<span id=printer_friendly>Printer-friendly version</span>Printer-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friend

If God had chosen some to receive His grace to show forth His mercy; had He also chosen some from the world to receive His wrath, so that His supreme power might be demonstrated by punishing them?

This is an area many would not want to dwell into because it implicates God’s character pertaining to His love and righteousness. According to the Old Testament in the bible, God raised up the Pharaoh of Egypt so that through him, God’s power could be made evident and the name of the Lord God might be proclaimed to the whole world. God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and caused him to stop the Israelites from leaving Egypt on many occasions so that His power might be made known through the many signs and wonders performed in Egypt. Were it not for God who predestined the life of Pharaoh, and allowed him to hold authority to the whole of Egypt, no matter how much Pharaoh could have hated God, or how much he would have yearned to destroy the Children of God, he would be completely powerless to do so. Since all the sinful deeds done by Pharaoh was within God’s plan and arrangement, being so insignificant before God, how could he have any ability to resist the will of God, and choose not to do according to His will? If all that Pharaoh had done were arranged by God, on what authority could God judge Pharaoh and convict him of his sins?

This is an undeniable truth, God had indeed predestined the life of Pharaoh, enabling him to persecute the Jewish people, and in doing so, God’s power was made manifest through the display of the many miracles performed. However, we are not considering whether God did actually do it, but rather we want to understand the principles that God used to predestine the life of Pharaoh, and whether God did indeed dictate the decisions made by Pharaoh. If God’s predestination did include the controlling of Pharaoh’s mind that resulted in him being unable to make his own decision, God would have no grounds to judge Pharaoh. The reason is simple, for example when someone is persecuted in court, if he had been instigated by someone into committing a crime, he would be judged more leniently. If it goes to the extent of having his mind and action controlled by another into committing the crime, against his own will, in this case the judge would definitely not pronounce him guilty but vindicate him. Should the decision to prevent the Israelites from leaving be made not out of Pharaoh’s own decision, but due to God’s manipulation behind the scenes, the sin then cannot be charged to Pharaoh, nor should Pharaoh be in anyway made responsible for that sin. For we can imagine, on the Day of Judgement before the Great White Throne of God, Pharaoh would surely protest: “For my heart had been hardened and it caused me to stop the Israelites from leaving, for I had already intended for them to go free. Wasn’t it written clearly in the bible, spoken of by God Himself that my heart was hardened? Since it wasn’t done out of my own accord, why am I condemned for this sin?”

If God did indeed manipulate Pharaoh’s decision, not only would God be unable to judge Pharaoh, He would find Himself being implicated in Pharaoh’s sin. The writer once heard someone commented: “Since God is sovereign over all things, and the one who presides over what is right or wrong, what God has decided to be right must be right and what God decides to be wrong has to be wrong. Therefore, God needs not to be restrained by the laws given by Himself, whereas we being humans are required to abide by His laws. God does not need to adhere to the Law because He is above the Law. Thus, when Pharaoh stopped the Israelites from leaving, it was sin, but for God to harden the heart of Pharaoh, He has all the authority to do so.” This cannot be any further from the truth, the one who said this did not know God at all. God never had to ‘keep’ the Law, for He is the Law, the Law is God’s divine attribute, a manifestation out of His holiness and righteousness. God can never deny Himself to do something that is contrary to His nature. It is not possible for God to strike Pharaoh with ten plagues for not allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt, where on the other hand He had manipulated Pharaoh’s decision that resulted in him being unwilling to let the Israelites go free.