Commentary on Romans 10:5-13

Notes (NET Translation)

5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is by the law: “The one who does these things will live by them.”

The focus on righteousness and faith in vv. 6ff. suggests that the word “for” connects back to v. 4b: “there is righteousness for everyone who believes”. The “for” introduces vv. 5-13 as an “elaboration of the connection between righteousness and faith and its significance. Verses 6 and following give a positive argument for this connection; v. 5 a negative one.”1

The previous contrasts between two kinds of righteousness (9:30-32; 10:2-3) lead us to believe that the “righteousness that is by the law” (v. 5) contrasts with the “righteousness that is by faith” (v. 6). Nowhere in this context is the doing of the law rooted in faith. Phil. 3:6-9 also contrasts the “righteousness that is by the law” with the “righteousness that is by faith”. Phil. 3:9 affirms that righteousness is a gift from God on the basis of faith. Since the “righteousness that is by faith” is viewed positively, the “righteousness that is by the law” must be viewed negatively.

Paul quotes Lev. 18:5 in order to summarize the essence of the law: blessing is contingent on obedience to the law (cf. Gal. 3:11-12).

The emphasis lies on the word “doing” and not on the promise of “life.” Paul states this principle here as a warning. The Jew who refuses to submit to the righteousness of God in Christ, ignoring the fact that the law has come to its culmination in Christ and seeking to establish a relationship with God through the law, must be content in seeking that relationship through “doing.” Yet human doing, imperfect as even the most sincere striving must be, is always inadequate to bring a person into relationship with God–as Paul has shown in Rom. 1:18-3:20. Throughout salvation history, faith and doing, “gospel” and “law” have run along side-by-side. Each is important in our relationship with God. But, as it is fatal to ignore one or the other, it is equally fatal to mix them or to use them for the wrong ends. The OT Israelite who sought to base his or her relationship with God on the law rather than on God’s gracious election in and through the Abrahamic promise arrangement made this mistake. Similarly, Paul suggests, many Jews in his day are making the same mistake: concentrating on the law to the exclusion of God’s gracious provision in Christ, the “climax” of the law, for their relationship with the Lord.2

6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

The “righteousness that is by faith” is the “righteousness that comes from God” (v. 3).

The introductory warning, “Do not say in your heart,” is taken from Deut. 9:4. Paul’s quotation of this clause is not haphazard; he wants his readers to associate these words with the context from which they are drawn. For in Deut. 9:4-6 Moses warns the people of Israel that when they have taken possession of the land God is bringing them to, they must not think that they have earned it because of “their own righteousness.” Paul therefore adds implicit biblical support to his criticism of the Israel of his day for its pursuit of their own righteousness (see v. 5).3

The number of verbal similarities between vv. 6-8 and Deut. 30:12-14, plus the three “that is” explanations (cf. 1QS 8.14-15; 1QpHab 12.7; 4QFlor 1.11), indicate that Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy and not merely using biblical language. The words “Who will ascend into heaven?” are taken from Deut. 30:12, where Moses says that God has made his will known to his people so that they cannot plead ignorance for failing to do the will of God. Paul’s rationale for quoting this passage is not clear.

Douglas Moo states:

The best explanation for Paul’s use of the Deut. 30 text is to think that he finds in this passage an expression of the grace of God in establishing a relationship with his people. As God brought his word near to Israel so they might know and obey him, so God now brings his word “near” to both Jews and Gentiles that they might know him through his Son Jesus Christ and respond in faith and obedience. Because Christ, rather than the law, is now the focus of God’s revelatory word (see 10:4), Paul can “replace” the commandment of Deut. 30:11-14 with Christ. Paul’s application of Deut. 30:12-14, then, is of course not a straightforward exegesis of the passage. But it is a valid application of the principle of that passage in the context of the development of salvation history. The grace of God that underlies the Mosaic covenant is operative now in the New Covenant; and, just as Israel could not plead the excuse that she did not know God’s will, so now, Paul says, neither Jew nor Gentile can plead ignorance of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.4

The “that is” phrase does not necessarily mean Paul is providing the original meaning of the text. It could mean he is providing a contemporary application of the passage.

As the Israelite did not need to “ascend into heaven” to find God’s commandment, so, Paul suggests, there is no need to ascend into heaven to “bring down Christ.” For in the incarnation, the Messiah, God’s Son, has been truly “brought down” already. God, from his side, has acted to make himself and his will for his people known; his people now have no excuse for not responding.5

No human can ascend into heaven. Mankind depends on God sending his Son to earth.

Instead of Deuteronomy’s “Who will cross the sea?” (30:13) Paul has “Who will descend into the abyss?” The abyss was associated with the realm of the dead (Ps. 71:20; Wis. 16:13). Christ’s resurrection means there is no need to descend into the abyss to bring Christ up from the dead (as if that were humanly possible).

Both Rom. 10:6 and 7 should be interpreted together as an admonition warning people what they should not do. They should not seek to bring Christ down to the earth or raise him from the dead, for these things have already been done. They were accomplished by God for the sake of his people, and thus the response called for is believing, not doing.6

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach), 9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Paul quotes Deut. 30:14 in order to show that the gospel is as accessible and as understandable as the law.

Scholars are divided as to whether “the word of faith” should be understood to refer to the content of the faith or to the act of trusting. The following verses (vv. 9-13) suggest that we have a both-and here rather than an either-or. Indeed, verses 9-13 function as an explanation of verse 8, for the ὅτι (hoti, that) introducing verse 9 should be understood as explicative rather than causal. Faith involves the doctrinal confession that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, and the formulation in verse 9 may reflect pre-Pauline confessional tradition. In any case, the confession that Jesus was appointed as Lord at his resurrection (Acts 2:36; Rom. 1:4) was a teaching held in common by the earliest Christian community (cf. 1 Cor. 15:11). Such a confession is inseparable from a heart conviction (πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου, pisteusēs en tē kardia sou, you believe in your heart), which involves personal trust.7

Paul’s use of “mouth” and “heart” in v. 9 parallel the use of the two terms in Deut. 30:14.

