The Struggle over Infra-en Supralapsarianism In the Reformed Churches Of the Nederland

by K. D IJ KAMPEN - J. H. KOK - 1912


The intra-confessional disputes have recently drawn much attention and certainly no less than the battle against heterodoxy. This phenomenon can very well be explained by observing the independent significance of these disputes. This significance is especially evident in what follows.

In the first place, they most clearly show that in the Reformed Church the libertas prophetandi is always maintained, and within the confessional limits nobody is robbed of his freedom from holding his own opinion; by which the Church has shown that by holding fast to the confession, a breadth of view and a depth of insight can properly go together, because she understood, that only in this way would she be spared from one-sidedness; and the possibility for a free development of theological knowledge be guaranteed.[1]

In the second place, these disputes also serve to preserve us from a wrong confessionalism, and keep us free from a petrified orthodoxy. For they show us that even the purest confession contains only a part of the truth, and that our forming of the truth remains at all times incomplete and faulty.

And in the third place, these disputes cast a bright light on the struggle, which the Church has waged against heresy; on the one hand, because, both originally and historically, these disputes are closely related to one another; and on the other hand, these differences of opinion can dogmatically become occasions for heresy.

 Among these intra-confessional disputes the controversy concerning the object of Predestination ranks first. Although in our Reformed churches there exists a complete agreement about the confession of predestination, and the dogma of election may be called the cor ecclesiae, there has always existed a very significant controversy, known by the name of Infra- and Supralapsarism.

To be sure, this work of a novice, which has as its subject the struggle over this dispute, will not venture dogmatically to treat this question in its entire breadth and depth. This dispute goes too deep for that, for it touches one of the most difficult questions of Dogmatics; and it places us before problems, which have always occupied our thinking and over which the most powerful minds have been unable to give a clear pronouncement. In this thesis a dogmatic treatise on that is out of the question, and is only meant to present one specimen of scientific study.

My purpose is to portray only the historic process of this dispute. In this also, however, I have to limit myself to the Reformed churches. I am going to draw the boundaries even sharper, and restrict myself to the course this dispute has had within the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, and particularly to what took place about this matter before and during the National Synod of Dordrecht.

A historical study of such caliber has not been found to date. It is true that this dispute has been discussed by different dogmatici, and both the Church and Dogmen historici have dealt with this conflict, but they did this only incidentally, whereas certainly the sources for obtaining new material on this subject have not been exhausted.

Although I emphasize the historical nature of this study, this treatise still demands that I first of all explain what is meant by Infra- and Supralapsarism. To that end I shall begin by contrasting both views with each other and by examining what actually was the source of this dispute.

After that I shall treat first the kind of struggle that was waged before the Synod of Dordt over this matter, and in the second place, proceed with discussing the Synod itself. This Synod occupies an important place in our treatise, since, before everything, it is of primary importance to know how the greatest Reformed council judged in this dispute and what stand they took in the face of it.

In the fourth chapter, I discuss how they judged the decisions of Synod later on; while in the last chapter, I review how the most important Reformed symbols have made pronouncements on this dispute.

A listing of literature, in the ordinary sense of the word, is not possible here. Frequently I will have the opportunity, when referring to literature, to indicate where data regarding this question can be found.

And whereas it is presently, since the Synod of Utrecht, suitable to study “sine ira et studio” the course of this dispute in the church history of our nation, it is my hope that, by means of this writing, it may become more and more clear that this controversy should never have to lead to fraternal quarrels and ecclesiastical dissensions. This study will indeed demonstrate that in the flourishing days of our Reformed church and the most spiritually respectable period of our theology, this dispute, in spite of its importance, and notwithstanding the fact that it was connected with most fundamental questions, has never led to a breaking of the bond that unites sons of the same house; but that only in later times, when the generation of the epigones who set the tone of spiritual life began to show traces of decay, this confessional dispute became the cause for a disturbance of peace within the churches.







What is meant by the terms Infra- and Supralapsarism? The ordinary conception found in most dogmatic and historical textbooks is that the disagreement lies in the distinct view of the order of the decrees of God; namely, whether in God’s eternal Counsel, Predestination and Reprobation precede, and the decree of Creation and Fall follows, or the reverse; and consequently, whether God in His Predestination viewed man as creabilis et labilis, or creatus et lapsus.

