Supralapsarianism /Infralapsarianism

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Frogman, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Frogman

    Frogman
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    I thought about putting this in the C/A forum, but I decided against it, if any other moderator or administrator believes it will best be served there please move it.

    I thought it would be best here because often what is believed by some groups of Baptists is not understood, neither scripturally nor historically.

    I know this because I have often been left in the wake of misunderstanding many dear children of God, not the least of which are those among us called Primitive Baptists.

    Now, down on the C/A forum, words are often used that if a person is not serious about discovering to the best of their ability the truth, they will add to their confusion by ignoring the opportunity to seek the proper definition. I know this to be true because I have also fallen victim to this form of confusion created by my own lust for debate, but laziness in researching the material. I try now to seek to understand the perspective of those I engage in discussion.

    This is the reason for my posting this, in the hopes of bringing to the board a discussion on the historic Baptist position(s) of Supralapsarian/Infralapsarian schools of thought in regards to the decrees of God.

    A greater understanding of one another's language may go a long way in causing us to realize we are much closer than we once believed.

    Here is something from John Gill

    Truth Defended

    And here is a quote from this article:

    These words are written in the article:

    TRUTH DEFENDED:BEING AN ANSWER TO AN ANONYMOUS PAMPHLET, ENTITLED, Some Doctrines in the Supralapsarian Scheme impartially examined by the Word of God.

    With this statement, perhaps it can be agreed among us that we have a rich heritage reaching back at least to Gill, and before himself, as he is defending the position, it surely did not originate with him, of the notion that the election is
    If we may, let us discuss these terms in as much as is possible among fallible creatures that we not be so hasty to rush into the judgment hall against one another but that we would know of the scriptural and historic foundation of each belief.

    This is my faith, that though we may never agree fully in this present world, that all who have been made partakers of that heavenly calling shall one day be able to see as one.

    May God Richly Bless
    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  2. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
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    Bro Dallas,

    I'm really ignorant and this is a long read. I copied and pasted it and changed the spacing so i could see it. I have to print such long articles because I get a headache reading them off the screen. I will study it. In the meantime could you please sum up what the issues are. I don't even know what the terms, Supralapsarian/Infralapsarian, mean.

    Supralapsarian

    \Su`pra*lap*sa"ri*an\, n. [Supra- + lapse: cf. F. supralapsaire.] (Eccl. Hist.) One of that class of Calvinists who believed that God's decree of election determined that man should fall, in order that the opportunity might be furnished of securing the redemption of a part of the race, the decree of salvation being conceived of as formed before or beyond, and not after or following, the lapse, or fall.

    Infralapsarian

    \In`fra*lap*sa"ri*an\, n. [Infra + lapse: cf. F. infralapsaire. See Lapse.] (Eccl. Hist.) One of that class of Calvinists who consider the decree of election as contemplating the apostasy as past and the elect as being at the time of election in a fallen and guilty state; -- opposed to Supralapsarian. The former considered the election of grace as a remedy for an existing evil; the latter regarded the fall as a part of God's original purpose in regard to men.
     
  3. Frogman

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    Here is a helpful comparison from another website:

    This information is taken from:
    Phil Johnson's Website

    Hope this helps some,

    God Bless
    bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  4. Craigbythesea

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    In my personal opinion, the Supralapsarian/Infralapsarian schools of thought in regards to the decrees of God belong more properly to the discipline of philosophy than they do to the discipline of Biblical theology. The reason for this opinion is that these schools of thought are dependent much more upon the frailty of man than they are upon the omnipotence and omniscience of God, and that they presuppose decrees that were never made as such.

    If either of the two views is correct, man has fallen into sin and there is, therefore, a very much greater need for practical theology than there is for abstract philosophy that does more to puff up egos than it does to solve real problems. But of course if one takes the Supralapsarian point of view, God had decreed what He has and all efforts on the part of man are absolutely futile.

