…Is God Genuine in His Offer of Love?
Since we see similarities in Provisionism and the two objections that Paul dismembers in Romans 9, we can deal with it textually rather than waste time in philosophical guesses.
The objectors raising these questions that Paul disagreed with (vv 14 and 19) were ultimately wavering in their faith in God’s goodness and his sovereignty. They misunderstood differences between justice and mercy. This is the problem with those like Flowers and Cranman above; they aren’t enjoying the Bible’s full teaching on how big God is and how gracious he is in electing some. They are failing to properly distinguish between the categories of God’s justice and his mercy.
The Provisionist question raised in this article [part 1] presumes that if God does not operate his universe the way some synergists perceive as right, then he must be unjust or insincere or unmerciful. Let’s note carefully Paul’s response to the reasonable sounding objections of vv 14 and 19.
‘14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 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 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”’ (Romans 9:14-25)
Did we catch that? Paul says firmly, “By no means!” (v14) and “who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” (v20). From this passage, the Provisionist’s objection can be addressed properly: