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I am aware of Romans chapter 9 and it’s eternal implications for eternal destinies, especially given the Reformed interpretation of it.

I am also aware of the doctrines of “Original Sin” & “God’s Sovereignty” by which He makes all people:

But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8***

We also read:

“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

My question is: According to the reformed tradition, why does God even bother to continue to give people breath & life (1 Tim 6:13) to those who are already sinners in Adam? (Ephesians 2:3, Rom 5:19)

My mind thinks of Acts 17:22-31, yet this seems confusing to me even as a Reformed person myself.

Put it another way, a reformed confession states in relation to the Fall:

“Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.”

What are we to make of God’s design of such a permission? What is God’s end goal in Creation/Providence/The Fall, etc?

NOTE: Please only answer if you are also Reformed, it would help answer my question better. Or if you are knowledgeable enough in the Reformed tradition.

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    Do you mean in any one, particular generation ? Or do you refer to humanity (in Adam) as such ? If my unbelieving great-great grandparent (I am speaking theoretically) had been deprived of life as a child, I would never have been born. Your question has far-reaching implications regarding God's eternal purpose and the determination (in the counsels of God before the foundation of the world) to create, despite the wisdom and foreknowledge of God knowing what creatures (sentient creatures) would do and what would be required to redeem. I think more detail is needed to fully grasp your concept.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 9, 2022 at 9:49
  • @NigelJ My mind is trying to wrap itself around God’s eternal purpose as revealed in Scripture, we also read of Adam: “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 - My mind is trying to wrap my head around God being the potter by which He continues to make people “In Adam”. Some Christians erroneously assert that we are “born neutral”, so in the grand scheme of God’s purpose (creation/redemption/fall) my mind is struggling to understand the end, Ex: “The glory of God”.
    – Cork88
    Mar 9, 2022 at 16:46
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    If you just read a few verses further on, a reason is given: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" vs. 21 It enables God's grace to abound and to to reign. And, key to grasping this is understanding how God's righteousness was demonstrated at Calvary.
    – Anne
    Mar 9, 2022 at 17:18
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    God designs the restoration of a fallen people! The fact that he takes what to us seems like far too long time to achieve all that is required to restore the fallen creation simply reflects our inability to comprehend the extent of the fall. Now, comments are not for discussions but to suggest improvements to questions, so I suggest you add comments inside the question box such as you have made here. Then readers will grasp what particular problems you have with the Reformed stance.
    – Anne
    Mar 9, 2022 at 17:46
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    Ultimately this question is: "Since God foresaw Adam's fall (and we know he did because the Lamb was first slain, in His economy) and it's effect upon all humanity, why did He create at all?" Mar 13, 2022 at 12:48

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The issue lies in God knowing before he created anything that sin would corrupt the whole of his material creation. The Westminster Confession, a Reformed source, says this:

"III - Of God's Eternal Decree.

  1. God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
  1. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions."

Why then, when creation has been corrupted by sin, does God allow sinful humans to exist, especially when God knew from before the creation that sin would enter into the world and death through sin? Here are two answers from the Bible:

Romans 9:22-24: What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

2 Peter 3:9 KJV: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What is God’s end goal in Creation/Providence/The Fall? It is to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy because He wants sinners to repent. This is all part of His divine plan of Salvation, which plan was established before the creation. God knew sin would enter into the world, and death through sin. The resurrection of Christ Jesus defeated the accuser and opened up the way for humanity to be saved from their sinful condition. Instead of wiping out humanity God, in his infinite grace and mercy, makes known his power and silences those who rebel against Him. This is God’s perfect and good will and who are we to question Him?

By allowing sin to enter into the world and permitting sinners to live, God ultimately demonstrates His Sovereignty over creation, His Holiness, His Justice and His Mercy thereby bringing Him the glory, praise and honour that is His due.

P.S. I am a great fan of “The Pilgrims Progress from this world to that which is to come, delivered under the similitude of a dream”. John Bunyan refused to submit to the 1662 Act of Conformity when King Charles the second forced 2,000 Puritan pastors out of the Church of England. The book was inspired by the escape of Lot from Sodom, which is called the City of Destruction. Charles Spurgeon, a Reformed Baptist preacher, made several references to Bunyan’s characters in many of his sermons, some 200 years later.

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  • Well informed +1. Some Calvinists would contend that 2 Peter 3:9 has the obvious to "us-ward" meaning to those whom he is writing, namely Christians, I am sure you have heard that one before? Just food for thought. Also, I just finished listening to Pilgrims Progress on audio recently, I agree it's great content, very helpful.
    – Cork88
    Apr 4, 2022 at 16:15
  • Well balanced and relevant answer. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 4, 2022 at 17:25
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    Good point regarding the KJV use of the word 'us-ward'. The NIV says 'you' and, as you point out, Peter was writing to the early Christians. However, those early Christians were commissioned to spread the good news of the kingdom to the inhabited earth. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:14-17) Christians must reach out to the unsaved.
    – Lesley
    Apr 5, 2022 at 9:10

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