Infralapsarian/Supralapsarianism

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Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
How can you logically have sin and sinners before the Fall is even contemplated/decreed?

By making the fall the MEANS to something else!

God desired to redeem sinners (i.e. to elect and reporbate people), and therefore IN ORDER TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, he decrees the fall. ;)

[Edited on 1-6-2006 by Jeff_Bartel]
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I think that God can have a concept of something (i.e. a goal in mind, in this case sinners) before (logically that is) actually decreeing it to happen.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I think that God can have a concept of something (i.e. a goal in mind, in this case sinners) before (logically that is) actually decreeing it to happen.

This sounds to much like Man thinking. It doesn't sound like Omniscience.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritancovenanter
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I think that God can have a concept of something (i.e. a goal in mind, in this case sinners) before (logically that is) actually decreeing it to happen.

This sounds to much like Man thinking. It doesn't sound like Omniscience.

All sides would have to admit this though.

The infralapsarians would have to say that God had a concept of the fall before he actually decreed it.

But on the other side of the coin, I believe that God's decrees are eternal, and therefore we aren't saying "at a certain time, God decreed xxx." His decrees all happen together, and that is why we must look at them logically, and not chronologically.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Here is the only Supra I am inclined to discuss (it is made by Toyota and has no theological affiliation whatsoever):



:lol:
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Some other noteable supralapsarians

William Ames
Samuel Rutherford
John Gill
Abraham Kyper
Arthur Pink
Cornelius Van Til
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
How can you logically have sin and sinners before the Fall is even contemplated/decreed?

Answer: you can't!

Before God decreed the Fall, the concept of sin was not even in existence.

Exactly. Now, I could understand one proposing that perhaps God contemplated sinners before contemplating the exact means of the Fall, i.e. decreeing to save sinful, fallen man, and then decreeing to have them fall by means of eating forbidden fruit. But to speak of a decree involving "sinful man" before any contemplation whatsoever of a Fall of any kind (meaning a falling from righteousness) is just plain double-talk, or wanting to always have eaten the cake and always have had it too!
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by fredtgreco
How can you logically have sin and sinners before the Fall is even contemplated/decreed?

By making the fall the MEANS to something else!

God desired to redeem sinners (i.e. to elect and reporbate people), and therefore IN ORDER TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, he decrees the fall. ;)

Read my post above. I think perhaps clarification would be helpful on what we each mean by "fall." When I use it (and I think when all or most of the other infralapsarians here use it), I am not necessarily referring to the Fall exactly how it took place in the garden with the fruit and the woman and the serpent - but I definitely am saying that there had to be a decree that there would be a fall at all, meaning a falling from righteousness, because without a notion of a falling from righteousness there is no notion of sinfulness.

Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
The infralapsarians would have to say that God had a concept of the fall before he actually decreed it.

Not really.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by puritancovenanter
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I think that God can have a concept of something (i.e. a goal in mind, in this case sinners) before (logically that is) actually decreeing it to happen.

This sounds to much like Man thinking. It does't sound like Omniscience.

:ditto:

I believe herein lies the problem. I do not believe God sits and ponders. Nor does He think like a man. I don't think he "needs to see man in view of his sin" before he fashions the reprobate. Maybe His thought, actions, and decrees are all one in the same. I am not sure. There is no future, past or present for God and it seems we are trying to impose a future, past , and present onto his mind.

It is hard for me to see any process within God. In His thinking, action, or will.

I am fully aware that the Infra/Supra debate is not my stong suit. I know this because when I do study the issues, I end up going nowhere whith this debate.

Considering what I've written I have a question for us newbie Supra/infralapsarians. Why MUST God see man "in view of sin" before he *decides* to create a reprobate? infralapsarians say this is because He is just. So, am I to understand that God would be unjust if he *decided* to make reprobates before His decree of the fall?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
The question is not if God thinks like a man (depending on exactly what you mean...both sides would agree to this) but does God think logically. The scriptures and the confession indication that logic is part of the image of God in man, and that our God is a logical God. The proper question is How does a logical being think?

That is what Reymond, Clark, et. al are trying to defend, and In my humble opinion they do so successfully.

Logic is not "man-made" thinking, it is God's way of thinking.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
The question is not if God thinks like a man (depending on exactly what you mean...both sides would agree to this) but does God think logically. The scriptures and the confession indication that logic is part of the image of God in man, and that our God is a logical God. The proper question is How does a logical being think?

That is what Reymond, Clark, et. all are trying to defend, and In my humble opinion they do so successfully.

Logic is not "man-made" thinking, it is God's way of thinking.

