John Piper explains in this sermon given in London.
I believe it means that God does not hate races. There is only one group God hates: the group He designed for Hell. They are worthy of His wrath because they were made to be worthy of His wrath.
“They are worthy of His wrath because they were made to be worthy of His wrath.”
That’s a beautiful sentiment, DJ! Did these souls have a choice in this “design”?
Yes, Piper’s sermon is sensitive. Let’s remember, though, that it took until 1995 for the SBC to renounce the practice of slavery, a practice partially responsible for its founding
For the historically ignorant, the SBC supported its use – see here to view a common sentiment of the time: http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/string/string.html
Better late than never, I guess.
Frank – john fb,
In fairness, Calvinism and the SBC are by no means identical. Most Calvinists are not Southern Baptists and, until recently, most Southern Baptists were not Calvinists as far as I can tell.
Wait, the SBC was practicing slavery until 1995? Wow, you learn something new every day.
I’m pretty sure Reformed theology is still by far the minority in the SBC.
Orthodoxdj – I think you’re interpreting the potter analogy past what Paul was intending to convey (that we have no grounds for questioning God’s justice). God hates sin and desires all to come to repentance, although he has a higher reason (unknown to us) for only electing some.
Hell is our inevitable destination because of our rebellion, not because God pushed us into sin or predestined us for judgment (for that would make him the author of sin). When the Bible speaks, for example, of God “hating” Esau, or “hardening” Pharoah’s heart, what it’s actually describing is him removing his hand of grace from their lives and letting them follow their own calamitous trajectories.
Andy writes: “God hates sin and desires all to come to repentance, although he has a higher reason (unknown to us) for only electing some.”
On a related topic, I still don’t quite get Reformed theology. God desires all to repent, but He doesn’t desire all to repent. How does one believe something one is incapable of understanding? It’s like saying I “believe” that the round plate before me is also a square, as if my saying it makes it so.
I still don’t quite get Reformed theology. God desires all to repent, but He doesn’t desire all to repent.
That’s no problem if they’re different senses in which God desires them. To have an adequate response to the problem of evil, you need something like that anyway, as Thomas Aquinas showed. (Or at least you need it if you want to avoid open theism, but I’ve long thought open theism doesn’t really have the resources to respond to the problem of evil anyway, so that becomes a null option.)
You need to have some sense in which God wants to evil to happen if God in any sense allows it. God allows it rather than preventing it. Perhaps the reason is because God thinks human freedom is more desirable than the desire to prevent that particular evil. You need not be a Calvinist to appeal to this sort of thing. But you better not say that God wants it to happen in every sense. God certainly disapproves of the evil, and wouldn’t desire it if it weren’t for whatever issue led God to allow the evil.
Once you have that distinction between desiring for its own sake and desiring for some other reason, when for its own sake God would want it removed, you have exactly the thing you’re criticizing. God can desire something and not desire the same thing.
I would say that Arminians need to say this even about the salvation of non-believers if they want to avoid universalism. If anyone dies in their sins and goes to hell as a result, then God will be desiring that fate for them given their rejection of him, even if God desired them to repent and thus avoid that fate. So God both desires it and desires that it not happen, even with Arminianism. Only an open theist or a universalist can avoid saying something like that about these cases, and I don’t think either can avoid saying it entirely. Even to allow one bit of evil or even the risk of it is a tradeoff in one sense, with God choosing one thing over another that would be good and desirable if all things were equal.
[...] In this discussion, one of the commenters makes the following argument against Reformed views of divine providence: On a related topic, I still don’t quite get Reformed theology. God desires all to repent, but He doesn’t desire all to repent. How does one believe something one is incapable of understanding? It’s like saying I “believe” that the round plate before me is also a square, as if my saying it makes it so. [...]