Free will & God

In another thread, i brought up the verse which says that God makes someone closed to the gospel if He so wants.
So how can He condemn those whom He purposely makes refuse His free offer of salvation?
Many people asked God to manifest Himself, which he didn’t do.
So is it our fault if we do not believe, if God has Made us that way?

Which verse says that? Not that I don’t believe you, I’d just like to look at it and the context it is written in myself?

Romans 9:18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

This seems to imply that God makes the decisions about salvation and the will of man is taken out of the equation entirely.

So how can He fairly condemn those whom He hardeneth?

I think fairness is a strange word to apply to the “slavation game” generally outlined by Christianity. The whole “original sin” factor pretty much obviates any claim to fairness. Once you include the vastly disproportionate reward/punishment scheme, the skew becomes even worse. Depending upon the theology, there are also serious issues with souls who were never given the opportunity to make the “winning” choice.

And that’s just a cusory examination.

Now, the implications of this on theological issues is a different debate, but in the terminology of game theory, the game isn’t fair.

See, I know this isn’t going to make anybody happy, but I’ll give it to you the way it was explained to me.

God knows if you’re going to choose him or not, right? Right. So, it’s kind of like the thing where a parent catches their kids trying cigarettes. “OH, so you wanna smoke, huh? Try the whole danged pack then!” In other words, if you’re going to turn Him down, He’s gonna make sure that there’s no doubt about where you stand. Does that help any?

This is hard, but let me take a swing at it. If you back off, and read all of Chapter 9, this is pretty much a Pauline “shit happens.” Paul was writing to the church in Rome at a time when things were hard, very hard. The Roman authorities, under the prompting of the Jewish elders, were coming down on them hard, and a lot of very difficult questions were being asked about evil, and how God could let this happen to his disciples. A lot of Romans is dealing with the question of evil in the world.

Paul’s answer is that mercy is mercy, not a right. We don’t have the full picture, and sometimes God will act on human hearts, including ours, in such a way that we will not see clearly. Grace is truly grace, not something that has to happen by our nature, or because we are who we are.

But as you read on in the chapter, Paul makes it clear that this is a temporary thing, something in time and not in eternity. Remember, it was only in the previous chapter, a mere twenty verses away, that Paul said “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul is not a fool, nor is he schizoid; these statements are this close for a reason. The hardening of hearts is a process, not an absolute; the end is closeness, salvation, and love. Paul’s statement was universal, not particular.

So do not mistake the momentary for the eternal. Anyone who has tried to walk the Path knows there are times when the heart is hardened. I don’t know why, but it is there, and it is part of the walk. There are also times when the heart is tendered. The end is the same, and that is eternal life with Him.