Paul’s rhetorical purpose at this point should make us cautious about finding great significance in the reference to confession here, as if Paul were making oral confession a second requirement for salvation. Belief in the heart is clearly the crucial requirement, as Paul makes clear even in this context (9:30; 10:4, 11). Confession is the outward manifestation of this critical inner response.8

Confession of Jesus as Lord meant that one belonged to him and submitted to him.9

The confession of Jesus as Lord is followed immediately by reference to God raising Jesus from the dead. Both are confessed together precisely because Jesus is the risen Lord. Furthermore the resurrection would clearly distinguish confession of Jesus as Lord from other such confessions in the Greco-Roman world. Jesus, unlike other so-called lords, had died and been raised from the dead and fully assumed the role of Lord only at and by means of the resurrection.10

10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.

The two clauses of v. 10 form a chiasm with v. 9. The rhetoric indicates that we should not look for a differnece in meaning between “righteousness” and “salvation” in this verse. Belief/faith, not works, is what results in righteousness/salvation.

11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Paul quotes Isa. 28:16 (adding the word pas, everyone) to provide scriptural support for his connection of faith to salvation and the universality of salvation mentioned in Rom. 10:4b. “The word καταισχυνθήσεται [shame] should not be interpreted psychologically; it refers to vindication in the final judgment. Those who put their faith in Jesus as the resurrected Lord will be vindicated by God on the day of judgment.”11

12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him.

This verse explains that the salvation is available to everyone, not just Jews (cf. 3:22-23, 29-30). Since Jesus was called “Lord” in v. 9 and is the “him” of v. 11 we should understand v. 12 to be calling Christ the “Lord of all”. The phrase “call on him” means asking him for assistance in prayer.

13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Joel 3:5 LXX is quoted.

Joel 3:1-5 (2:28-32 Eng.) conveys the promise that the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh. As was the case with the early Christian community (cf. Acts 2:16-21), Paul would certainly have identified the prophecy of Joel with the outpouring of the Spirit on those who confessed Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Moreover, the inclusiveness of the Gentiles in God’s saving purposes is evident not only in the πᾶς of Joel 3: 5 but also in the assertion that the Spirit would be poured out “on all flesh” (ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα, epi pasan sarka), which Paul would have identified with the entrance of Gentiles into the church. Since the same Lord is the Lord of all and since the OT itself anticipated that Gentiles who call on his name would be saved, the inclusion of Gentiles into the church is not a sign of Pauline apostasy but rather an evidence that the last days have dawned in which God is fulfilling his saving plan. The gift of the Spirit reveals that the era of the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises has begun, and it was always God’s intention that all peoples (cf. Gen. 12:3) participate in these saving blessings.12

In the OT, of course, the one on whom people called for salvation was Yahweh; Paul reflects the high view of Christ common among the early church by identifying this one with Jesus Christ, the Lord.13

Bibliography

Kruse, Colin G. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Metzger, Bruce M., ed. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Second Edition. Hendrickson Pub, 2005.

Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 1998.

Witherington III, Ben, and Darlene Hyatt. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.


  1. Moo 1996, 647 
  2. Moo 1996, 649-650 
  3. Moo 1996, 650-651 
  4. Moo 1996, 653 
  5. Moo 1996, 655 
  6. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10929-10931 
  7. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10934-10943 
  8. Moo 1996, 657 
  9. Kruse 2012, 410 
  10. Witherington III 2004, 263 
  11. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10967-10968 
  12. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10989-10997 
  13. Moo 1996, 660 

Science. It Works. #4

Opinion: Buried in bullshit
Tom Farsides and Paul Sparks smell trouble.

There is a worrying amount of outright fraud in psychology, even if it may be no more common than in other disciplines. Consider the roll call of those who have in recent years had high-status peer-reviewed papers retracted because of confirmed or suspected fraud: Marc Hauser, Jens Förster, Dirk Smeesters, Karen Ruggiero, Lawrence Sanna, Michael LaCour and, a long way in front with 58 retractions, Diederik Stapel. It seems reasonable to expect that there will be further revelations and retractions.

That’s a depressing list, but out-and-out lies in psychology may be the least of our worries. Could most of what we hold to be true in psychology be wrong (Ioannidis, 2005)? We now turn to several pieces of evidence to demonstrate compellingly that contemporary psychology is liberally sprayed with bullshit (along with some suggestions of a clean-up).

Lies, damned lies and statistics
Almost all published studies report statistically significant effects even though very many of them have sample sizes that are too small to reliably detect the effects they report (Bakker et al., 2012; Cohen, 1962). Similarly, multi-study papers often report literally unfeasible frequencies of statistically significant effects (Schimmack, 2012).

In addition, many of the analyses and procedures psychologists use do not justify the conclusions drawn from them. . . .

So-called ‘p hacking’ also remains rife in psychology. . . .

Many researchers and reviewers simply do not have the methodological or statistical expertise necessary to effectively engage in science the way it is currently practised in mainstream psychology (Colquhoun, 2014; Lindsay, 2015). Scientists and reviewers also increasingly admit that they simply cannot keep up with the sheer volume and complexity of things in which they are allegedly supposed to have expertise (Siebert et al., 2015). . . .
Few successful attempts have been made to rigorously replicate findings in psychology. Recent attempts to do so have suggested that even studies almost identical to original ones rarely produce reassuring confirmation of their reported results (e.g. Open Science Collaboration: see www.https://osf.io/vmrgu).

The task of replication is made tougher because researchers control what information reviewers get exposed to, and journal editors then shape what information readers have access to. If readers want further information, they usually have to request it from the researchers and they, their institution or the publishing journal may place limits on what is shared. One consequence of this is that other researchers are considerably hampered in their ability to attempt replication or extension of the original findings. . . .

