusion:

            1. Paul is wrong.  The theology of this verse must be rejected.

            2.  Any verse that fails the test of Theodicy must be rejected.

“Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

       This applies to any Bible passage that libels the character of God.

            3.  A better verse is: “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34 RSV).