This view can, however, have no claim to be correct. It does indeed reflect the system subsequently worked out, but it does not penetrate the original difference that lies at the root of both views. The positioning of post and ante, infra and supra is based on a fundamental idea from which all other is derived. That fundamental thought must now, first of all, be traced along a dogmatic-historical line.

It must be noted beforehand that the name[2] already indicates that this question concerns the fall: or more clearly, the relationship between predestination and the fall.

The doctrine of predestination came to a sound development only through the struggle over the freedom of man’s will. In principle it was about the relationship between the action of man and divine providence; about the question of how, with an absolute predestination of God, the freedom of man’s actions and responsibility can be maintained.

Fundamentally the roots of this dispute can be found in this struggle. As far as the good deeds of man are concerned, the adherents of the orthodox doctrine were in agreement with each other. They acknowledged that man in fact cannot thank himself for them, but that they are fruits of God’s grace only; that faith, etc., did not spring up from within ourselves, but flowed to us only out of the decree of God: fides electionis fructus.

When, however, they got down to sin and the sinful deeds of man, difficulties arose. In what kind of relation did sin stand to God’s universal plan? As to the sins of Adam’s descendants they knew how to escape this problem in part, because these sins could be explained as a result of the first transgression, and they could assume that through hereditary pollution a sinful habitus was present in all men, giving rise to sinful deeds. But all of this was only a shifting of the difficulties, for with the fall of Adam, from which all sin developed genetically, they were confronted with the same problem. The entire question was therefore concentrated on the lapsus Adae.

Questions arise whether the providentia Dei touch the fall of man, whether the first sin is also included in His eternal Counsel. Is there at the fall a reference to predestination, or did God only foresee that lapsus by His praescientia nuda? Is there here also a necessitas rerum or is it possible, as far as the first sin is concerned, to speak only of contingentia? And, what was the answer of the Reformers to these questions?

It is necessary for us to go back to Augustine. He was indeed the man, who fought the great battle with Pelagianism and who, over against the doctrine of the free will, held fast to God’s eternal decree, which controls all things. He rejected the view of Pelagius that God’s Counsel was dependent on man’s actions; and he also opposed Pelagius, where he construed the permission of the fall strictly negatively and passively. Augustine maintained that sin does not take place praeter voluntatem Dei, and that God does not permit sin nolens, but volens; he refused to speak of a nuda praescientia and included the fall in God’s decree. “Augustine does not really call the Fall as merely foreseen, and therefore already with certainty to take place, but also as willingly permitted by God; for melius esse etiam de malis benefacere, quam mala esse non sinere. The world, with sin included, is before God good and purposeful, whereas without the entrance of sin God’s goodness, namely His mercy and justice could not have been proclaimed.”[3] Repeatedly expressions are found in Augustine’s writings, which, in later times, adopted by the Reformers, arouse severe criticism of the Pelagian-minded Roman Catholics and Remonstrants.[4] It is also noteworthy that Calvin relies on Augustine repeatedly, with full agreement quoting his statements time and again. That is why Augustine, even though this dogma is not found by him as fully developed, still can be called the father of the dogma of the predestination of the fall. Precisely by attempting to deliver a theodicy of the existence of evil, he necessarily arrives at the necessitas of the fall; and his thesis: voluntas Dei necessitas rerum is not in the least valid in view of the first sin of man.[5]

After having given this exposition of the various questions that arise with this problem, as well as Augustine’s position, I am able to proceed with examining how the Reformers have thought about this question. They stood also, just like Augustine, opposed to the advocates of the teaching of the liberum arbitrium, continually taking great pains to point out to them the difficulties which arose in view of the relationship between sin and God’s decree.

