Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Dan Dufek, Jan 4, 2006.

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  1. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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]
  2. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel 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.
  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

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

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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.
  5. pastorway

    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):


  6. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Some other noteable supralapsarians

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

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

  8. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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!
  9. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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.

    Not really.
  10. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior


    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?
  11. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel 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.
  12. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    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.
  13. Me Died Blue

    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?
  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


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

    Is that infralapsarian or supralapsarian? :)
  15. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    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?
  16. Semper Fidelis

    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.
  17. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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.
  18. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    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]
  19. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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?"
  20. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate


    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.
  21. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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.
  22. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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.
  23. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    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.
  24. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    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."
  25. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    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.
  26. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

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

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate


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

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

  28. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Herman Bavinck on Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism:

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