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Theological Forum discuss Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism: Practical Implications in the Theology forums; Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology has an excellent discussion of the various lapsarian views and a solid defense of teleological supralapsarianism (which has not been the ...

  1. #41
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    Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology has an excellent discussion of the various lapsarian views and a solid defense of teleological supralapsarianism (which has not been the majority of supra views amongst those in the Reformed tradition).

    Gordon Clark addresses the logical and exegetical import of the debate in his commentary on Ephesians (3:9-10).

    The verse states that God who created all things, SO THAT the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

    Creation is a subordinate decree on the basis of its being purpose to allow God to demonstrate Himself through the Church.

    Creation is a means by which God is able to reveal Himself through the Church. Creation is temporally prior because we must be created before we can reveal anything, but God's purpose to reveal Himself through the Church is logically prior to Creation, because Creation is a means, not an end (and logically, or better yet, teleologically, the end of the matter temporally is the beginning of the matter logically).

    Thus, the logical order of the decrees must subordinate creation to God's more primary purpose, which is His election of those in the Church unto grace in Christ Jesus.

    What is the practical import? Well, several things:

    1. Teleological Supralapsarianism is more logically consistent, because in positing Creation first, infralapsarianism gives us an object for which there is no purpose outside itself. In order to be logically arranged, whatever comes first is the chief end, and we know that Creation is not God's most primary means for displaying His glory, but rather it is our election in Christ.

    2. By having a logically sound and completely purpose driven explanation of the decrees, the supralapsarian view glorifies God's orderly mind and determinative will. The infralapsarian position places a mild counter-purpose in God's mind by having him plunge all into sin prior to his having decreed to elect any unto His favor. Thus God in one logical moment disfavors all, but in the next logical moment favors some. Temporally this seems no problem, but logically it presents a less favorable construction.

    3. The supralapsarian can validly argue that God's chief end with respect to man was to elect some unto glory and condemns some unto reprobation without respect to their status. Infralapsarians have prior reasons why God is determining His glory--Creation is more prominent than election, and so too is our plunge into sin. Are those aspects of God's thought truly prior to His setting His love upon some and His hate upon others? We hear all about the redemptive-historical flow of Scripture as its kernel or key thread, but only the supralapsarian view provides solid logical ground for such a claim.

    There may be other practical implications as well, but these are a few that come immediately to mind.
    Joshua Butcher
    PCA
    College Station, TX

  2. #42
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    Joshua,

    I agree with what you said in full.

    Is there a specific name for non-teleological supralapsarianism?
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  3. #43
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    How about we just think of God's reasoning as an infinite, eternal circle rather than a progressive, linear line and dodge the entire issue.

    Seriously though, if we look at God's decree as all things present at all times as opposed to trying to piece the puzzle together in linear logical order then I think it is both and neither, it is perfect.

    Or I could just be crazy and illogical in which case....

    I think that instead of looking at election as determining the proper order to result in God's glory we should look at God's unchanging character and attributes since His Holiness is responsible for His Desire (IMO). I think this would make justice a result of sin, justice a result of righteousness, and mercy a result of Christ righteousness making mercy just.---INFRALAPSARIANISM
    (I like the word INFRA better than SUPRA, I don't like the word SUPERMAN)

    It is late and I think all of what I just wrote is probably illogical and crazy in which case you guys can pick it apart while I am refreshed by sleep and come back with a better argument.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radical_Pilgrim View Post
    This seems like a good topic for me a relatively new reformed believer as well to pine in on a question I have regarding this and a few other debates.

    When do we know if we are reading or trying to read too much into the mind of God? When you start discussing the logic and trying to figure topics such as these, where is the line?

    Thanks!
    It's helpful to remember to focus on reading God's Word and asking the Holy Spirit to help illuminate your understanding.