In this respect Luther had to wage battle with Erasmus, whom he strongly opposed in his “de Servo Arbitrio”. Erasmus classified those who were the most hostile to Pelagius into three groups. The first group was, according to him, of the opinion that without God’s grace we are unable to do any good; the second went a little further and taught a harder line, namely that a free will has only the capability of sinning, and grace alone works in us what is good, whereas the third group proclaimed the hardest doctrine, namely that a free will did not have any power with the angels, nor with Adam, but that God is the One Who works in us both the evil and the good; all that happens, happens with absolute necessity.[6] 

It is certain that Luther must be reckoned as belonging to this last group. He proceeds from the servum arbitrium hominis and climbs from a complete dependency of man upon the absolute sovereignty of God’s will. That will controls everything, and all things depend on God. Not only did God foresee all things from eternity, but everything also takes place through His eternal, infallible will,[7] which is unchangeable: si volens praescit, aeterna est et immobilis (quia natura) voluntas, si praesciens vult, aeterna est et immobilis (quia natura) scientia.[8]

That is why everything we do, and all events, do take place, even though what happens seems variable and contingent to us, necessario et immutabiliter. God’s will is efficax, immutabilis et infallibilis, quae nostrum voluntatem mutabilem gubernat.[9]

That will of God also controls the sinful deeds of man as well as the fall. With the teaching of the nuda praevisio there is no way out; Luther did not want to know of a mere praescientia: all that God foreknows is bound to happen: Si Deus non fallitur in eo, quod praescit, necesse est ipsum praescitum fieri. With us it is just the reverse. We know of things ahead of time, because they will certainly take place; an eclipse of the sun, for example, does not happen, because we know of it beforehand, but precisely because it is certain to happen we know ahead of time that it will occur. Things, however, do happen, because God foreknows them. Vult enim Deus eadem, quae praescit[10] to which the fall also belongs. Because God did foreknow and determine sin, it takes place necessario. God willed to show in that one man, in Adam, as an example for us all, that man could not keep his commandments in his own strength; and furthermore: quid possit liberum arbitrium nostrum sibi relictum.[11] When someone might ask, why God permitted Adam to fall, the answer can be: “Deus est, cuius voluntatis nulla est causa nec ratio quae illi ceu regula et mensura praescribatur, eum nihil sit illi aequale aut superius, sed ipsa est regula omnium.[12]

In this respect Luther declares himself to be in full agreement with Augustine. Augustine … meus totus est.[13]

In that eternal will of God alone both electio and reprobatio can rest. These do not happen because of our merits, but only by virtue of God’s eternal decree. Pulchre scimus, quod Deus non amat aut odit, quemadmodum nos, siquidem nos mutabiliter et amamus et odimus, illa aeterna et immutabili natura amat et odit, sic non cadunt in illum accidentia et affectus. That love and hatred of God is not dependent on us; it is therefore also only His will that rejects some so that they perish eternally.[14]

Having this standpoint, which displays a deterministic character,[15] Luther does not shrink back from paradoxes which were challenged from different sides later on. A great number of such phrases duriores can be found with him. Because God knows beforehand that Judas would become a traitor: necessario Judas fiebat proditor, nec erat in manu Iudea aut ullius creaturae, aliter facere aut voluntatem mutare.[16] Thus God hardens: volendo voluntate illa imperscrutabili;[17] which is why Pharaoh’s will alone, no matter how, it did not harden or move itself: sed omnipotens actor cum illam agat inevitabili motu ut reliquas creaturas, necesse est eam aliquid velle.[18]

Still Luther does not let go of God’s holiness; we are unable to fathom His inscrutable will and may not pursue searching out the secreta majestatis either: it is, to be exact, summus gradus fidei, as we believe: illum esse clemetem, qui tam paucos salvat, tam multos damnat 

When Erasmus says that he cannot understand, how God then still can complain about the wrong in man, while He Himself works it in him, Luther looks for a solution of this problem by distinguishing between the hidden and the revealed will of God,[19] i.e. between the verbum Dei and God Himself. Multa facit Deus, quae verbo suo non ostendit nobis, multa quoque vult, quae verbo suo non ostendit sese velle.[20]

Luther’s doctrine on predestination is no less severe than that of the other Reformers: he was the first to bring both pointedly and clearly to the fore that the decree of God also concerns the lapsus hominis.[21]

That is why the idea, that this “hard” doctrine originated with Calvin, or if need be Zwingli, is entirely wrong. The responsibility for the “phrases duriores” was often shifted to Calvin and Beza; and it was forgotten that it was Luther, and not they, who expressed such paradoxes. The doctrine of the decretum horribile did not originate in Geneva. Although “those Lutheran Symbols may avoid the strong consequence of Augustine, and acknowledge a conditional decree, whereas the strong reformed view . . . makes the fall into sin itself dependent on God’s predestination,”[22] Luther himself is in league with the other Reformers regarding this question.

