God hardened Pharaoh's heart

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  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deductible from the creation.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.

    Actually, they rather are.

    un·clear
    /ˌənˈklir/
    adjective
    not easy to see, hear, or understand.
    "the motive for this killing is unclear"
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deducible from the creation.

  • I might note that Peter says PART of Paul's writings are hard to understand, so giving an example that (you think) is easy to understand doesn't really signify. You can't disprove a "some" with an exception.
  • Also the question is not whether or not Paul knew what he wanted to say. That's so irrelevant to Peter's comment as to be risible.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 2018
    MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deductible from the creation.

    The problem there is not one of what we want but what we see. I don't see for example that the existence of this universe leads to the logical conclusion that there is a God. It just pushes the origin question down a step.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited November 2018
    MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deductible from the creation.

    Paul conveyed all he enculturatedly could have. How could he not have? Why would anyone since not want him to have? Noone here.

    Most if not all of us agree with your paraphrase, but Paul would not by the way.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deductible from the creation.

    The problem there is not one of what we want but what we see. I don't see for example that the existence of this universe leads to the logical conclusion that there is a God. It just pushes the origin question down a step.

    There is no origin either way. It's meaningless.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    ISTM, like it or not, that Paul is pretty clear in Romans 1, where he argues that the Gentiles have no excuse for their sinful behaviour because they cannot plead ignorance of what is right or wrong. Whether I'm convinced by his formulation is another matter, but is there any difference between "what can be known about God is plain to them" and a secular belief in inalienable human rights discoverable by reason. Anyhow his argument is worth sticking with because it leads to some perceptive insights and encouraging and surprising conclusions.
    Romans 1: 18........ the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    If God made Pharaoh like the rest of us, "neurons that fire together wire together." So repeating an experience over a long period time results in repeated stimulation of the same neural pathways in brain, and that's how the brain develops its wiring that defines our thinking and behavior. Pathways that are neglected soon atrophy, and the wiring uncouples.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Also the question is not whether or not Paul knew what he wanted to say
    It is a relevant question because the chaps Peter refers to have not misunderstood but twisted his words.

    If what he taught was ambiguous, Peter couldn't say that, he'd have to admit some murkiness of meaning.

    However, the fault in his mind is not with Paul.

    Consequently, any actual argument with Paul's teaching occurs only because we do not like it rather than that we misunderstand it.

    eg Women should pray in public with a covered head.
  • As long as they are silent in church.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Oh, that the men were, too!
  • Quakers!
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Checkmate!
  • Saw a post on Fakebreath the other day that says the Jewish interpretation of the passage is quite different -- instead of "hardened" they translate it "strengthened" and God was trying to get Pharaoh to relent, and made his heart strong enough to do so, but Pharaoh wouldn't relent.
  • Seems very contrived. How old is that Jewish interpretation I wonder?
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Seems very contrived. How old is that Jewish interpretation I wonder?
    Don’t know about the part about getting Pharoah to relent, but the part about “strengthened” is quite old, I think. As I understand it, there are three different Hebrew words used in the Exodus story that get translated as “hardened” in English, and I think at least one carries the meaning of “strengthened.” I had found material on that when this thread was more active a few weeks ago, but life intervened and I never got anything pulled together for a post about it. I’ll see if I can get back to it with no work today or tomorrow.

  • That's two layers of interpretation. The second an order of magnitude less valid than the first.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    One reading of the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh is that it is a spiritual battle between the true and false gods of Egypt. Pharaoh is setting himself up as a god to be worshipped and preventing the Hebrews from true worship. Nebuchadnezzar does the same thing and goes mad. Their arrogance creates their hard heartedness. Pharaoh is given ten opportunities to recognise the sovereignty of the Lord and release His people, but fails. Only Nebuchadnezzar finally repents and acknowledges that worship belongs to God (Dan 4: 34).
  • God had certainly gone soft over 800 years.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I suppose 7 years of madness is preferable to being drowned in the Red Sea. But he had had quite a number of warnings: Let my people go!
  • Yeah or having all your firstborn snuffed out.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Solomon in his old age turns away from the worship of the Lord and becomes a new pharaoh who enslaves his people. When his son refuses to lighten their burdens they rebel against his kingship. It is why Samuel warned the Israelites not to ask for a king. There is a strong connection between true worship which leads to freedom and false worship which leads to slavery.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Come to think of it, the theme appears in the NT as well. Is Caesar a pharaoh?
    Should we pay taxes to him? And the response is that you only give pharaoh what is his due. Worship is reserved to God.
  • What is worship?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    That's a nice big question. Entire courses are taught on this at theological colleges. But rather than writing an essay, I googled it for you and it says: The expression of reverence for a deity.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    To quote the famous Westminster Confession: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

    The first Creed outlined by St Paul: 'Jesus Christ is Lord' was highly subversive for its time (Phil 2: 11). The early Christians got into conflict with the mystified Roman authorities over their refusal to venerate Caesar as Lord by offering incense as we see from the stories of Polycarp and Perpetua. My favourite martyr is Ignatius of Antioch who pleaded with his fellow Christians not to interfere in his bid for martyrdom.

