SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD HARDENED (John 12:40; Rom. 9:18; 11:7,25)
This shocking sttement has become the theological conflict between competing theological systems:
1. God's sovereignty vs. human free will
2. Augustine vs. Pelagius
3. Calvin vs. Arminius
For me both are biblical truths. Both truths must be held in a theological tension. The concept of "covenant" holds them together. God always comes first, sets the agenda, and calls to fallen mankind, (e.g., John 6:44,65), but we are responsible for our choices (e.g., John 1:12; 3:16). Human responsibility and its consequences mandate a human freedom (i.e., soul competency)! Moral actions are based on real choices. The Scriptures assert both truths (i.e., theological poles)!
Notice God's sovereignty, "I have begun to deliver" and human free will, "begin to occupy, that you may possess the land"!
It is surely possible that this theological difficulty for us is predicated on our misunderstanding of ancient Hebrew theological idioms. Israel's unique monotheism demanded she defend it at all points. YHWH's cause of all things was a Hebrew way of affirming monotheism. Nothing just happened. There was one and only one cause—YHWH. The texts that assert this (cf. Eccl. 7:14; Isa. 45:7; Amos 6:3) have caused moderns to:
1. attribute evil to God
2. assert a radical form of sovereignty to God
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