We can even go beyond that and say that it was not Zwingli or Calvin, but Luther that was the first to include the fall in the predestination, making use of the ‘phrases duriores’, with which his followers most vehemently reproached the Reformed.

In the beginning Melanchton did not refrain himself either from such paradoxical expressions. The pronouncement,[23] which for the sake of argument he expressed when discussing Augustine’s point of view, proves this. Agreeably he adopts Augustine’s words: Constat Deum omnia facere non permissive sed potenter, ut sit eius proprius opus (Augustini verbis utor) Judae proditio et Davidis adulterium sicut Pauli vocatio.[24]

Zwingli started from a different position than Luther. Luther’s starting-point was anthropological, whereas the principle of Zwingli’s theology was more theological.[25] He reasons from above and does not draw conclusions from the servum arbitrium to God’s sovereignty, but exactly vice versa, from the absolute will of God proceeds to the complete dependency of man. He derives everything out of his concept of God, namely that God is the summum bonum, the Bonitas. God is the existence of all things and all that is, is God; for things exist, because God exists. God does all in all. The creatures are merely organs of His works and all human actions find in Him their cause.[26]

Thus it becomes evident to us why he wants to know least of all about a nuda praescientia lapsus; his dogma on predestination possesses therefore an even more sharply defined character than Luther’s.[27] He places it, specifically in the foreground, that God also foreordained evil; and it is impossible for him to accept a mere praevisio. Foreknowledge without foreordination is unthinkable with God. That is why the fall was foreordained by God from eternity; and Adam’s deed was only the execution of God’s eternal decree.[28] How can this be squared with God’s wisdom, creating man, who must fall by virtue of the eternal providentia Dei? Zwingli finds the solution in that man reaches his destiny only by the fall and through salvation. This destiny is to know God rightly, to love Him and to fear Him. But man can only know through contrasts. Nam et bonum non cognoscitur quid sit ni malum sit, cuius comparatione et aestimatione boni ratio surgat. In order that man and angel might know what is justitia, utrique quod rectum et sanctum est praescripsit et contra quod iniquum ac perfidum erat vetuit . . . . Transgreditur ergo, uterque: quia primum transgressi sunt iustitiae faciem viderunt.[29]

But for all this, it is out of the question to speak of sin on the part of God. Zwingli tries to prove that in this way. Sin is transgression of the law; it is impossible for that to take place with God because He does not do what is contra legem. No law was laid down for God, because He is just: and laws are decreed the unjust only. That is why one and the same deed, for example, adulterium or homicidium, in so far as God is the author of them, is not a crime; as for man to do them, it is. Quod enim dues facit, libere facit, alienus ab omni adfectu noxio; igitur et absque peccato.

Even though God inclines the murderer to manslaughter, He does not become guilty. Accordin g to Zwingli sin resides in the sinful affections, which are not present with God. Whatever He does, His actions are without sin: yes, even the deed, quod deo authore et impulsore fit, illi honorificum est, at homini crimen ac nefas. David’s adultery, quod ad auctorem deum pertinet, non magis deo sit peccatum, quam quum taurus totum armentum inscendit et implet.[30]

Predestination or Election is described by Zwingli as follows: libera divinae voluntatis de beandis constitutio; this constitutio is completely free: citra omnem respectum bene aut male factorum.[31] He rejects therefore the position of Thomas that God would allow Himself to be limited by what He saw: quails homo futurus sit. God’s will is not dependent on anything, but serves to extol His virtues.[32]

That is how God directs man through the fall to his destiny: that fall does not minimize God’s wisdom, but establishes it: it is an indispensable link in the eternal plan of God. In this way Zwingli built up a strict Supralapsarian system, of which ordination is the solid foundation.[33]

The limited scope of this section does not permit a more extensive exposition of Zwingli’s viewpoint. Still it should be noted at any rate, that, even though he and Luther differ in principle and starting-point, with both the influence of a nominalistic theology can be observed. In their doctrine of providence we find traces of a nominalistic view, that the lex ethica is only positive and not aeterna and therefore not binding upon the Legislator. God is exalted, according to Luther, both above the law of logic (on which grounds he defended his teaching on the Lord’s Supper), and also above the lex ethica; things were not good, just and moral, because all these things are thus grounded in God’s Being, but solely because it pleased Him to ordain it that way. He could have ordained the very opposite just as well. As we have seen, Zwingli did not want to know of a law for God. For Him, Who is entirely justus, no lex applies.