    So worship can have serious political ramifications if you live under a pharaoh. There are three holocaust stories in the OT in Esther, Daniel and Macabees which all relate to worship.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    In fact, 4 holocaust stories including the massacre of the male Hebrew infants by Pharaoh from which Moses escaped.
  • Was Pharaoh drowned in the Red Sea? We are told his army was, but not that he was at the head of it.
  • "O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!" --Lear
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Didn't you watch the film? He was swept away by the tsunami.

    We don't know where Moses was buried either. Perhaps the scribe was sworn to secrecy...
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited February 12
    Rublev wrote: »
    In fact, 4 holocaust stories including the massacre of the male Hebrew infants by Pharaoh from which Moses escaped.

    What about the Holocaust of humanity in the Flood? The Holocaust of the Cities of the Plain, three just collateral, the Holocaust of the Amalekites? The Holocaust of the Assyrians?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    These are related to religious persecution. Esther, Daniel and Maccabees may all have been written to answer the question: How should I live as a person of faith at a time of persecution? Those in positions of influence like Esther, Mordecai and Daniel are reminded that it may have been given 'for such a time as this' (Esther 4: 14).

    The story of Moses is the first one and it prompts the dramatic intervention of God in the Exodus, profoundly shaping the Jewish sense of faith and identity as a chosen and rescued people who commemorate their salvation in the Passover meal. They recline to eat to remind themselves that they are free and no longer slaves in Egypt.

    The heroic midwives Shiprah and Puah who defy Pharaoh's murderous plan are the first recorded conscientious objectors in history - and another example of how God fearing people should behave under ruthless dictators (Ex 1: 15-21).

    And the final plague is a parallel response to Pharaoh's action of seeking to kill the male Hebrew infants. God raises up a deliverer from among this oppressed group to be His spokesman and leader.
  • Uh huh. That's your story of the story.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited February 13
    MPaul wrote: »
    MPaul wrote: »
    It says Paul's writings are unclear. Full stop
    ‘Hard to understand’ and ‘unclear’ are not the same.
    Paul knew exactly what he was trying to convey. It only gets problematic if people don’t want him to be conveying it. EG Romans 1. A creator is deducible from the creation.

    How?

    Whoops! Dead horse!
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    There are patterns in the Bible and this text of Exodus introduces a number of important themes which still matter to us. Whom do we think is Pharaoh today might be one of them...
  • Important in what way? Why do they matter to us? Pharaoh today is what he was when he was first made up in the Jewish founding myth.
  • I think it's just a rehash of the old Calvinist vs Arminianism debate. This time it's God hardening Pharoah's heart vs the Pharoah's free will to harden his own heart, while at the same time understanding God as a God of love.

    These things are irreconcilable to us, in our limited understanding of God - but I think all three are true, it's just beyond us to see things as if we were God (which we are not.) It's when people attempt to invent a complex understanding of it all that they run into problems, even verge on heresy.

    I prefer to just stick with the things I do understand - God is a God of love, Pharoah did harden his own heart (as we would understand free will to mean) and just leave God's Sovereignty as not understood by us - it's not our business to understand God's will, except that He desires for none to perish, but that all should come to repentance.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I would agree that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and that God is sovereign (cf Is 55: 8-9). But Exodus is a story of such remarkable revelation about God that it is an encouragement to seek to gain a deeper understanding about God's purposes for the world. In the Judeo Christian tradition God is not completely Other but is knowable. And in debating the meaning of complex texts such as this we further our own comprehension about the meaning of the Bible and how it might speak to our own condition. I would not see the will of God as beyond human understanding (cf Ps 32: 9). But rather the ongoing revelation of scripture and thoughtful engagement with its significance can draw out ever deeper meanings.

    What has fascinated me about this particular text about Pharaoh is what it reveals about all pharaohs in the Bible: Solomon, Xerxes, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Herod, Caesar. How does God relate to them? And how do people of faith relate to them?

    These questions matter a great deal because those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. And that is another reason why the Bible was written.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    I would agree that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and that God is sovereign (cf Is 55: 8-9). But Exodus is a story of such remarkable revelation about God that it is an encouragement to seek to gain a deeper understanding about God's purposes for the world. In the Judeo Christian tradition God is not completely Other but is knowable. And in debating the meaning of complex texts such as this we further our own comprehension about the meaning of the Bible and how it might speak to our own condition. I would not see the will of God as beyond human understanding (cf Ps 32: 9). But rather the ongoing revelation of scripture and thoughtful engagement with its significance can draw out ever deeper meanings.

    What has fascinated me about this particular text about Pharaoh is what it reveals about all pharaohs in the Bible: Solomon, Xerxes, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Herod, Caesar. How does God relate to them? And how do people of faith relate to them?

    These questions matter a great deal because those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. And that is another reason why the Bible was written.

    I agree with all this, there is nothing wrong with debating it - but there is a problem when new doctrines are devised and imposed on people, such as Calvinism and Arminianism.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I don't remember mentioning them. So why are you quoting me?
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