Now, there’s a question I’ve never have thought to ask. However, in this video (here) Pastor Mark Kielar put the question as, “Does 2 Pet 3:9 make God schizophrenic?” This verse in the NIV reads:
- The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Mr. Kielar indicates a conflict using 2 Pet3:9 as a proof text that God desires everyone to be saved because:
- The verse seems to indicate that God doesn’t want anyone to perish and for all to come to repentance.
- However, it’s clear that God doesn’t save everyone.
According to Mr. Kielar, then, there’s disconnect with the above statements that is easily rectified with Isaiah 46:10 which says:
- I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Mr. Kielar explains that in order for everyone to accept salvation, we’d all have to become universalists (the belief that all will eventually be saved) or else scripture is contradicting itself. Mr. Kielar provides an overview of the doctrine of election where God choose to save some, but not everyone. Unconditional election, then, removes the possible misinterpretation of 2 Pet 3:9.
Those who follow this blog already know that I’m thinking, “Ah, not so fast, please.” My first question – what is Isaiah 46 all about? My NIV Topical Bible titles the 46th chapter of Isaiah as “God’s of Babylon”. My $0.02 overview of the chapter is:
(1-2) Idols and idolaters are heading into captivity
(3-4) God has upheld and will rescue the Babylonians
(5-7) No one (and nothing) is equal to God.
(8-13) God’s purposes will stand. His salvation is to Zion and his splendor to Israel
The bottom line, then, is that God is sovereign. I understand, I believe, and accept that. However, I’m not seeing any disconnect or contradictions between 2 Pet 3:9 and Isaiah 46:10 if for no other reason than neither of these verses appear to say anything about election. 2 Pet 3:9 states rather succinctly that God wishes for no one to perish. If my high school English grammar is correct, that sounds like a declarative statement in which there’s not a lot of room for ambiguity. If anyone does perish, then it’s apparent that one’s eternal separation from God was not God’s desire or intent – and that ties in with God’s sovereignty per Isaiah 46:10 in which God, being sovereign, will allow that person to be eternally separated. Some may say that my interpretation doesn’t coincide with election. Well, perhaps the doctrine of election doesn’t follow from these verses.
Just out of curiosity, what would John Calvin say about Isaiah 46:10? A quick Google search led me (here):
- The people were not only slow to believe, but even obstinate; and therefore he reminds them that they had learned long ago, and not on one occasion only, how safe it is to place their confidence in God. Nor is it only his foreknowledge that is here extolled by him, but he says that he has testified by his prophets what he had decreed. Even the prophecies would have no certainty or solidity, if the same God who declares that this or that thing shall happen had not the events themselves in his power.”
Calvin’s main point – God is sovereign. I (and certainly my Calvinist friends) would have found it fascinating if Calvin had made a reference back to 2 Pet 3:9 and commented about the doctrine of unconditional election. If nothing else, Calvin doesn’t use these verses to support the doctrine of election – at least not here.
So, what am I to conclude? Mr. Kielar’s point that 2 Pet 3:9 supports or otherwise construes universalist belief doesn’t make sense to me. I see no basis for that argument. God is sovereign. But does God’s sovereignty automatically mean that he has elected only some individuals for salvation? I personally don’t think so. Perhaps I’m missing something – but I see no inconsistency in the belief that God is sovereign and will do as he pleases (Isaiah 46:10) and God wanting none to perish (2 Pet 3:9). Put together, these verses seem to provide a basis for God giving individuals free-will if for no other reason than many (most?) people reject Christianity and God appears willing to allow that to happen. Given that there’s no apparent contradiction within 2 Pet 3:9, will someone please inform Pastor Kielar that there’s no schizophrenia within God as pertaining to 2 Pet 3:9.