For both of them, this arrival at their Supralapsarianism was to a greater extent based on philosophical premises; but Calvin came to this standpoint based more on religious-ethical grounds.

The basic principle of Augustine: Voluntas Dei necessitas rerum was not only accepted by Luther and Zwingli, but was adopted also by Calvin.[34] His system is naturally more rounded than Luther’s or Zwingli’s. He came after them, and could avoid their errors. We must not forget, however, that he also penetrated the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion much deeper than his forerunners.

In the first edition of Calvin’s Institutes his system of the doctrine of Predestination is not presented to us directly. In that regard he also experienced a process of development. In the first edition of 1536, he treats, just like our Catechism, the dogma of Election in the article of the church, and there expounds to the effect that Election is the last ground for our salvation. God calls, justifies and glorifies those who are His, and does accordingly, nihil aliud quam aeternam suam electionem declara(t) qua huc eos destinaverat, antequam nascerentur.[35]

Calvin says very little about the relation between providentia and sin. He does say, when treating the first article, that God’s government covers all things and everything definitely comes to us from His fatherly hand: excepto dumtaxat peccato quod nequitiae nostrae imputa convenit.[36]

Only in the standard-edition of 1559 is Calvin’s doctrine of Predestination clearly revealed. Mainly the section, originally written as Libellus de Praedestinatione in opposition to Bolsec,[37] and now appearing in the Institutes as Lib. III cap. 21ff., makes us familiar with his sentiments. At the same time, however, the other books of the Institutes should not be lost sight of.

Calvin, no less than Zwingli, definitely rejects the idea that, regarding sin and fall, there could be any mention of a nuda praescientia; and he is in in total disagreement with those who teach: Dei tantum permissione, non etiam voluntate hoc fieri. The Scriptures demolish this “effugium” of theirs. Quod autem nihil efficient homines nisi arcano Dei nutu, nec quidquam deliberando agitent nisi quod ipse iam apud se decreverit, et arcane sua directione constituat, innumeris et claris testimonies probatur.

From God’s Word it is evident (Calvin puts forward many examples) that a mere permission explains nothing to us; that’s why they are in error, qui in locum providentiae Dei nudam permissionem substiterunt, the question that, if God saw evil beforehand why did He, being able to prevent it, do so?[38]

The fall also has its place in the Counsel of God. The distinction between permission and will is not sound: man fell quia Dominus ita expedire censuerat.[39] That is why Calvin goes far beyond the dogma of foreknowledge. With His will God ordains all things, sin as well, which He willed in order to execute His Counsel and to realize the decrees of Election and Reprobation. That is why Election and Reprobation are not dependent on us; and Reprobation should not be thought of as a deed of God’s justice only. The most fundamental ground of Reprobation lies in His Sovereign will. While mercy and hardening can only be explained out of God’s good pleasure, His will and good pleasure remain the last foundation, and we should not search beyond that.[40] Everything has its last and deepest causa in the reconditum Dei consilium, which precedes everything and to which everything must be brought back; in which also Election and Reprobation can only rest.[41]

Still God is not the author of sin: with Him there can be no mention of guilt. A distinction must be made between what God does and what man does, but not in the sense Luther and Zwingli viewed this. Calvin does not want to recognize a God who stands above morality, nor venture into the paradoxes they had expressed.[42] He points out that the purpose of all God’s work and His way of working is entirely different than the sinner’s. Take, for example, the testing of Job: Domini consilium est servi sui patientiam calamitate exercere; Satan molitur eum ad desperationem adigere. God’s purpose is holy and just, since He does not do anything that might violate His essence. Also the way God works differs from the way Satan and man try to accomplish their goals. That varietas in fine et modo facit, ut illic inculpate Dei justitia reluceat, Satanae hominisque nequitiae cum suo opprobrio se prodat.[43]

Man is and remains guilty, even though he falls by the will of God, which remains hidden from us: cadit igitur homo, Dei providentia sic ordinante, sed suo vitio cadit.[44]

Therefore it is mere calumny, when Bolsec reproaches him of having written that God makes it a necessity that man sins. Calvin protests against this, and says that, in the first place, he never made use of such words as “necessity;” that is not his language.[45] Subsequently it is also untrue that I, he says, have ever applied this word sin to God, nor to His will. It is true that the will of God, as causa suprema, is the necessity of all things; but he immediately adds: “I have declared time and again that God disposes according to Himself and moderates everything He does with such equity and justice that the most wicked are constrained to glorify Him and acknowledge that His will is not tyranny, nor a pleasure without reason, but rather the true rule of all good.”

