Objections To Supralapsarianism

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Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
Herman Bavink also stated the following:

"To be sure, the Dutch confessional standards are infralapsarian; nevertheless, no ecclesiastical assembly, not even the Synod of Dort, has ever troubled the supralapsarians. The Lambeth articles of Confession, purposely leave the question unanswered. Reformed theologians have always granted charter privileges to both conceptions. Spanheim used to say that in the cathedra he was supra, but when he was teaching his congregation he was infra." Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism by Herman Bavinck
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
In contrast, the 1689 Confession seems to advocate a far more definite stance on the lapsarian position. Firstly, in the 1689 Confession, the distinction between ‘predestination’ and ‘foreordination’ is collapsed. The revised section in 3.3 was changed to read, “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory some men and Angels are predestinated, or fore-ordained to Eternal Life.”35 Furthermore, in chapter 3.6, the addition of a comma36 before the phrase “being fallen in Adam” is far more suggestive of a reading which alludes to the temporal ordo salutis rather than the order of decrees sub specie aeternitatis. Following this reading, “the words, ‘being fallen in Adam’, do not imply that the elect when elected were contemplated as fallen in Adam. The words simply state an historical fact which explains the necessity of redemption by Christ and the other phases of salvation.” These two modifications of the Westminster Confession undoubtedly demonstrate the Baptist’s desire to subscribe to a supralapsarian understanding of the ordo decretorum. However, this definite stance on the lapsarian position does not necessarily call into question the Baptists’ use of the Westminster document. If the Westminster document is careful to avoid language which excludes one or other lapsarian position, then it clearly treats a specific lapsarian position as immaterial to the more immediate task of creating a Confession of Faith. That the Baptist Confession chooses to promote a supralapsarian ordo decretorum does not oppose the Westminster document, but rather elucidates the Westminster Confession so as to give it a more definite interpretation.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f30/1689-supralapsarianism-27111/

Sorry, but the link to the pdf is dead now. If anyone has a current link...

j
 
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py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Turretin says, "Moreover, every subject is conceived to be before its adjuncts." Can Romans 4 extend to contradict that?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Turretin says, "Moreover, every subject is conceived to be before its adjuncts." Can Romans 4 extend to contradict that?
Yes, because God's knowledge is intuitive, not deductive; He knows a being in its totality with all possibilities relative to it. The decree is simple and single so far as God's decree is concerned, and only finds multiple expression in the way humans conceive the objects decreed. (The supra/infra discussion is only concerned with human conception of the relation of objects decreed, and should not be considered as dividing up God's eternal decree into portions of action on His part.) Hence it is nonsense to speak of God being able to conceive of something only on certain conditions.
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
Turretin says, "Moreover, every subject is conceived to be before its adjuncts." Can Romans 4 extend to contradict that?
Yes, because God's knowledge is intuitive, not deductive; He knows a being in its totality with all possibilities relative to it. The decree is simple and single so far as God's decree is concerned, and only finds multiple expression in the way humans conceive the objects decreed. (The supra/infra discussion is only concerned with human conception of the relation of objects decreed, and should not be considered as dividing up God's eternal decree into portions of action on His part.) Hence it is nonsense to speak of God being able to conceive of something only on certain conditions.
Rev Winzer, in line with Romans 4:17, and what you state, is Bavink’s objection completely unfounded then?

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A further objection to supralapsarianism is the fact that according to this view the objects of the decree of election and reprobation are men considered merely as possibilities and — as Comrie added — a Christ viewed as a mere possibility. To be sure by some this element has been eliminated from the supralapsarian scheme. But the principle which gave rise to this error still remains. Logic requires that a possible Christ should be added to possible men as the object of election, for in the decree of election the church and its Head, i.e., the saved and the Saviour cannot be separated.
But even aside from this, the decree of election and reprobation which has for Its object “creatable and fallible men” is not the real, but merely a tentative decree. In the end supralapsarianism is forced to proceed to the infralapsarian order in the elements of the decree. For, following the decree concerning the election and reprobation of these possible men comes the decree to create them and to permit them to fall, and this must be succeeded by another decree respecting these men, who are now no longer viewed as mere possibilities but as realities — even in the decree — viz., to elect some and to reprobate others.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Turretin says, "Moreover, every subject is conceived to be before its adjuncts." Can Romans 4 extend to contradict that?
Yes, because God's knowledge is intuitive, not deductive; He knows a being in its totality with all possibilities relative to it. The decree is simple and single so far as God's decree is concerned, and only finds multiple expression in the way humans conceive the objects decreed. (The supra/infra discussion is only concerned with human conception of the relation of objects decreed, and should not be considered as dividing up God's eternal decree into portions of action on His part.) Hence it is nonsense to speak of God being able to conceive of something only on certain conditions.
Thanks, Mr. Winzer. What do you think of John Brown of Haddington's attempted solution of the matter?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev Winzer, in line with Romans 4:17, and what you state, is Bavink’s objection completely unfounded then?
Bavinck's analysis overall is sound because he consistently makes the issue about the order of the decrees, and does not wander into some process that is supposed to have existed in the divine mind. He has correctly noted the weak point of the supralapsarian position. But to my way of thinking, this can be overcome by a Christological focus, which emphasises election in Christ as the Head of creation. He is elected, and individual destiny is inextricably tied to one's relation to Him. The conceptual order of creation and fall then becomes immaterial. Infralapsarianism simply cannot account for the biblical presentation of all things being made FOR Jesus Christ.

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What do you think of John Brown of Haddington's attempted solution of the matter?
It's hard to call a single page a "solution." It definitely enabled him to live comfortably with both sides of the issue, and I think we should all seek that. Often the infralapsarians frame the issue as if it were about an order in God's mind; and it is usually the supralapsarians which are at pains to show that no such order exists. The order is our human conception of it. John Brown acknowledges such an order when he rejects the Arminian scheme that election is dependent on faith and perseverance. Once we, as Calvinists, accept that, I don't think there is anything objectionable to asking how creation and the fall should also be conceptualised.
 
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py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Thanks again, Mr. Winzer, for a most illuminating discussion. What is the single best defense of supralapsarianism?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
What is the single best defense of supralapsarianism?
I don't know of a single best defence. The best historical source is probably found in Beza, which is online at different places. This provides a starting point. Bavinck's is a balanced discussion of the pros and cons, as we have seen; and Berkhof's Systematic is also useful for getting an idea of the actual issues. I have an appreciation of the Christological focus of Herman Hoeksema's Reformed Dogmatics. P. 165 probably contains the best succinct statement. Robert Reymond tries to improve the supralapsarian position, but it seems to me that he throws it into some confusion; nevertheless, the discussion he provides is worthwhile to reflect on.
 

charliejunfan

Puritan Board Senior
I think it is possible to be supra in decree but infra in implications. I claim infralapsarianism, but then again I think that placing the order of decree is only important for implications of God and Evil. God creates evil by retraction rather than action, He is still the cause either way. In God's mind I believe both schemes were there perfect and all-inclusive with both views simultaneously.
 
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