Disclaimer: This blog is me thinking about my Christian struggles in public. If you’re in a place where a little negativity might shake your faith, please, don’t read any further. Love and Light.
“When they hadn’t been born yet, when they hadn’t done anything good or bad, it was shown that God’s purpose would continue because it was based on his choice. It wasn’t because of what was done but because of God’s call… As it is written, ‘I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau’…. So then, it doesn’t depend on a person’s desire of effort. It depends entirely on God…” Romans 9: 11-16 CEB
Compared to other Bible stories, Esau’s story is nothing spectacular. He was born hairy. He sold his birthright for porridge. He missed his blessing. He reunited with his brother. Blah blah blah. Only two things stand out for me. One, he remade himself even after he was relegated to serving his brother and two, God hated him from birth. I want to talk about this hatred.
I think it is easy to dismiss Esau and focus on Jacob because we are blinded by our ‘privilege’, the privilege of being the ones God love. Some people are quick to say “God loves and wants everybody” but I don’t think so. I think to say this is to live in denial. It is to try to make God meet our human standard of fairness; to make him look nice and chill and all.
I believe that God is good but I don’t think he is nice like nice. He hated and rejected Esau from birth, he didn’t even give him a chance to mess up. He simply predestined him to mess up. Everything he was was a simple manifestation of what he had been born to be. Nothing was a surprise. And throughout scripture, we see how he elects some and rejects others. We see how exclusive salvation can be. This stuff is called Calvinism.
Calvinism: the theological system of Calvin and his followers marked by strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of humankind, and the doctrine of predestination.
I am not a Calvinist and it is not because I think it is hogwash, it is because I don’t like the idea of it. I don’t want it to be true. If salvation is eternal and exclusive, then the ‘Esaus’ should not burn for eternity because they never stood a chance in the first place.
And yes, scripture to avoid needless arguments:
“None can come to me unless the Father enables them to do so.” – John 6:65
“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” – Galatians 1:15
“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” – Ephesians 1:4-5
“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” – II Thessalonians 2:13
“…for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” – I Peter 2:8
“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4
More over whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” – Romans 8:28-30
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” – II Peter 1:10
My friend, Eliza, will say none of us are worthy anyway. But, that’s exactly the point! None of us are worthy. So, why choose a few unworthy persons? Why not everybody?
My friend, Chima, amplified Eliza’s point. He asked me a question that went like this: If you were in prison with other people and you all were sentenced to death and some man came around and decided to save you from death, would you just be grateful or would you ask him why he didn’t save the others too?
It took me a while to answer his question. For a long time, I thought about it. I still think about it. I feel my answer was insufficient and bland. But this was what I told him: If we all committed heinous crimes and only I was given a second chance, I would just be grateful but if our only crime was being born sinful courtesy of a fruit eaten without our permissions, then… You get the gist.
Lastly, if Calvin’s theory is right, when I decide to preach, how can I tell that the person I’m preaching to is not doomed to be unsaved?