Thursday, February 20, 2014

Points in Favor of Supralapsarianism, part 2

Read with Ephesians 1:3-14 in mind

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Point 4: Reprobation would appear to be before the decree of creation based on facts such as this: There are others "whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 17:8).

Point 5: The Fall can't be in view before election because some elect have never fallen: The elect angels never fell (1 Tim. 5:21). This may serve to answer something brought up in a previous comment, namely that election is unto salvation, and non-sinners don’t need saving. At first blush, this sounds like a strong argument. However, I am not sure that I can fully grant the premise that election is unto salvation, or at least, salvation from sin. Unto what are the elect angels elected? It certainly cannot be said to be salvation from sin, since their election carries with it the not falling into sin. So perhaps we could say that election is unto glory in Christ, who is the first and true Elect, into whom all the other elect are counted.

Point 6: Infralapsarianism seems to imply that all men were originally fit for dishonor (Rom. 9:21). Scripture clearly teaches in Romans 9 that some are vessels of wrath fit for dishonor, while the elect are vessels of mercy. There seems to be no hint that the elect and the reprobate were first lumped together and then separated into the two categories of "vessels of mercy" and "vessels of wrath."

Point 7: The means serves the ends: If God first determined to create men, next permitted their fall, then out of the fallen mass to choose some to salvation, did He not purpose to do all this without any end in view? The ends proposed by Scripture is that God wished to do all for His own glory. He is glorified in the display of His mercy and His justice. This is another place where the question of conception versus historical execution comes in. 

Point 8: God views His elect as glorified, the Fall being the means.

In closing out this series, let me reiterate: Both the Infralapsarian and Supralapsarian positions teach the eternality of God's decrees. The issue is only the logical, not the temporal, order of those decrees in God's mind. That is why one must be careful to not draw too deep a line in the sand. The mind of God is immeasurably and infinitely above and beyond the human mind. We must always remember that God's mind and counsel are one and indivisible, therefore using our human (and therefore fallen) forms of reasoning may quickly lead us into unwarranted speculations far outside the scope of revealed truth. The preceding posts have merely been my attempt to profit by marveling at the wisdom of God, not an attempt to draw any hard and fast rules whereby anyone's Christian profession is assessed or judged.

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