Traditionally, researchers are much less likely to submit manuscripts reporting experiments that did not find an effect, and journals are far less likely to accept them if they do (Cohen, 1962; Peplow, 2014). Most prestigious journals also have a strong preference for novel and dramatic findings over the replications and incremental discoveries that are typical in an established science. If researchers want to be published in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals, therefore, they are highly incentivised to present highly selective and therefore misleading accounts of their research (Giner-Sorolla, 2012).The current mechanisms of science production, then, place individual researchers in a social dilemma (Carter, 2015). Whatever others do and whatever the collective consequences, it is in the individual researcher’s best economic interest to downgrade the importance of truth in order to maximise publications, grants, promotion, media exposure, indicators of impact, and all the other glittering prizes valued in contemporary scientific and academic communities (Engel, 2015). This is especially the case when organisations and processes that might otherwise ameliorate such pressures instead exacerbate them because they too allow concerns for truth to be downgraded or swamped by other ambitions (e.g. journal sales, student recruitment, political influence, etc.) (Garfield, 1986). . . .

As it happens, we do think that our discipline has a lot to offer. But we also think that norms of assessing and representing it need to change considerably if we are to minimise our at least complicit contribution to the collective production and concealment of yet more bullshit. Here are some provisional and tentative recommendations.

1. Don’t give up. . . .

2. Prioritise scholarship. Psychologists and their institutions should do everything within their power to champion truth and to confront all barriers to it. If we have to choose between maintaining our professional integrity and obtaining further personal or institutional benefits, may we have the will (and support) to pursue the former.

3. Be honest. Championing truth requires honesty about ignorance, inadequacies, and mistakes (Salmon, 2003). . . .

4. Use all available evidence as effectively as possible. Important as they are, experiments are neither necessary nor sufficient for empiricism, scholarship or ‘science’ (see Robinson, 2000). To study important phenomena well, we need first to identify what they are and what central characteristics they have (Rozin, 2001). To study things thoroughly, we need to identify processes and outcomes other than those derived from our pet ‘theories’. Evaluating the research literature may well require skills different from those that have been dominant during much of its production (Koch, 1981). In particular, we have found particularly effective accurately describing others’ procedures and outcomes in ordinary language and then examining how well these justify the usually jargonistic ‘theoretical’ claims supposedly supported by them (cf. Billig, 2013).

5. Nurture nuance. Experiments within psychology are usually (at best) little more than demonstrations that something can occur. This is usually in service of rejecting a null hypothesis but it is almost as often misreported as suggesting (or showing or, worst of all, ‘proving’) something much more substantial – that something does or must occur. Perhaps the single most important thing psychology can do to quickly and substantially improve itself is to be much more careful about specifying and determining the boundary conditions for whatever phenomena it claims to identify (Ferguson, this issue; Lakens, 2014; Schaller, 2015).

6. Triage. Given that at least some areas of psychology seem awash with bullshit, we would be wise to prioritise evaluating topics of centrality and importance rather than on the basis that some reported findings are, for example, recent or amenable to testing using online experiments (Bevan, 1991). . . .

Alister McGrath on the incoherence of atheists blaming God or religion for evil

McGrath, A. (2011). Why God Won’t Go Away: Engaging with the New Atheism (pp. 62–64). London: SPCK.

New Atheist bloggers frequently speculate on the moral turpitude and degeneracy of this invented deity. Some even go so far as to declare that God was the hidden force that locked the doors of the Auschwitz gas chambers and poured in the cyanide. But let’s think about this for a moment. As a made-up concept, God could not possibly tell people to close the doors of the gas chambers and pour in the gas. Nor, for that matter, could God tell people to kill vast numbers of innocent people in an act of terrorism such as 9/11. Within its own intellectual framework, God is simply not an intellectual option for the New Atheism. God is a delusion. People are deluded in believing in God. If the New Atheism is right, there is no God to tell people to do anything.

Yet the doors of the gas chambers were still closed, and the gas was still poured in. And 9/11 happened. If there’s no God, these things simply cannot be God’s fault. They were acts committed by human beings. The New Atheism may protest that they were committed by deluded human beings. But there’s no escaping the dreadful and inconvenient truth: if there’s no God, then there’s no one to dump the blame on for human evil. The fault is ours alone.

The New Atheism, in scapegoating God for the rational and moral failings of human beings, is hoping that nobody will notice the blatant incoherence in its own world-view. Everything that’s wrong with the world, it assures us, can be blamed on God. But if God is an invention, a fictional character, then the blame has to be laid firmly and squarely at the door of God’s human creators. It wasn’t God who initiated or executed the Holocaust. It was human beings in the twentieth century, supposedly at the zenith of their rationality and morality. And the New Atheism needs to get used to this, and start making some adjustments.

Classical atheist critiques of religion argue that gods look just like their creators. Human beings create God in their own likeness, attributing their own moral and rational qualities to these allegedly supernatural beings. Hitchens himself endorses this view and provides a snappy little summary of it: ‘God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was the other way about.’ Or alternatively: ‘The mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made.’ Yet if the New Atheism is right about the moral delinquency of God or religion, Hitchens’ conclusion doesn’t exactly portray humanity in a very good light. Maybe it’s not that religion corrupts humanity, but that a corrupt humanity creates a lookalike religion.

So let’s rewrite Dawkins’ piece about the God of the Old Testament, retaining its style, while making the crucial point above, which raises very difficult questions for the New Atheist way of looking at things:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction, created by equally unpleasant human beings who were jealous and proud of it; who were petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freaks; who were vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleansers; who were misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bullies; and who created their gods in their own image.

