Though it is sometimes taken out of context, Paul’s concept of God’s sovereignty in Romans 9:1-23 agrees with Justin’s concept of God’s sovereignty in Chapter XLIII: RESPONSIBILITY ASSERTED. For those of you who are not familiar with that particular chapter, it basically says that all men are rewarded or punished for their actions, and if predestination exists, no one is responsible for their actions and cannot be blamed or rewarded for them. Justin asserted that if you see someone who sometimes does good and sometimes evil, fate is working against itself; also if men have no control over their actions, there can be no good or evil, only opinion. He went on to say if we say those who choose evil and those who choose good both get what they deserve, how is this possible if they didn’t choose those things? And if people did what they were predestined to do, they are essentially doing what they were created to do.
The apostle Paul wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and possibly Hebrews. Those who believe in predestination and believe Paul taught predestination look to Romans 9 for proof:
Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
However, Paul would have been very familiar with the old testament and would have read this verse, Est 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Paul thought God had a plan. Romans 9 doesn’t say predestination existed. It says the exact opposite:
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
God created all things. If someone hired a hitman to kill someone else, wouldn’t they be in some way responsible? Turning someone into a hitman would be even worse. Creating someone to be a hitman is worse than turning them into a hitman. God didn’t create evil people, God created free will so those who wanted serve him would and those who didn’t wouldn’t. Paul and Justin agreed predestination doesn’t exist. Both agree that God’s plan will be carried out and you can either get on board or not.