Yes, I definitely agree that "Logic is not "man-made" thinking, it is God's way of thinking." To clarify, I am unsure of how God's logic relates to sequential time or if it even does at all. In case you can't tell, my problems with this debate are very, very hard for me to explain. Even in conversation. I will think further of how to do it. :)

For the record. If I have to chose, I lean toward Supra and/or the modified version.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jeff, what would you say about my point above? In other words, when you speak of the "fall" with regard to the infra/supra issue, do you necessarily mean the falling from righteousness as a concept, or maybe just the historical Fall with the precise means of eating the forbidden fruit?

Also, what do other infralapsarians think of that issue? While we strongly hold that God decreed the occurence of a fall, or a definite falling from righteousness, before he decreed reprobation, might it be consistent with our position to acknowledge that He could have then decreed the particular means of that falling (eating the fruit), and thus the historical event of the Fall, after decreeing reprobation?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
HOLD ON FOR A MINUTE!

I visited a Calvary Chapel once and the Pastor said that Adam fell "...because God did not create Robots...."

Is that infralapsarian or supralapsarian? :)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Jeff, what would you say about my point above? In other words, when you speak of the "fall" with regard to the infra/supra issue, do you necessarily mean the falling from righteousness as a concept, or maybe just the historical Fall with the precise means of eating the forbidden fruit?

Also, what do other infralapsarians think of that issue? While we strongly hold that God decreed the occurence of a fall, or a definite falling from righteousness, before he decreed reprobation, might it be consistent with our position to acknowledge that He could have then decreed the particular means of that falling (eating the fruit), and thus the historical event of the Fall, after decreeing reprobation?

Is God's wrath general or specific toward the reprobate? How do the reprobate incur God's wrath in eternity past without any sin logically preceding it?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
By the way everyone, this thread has been very helpful to me. I've read about this a few times but this definitely sharpens my understanding.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Jeff, what would you say about my point above? In other words, when you speak of the "fall" with regard to the infra/supra issue, do you necessarily mean the falling from righteousness as a concept, or maybe just the historical Fall with the precise means of eating the forbidden fruit?

Also, what do other infralapsarians think of that issue? While we strongly hold that God decreed the occurence of a fall, or a definite falling from righteousness, before he decreed reprobation, might it be consistent with our position to acknowledge that He could have then decreed the particular means of that falling (eating the fruit), and thus the historical event of the Fall, after decreeing reprobation?

Is God's wrath general or specific toward the reprobate? How do the reprobate incur God's wrath in eternity past without any sin logically preceding it?

I certainly agree we must be decreed to be in sin before being decreed to be under judgment. The issue in light of that is whether or not the decree for us to be in sin can have any true meaning without the specific, particular event or act of sin itself being a part of it. In some ways those two aspects of "Fall" are somewhat analogous to the distinction between original sin and actual sin, although granted, with the latter distinction, both original sin and actual sin are already in-light of the specific initial act of sin. But even so, we still say that men would be guilty solely on the basis of original sin even without their own actual sin. So I guess what I'm wrestling with is whether or not God can logically and meaningfully (not temporally) decree that we will in fact fall, without yet decreeing which specific act sin we will initially commit to do so.

Part of me is saying that doesn't ultimately make any sense, and part of me is not really sure how to view it yet, honestly.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Jeff, what would you say about my point above? In other words, when you speak of the "fall" with regard to the infra/supra issue, do you necessarily mean the falling from righteousness as a concept, or maybe just the historical Fall with the precise means of eating the forbidden fruit?

Also, what do other infralapsarians think of that issue? While we strongly hold that God decreed the occurence of a fall, or a definite falling from righteousness, before he decreed reprobation, might it be consistent with our position to acknowledge that He could have then decreed the particular means of that falling (eating the fruit), and thus the historical event of the Fall, after decreeing reprobation?

Is God's wrath general or specific toward the reprobate? How do the reprobate incur God's wrath in eternity past without any sin logically preceding it?

I certainly agree we must be decreed to be in sin before being decreed to be under judgment. The issue in light of that is whether or not the decree for us to be in sin can have any true meaning without the specific, particular event or act of sin itself being a part of it.

Let's ask it another way. Does God keep an account of our sins? If He is just, and judges us according to our works, then logically, there must be some actually forseen (decreed) sin before God can justly reject people to His wrath. There's logicaly no sin a without a Fall. Hence, the infra position best defends the justice of God. Otherwise, as Mark noted above, God is lighting reprobate human torches and ordaining the Fall to cover His tracks regarding the reprobate.

