Since we seem to be laying the bible verses down thick and fast, I thought I'd post a little dissection of Romans 9 for you to read "
that I made on another forum a while back.
1 Peter 2:8 is the single most obvious verse, where it states of non-Christians - "They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But if you want the best exposition of such a topic, Romans 9 is a great passage. Paul answers many questions that a Christian can't logically ignore simply because they believe in freewill.
Freewill is a fairly recent concept, historically speaking. Since then, Christians have latched onto freewill as a reason for our existence here on earth. Before this time, the idea of freewill was never an issue.
Now, an extensive Bible Study on Romans 9. For non-Christians here, I apologize for this Bible quoting - normally I don't like doing such, so feel free to ignore me. But put it this way, you can use it as amunition against us "believers":
*picking up from verse 10*
10 Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Paul starts in vers 10 by appealing to the Old Testament story of Esau and Jacob. Esau lost his birthright to Jacob, even though he was the rightful heir. Paul states clearly in verse 11 - before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works....
. I can't see it getting any clearer than that. God's purpose of election in choosing one over the other, not because of anything they had done, indeed before they were born this was chosen. This should end the debate, but the rest of this chapter provides great insight also......
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
Paul uses the old Testament example of Pharaoh, when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, and it's concerning Pharaoh's hardened heart. Paul continues, quoting Exodus 33 in stating "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy"
. He repeats this in various wording in this section multiple times. And in verse 17, again talking of Pharaoh - I (God) raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power....
. Does this sound like Pharaoh had a choice in the matter? Not to me, especially when Exodus notes that Pharaoh was about to let the Israelites go, except for God's intervention in hardening Pharaoh's heart. And next is where the passage gets really interesting on the debate....
19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
Paul specifically addresses the argument that many today use "if God made me like this, how can God still blame me for my actions". And the simple answer Paul gives - who are you to talk back to God. God, the King, the creator. You can't understand GOd. he's too big for you, you're just a human. It's not an answer a lot of people like. It's not exactly an ideal answer, but it's the answer Paul gives. Paul then uses an analogy that any in the day could understand - the potter can make grand pots or common use pots. A decorative vase, or a chamber pot for example. The pot has no say in the matter - it's all up to the creator of the pot. Moving on......
22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
And I'll end the exposition here after these verses (the rest of the chapter is interesting, but this is the climax of the passage, as I can see). Paul theorizes why people are actually created for destruction. What if God created these "objects of his wrath - prepared for destruction"
to show those he created the riches of his glory, whom he "also prepared in advance for glory"
I at one stage believed in freewill also, but after studying the passages, found that it is just not compatible with scripture. But does that give me the right to sin because I'll just be doing what God prepared for me to do? By no means. In addition to this chapter saying I'll still be held accountable, read Romans 6 (hell, read the whole book of Romans. It'll give you a good outline for the entire CHristian Faith).
From our perspective, we do not know God's ultimate plan. What we do is very much our own choice (at least it feels like it). Therefore, what you do, you have no excuse for. We do not have "free will", but as Australian theologian Al Stewart describes it, we instead have "real will".
I am of course not adverse to you giving me your own opininon of Romans 9. In itself, it shows me without a doubt the absence of free will. But if you think it's saying something else, I'm all ears. Your thoughts on the passage would be most interesting to hear. Or if you just want to ask for clarification on any particular point in my post, then feel free also to ask away.