Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romans, Chapters 9 & 10: Go ahead and stay in bed eating ice cream today, it's clearly god's plan for you

Chapter 9

The author would cut himself off from Christ if only it would save his fellow Jews. He reminds us that not everyone in Israel is a Jew, since only the descendants of Abraham's son Isaac - the one god ordered him to sacrifice for no apparent reason - are Jews. The descendants of his other son, Ishmael, are not. And so it has gone for the past 2000 years or so. He informs us that god decided long before Jacob and Esau were born what their fates were, as he does for the rest of us. So that means god makes me a secular humanist? Weird.

So is god unjust then, for hating on a zygote and deciding it would have a bad outcome for no apparent reason? Not according to Paul, because he told Moses I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (v. 15). I don't see how that helps his case, because you can't change your fate. And again, I've never understood why that means I can't and shouldn't just goof off and eat potato chips all day, since if I did, that would clearly be what god wanted me to do. 

We're also reminded of how god used Pharaoh like a tissue. Someone points out that if god chooses your opinions, he can hardly fault you for them, can he? Paul's answer is to tell us to shut up and stop questioning god. According to him, bad people exist to show good people look even better. 

God didn't like Gentiles so much before, but now he's cool with them. Still, only a few of them will be saved, because the end is nigh, folks. 

Chapter 10

More on how Paul wishes the Israelites would just open their eyes and see the truth, just like every prophet who has ever come to Jerusalem. Since this new religion is significantly easier to follow than the old one, otherwise it won't attract many converts, a lot of the laws have to be dispatched, which Paul does with frightening alacrity, informing us that we don't have to fulfill Mosaic law in any way, because Jesus does all of it for us. Except the gays. We can ignore that bit. 

We're not supposed to speculate about who's going to heaven, which must have left people with very little to talk about. Rather, we're supposed to say that Jesus is the lord, and then we're saved. But what about the people who don't know about Jesus? Apparently, that's why they say How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (v. 15) I wouldn't know. I mostly shut the door as soon as I realise who they are. So did the Israelis understand? Yup. They just ignored it.

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