[Edited on 2-8-2006 by puritansailor]
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Chris,
I will have to try to answer your questions (as best I can!) later on today (as I am currently at work). For now, I would like to post this MOST interesting section from Calvin´s work The Eternal Predestination of God (p. 123-124). Please note the underlined sections, and how they directly relate to the infra/supra debate. The question to ask while reading this is "œDoes God in His decree find the rebrobate worthy of reprobation, or does He make them worthy?"
There is another objection of the same chaff which Pighius raises against my following published sentiments: "I deny that the reprobate are distinguished and separated from the elect by any respect of God to the merits of the latter; because the grace of God makes them worthy of His adoption of them, it does not find them worthy" (as Augustine frequently remarks). In another place I thus express myself: "I deny that any injury is done to the reprobate by their reprobation, because they deserve eternal destruction." Here Pighius spreads out his wings in tumultuous exultation, noisily exclaiming that I neither understand myself nor my own sentiments, nor at all remember what I have myself before said. But so far am I from thinking it necessary to spend many words in my defence, that I can hardly bring myself to employ even a few words for that object. I will observe, then, that when God prefers some to others, when He chooses some and passes by others, the difference is not made on the ground of worthiness or unworthiness, either in the one or in the other. Therefore, it is false to say that the reprobate are worthy [of] eternal destruction. If, therefore, in the former case, there is no comparison of men with each other, nor any connection of worthiness with the reward of eternal life; in the latter case, there is certainly no proof that the condition of all men is equal with reference to the election of God. Add to this, that Augustine, having asserted in one part of his writings that no man ever failed of salvation who was worthy of it, qualifies this expression in his subsequent recapitulations, carefully excluding all idea of works and referring all acceptable worthiness to the free grace calling of God.
Pighius, however, still pushes on his violent opposition, alleging that if what I teach be true, that those who perish were ordained unto everlasting death by the eternal will of God, of which the reason is imperceptible to us, the persons so ordained are made worthy of everlasting death, not found so. I reply that three things are here to be considered: 1. That the eternal predestination of God, by which He decreed, before the Fall of Adam, what should take place in the whole human race and in every individual thereof, was unalterably fixed and determined. 2. That Adam himself, on account of his departure from God, was deservedly appointed to eternal death. 3. And lastly, that in the person of Adam, thus fallen and lost, his whole future offspring were also eternally condemned; but so eternally condemned that God deems worthy the honour of His adoption all those whom He freely chose out of that future offspring. Of these mighty things I have neither dreamed any part, nor fabricated any part. Nor am I called upon, in the present instance, to prove each particular, for I consider that I have most effectually done that already. All I shall do is to wash off from myself the calumny with which my opponent has soiled me, when he says that these things can in no way be made to harmonise or consist with each other. Whereas, what I have ever invariably taught, and still teach at this day, is, that whenever election is the subject of discussion, the great point to be maintained, from first to last, is that all the reprobate are justly left under eternal death, because they died and were eternally condemned in Adam; also, that those perish justly who are by nature the children of wrath; and finally, that, therefore, no one can have cause to complain of the too great severity of God, seeing that all men bear, in themselves and in their individual persons, the guilt and desert of death eternal.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
I certainly agree we must be decreed to be in sin before being decreed to be under judgment.

Chris,

With respect, I still think there is confusion between plan (decree) and execution (creation/providence). Certainly in time, we must be fallen in order for God to send us to hell, but this is not the case with the plan. Not that this necessarily proves the point, but I think the quote from Calvin that I provided addresses this issue.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
How do the reprobate incur God's wrath in eternity past without any sin logically preceding it?

If this is the line of thinking you wish to take, then I have a similar question for you as an infralapsarian.

How do the elect incur God's favor in eternity past without any imputed righteousness logically preceding it?

The infra scheme places the choosing of the elect BEFORE the decree to provide salvation, and therefore there is no basis (outside the Good pleasure of God ALONE) to determine who will be elect. I argue with Calvin, that it is the same with reprobation.

The Infra Scheme:
1. Create
2. Permit Fall
3. Elect some, pass over the rest
4. Provide salvation for elect
5. Call elect to salvation

Rom 9:11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
Rom 9:12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger."
Rom 9:13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

Jacob didn't do good, Esau didn't do evil. What's left? The will of God.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Hence, the infra position best defends the justice of God.

I´m not trying to pick on you Patrick, but is it just for God (under the Infra scheme) to elect some sinful men without any basis (i.e. the righteousness of Christ, which has not been decreed yet) to do so?

It seems to me that this would destroy the justice of God (following your line of thinking) just as much as reprobating people without a basis for doing so.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by puritansailor
Hence, the infra position best defends the justice of God.

I´m not trying to pick on you Patrick, but is it just for God (under the Infra scheme) to elect some sinful men without any basis (i.e. the righteousness of Christ, which has not been decreed yet) to do so?

It seems to me that this would destroy the justice of God (following your line of thinking) just as much as reprobating people without a basis for doing so.

