Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Election and adoption



  1. I wonder if some Arminians argue in the following fashion. According to scholars (e.g. J.I. Packer in his book Knowing God), Roman adoptions were done by the parent (usually a father) not primarily for the good of the adoptee [as in modern cases], but for the good of the adopter. They would often adopt adults who already had a reputation of honor and good managing skills in the hopes that the adoptees would bringer greater honor to the family name and handle the estate well after their decease. Given that background, an Arminian could conceivablely argue that this makes better sense if election were conditional, rather than unconditional. Hence the phrase "...to the praise of his glorious grace."

    I guess one way to argue for unconditional election being the better interpretation of the passage is the emphasis on love. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the Didache (and the writings of other early apostolic fathers) viewed adoption as being for the sake of the adoptees. Also in light of the OT teaching of God being a father to the fatherless and orphans who are described as helpless (cf. Ps. 68:5-6; Deut. 10:18; Hos. 14:3; Ps. 10:14ff.; 82:3; 146:9.) Even some NT passages, e.g. James 1:27; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 8:14-17.

    1. I forgot to add that Arminians would use the above line of argument to say it fits better with an understanding of election that's based on foreseen faith and faithfulness/obedience. That's why it's conditional, rather than unconditional.

      But then they [Arminians] would have to deal with the 2nd chapter of Ephesians which would seem to preclude that interpretation since it says we were not saved on account of our good works (which were evil prior to salvation), but by grace. We're saved in order to do good works, not because we do (and presumably not because we would). [cf. Eph. 2:8-10]