The New Atheism is in an intellectually and morally uncomfortable place. The more it excoriates religion as irrational and immoral, the more it highlights the irrationality and immorality of its creators. It’s caught in a dilemma framed and created by two of its core beliefs (neither of which, of course, can be proved):

1. God is evil and nasty.
2. God is a delusion created by human beings.

As I read Hitchens and Dawkins, I sometimes find myself wondering if they would actually prefer God to exist. Their ferocious anger and their litany of complaints would then be directed against a real being, who could be hauled before his accusers and held to account. If the ferocity of some New Atheist writers and bloggers is anything to go by, God would probably get lynched. (Come to think of it, didn’t that happen once?) God can be scapegoated for everything that’s wrong with society, and that allows some people to feel better about themselves. But if there’s no God, the spotlight of blame shifts relentlessly on to us.

The real problem for secular rationalists is that having made human beings the ‘measure of all things’ (Alexander Pope), they find themselves embarrassed by the range of convictions human beings have chosen to hold—most notably, the widespread belief in God. If belief in God is a human invention, and if the crimes committed in the name of religion are thus of human origin, humanity appears to be rather less rational and moral than the New Atheist world-view allows.

Alister McGrath rebuts Christopher Hitchens regarding the smallpox vaccine

McGrath, A. (2011). Why God Won’t Go Away: Engaging with the New Atheism (pp. 20–21). London: SPCK.

Let us look at one of the anecdotes Hitchens weaves into his account of the irrational and immoral idiocy of religious thinkers. The Christian writer Timothy Dwight (1752–1811), who was president of Yale College, Connecticut (later to become Yale University), opposed smallpox vaccination. For Hitchens this is typical of religious people. They’re backward-looking fools, and Dwight’s ridiculous position just shows how religious obscurantism stood in the way of scientific advance then, as it continues to now. Religion poisons all attempts at human progress. The specific example confirms the general principle.

Well, Dwight did indeed oppose smallpox vaccination. But Hitchens forgets to mention (if he knew at all) that an earlier president of Princeton, Jonathan Edwards—now widely regarded as America’s greatest religious thinker—had died a few decades earlier in 1758 after receiving the vaccine. As a strong supporter of scientific advance, Edwards was committed to this new medical procedure and wanted to demonstrate to his students that it was safe. Might not his advocation of smallpox vaccination have got a mention in Hitchens’ narrative? After all, it unfortunately cost Edwards his life. Yet any such admission would force Hitchens to make some rhetorically damaging qualifications in his analysis—such as ‘only some’ religious thinkers oppose scientific advance. His superimposition of a New Atheist template on history leads to the filtering out of highly important evidential inconveniences and inconsistencies. Does his intended readership expect—or even depend on—such highly prejudiced history to sustain their polemic against religion?

To explore just how persuasive this method can be, let us amuse ourselves for a moment by imitating Hitchens’ disregard for historical accuracy and presenting a piece of historical analysis that’s a perfect, if theistically inverted, image of Hitchens’ approach in God Is Not Great.

The great atheist writer George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) opposed smallpox vaccination in the 1930s, ridiculing it as a ‘delusion’. He dismissed leading scientists whose work was cited in support of it—such as Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister—as charlatans who knew nothing about the scientific method. If I were to use Hitchens’ cherry-picking approach to history, I could argue that this outrageous anti-scientific attitude on the part of this leading atheist just shows that atheism is dogmatic and hidebound, unwilling to take scientific advance seriously. All right-thinking people will thus reject atheism as outmoded and reactionary. Except that it isn’t that simple—is it? Nobody of any intelligence or integrity could be satisfied with such a manipulative and flagrantly biased attitude to history—could they?

Commentary on Romans 9:30-10:4

Notes (NET Translation)

9:30 What shall we say then? — that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith, 9:31 but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it.

The question “What then shall we say?” need not suggest that Paul is responding to the objection of an opponent. Rather, Paul uses it as a rhetorical device to introduce an implication of his teaching in 9:6b-29 (and esp. vv. 24-29): “Therefore, in light of God’s calling of Gentiles and of only some Jews, what do we find now to be the case?”1

The Greek literally says “Gentiles” where the NET says “the Gentiles”. Some, but not all, Gentiles obtained righteousness by faith. Before the time of Christ, some Gentiles surely pursued moral rectitude but they did not seek the righteousness that involves being in right standing with the one true God.

Israel was pursuing the law for righteousness, that is, a right relationship with God. The Greek states that Israel did not attain the law. Because “Israel did not succeed in carrying out what the law prescribed, she did not obtain what she pursued — a righteousness based on observance of the law.”2

9:32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 9:33 just as it is written, “Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble and a rock that will make them fall, yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

The fault of Israel is that she attempted to gain righteousness by works instead of by faith in Christ.

To say that the Jews (and Paul himself prior to his conversion to Christ; cf. Phil 3:8-9) made the mistake of pursuing the law for righteousness is not to say that first-century Judaism in its entirety was in principle a religion in which acceptance before God depended upon amassing merit by keeping the law. Rather, even if it is acknowledged that first-century Judaism was essentially covenantal and nomistic as many do, it has to be acknowledged also that there was a tendency for the nomistic obligations of the covenant to be emphasized at the expense of God’s saving grace. A nomistic religion often degenerated, in practice, into a legalistic one. Paul believed that many of his Jewish kinsfolk, being proud of their exclusive possession of the law, fell into the trap of believing that it was their observance of the law, rather than God’s saving grace, that guaranteed their acceptance by him.3

The allusion to the stumbling stone is a conflation of Isa. 28:16 and 8:14.