I lean towards the infra scheme. Jeff, God elects people because of his free and sovereign love. He has no obligation to do so; it is purely because of his merciful, unmerited good pleasure. God condemns people because of sin. If the supra scheme teaches that it is the righteousness of Christ that constrains God's elective decrees and not vice versa I am DEFINITELY NOT Supra.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Peter
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by puritansailor
Hence, the infra position best defends the justice of God.

I´m not trying to pick on you Patrick, but is it just for God (under the Infra scheme) to elect some sinful men without any basis (i.e. the righteousness of Christ, which has not been decreed yet) to do so?

It seems to me that this would destroy the justice of God (following your line of thinking) just as much as reprobating people without a basis for doing so.

I lean towards the infra scheme. Jeff, God elects people because of his free and sovereign love. He has no obligation to do so; it is purely because of his merciful, unmerited good pleasure. God condemns people because of sin. If the supra scheme teaches that it is the righteousness of Christ that constrains God's elective decrees and not vice versa I am DEFINITELY NOT Supra.

Peter, I think you misunderstood my post. The supra scheme in no way "œconstrains God´s elective decrees" by the righteousness of Christ. My post was arguing that if the infra scheme wishes to defend the justice of God by placing the decree to fall before reprobation, then to be consistent; they should place the righteousness of Christ before election. Reprobation without a grounds for doing so, and election without grounds for doing so are equally "œunjust" of God, if you follow that line of reasoning (which I do not). Therefore, the infra scheme does not "œdefend the justice of God" against the supralapsarian scheme, because it commits the same "œerror" that the supra scheme is charged with.

I believe that God´s election and reprobation are both merely of his good will and pleasure alone. He has no obligation to elect or reprobate.

I agree with Calvin where he says the reprobate "œare made worthy of everlasting death, not found so."
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I´m not trying to pick on you Patrick, but is it just for God (under the Infra scheme) to elect some sinful men without any basis (i.e. the righteousness of Christ, which has not been decreed yet) to do so?

It seems to me that this would destroy the justice of God (following your line of thinking) just as much as reprobating people without a basis for doing so.
1. Election is not an act of justice, but of sovereignty (God did not have to elect anyone; He did so of His own good pleasure).

2. Reprobation must be distinguished into preterition and predamnation. Preterition, or non-election, is as sovereign as election, and consists solely in God's "passing by" of people in His decree of election. Predamnation is God's decree to condemn men for sin, and is therefore an act of pure justice.

3. The historic supralapsarian scheme recognized this. It posited the order of the divine decrees as:

(1) Decree of election/preterition
(2) Decree to create
(3) Decree to permit the fall -- This exposes all men to sin, and exposes those under preterition to eternal wrath (coextensive with decree of predamnation)
(4) Decree to send Christ to redeem the elect from their sinful state

4. Reymond's modified supralapsarianism is even more nonsensical than the historic position. In historic supra, you have God electing and passing by non-entities -- men who have not even yet been decreed to be created, and hence not even real men. But in Reymond's modified view, men are regarded as sinful before the decree that men should be fallen into a state of sin.

5. Supralapsarianism seems to consist solely in philosophical musings (as well as reading too much into Romans 9:19-23), whereas infralapsarianism actually does justice to the biblical text. What does it mean to say that men are "elected in Christ," or are "chosen to salvation," if the decree to elect is not a decree to redeem men by Christ's salvation (making the decree of election and the decree to save men by Christ essentially the same decree), from a previously-decreed fall?

6. Both views historically recognize that the divine "decrees" are actually one single decree; they simply attempt to deduce the order of that one decree.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by puritansailor
Hence, the infra position best defends the justice of God.

I´m not trying to pick on you Patrick, but is it just for God (under the Infra scheme) to elect some sinful men without any basis (i.e. the righteousness of Christ, which has not been decreed yet) to do so?

It seems to me that this would destroy the justice of God (following your line of thinking) just as much as reprobating people without a basis for doing so.

Good question. I'll have to think about it for awhile. :)
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
The infralapsarians would have to say that God had a concept of the fall before he actually decreed it.

Not really.

Chris,

I am curious to get your thoughts on WCF Chapter III:

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions,[4] yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.[5]

4. I Sam. 23:11-12; Matt. 11:21-23
5. Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18

Does this section teach that God can indeed have a concept of something without actually decreeing it?

:candle:
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Herman Bavinck on Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism:

The supralapsarian and infralapsarian interpretation of the decree:

(1) Points of agreement. Both agree:

(a) That God is not the Author of sin (supra as well as infra).
(b) That Scripture (not philosophy) is the only source of our knowledge of God's decree (supra as well as infra).
(c) That man's fall and punishment is not merely the object of God's foreknowledge but of his decree and foreordination (infra as well as supra).
(d) That faith is not the cause of the decree of election, neither sin the cause of the decree of reprobation (infra as well as supra).
 
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