    Ecclesiastes 1
    1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    2. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
    (NASB, 1995)
     
  5. Craigbythesea

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    I have a great deal of respect for John Gill as a Christian, but not as a theologian or a student of the Apostle Paul.
     
  6. DeafPosttrib

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    About 12 years ago, an IFB deaf evangelist told me, Jesus does not teaching too deep like as seminary, he gave parables and also SIMPLES, so He wants everyone to understand what he teaching. I agreed with him. He was right.

    Why cannot any Christians understand and accept what Christ taught?

    We have to be careful when we read and study the Bible include Christ's teaching. We do not intepreting by use any guesswork or make-up and twisting differently opposite from what God's Word actual saying. We must allow Scripture intepreting Scripture period. Believe and accept what these saying.

    In Christ
    Rev. 22:20 -Amen!
     
  7. Daniel David

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    This is a debate regarding the order of decrees. If I am not mistaken, this is how Millard Erickson gets away with a universal view of the atonement.

    Anyway, the Scriptures do not give us the order of decrees. One need only to recognize that they all do exist though.
     
  8. Frogman

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    Daniel,
    you are correct. This debate is centered upon the order of the decrees.

    I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the way a person would receive the order of the decrees would be how they would view the order of salvation.

    Again, I may be wrong, but I think it is a worthy topic of discussion.

    Here is something else from Keach's Catechism:

    Maybe this will provide some scripture for discussion rather than that we just declare these schools of thought unBiblical and disregard them as having no merit.

    Bro. Dallas

    [ September 11, 2004, 11:30 AM: Message edited by: Frogman ]
     
  9. Kiffin

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    I refer to myself as Infralapsarianism though some may confuse me as Amyralt.
     
  10. rufus

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    Supralapsarianism

    The doctrine that God decreed both election and reprobation before the fall. Supralapsarianism differs from infralapsarianism on the relation of God's decree to human sin. The differences go back to the conflict between Augustine and Pelagius. Before the Reformation, the main difference was whether Adam's fall was included in God's eternal decree; supralapsarians held that it was, but infralapsarians acknowledged only God's foreknowledge of sin. Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin were agreed that Adam's fall was somehow included in God's decree; it came to be referred to as a "permissive decree," and all insisted that God was in no way the author of sin. As a result of the Reformers' agreement, after the Reformation the distinction between infra- and supralapsarianism shifted to differences on the logical order of God's decrees.

    Theodore Beza, Calvin's successor at Geneva, was the first to develop supralapsarianism in this new sense. By the time of the Synod of Dort in 1618-19, a heated intraconfessional controversy developed between infra- and supralapsarians; both positions were represented at the synod. Francis Gomarus, the chief opponent of James Arminius, was a supralapsarian.

    The question of the logical, not the temporal, order of the eternal decrees reflected differences on God's ultimate goal in predestination and on the specific objects of predestination. Supralapsarians considered God's ultimate goal to be his own glory in election and reprobation, while infralapsarians considered predestination subordinate to other goals. The object of predestination, according to supralapsarians, was uncreated and unfallen humanity, while infralapsarians viewed the object as created and fallen humanity.

    The term "supralapsarianism" comes from the Latin words supra and lapsus; the decree of predestination was considered to be "above" (supra) or logically "before" the decree concerning the fall (lapsus), while the infralapsarians viewed it as "below" (infra) or logically "after" the decree concerning the fall. The contrast of the two views is evident from the following summaries. The logical order of the decrees in the supralapsarian scheme is: (1) God's decree to glorify himself through the election of some and the reprobation of others; (2) as a means to that goal, the decree to create those elected and reprobated; (3) the decree to permit the fall; and (4) the decree to provide salvation for the elect through Jesus Christ.