By replacing the middle of Isa. 28:16 with a phrase from Isa. 8:14, he brings out the negative point about Israel’s fall that is his main point in this context. At the same time, by including the reference to Isa. 28:16, he lays the foundation for the positive exposition of Christ as a “stone” that he will develop in chap. 10 (see esp. v. 11). The quotation concluding chap. 10, therefore, provides a significant christological basis for Paul’s continuing discussion of Israel’s failure and the Gentiles’ inclusion in chap. 10. At the same time, it contributes significantly to Paul’s concern to demonstrate that Israel’s exclusion from God’s people as a result of the gospel does not constitute a departure from the OT. Quite the contrary, Paul here implies: Israel’s stumbling over Christ was predicted in the OT.4

In both Isaian passages the stone is Yahweh but here the stumbling stone is Christ crucified (cf. Matt. 21:42 // Mark 12:10-11 // Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:6-8; Barn. 6:2-4). The failure of Israel to believe in Christ is her downfall for he is the foundation for the people of God.

Has Israel’s inappropriate focus on the law led her to stumble over Christ, the stone God has placed in Zion? Or has Israel’s failure to place her faith in Christ led her to focus too exclusively on the law? At the risk of being accused of “having one’s cake and eating it too,” I answer: both. On the one hand, Paul argues that Israel has missed Christ, the culmination of the plan of God, because she has focused too narrowly on the law. Israel is like a person walking a path, whose eyes are so narrowly focused downward on the path itself that she trips over a stone in the middle of that path. On the other hand, Israel’s failure to perceive in Christ the end and goal of the path she has been walking leads her to continue on that path after it had served its purpose.5

10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation.

Paul reminds his readers that his criticism of unbelieving Jews is not because he does not care for their well-being (cf. Rom. 9:1-4).

As Murray points out, the juxtaposition of this heartfelt prayer for Israel’s salvation almost immediately after Paul’s teaching about the ultimate determinancy of the will of God in salvation (9:6b-29) carries an important reminder: “We violate the order of human thought and trespass the boundary between God’s prerogative and man’s when the truth of God’s sovereign counsel constrains despair or abandonment of concern for the eternal interests of men.”6

10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth.

Too often people mistake earnestness for truth. One can be zealous for the wrong cause, and it may well be that Paul puts it this way precisely because he was exhibit A of such zeal when he was wrongly persecuting the followers of Jesus as a Pharisee. He believes that non-Christian Jews lack understanding, and in some cases they have been rebellious and rejected God’s Word to them.7

10:3 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Phil. 3:8-9 helps us interpret Rom. 10:3. The “righteousness that comes from God” is the righteousness that comes by faith. Their “own righteousness” is the righteousness that comes from observing the Law. Unbelieving Jews did not submit to God’s righteousness because they refused to accept the way God provided for human’s to be made right in his sight, that is, by submission and obedience to the gospel’s call to repent and believe in his Son.8

10:4 For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.

The correct interpretation of telos (end) is debated. It could mean either (1) goal or aim or (2) end, completion, or termination. It may also share both meanings.

Since Paul denies that the Law of Moses was ever intended to provide a way to obtain righteousness, he is probably not saying that the law is no longer a means to obtain righteousness (Rom. 4:1-8; Gal. 3:6-9). What he seems to be saying is that the era of the law’s jurisdiction has come to an end (cf. Rom. 3:21; 6:14-15; 7:1-6; 2 Cor. 3:7-14; Gal. 3:23-4:7).

Paul is suggesting either that the Jews were wrong not to submit to God’s righteousness since Christ is the end of the law, or that those who have believed in Christ have submitted to his righteousness since Christ is the end of the law. In either case, the relationship between verses 3 and 4 is sustained by interpreting verse 4 in an experiential sense. Paul does not make a global statement on the relationship between gospel and law here. Instead, his point is an experiential one. “Christ is the end of using the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” He responds to the specific error of the Jews articulated in verse 3: they used the law to establish their own righteousness. He observes that those who trust in Christ cease using the law to establish their own righteousness.9

At the same time, we may say that Christ is the goal of the Law. He is the one through which it is possible for the righteous requirement of the law to be fulfilled in believers.

Bibliography

Kruse, Colin G. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Metzger, Bruce M., ed. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Second Edition. Hendrickson Pub, 2005.

Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 1998.

Witherington III, Ben, and Darlene Hyatt. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.


  1. Moo 1996, 621 
  2. Kruse 2012, 394 
  3. Kruse 2012, 396 
  4. Moo 1996, 630 
  5. Moo 1996, 628 
  6. Moo 1996, 632 
  7. Witherington III 2004, 260 
  8. Kruse 2012, 402 
  9. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10713-10719 

Commentary on Romans 9:14-29

Notes (NET Translation)

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!

One might accuse God of injustice or unrighteousness because he decides who he will elect and who he will reject apart from anything in the human being. Paul rejects this charge against God.

15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

The quotation is from Ex. 33:19. God’s decision to choose Jacob and reject Esau was not an isolated case but reflects God’s nature.

In the Exodus context, Moses requests that the Lord show him his glory. The Lord replies by promising to cause all his “goodness” to pass in front of Moses and to proclaim to him his name, “the LORD.” Then follow the words that Paul here cites. Justifiably, Paul finds in God’s words to Moses a revelation of one of God’s basic characteristics: his freedom to bestow mercy on whomever he chooses. It is against this ultimate standard, not the penultimate standard of God’s covenant with Israel, that God’s “righteousness” must be measured. Paul’s reference to Moses reinforces the point, for it is to the mediator of the covenant himself that God reveals his freedom in mercy.1

How does this constitute an answer to the objection that God is unrighteous? God is righteous because he is committed to proclaiming his name and advertising his glory by showing his goodness, grace, and mercy to people as he freely chooses. The righteousness of God is defended, then, by appealing to his freedom and sovereignty as the Creator. His righteousness is also trumpeted by the appeal to his mercy. No human being deserves his mercy. The choice of Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau must be construed as a merciful one. In other words, the stunning thing for Paul was not that God rejected Ishmael and Esau but that he chose Isaac and Jacob, for they did not deserve to be included in his merciful and gracious purposes. Human beings are apt to criticize God for excluding anyone, but this betrays a theology that views salvation as something God “ought” to bestow on all equally. Piper rightly observes that what is fundamental for God is the revelation of his glory and the proclamation of his name, and he accomplishes this by showing mercy and by withholding it. God’s righteousness is upheld because he manifests it by revealing his glory both in saving and in judging.2

16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.

