Monday, January 12, 2009

A bit about lapsarianism and God's sovereignty

A quick examination of some of the different views of the soteriological process.  I used this page as a reference.

Supralapsarian:
1. Elect some, reprobate rest
2. Create
3. Permit the Fall
4. Provide salvation only for elect
5. Call elect to salvation

This is the most extreme bent of Calvinism, and many who hold to supralapsarianism are hyper-Calvinists.  This view even makes most Calvnists uncomfortable.

Infralapsarian:
1. Create
2. Permit the Fall
3. Elect some, "pass over" the rest
4. Provide salvation only for elect
5. Call elect to salvation

One Calvinist I debated said he believes foreknowledge means God knows and therefore because He knows had to have ordained what happens. So even though in this system God created us first, He still knew who He was going to end up reprobating.

Furthermore, it may sound nicer to say God simply "passes over" some, but in passing over them, He has effectively reprobated them. The logical conclusion is the same. He has still created a certain number of people for heaven, and a certain number of people for hell, and there is nothing any of them can do to change that.

Amyraldism (aka 4-point calvinism):
1. Create
2. Permit Fall
3. Provide salvation sufficient for all
4. Elect some, pass over rest
5. Call elect to salvation

In this system, God provides salvation for everybody, but since nobody will come on their own, God "hand-picks" who will believe and subsequently by doing that who won't believe. So still, the logical conclusion is the same. And with that conclusion, I still see nobody's actions here really having any consequence, since God has already decided who will come, and who will not. That effectively negates anything we do.

In Arminianism (the correct view ;-) ):
1. Create
2. Permit Fall
3. Provide salvation for all
4. Call all to salvation (with previnient grace)
5. Elect those who believe

Here, God is not responsible for our sin and His election process is properly described. We suffer the consequences of what we have done. God is still sovereign (meaning having independent power or authority) and able to do whatever He wants.

Jacobus Arminius wrote on God's sovereignty, "I consider Divine Providence to be "that solicitous, continued, and universally present inspection and oversight of God, according to which he exercises a general care over the whole world, but evinces a particular concern for all his [intelligent] creatures without any exception, with the design of preserving and governing them in their own essence, qualities, actions, and passions, in a manner that is at once worthy of himself and suitable to them, to the praise of his name and the salvation of believers. In this definition of Divine Providence, I by no means deprive it of any particle of those properties which agree with it or belong to it; but I declare that it preserves, regulates, governs and directs all things and that nothing in the world happens fortuitously or by chance. Beside this, I place in subjection to Divine Providence both the free-will and even the actions of a rational creature, so that nothing can be done without the will of God, not even any of those things which are done in opposition to it; only we must observe a distinction between good actions and evil ones, by saying, that "God both wills and performs good acts," but that "He only freely permits those which are evil." Still farther than this, I very readily grant, that even all actions whatever, concerning evil, that can possibly be devised or invented, may be attributed to Divine Providence Employing solely one caution, "not to conclude from this concession that God is the cause of sin."

3 comments:

Pizza Man said...

good explanation.

bossmanham said...

Thanks. I tried to explain it as succinctly as possible.

DonaldH said...

Great job on this subject. I'm glad to see an Arminian brother tackle this truth.

I applaud this post.