    The logical order of the decrees according to infralapsarians is: (1) God's decree to glorify himself through the creation of the human race; (2) the decree to permit the fall; (3) the decree to elect some of the fallen race to salvation and to pass by the others and condemn them for their sin; and (4) the decree to provide salvation for the elect through Jesus Christ. Infralapsarians were in the majority at the Synod of Dort. The Arminians tried to depict all the Calvinists as representatives of the "repulsive" supralapsarian doctrine. Four attempts were made at Dort to condemn the supralapsarian view, but the efforts were unsuccessful. Although the Canons of Dort do not deal with the order of the divine decrees, they are infralapsarian in the sense that the elect are "chosen from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault from their primitive state of rectitude into sin and destruction" (I,7; cf.I,1). The reprobate "are passed by in the eternal decree" and God "decreed to leave [them] in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves" and "to condemn and punish them forever...for all their sins" (I,15).

    Defenders of supralapsarianism continued after Dort. The chairman of the Westminister Assembly, William Twisse, was a supralapsarian but the Westminister standards do not favor either position. Although supralapsarianism never received confessional endorsement within the Reformed churches, it has been tolerated within the confessional boundaries. In 1905 the Reformed churches of the Netherlands and the Christian Reformed Church in 1908 adopted the Conclusions of Utrecht, which stated that "our Confessional Standards admittedly follow the infralapsarian presentation in respect to the doctrine of election, but that it is evident...that this in no wise intended to exclude or condemn the supralapsarian presentation." Recent defenders of the supralapsarian position have been Gerhardus Vos, Herman Hoeksema, and G.H. Kersten.

    F. H. KLOOSTER in Elwell Theological Dictionary
     
  11. rufus

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    Sublapsarianism or INFRALAPSARIANISM.

    (Lat. for "after the fall," sometimes designated "sublapsarianism"). A part of the doctrine of predestination, specifically that which relates to the decrees of election and reprobation. The issues involved are God's eternal decrees and man's will, how can the one be affirmed without denying the other. If one argues for God's predetermination of mankind's fate, this tends to deny mankind's free will and threatens to make God responsible for sin. On the other hand, if one argues for the freedom of mankind's will, thus making man responsible for sin, this can threaten the sovereignty and power of God since his decrees then are contingent upon mankind's decisions. The argument/dilemma is not new. Pelagius and Augustine argued over the issue with the Synod of Orange, 529, which sided with Augustine. In the Middle Ages, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham questioned Augustine's position. Luther and Erasmus argued the issue in Freedom of the Will and Bondage of the Will. Melanchthon got involved and was accused by Flacius of synergism, and by the end of the sixteenth century the position of Arminius stirred the controversy among the Reformed, who attempted to resolve the issue at the Synod of Dort.

    What is the order of the eternal decrees of God? Infralapsarians argue for this order:

    (1) God decreed the creation of mankind, a good, blessed creation, not marred or flawed.

    (2) God decreed mankind would be allowed to fall through its own self-determination.

    (3) God decreed to save some of the fallen.

    (4) God decreed to leave the rest to their just fate of condemnation.

    (5) God provides the Redeemer for the saved.

    (6) God sends the Holy Spirit to effect redemption among the saved.

    The key to the order of the decrees is that God decreed election to salvation after the fall, not before; hence the name of the view "infralapsarianism." The supralapsarian view would offer an order in which the decree for election and reprobation occurs before the creation. Those on both sides of the issue cite weighty arguments for their positions, quote Scripture as a foundation, and comb through Augustine, Calvin, and others for support. Generally most Reformed assemblies have refused to make either infra- or supralapsarianism normative, although the tendency has been to favor the former without condemning those who hold to the latter.

    By R. V. SCHNUCKER in Elwell Theological Dictionary
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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    Eph. 1:11 is merely a fragment found in one very long sentence (vv. 3-14 in the Greek text), the themes of which are found in verse 3:

    3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

    The “decree” in this sentence is that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. EVERYTHING that follows is grammatically and theologically subordinate to that “decree”.

    3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:
    4. even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:
    5. having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
    6. to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:
    7. in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trepasses, according to the riches of his grace,
    8. which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
    9. making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him
    10. unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say,
    11. in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;
    12. to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:
    13. in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
    14. which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God's own possession, unto the praise of his glory. (ASV)


    Rom 11:36. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (NASB, 1995)

    This is merely a doxology. There is no decree here.