Verse 16 is the conclusion Paul draws from the quotation in verse 15. The “it” in verse 16 is God’s bestowal of mercy. “Human desire” and “exertion” sum up the totality of man’s capabilities.

17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”

The quotation is from Ex. 9:16. If verses 15-16 expand the positive side of God’s sovereignty then verses 17-18 expand the negative side of God’s sovereignty.

Paul’s wording, “I have raised you up,” differs from both the standard Greek LXX text and the Hebrew MT. Various explanations for the differences have been offered, but it seems reasonable to conclude that Paul has deliberately accentuated God’s initiative in the process. The verb “raise up” probably, then, has the connotation “appoint to a significant role in salvation history.” Of particular importance in the quotation is the purpose of God’s raising Pharaoh up: “so that I might demonstrate through you my power and so that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Indeed, this purpose clause is probably the reason that Paul has cited this particular text since its lack of explicit reference to Pharaoh’s “hardening” makes it less suitable than others as a preparation for Paul’s conclusion in v. 18. Paul wants to make clear that even God’s “negative” actions, such as the hardening of Pharaoh, serve a positive purpose (a point Paul will develop further in vv. 22-23). And this positive purpose is the greatest imaginable: the demonstration of God’s power and the wider proclamation of God’s name. In Pharaoh’s day, the plagues on the land of Egypt and the deliverance of Israel through the “Sea of Reeds,” made necessary by Pharaoh’s hardened heart, accomplished this purpose (see Josh. 2:10). In Paul’s day, he implies, the hardening that has come upon a “part of Israel” (see 11:5-7, 25) has likewise led to the name of God being “proclaimed in all the earth” through the mission to the Gentiles.3

18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.

No doctrine stimulates more negative reaction and consternation than this one. Some degree of such reaction is probably inevitable, for it flies in the face of our own common perceptions of both human freedom and God’s justice. And vv. 19-23 show that Paul was himself very familiar with this reaction. Yet, without pretending that it solves all our problems, we must recognize that God’s hardening is an act directed against human beings who are already in rebellion against God’s righteous rule. God’s hardening does not, then, cause spiritual insensitivity to the things of God; it maintains people in the state of sin that already characterizes them. This does not mean, as I have argued above, that God’s decision about whom to harden is based on a particular degree of sinfulness within certain human beings; he hardens “whomever he chooses.” But it is imperative that we maintain side-by-side the complementary truths that (1) God hardens whomever he chooses; (2) human beings, because of sin, are responsible for their ultimate condemnation. Thus, God’s bestowing of mercy and his hardening are not equivalent acts. God’s mercy is given to those who do not deserve it; his hardening affects those who have already by their sin deserved condemnation.4

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?”

Paul is using the rhetoric of diatribe so he is addressing a hypothetical dialogue partner, not a member of the Roman church.

The objection of verse 19 flows out of the previous context and can be summarized as follows. If God shows mercy and hardens whomever he wills regardless of human effort or choice, then how can he possibly assign blame to human beings for their choices and actions? God’s will determines whatever occurs, and thus he rather than human beings must be held responsible.5

20 But who indeed are you — a mere human being — to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

Paul emphasizes the creaturely status of the objector.

Paul quotes Isa. 29:16 to remind the objector of the dependent and subordinate position of the human being in respect to God. Human beings are in no more of a position to “answer back” to God than a vase is to criticize its molder for making it in a certain way. Paul is not here denying the validity of that kind of questioning of God which arises from sincere desire to understand God’s ways and an honest willingness to accept whatever answer God might give. It is the attitude of the creature presuming to judge the ways of the creator–to “answer back”–that Paul implicitly rebukes.6

The word ἀνταποκρινόμενος denotes disputation and resistance, not merely an attempt to procure an answer to a difficult question. Paul’s response to the protestor, then, is this: How can finite, frail, and weak human beings venture to dictate to God how the world should be run (cf. also Wis. 12:12)? Who do we think we are that we presume to call God to account and pass judgment on him?7

21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?

Potter and clay imagery is widespread in the OT (Isa. 29:16; 45:9-11; Jer. 18:1-6; Wis. 15:7; Sir. 33:7-13; T. Naph. 2:2, 4; 1QS 11:22; 1QH 9:21; 11:23-24; 12:29; 19:3; 20:26, 32) so it cannot be determined what, if any, passage Paul has in mind.

22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?

God is patient with the objects of wrath because he wants to more gloriously display his wrath and power against sin.

23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory — 24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

God is also patient because he wants to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy.

When the vessels of mercy perceive the fearsome wrath of God upon the disobedient and reflect on the fact that they deserve the same, then they appreciate in a deeper way the riches of God’s glory (τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ) and the grace lavished upon them. The mercy of God is set forth in clarity against the backdrop of his wrath. Thereby God displays the full range of his attributes: both his powerful wrath and the sunshine of his mercy. The mercy of God would not be impressed on the consciousness of human beings apart from the exercise of God’s wrath, just as one delights more richly in the warmth, beauty, and tenderness of spring after one has experienced the cold blast of winter. As we have observed before in Romans, God’s ultimate purpose is to display his glory to all people. His glory is exhibited through both wrath and mercy, but especially through mercy.8

