Homework Question on Ethical philosophies
- Pharaoh’s hard heart Exodus, chapters 8 to 10 contain a challenging account of the leader of Egypt’s refusal to free the Israelites. Although it may be argued that some of the time, the original language (Hebrew) texts seem to suggest that the “hardening” is Pharaoh’s choice, there are at least two times when it is quite clear that God is the one doing the hardening.
- As you puzzle over this seeming contradiction in who is responsible for the choice to keep Israel captive, note that even in Abraham’s time(over 400 years before Moses), God declared that the people would be enslaved for 400 years in Egypt and then be freed. Also keep in mind that a basic tenet of the Christian faith is that “God never leads anyone to sin.”
- In your essay, first tell me if (and “how”) any ethical philosophy (or theology) we’ve studied so far would approve of God’s behavior in this story.
- Secondly, explain if the issue of the text is in the realm of ethics. If “yes,” why? If “no,” why not?
Homework Answer on Ethical philosophies
The challenging account of God’s effort to free Israelites from Egypt against the Pharaoh’s desire in Exodus 8-10 raises questions about the character of God, especially concerning the justice of his decisions and actions. Ethical philosophies such as utilitarianism, consequentialism, and deontology cannot explain or approve God’s actions in the case of Pharaoh’s hardened heart. This is because God’s objectives, nature, judgment methods, and criteria are unlike those of human beings, and earthly wisdom and knowledge are ineffective in understanding God’s ways.
Romans 9: 14-18 explains God’s sovereignty, freedom, and justice in the context of this account of Pharaoh’s hardened heart. Verses 15 and 16 point out that God, as a sovereign creator, decides whom to have mercy on and whom not to, and that only God’s mercy, rather than man’s effort or choice, is the determinant of this decision. In their lives, people have freedom to believe or not to believe in God and obey His Word.
God alone has the freedom to decide whether the unbelief in a person turns to rebellion or loosens towards acceptance of His authority. Verses 15 and 16 contend that God hardens whomever he chooses to,and in this case, he chose to harden Pharaoh’s heart.The explanation by Paul in Romans 9 means that God alone determines whom among the people who are unbelievers and disobedient to His Word shall rebel in their sin or stubbornness of unbelief, and in this way suffer condemnation deservingly.