Tuesday, 20 August 2013
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! Romans 9:14
To understand why Paul asks this, we simply need to go back to the previous verses concerning election. God chose Isaac and not Ishmael. God chose Jacob and not Esau. God said he loved Jacob but hated Esau. Is this somehow a demonstration of God being unrighteous? Paul’s answer is an emphatic “Certainly not!” He uses the widely translated term mē genoito. The concept is unthinkable.
Remember the analogy that Paul has been making. He is saying that not all of those who are physically descended from Israel are actually of Israel. Those Jews who reject the idea of Jesus as the Messiah still hold fast to their Jewish identity, trusting that this brings about salvation. He has now shown that this is a false premise and that apart from the Messiah their heritage has no bearing on their status before God.
He has erected a box around them and shown them, from the very Scriptures which establish them as a people, that they are excluded from the promise if they reject their Messiah. And now he will show that they cannot claim that this demonstrates unrighteousness with God. In fact, it would be unthinkable even without his coming reasons. The very notion that the God of Abraham could be unrighteous is contrary to everything their Scriptures reveal.
His argument for the righteousness of God will be found in those Scriptures. He, taking their truthfulness as an axiom, will use them to make his case. However, from a scientific and philosophic standpoint, we can deduce that God cannot be unrighteous.
Science has demonstrated that time, space, and matter all occurred simultaneously; they had a beginning. They could not create themselves or they would have existed prior to their existence; a logical contradiction. Therefore, if they had a beginning, there was a Beginner – God.
This God is outside of time, space, and matter (before, beyond, after… outside) because He caused them to be; He created them. There is no material aspect to Him; He is perfectly simple and without parts. This must be so because if God had parts, there would be time associated with those parts. Therefore, God must be perfectly simple in this respect. There is also no possibility for change in God; He is pure actuality (He has no “potentiality” or “potential to become/change”). If God could “become” then He would be lacking attributes associated with the very concept of “God.” He is. Further, any change would imply movement of time, but He created time and therefore He has no potential to change.
And this is just how the Bible describes Him:
Parts – No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. John 1:18
Eternal – …He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
Pure actuality; no potential for change – I the LORD do not change. Malachi 3:6
Through this simple line of reasoning, we can determine that God, in fact, cannot be unrighteous. If He is righteous, then His righteousness is. It cannot increase or decrease. The same is true with His truthfulness, love, grace, mercy, holiness, and justice. These attributes are perfectly represented in Him, without change. They define His character.
Understanding this, we can determine that no text which claims to be from God which shows otherwise can be from God. The Koran, for example, shows God is vindictive and changing; it cannot be true. Searching the world’s collection of religious texts reveals only one document which correctly portrays God as He is, the Holy Bible. Paul will return to this source, which proclaims Jesus as the Messiah, to show that there is no unrighteousness with God in His selection of some and rejection of others.
Life application: God is logical, orderly, and without contradiction or change. He is transcendent above from His creation, but He works within it and directs it, somewhat like a painter and his painting. If we can grasp His nature, then we can see more clearly where we err in our theology and we can correct it to align with His intent and His will for us as is revealed in the Bible. Never stop contemplating the nature of God as is revealed to us in His creation and in His word.
God, if the power to level a city is found in a handful of uranium, then how powerful You must be. There is a world around me which is miniscule in comparison to the sun. And the sun is but a dot in comparison to many other stars. And there are billions of stars which fill billions of galaxies. Oh God, if there is that much power in what You have created, then I can be confident that You have the power to take care of me. You are great, O God. Amen.