Many commentators are troubled by Paul’s apparent disregard for human choice and responsibility. Dodd criticizes the argument here as “a false step.” O’Neill goes further, claiming the teaching is “thoroughly immoral,” and follows a number of the church fathers in ascribing the offending verses to someone other than Paul. These criticisms are sometimes the product of a false assumption: that Paul’s justification of the ways of God in his treatment of human beings (his “theodicy”) must meet the standard set by our own assumptions and standards of logic. Paul’s approach is quite different. He considers his theodicy to be successful if it justifies God’s acts against the standards of his revelation in Scripture (vv. 15-18) and his character as Creator (vv. 20-23). In other words, the standard by which God must be judged is nothing less and nothing more than God himself. Judged by this standard, Paul contends, God is indeed “just.” Paul does not provide a logically compelling resolution of the two strands of his teaching–God, by his own sovereign choice, elects human beings to salvation; human beings, by a responsible choice of their will, must believe in order to be saved. But criticism of the apostle on this score is unfair. It is unfair, first, because Paul can accomplish his purpose–showing God to be just–without such a resolution. And it is unfair, second, because no resolution of this perennial paradox seems possible this side of heaven.9

Paul is content to hold the truths of God’s absolute sovereignty–in both election and in hardening–and of full human responsibility without reconciling them. We would do well to emulate his approach.10

Verse 24 introduces Gentiles as among those whom God is calling to be part of his people. It is God’s sovereign call, not physical descent, that determines who is part of God’s people.

25 As he also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, ‘My beloved.'”

This quotation is from Hos. 2:23 but is not an exact quote. Paul is saying that God has called the Gentiles (those who were not my people and who were unloved) to be his beloved people.

26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

This quotation is from Hos. 1:10. In context, “where” and “there” probably refer to the land of (northern) Israel’s exile. Gentiles, who were previously considered outside the realm of God’s people, are being called.

[A] potentially . . . serious instance of what seems to be arbitrary hermeneutics on Paul’s part is his application of these Hosea texts to the calling of Gentiles. For the prophet Hosea is predicting a renewal of God’s mercy toward the rebellious northern tribes of Israel: those whom God rejected and named lō-ruhamah, “not pitied,” and lō-ami, “not my people” (the symbolic names given to Hosea’s children [1:6-9]) are again shown mercy and adopted again as God’s people. The problem disappears if Hosea is including the Gentiles in his prophecy; but this is unlikely. Others avoid the difficulty by arguing that Paul applies these passages to the calling of the Jews rather than the Gentiles. But the explicit reference to Israel in the introduction to the Isaiah quotations in v. 27 suggests that Paul views the Hosea quotations as related to the calling of the Gentiles. Others think that Paul may imply an analogy: God’s calling of Gentiles operates on the same principle as God’s promised renewal of the ten northern tribes. But Paul requires more than an analogy to establish from Scripture justification for God’s calling of Gentiles to be his people. Therefore we must conclude that this text reflects a hermeneutical supposition for which we find evidence elsewhere in Paul and in the NT: that OT predictions of a renewed Israel find their fulfillment in the church. Moreover, Paul’s use of these texts may further his effort to break down the boundaries between the Jews and other peoples that were so basic to Jewish thinking.11

Nor should the application of these verses to Gentiles when they originally related to the Jews trouble us. Paul detected a principle in these verses that he applied to his day. But Moo is correct in insisting that Paul’s thinking goes further. Paul conceives of Hosea’s prophecy as fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. The church is the renewed Israel and the arena in which God’s promises find their fulfillment. Paul wants to show his Jewish contemporaries that the calling of the Gentiles was not without precedent; it fits with the surprising way God has always acted. Indeed, Paul likely anticipates the mystery shared in Rom. 11:26, for once again he will summon those who did not belong to him (the Jews) to belief.12

1 Peter 2:9-10 makes a similar point and also alludes to Hos. 2:23.

27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved, 28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”

Contextually, Isaiah 10:22-23 is part of a prophecy about the judgment of God upon an arrogant Assyria, and the salvation of a remnant of Israel. The prophecy says also that though the number of the Israelites taken into captivity was ‘as the sand of the sea’, it is a remnant that will be saved when the Lord will make short work of his judgment of the world. Paul quotes this prophecy to explain that the minimal response to the gospel he found among the Jews was foreshadowed in Scripture — a remnant will be saved — and therefore the rejection of the gospel by the majority of his contemporary kinsfolk cannot be claimed as evidence that ‘the word of God has failed’. And by implication it cannot be claimed that Paul’s gospel is not true because many of his own people failed to embrace it.13

Most Jews expected a few Gentiles to be saved and many Jews, but the initial response to the gospel has been precisely the reverse.14

The meaning of verse 28 is unclear. The NET stresses the completeness and swiftness of the Lord’s judgment.

29 Just as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of armies had not left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have resembled Gomorrah.”

This is a quote from Isa. 1:9 to show that even the salvation of the remnant is by God’s grace and mercy. The term sperma (seed, descendants) refers to the genuine children of God (Rom 9:6-9). Sodom and Gomorrah were cities destroyed by God because of the wickedness of their inhabitants (Gen. 19:24-25).

Bibliography

Kruse, Colin G. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Metzger, Bruce M., ed. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Second Edition. Hendrickson Pub, 2005.

Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 1998.

Witherington III, Ben, and Darlene Hyatt. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.


  1. Moo 1996, 592 
  2. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10024-10032 
  3. Moo 1996, 594-595 
  4. Moo 1996, 599-600 
  5. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10130-10133 
  6. Moo 1996, 601-602 
  7. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10159-10162 
  8. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10293-10300 
  9. Moo 1996, 590-591 
  10. Moo 1996, 601 
  11. Moo 1996, 613 
  12. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10373-10380 
  13. Kruse 2012, 389-390 
  14. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 10394-10395 

The Perils of Assisted Reproductive Technology #6

He was the perfect sperm donor. Then 26 families found out he wasn’t

At least 36 donor-conceived children face uncertain futures after their supposedly healthy sperm donor turned out to be a man with serious mental illness.

By: Theresa Boyle Health, Published on Sat Apr 09 2016

The donor was nothing like the perfectly healthy man — aside from some colour blindness on his dad’s side — touted on the sperm bank’s website. Nor was he working on a PhD in neuroscience engineering en route to becoming a professor of biomedical robotics at a medical school.

