Monday, January 25, 2010

Two Problems Unique to Supra-Lapsarianism

Calvinists generally face the issue of God punishing people for acts that they cannot avoid, since Calvinists deny libertarian free will and maintain we cannot do otherwise than what God has decreed for us to do, but supra-lapsarianism faces two additional issues: 1) God reprobates certain men for some reason other than their sins and 2) God necessitates the fall of mankind in order to accomplish election and reprobation. Supra-lapsarians believe that in the order of decrees ( which is a logical ordering of God’s plan from eternity, rather than a temporal order of the execution of His plan in time) election and reprobation come before the fall. In this sense the fall and sin are not the reasons God reprobates. So supra-lapsarians hold that God reprobates for some reason other than sin. After God has reprobated, He needs man to sin and be in a fallen condition, so He decrees the fall to accomplishing reprobation.

Infra-lapsarians avoid these two issues by saying that in the logical order, the decree of election comes after the fall.

2 comments:

Robert said...

Hello Dan,

Interesting observations.

“but supra-lapsarianism faces two additional issues: 1) God reprobates certain men for some reason other than their sins and 2) God necessitates the fall of mankind in order to accomplish election and reprobation.”

A third problem which is a corollary of (2) is that if God **necessitates** and desires for the fall to occur, then he **is** the author of sin. Infras recognizing this usually argue that God permitted the fall and it was part of the total plan but that God did not necessitate it (and yet if they hold to the exhaustive predetermination of all events then their thinking **also** makes God the author of sin and Adam did not have free will).

Regarding (1) is it interesting that some supras try to put a spin on things by arguing that the reprobates (i.e. those in the supra view chosen for damnation apart from their actions, apart from their sin) are damned justly because of their sins it is their sins that merit reprobation. They make this move to make it seem like God in their system has righteous character. But if damnation is based solely upon sin then all of us would be damned. Which shows as you are pointing out here that the damnation of the reprobates in the supra system is not based solely on their sin. They are damned not primarily because of their sins (which **would** be strict justice) but because they are the sinners whom God desires to damn, whom God desires to reprobate.

This also goes back to the problem for the supra that if God could save all (he most certainly can under their system) then why doesn’t he save all? The answer must be because he wants to damn them. And that then makes God a person of questionable character (He says in scripture that he desires the salvation of all, that he has mercy on all, etc. and yet his real character contradicts his explicit statements in scripture, which means you also cannot trust his statements in scripture, unless you reinterpret them away as the supras do).

“In this sense the fall and sin are not the reasons God reprobates.”

Not the **only** reason God reprobates them. He reprobates them primarily because he wants to reprobate **those specific individuals** and because in his total plan those are the individuals that he wants to be the villains in his story (like an author of a novel who chooses what characters there will be in the story as well as the personalities and actions of each character in HIS STORY).

“So supra-lapsarians hold that God reprobates for some reason other than sin.”

God reprobates for more reasons than just the sins of the individual (if it were sin alone then all would be damned, but in the supra system God chooses to save some sinners, so sin alone is not the criteria for damnation).

“After God has reprobated, He needs man to sin and be in a fallen condition, so He decrees the fall to accomplishing reprobation.”

In other words the fall is the means to an end, the end being fulfilling his desire to damn the reprobates and punish them eternally for the sins the predetermined and ensured they would commit.

The supra system is very different from the non-Calvinist view that people are reprobated/dammed based upon (1) their sin, and (2) a lifetime of rejection of God’s drawing of them to himself. All deserve to be damned based upon their sin (1), and those who are not damned are those who surrendered who did not continue their rebellion and resistance for a lifetime. And in the non-Calvinist view, God truly desires the salvation of all and so he does not decide in eternity who will be a reprobate apart from their sinful actions. Rather he decides upon His plan of salvation in which he provides the atonement of Christ for all and then applies the atonement to those who trust Him alone for their salvation. The supra system does not fit the bible, contradicts it, and leads to a God of questionable character who is opposite what God Himself reveals in scripture. Thankfully even most Calvinists reject it.

Robert

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Robert,

Nice to see you out there 'defending Calvinism', but it really is that bad. :-)

Seriously, I do think you conflate reprobation and damnation in order to add sin in as a reason God reprobates, but a true supra-lapsarian will say sin is not a reason for reprobation even though it is a reason for damnation.

God be with you,
Dan