    While the discussion of "infra" and "supra" might be helpful, it's really not something to focus on. Many times understanding the concepts around them will help you understand the covenants of covenant theology:

    Covenants of:

    1) redemption
    2) works
    3) grace

    (In the end, none are at all dependent on "infra" or "supra" so don't unduly focus on that).

    When you are talking about eternality, trying to order things temporally really becomes an academic exercise. We don't want to lose focus on the more important issues of the attributes of our infinite, immutable God.
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott1 View Post
    Many times understanding the concepts around them will help you understand the covenants of covenant theology:

    Covenants of:

    1) redemption
    2) works
    3) grace
    Doesn't the WCF speak of only two covenants?

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  6. #46
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    Ask Mr. Religion
    Doesn't the WCF speak of only two covenants?
    Yes,

    But there is an assumption of what is called a covenant of redemption among the Trinity in the background.

    The covenant of redemption is the perfect agreement in eternity past among the members of the Godhead- the Father elects according to the good pleasure of His will, the Son comes and effectively atones for every one of them, the Holy Spirit effectually calls each one at the appointed time.

    While this covenant if often not explicitly stated, it is implicit in reformed theology.

    What is Reformed Theology? by Dr RC Sproul talks about this in its role in reformed theology and implicit underpinning of covenant theology. It also helps in differentiating a dispensational framework.
    Scott
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    Post Tenebras Lux; "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confessor View Post
    Joshua,

    I agree with what you said in full.

    Is there a specific name for non-teleological supralapsarianism?
    Reymond calls it "Supralapsarianism, historical principle" I believe. That view only changes the order of election, leaving the rest of the order as it is with infralapsarian. Teleological organizes creation as the last decree, as it is first in the temporal sequence.

    -----Added 9/10/2009 at 11:48:17 EST-----

    I think that instead of looking at election as determining the proper order to result in God's glory we should look at God's unchanging character and attributes since His Holiness is responsible for His Desire (IMO). I think this would make justice a result of sin, justice a result of righteousness, and mercy a result of Christ righteousness making mercy just.---INFRALAPSARIANISM
    (I like the word INFRA better than SUPRA, I don't like the word SUPERMAN)
    Charles,

    Supralapsarianism is built upon God's character. While all of God's attributes are compatible or equivalent in power and order, we can, I think, rightly affirm that God's most basic characteristic is His aseity. Given the implications I listed above, I don't think infralapsarianism exemplifies this aspect of God's aseity. Supralapsarianism gives reason and purpose to each of the decrees in the most simple and consistent form. Infralapsarianism leaves counter-purposes and an unexplainable purpose for Creation (and it doesn't adequately handle the verses in the Ephesians).

    -----Added 9/10/2009 at 11:52:03 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Radical_Pilgrim View Post
    This seems like a good topic for me a relatively new reformed believer as well to pine in on a question I have regarding this and a few other debates.

    When do we know if we are reading or trying to read too much into the mind of God? When you start discussing the logic and trying to figure topics such as these, where is the line?

    Thanks!
    It's helpful to remember to focus on reading God's Word and asking the Holy Spirit to help illuminate your understanding.

    While the discussion of "infra" and "supra" might be helpful, it's really not something to focus on. Many times understanding the concepts around them will help you understand the covenants of covenant theology:

    Covenants of:

    1) redemption
    2) works
    3) grace

    (In the end, none are at all dependent on "infra" or "supra" so don't unduly focus on that).

    When you are talking about eternality, trying to order things temporally really becomes an academic exercise. We don't want to lose focus on the more important issues of the attributes of our infinite, immutable God.
    I can agree that the infra/supra debate is not a subject matter for novices, nor is it a cornerstone doctrine, but it is not the case that the covenants are not dependent upon a particular view of infra or supra. Either all of God's decrees and acts are of one complete and logical system, or there is confusion and disconnection in the various thoughts and acts of God. All things hold together in God in some definite way, even if we are incapable of discovering just how.
    Joshua Butcher
    PCA
    College Station, TX

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