Instead, Chris Aggeles, a now 39-year-old man from Georgia, has struggled with serious mental illness for much of his adult life. In addition to schizophrenia, court documents show he has had diagnoses of bipolar and narcissistic personality disorders, and has described himself as having schizoaffective disorder.

He has a history of run-ins with the law, has done time in jail, dropped out of college and struggled in the past to hold down jobs.

His sperm has been used to create 36 children: 19 boys and 17 girls from 26 families, according to a 2014 email to Collins from Georgia-based sperm bank Xytex Corp.

The international debacle has shaken confidence in the industry and fuelled a cross-border debate over the ethics of paying men for their sperm. In Canada, where it is illegal, there are calls to change the law to help address a shortage of sperm, and opposing arguments against its commercialization.

Allegations against Xytex, which include fraud and negligent misrepresentation, have not been proven in court and the company denies any wrongdoing….

But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney pointed out that the law is behind the times when it comes to dealing with advances in reproductive technologies, and suggested there should be some way for plaintiffs to seek justice.

“Science has once again — as it always does — outstripped the law,” he wrote. “Plaintiffs make a compelling argument that there should be a way for parties aggrieved as these Plaintiffs are to pursue negligence claims against a service provider in pre-conception services.”

“Given the current state of affairs in the sperm-bank industry, it is strictly a matter of luck if a sperm donor is an upstanding and healthy individual, not a matter of testing, screening, regulating or legislating,” Collins charges.

“Who would have thought that an industry that makes people would be like this?”

Note the absolute cluelessness. Who would have thought that an industry that treats human beings as a product would act unethically in any way? Does she not understand that this industry not only makes people but also kills them if they are unwanted?

She has spent much of the last 22 months calling and writing to sperm banks, distributors and bureaucrats, urging them to address the lack of industry oversight, insufficient screening of sperm donors and Canada’s reliance on U.S. imports.

Why should taxpayers foot the bill?

Hersh calls Collins a “hero” for her ongoing efforts and for going public with the battle.

“She is the Erin Brockovich of the sperm-bank set,” Hersh says. “She is very brave and courageous to be doing all of this to prevent these problems from happening to other people.”

The best way to prevent these problems from happening to other people is to ban assisted reproductive technology.

Collins always wanted to have children, but being in a same-sex relationship presented a challenge. In need of sperm, she and Hanson spent about four months in 2006 researching their options.

In today’s world merely wanting children is reason enough to have them. What is best for the child is irrelevant.

In 2006, Collins pored over Xytex’s online catalogue in search of a donor. From hundreds of profiles, she zeroed in on “donor 9623” because he was “the male version of my partner,” she says. Like Hanson, the man in the ad was blue eyed, intelligent, academically accomplished and musically gifted.

The donor’s full profile, an archived copy of which can still be found on Xytex’s website, states he has an IQ of 160 (the same as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking), bachelor’s and master’s degrees in neuroscience and is pursuing a PhD.

He has received international acclaim for his talent as a drummer, it says.

Obtained by the Star, the 2006 recording portrays an articulate and impressive-sounding young man who says he speaks five languages, is studying artificial intelligence and plans on becoming a professor of biomedical robotics at a medical school.

He says he reads four or five books a month (“non-fiction mostly”) and tells of once winning a pizza party at Pizza Hut because he read 300 books in a single month.

The interview was not available when Collins chose 9623. The written profile was nevertheless enough to sell her on him.

Doesn’t the donor sound too good to be true (note: later in the article we learn that he probably is quite intelligent but has mental health issues)? I particularly like the part about reading 300 books in a single month. Either the donor is lying through his teeth (that comes out to 10 books a day in a 30-day month) or he was reading children’s books. I can remember Pizza Hut giving away pizzas to young readers when I was a child. But the fact that this man appeared perfect is not what gave Collins pause.

She admits there was one sentence that gave her pause: “The medical and social history was provided by the donor and cannot be verified for accuracy.

Collins says she was concerned enough to call Xytex and alleges that her misgivings were allayed when a company representative told her: “We do all of our own internal testing to the degree that you will know more about your donor than your own partner.

The problem is that you don’t know how trustworthy Xytex is either. You get to know your partner in an experiential manner that you will never know a faceless corporation.

The mothers who used 9623’s sperm learned of his real identity when Xytex released it to some of them in a 2014 email, seemingly inadvertently and “in a breach of confidentiality,” Hersh says….

Through public record searches, the Star has verified Aggeles’ donor profile contained incorrect information and has discovered additional details about his mental health, criminal past, education and work history.

In an open letter posted on the company’s website last April, president Kevin O’Brien indicated Xytex relies on the honour system when it comes to collecting medical and social histories of donors. Xytex has always been upfront about letting would-be parents know the company does not corroborate such information, he said.

Collins wants the Canadian government to amend the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which made it illegal to pay sperm donors, egg donors and surrogates anything but expenses.

She may have found a friend in Quebec Liberal MP Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal). A lawyer, he has been pushing for changes to the legislation since getting elected last October, prompted by friends who have hit him up for free legal advice after being stymied in their attempts to expand their families through assisted reproduction.

They have been forced to look abroad for sperm, eggs and surrogates because the legislation limits availability here, he says, explaining that demand for assisted human reproduction is growing because of the increase in same-sex unions, single parents and women conceiving later in life.

Just because there’s a demand does not mean we have to meet said demand.

She says she feels cheated: “I felt like I was duped by Xytex and I failed my son for having chosen Xytex. In hindsight, a hitchhiker on the side of the road would have been a far more responsible option for conceiving a child.”

Of course if she had not chosen Xytex her son would not exist. A different son would exist. The responsible option is to conceive with a spouse of the opposite sex who you will spend the rest of your life with. This way the child can know his/her biological parents and not be reduced to a product.