The case of Jacob and Esau is even more bizarre if intended to support Calvinism. For not only is soteriology absent from the context, the sovereignity of God here - as I've already explained previously - wasn't even meant to apply to PERSONAL scenarios.
Let's look at Paul's own quotation, "The older will serve the younger" from Gen 25:23. Even putting aside the obvious corporate focus of the passage (already elaborated in the previous mail), a few other salient facts also emerge.
One is that Esau NEVER DID SERVE Jacob! Check out Gen 32-33 and you will see quite the opposite: Jacob was AFRAID of Esau, desperately sought favor from him and even called Esau 'Lord' and himself(!) the servant (33:14). Thus if used in personalistic application the entire passage makes no sense. (See a response to this).
And, as with Ishmael, nowhere does Scripture teach the personal reprobation of Esau. So, really, there is no need for us to worry as to why Esau was unconditionally denied salvation from all eternity. He wasn't. It's just that God chose to specially bless J with the prosterity of the Chosen Race instead of E, who instead became the father of the Edomites. Again look (in Gen 36:6-7) how greatly Esau was blessed, even to the point where his possessions outgrew his family! Absolutely nothing suggests that God decreed for him anything apart from divine love and care.
(Another thing Calvinists may like to think about is what kind of loving God would tell a mother - Rebekah - in advance that one of her kids has been eternally condemned...)
But what about the 'Jacob I loved; Esau I hated' quote? Doesn't this at least hint at Double Predestination?
Harrison '76 (Expositors' Commentary):
"Hatred in the ordinary sense will not fit the situation, since God bestowed many blessings on Esau and his descendants. The 'hatred' is simply a way of saying that Esau was not the object of God's electing purposes (cf. the use of 'hate' in Lk 14:26, where discipleship is stated to involve 'hatred' for one's own family and one's own life)." (emphasis mine)What all this means is that the word 'hate' when used in such contexts must be understood in a comparative or contrasting sense vis-a-vis the object of God's love. To say that God 'hated' Esau is really to affirm His special LOVE for Jacob, not His disregard or displeasure towards the former. Just like Christ's words for us to 'hate' our families must not be construed as a command to treat them like demons and sin, but rather as a reminder that even love for our kindred when COMPARED with our love for God will SEEM like 'hatred', especially if the former comes between us and our Lord.
To 'hate' here is simply to 'love LESS'. DP is nowhere in sight.
Another blow for the Calvinistic interpretation is that when we accept the clear corporate focus of this passage we naturally must forego the thought that 'irresistable' election to salvation is the issue in vs.10-13. For it is clear that the whole race of Israel was divinely elected and 'served' by Edom YET some Israelites failed to believe - not ALL Israel were finally regarded as 'Abraham's offspring'. Every Israelite was part of the Chosen People, but they still had the capacity to rebel against God and a good number of them did.
Rom 11:13b-14, "I(Paul) make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them"(It's clear that Paul believes that he can 'overturn' some of the Hebrews' hearts - contra 'efficacious' predestination)
Rom 11:23, "And if (Israel) do not persist in unbelief, they will be grated in, for God is able to graft them in again."(God's 'reinstating' Israel depends upon their trust in Him - contra 'unconditional' predestination)
Conclusion: Even ASSUMING that eternal salvation was the main issue here, there is nothing 'irresistable' about divine election at all!
Yet I hope it's clear that salvific issues are really not top of the charts here. The election Paul was referring to was that of being the Chosen Race blessed with the privileges of vs.4-5. This naturally INCLUDES eternal salvation, but we must not then conclude that anyone NOT having the 'special' calling of God is thereby EXCLUDED from the offer of eternal life (e.g. Ishmael, Esau, etc.).
Next on the 'not-all-that-Reformed' (smile) series: The
Hardening of Pharoah's Heart and why this does NOT mean divine determinism