I have thoroughly enjoyed Wright’s commentary on Romans. However, at times I cannot but help to see a conspicuous denial of the Reformed doctrine of predestination. At least, it appears that because of his Israel motif he cannot see the clear implications of Romans 9. Leithart seems to summarize at least in part my sentiments towards Wright’s comments on Romans 9.
Wright points out that the storyline Paul is reviewing in Romans 9 is not a general storyline for any old nation or race, nor the history of individuals, but specifically the story of Israel. Whatever God does with other nations, Paul is showing that God’s plan with Israel always involved a division within the family of Israel.
Wright, however, is protesting too much, attempting to avoid as he does elsewhere in his exposition the predestinarian implications of Romans 9. It is true that Paul is dealing with a specific history here, but as Wright himself has said elsewhere, that history is the history of the new humanity that Yahweh was beginning with Abraham. Just as Jesus’ story is the story of humanity as well as the story of Israel (He is Last Adam and not merely new Israel), so the history of Israel is a microcosm of God’s dealings with humanity as a whole. Specifically, just as it was always God’s purpose to make a division within the nation of Israel, so it was always God’s purpose to make a division within humanity. So, even though (if?) Paul concentrates on Israel alone here, we can draw more general inferences from about God’s dealings with humanity.