    Dan. 4:35. "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?' (NASB, 1995)

    These are merely comments about God from a Jewish perspective. There is no decree here.

    Here are some comments about the world order from another Jewish perspective:

    Ecclesiastes 1
    1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    2. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." (NASB, 1995)

    Most unfortunately Calvin, Beza, etc., lived in a time when resources for Biblical study were nearly nonexistent. They had no computerized concordances or word and phrase search programs. If they had, and if they had made us of them, their theology would have been, without doubt, radically different. Modern scholars who hold to their theological beliefs do so, not because they came to such beliefs independently, but because they came to them through the influence of John Calvin.
     
  13. Frogman

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    I don't consider myself a scholar by any stretch, and I never knew much of Calvin prior to the discussions of the C/A forum.

    I also have no problem recognizing the elect being chosen before the foundation of the world being a spiritual blessing in Christ and certainly in heavenly places.

    What you offer has not refuted the eternal decrees of God; As the preacher says, all is vanity.

    Yet, all the while that man's works [endeavoring to discover God, etc.] are vanities; God remains Sovereign accomplishing His eternal purpose.

    God Bless,
    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    One must be careful about interjecting TEMPORAL structure here. Surely God DID decree:
    </font>
    • (1) God decreed the creation of mankind, a good, blessed creation, not marred or flawed.</font>
    • (2) God decreed mankind would be allowed to fall through its own self-determination.</font>
    • (3) God decreed to save some of the fallen.</font>
    • (4) God decreed to leave the rest to their just fate of condemnation.</font>
    • (5) God provides the Redeemer for the saved.</font>
    • (6) God sends the Holy Spirit to effect redemption among the saved.</font>
    BUT He decreed all of these "before the foundation of the world". It is not like God did 1 (created), then after He created He said, "Hmmmm?" and did 2 (allowed abstract sin to become concrete), then went "Hmmmmm, now what should I do?" and did 3 (chose Bob to be His child), then went "Hmmm, what's next?" and did 4 . . .

    Well, you get the pix. The decrees were ALL eternity past or, if not, then God's action were dependent on MAN! And that would make MAN "god" (semi-pelagian heresy)
     
  15. Kiffin

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    I agree with Bro. Dallas. I don't see any contradiction at all nor do I see any refutation of Calvin in Craig's post.

    To say that Calvin, Beza etc...are not as learned as we are because they lived in a time when resources for Biblical study were nearly nonexistent and that they had no computerized concordances or word and phrase search programs..assumes Calvin and the Reformers were ignorant of the Biblical languages. Calvin knew both Greek, Hebrew and Latin of which he studied at the University of Paris. His education was no doubt superior to any of us on the Baptist Board and he had a great knowledge of the early Church Fathers of whom he quotes much in his Institutes.
     
  16. Kiffin

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    Excellent post Dr. Bob [​IMG]
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    It is not necessary to read Calvin's works or even be aware that he or his works ever existed in order for a man's theology to be very much influenced by the theology of Calvin because he has so very much influenced others who have influenced all of us either directly or indirectly.
     
  18. Craigbythesea

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    I get the picture that your post presents, but I do not believe that the Bible presents the same picture. However, I am not a philosopher, so I probably don't belong in this thread.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Squire Robertsson

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    Concur. Just because I am only able to act or to think in a serial fashion; it doesn't mean that God can't or doesn't act or think in a parallel manner.

     
  20. Frogman

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    Just for clarification,
    I don't believe the article by Gill, nor the list from Phil Johnson either means to say that God reacted in that manner, that is, 1). create, 2) fall 3) salvation, etc.

    Instead, this is the order of logic as the finite creature understands it.

    Is it possible that the finite creature not sin?

    I don't think so, what do you guys think?

    bro. Dallas
     

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