Hardheartedness Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Hardheartedness in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Exodus%207%3A13">Exodus 7:13</a>, Pharaoh would not listen</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Exodus%208%3A15">Exodus 8:15</a>, Pharaoh hardened his heart</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Exodus%209%3A12">Exodus 9:12</a>, the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/1%20Samuel%206%3A6">1 Samuel 6:6</a>, why should you harden your hearts?</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Proverbs%2028%3A14">Proverbs 28:14</a>, one who is hardhearted will fall into calamity</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Ezekiel%203%3A7">Ezekiel 3:7</a>, not willing to listen</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Ezekiel%2011%3A19-20">Ezekiel 11:19-20</a>, God removes our hearts of stone</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Zechariah%207%3A12">Zechariah 7:12</a>, adamant hearts</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Matthew%2019%3A7-8">Matthew 19:7-8</a>, the law as a response to hardheartedness</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Mark%203%3A4-5">Mark 3:4-5</a>, Jesus grieved at the hardness of their hearts</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Romans%202%3A5">Romans 2:5</a>, storing up wrath</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Romans%209%3A18">Romans 9:18</a>, mercy and hardheartedness</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Ephesians%204%3A18-19">Ephesians 4:18-19</a>, darkened in understanding because of their ignorance and hardness of heart</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Hebrews%203%3A12-13">Hebrews 3:12-13</a>, deceitfulness of sin hardens the heart</span></li></ul><p><strong><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="heading-lg">Reflections on Hardheartedness</span></span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Pharaoh&#39;s hard heart</span></strong></span></span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The texts in Exodus about Pharaoh&#39;s hard heart, particularly 9:12 and its repetitions, have long troubled sensitive believers. Could it be that a just and merciful God hardens Pharaoh&#39;s heart and then blames and damns Pharaoh for his hard heart? No. If believers thought that God proceeds in this way they would no longer have any idea of what they mean when they say God is just. Fortunately, as Brevard Childs shows in his commentary on Exodus, the hard heart texts in Exodus are open to a wholly different reading. <span class="body-copy-sm">(Brevard S. Childs, {{T<em>he Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary</em>}} [WJK, 1974])</span> Sometimes the narrative does say that God hardened Pharaoh&#39;s heart, but sometimes it says Pharaoh hardened his heart, and sometimes it says simply that Pharaoh&#39;s heart hardened, without giving any indication who was doing the hardening. The narrative is casual about the cause of the hardening because its real point lies elsewhere, as Childs observes. Its point is that Pharaoh&#39;s hardness prevented him from gaining the knowledge of God revealed by the plagues and that Pharaoh&#39;s hardness resulted in the multiplication of the plagues. To read the narrative as if its topic is predestination and free will is to over-interpret it.</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"> </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">God&#39;s supreme goodness and justice</span></strong></span></p><p><span class="body-copy">It&#39;s in this spirit that Romans 9:18 is to be read. To repeat: If believers were forced to accept that God hardens people&#39;s hearts and then blames and damns them for their hardness, most believers would give up their religion because they felt forced to attribute demonic behavior to their beloved God and Savior. God&#39;s supreme goodness and justice are anchor attributes of God. No text may be read in such a way as to contradict these attributes.</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"> </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">God &quot;gives people over&quot;</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">More plausibly, we may interpret Romans 9:18 in the light of Romans 1:24, 26, and 28, which speak of God &quot;giving people over&quot; to their evil. If God gives them over to their evil, one result is going to be their hardness of heart, which then becomes their judgment.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">God&#39;s rejection of Israel</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">N. T. Wright believes that Romans 9-11 are not really about individual election or salvation, but about God&#39;s rejection of Israel for a time so that the gospel could go to the Gentiles.</span> <span class="body-copy-sm">(See http://beyondcalvinism.blogspot.com/2015/04/nt-wright-on-predestination-election.html)</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">God&#39;s &quot;No&quot; to Israel becomes God&#39;s &quot;Yes&quot; to the Gentiles and eventually God&#39;s &quot;Yes&quot; to Israel as well. &quot;Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy&quot; (Rom. 11:30-31).</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Urgency</span></strong></span></p><p><span class="body-copy" style="">Scripture is urgent about the deadliness of a hard heart. Hardness keeps a person from listening to God. &quot;They would not listen&quot; is the tragic harbinger of approaching disaster. A hard heart is willful, obtuse, and stubbornly resistant to the call of God, the cry of the prophets, the teaching of the Savior. Not listening is the tripwire that leads to disobedience and all its woes. A &quot;hard heart&quot; stands for stubborn pride, which is pro-self and anti-God and therefore an overflowing fountain of evil.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Hard Heart verses&nbsp;Healthy Heart</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">A hard heart cannot be moved to all the good emotions that flourish in a healthy believer&#39;s life. A healthy believer will be moved to remorse over her sins, to joy over her salvation, to gratitude to God for God&#39;s goodness, to love of God and of neighbor. She will be moved to compassion at the distress of others, feeling a mirroring distress in her own heart. She will be moved to enthusiasm for God&#39;s program of reclamation and justice in the world and for her own calling within the program.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Sin and Hardheartedness</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">Accordingly, because hardness of heart blocks the lively exercise of what he called &quot;religious affections,&quot; Jonathan Edwards concluded that &quot;sin does very much consist in hardness of heart&quot; and virtue in tenderness of heart.</span> <span class="body-copy-sm">(Jonathan Edwards, {{<em>Religious Affections</em>}}, ed. John E. Smith, Vol. 2 of {{<em>The Works of Jonathan Edwards</em>}}, ed. Perry Miller [Yale University, 1959], 117-18)</span></span></p>