Calvin always emphasized that men are not compelled to do good or evil. Those doing good, do it by the renewed will which God gave them by His Holy Spirit; and those who do evil, do it with their natural will, which is evil and corrupted.[46]

That is why man cannot be absolved from guilt in any respect. It is true that Calvin maintains that through the ordaining and directing of sin God is glorified, but God condemns according to justice and in us He hates nothing but our sinfulness.[47] Man fell into sin sua sponte and he is to be blamed himself for his judgment and punishment.[48]

But for the sake of avoiding all appearances of still ending up at the old praescientia-dogma and of making reprobation dependent on the fall of man, Calvin adds immediately that there is a secret ground for God to permit the fall.[49] And, in that secret will, is also hidden the reason why there is a distinction among men in their eternal destiny: that does not lie in man himself, but in the reconditum Dei consilium.[50] There exists an arcanum Dei consilium which precedes the creation and fall; and in that decree God determined man’s eternal lot. It is also incongruous that man should have been created by God ambiguo fine.[51] No enim pari conditione creatur omnes; sed aliis vita aeterna, aliis damnation aeterna praeordinatur.[52] The disposition of all things, therefore, is in the hand and the decree of God: consilio nutuque suo ita ordinat, ut inter homines nascantur, ab utero certae morti devoti, qui suo exito ipsius nomen glorificent.[53] Everything then, eternal glory and eternal damnation, rests in the secret decretum Dei: Adam fell and his fall brings death to thousands for no other reason: nisi quia Deo ita visum est.

That arcanum Dei consilium may be a decretum horribile: infitiari tamen nemo poterit, quin praesciverit Deus, quem exitum esset habiturus homo, antequam ipsum conderet, et ideo praesciverit, quia decreto suo sic ordinarat.[54]

This is how everything is focused on Supralapsarianism[55]

The vasa irae et misericordiae of Rom. 9:22 are also taken in this sense. It is not because of a corruption of the lump that some are made into a vasa irae and others into vasa misericordiae, but only because of the altius Dei consilium which precedes the fall. [56]

That arcanum Dei consilium also deals with the fall. This can be seen especially from Calvin’s answer to an objection of Pighius. He asserted, referring to Proverbs 16:4: Quod si Deum respexisse dicimus, quid cuique futurum esset, simul necesse erit fateri discretionem inter electos ac reprobos priorem fuisse hominis lapsu in mente divina.[57] Unde sequetur non damnari reprobos quia perditi fuerint in Adam, sed quia ante lapsum Adae iam exitio devoti errant.[58]

Calvin, even though he consented to the first, could not agree with the second conclusion. He says that Pighius confounds the causae propinque et remotae; the proxima causa lies in man himself; Adam fell of his own free will;[59] and sin has in him her origo. This does not alter the fact that there is an arcanum Dei consilium, quo praeordinatus fuerat hominis lapsus.

When Pighius then asserts that Calvin’s sentiment is in conflict with itself: quod sicut Deus ante conditum Adam apud se decreverit, quidnam illi et posteris futurum esset, iam peccato imputari reproborum interitus non debeat: quia absurdum est, effectum facere sua causa priorem; against this Calvin argues: Ego autem utrumque istorum, quae oppugnat Pighius, verum esse affirmo. There is no contradiction between these two. God foreseeing the fall, did He not volens permit Adam to fall?[60] It is true that damnation presuppose the fall: by God’s just judgment the reprobi perish: (tradimus) quia in Adam sumus ad unum omnes perditi, justo Dei iudicio perire, qui pereunt. But Calvin adds immediately: simul tamen fatemur, quidquid Adae accidit, divinitus fuisse ordinatum.[61] The fall is therefore not praescitus, as Pighius desired, but ordinatus.

This shows, that Calvin indeed accepted the premise of Pighius’ assertion: simul necesse etc, but rejected the conclusion.

According to him election and reprobation have then their final and most fundamental ground in God’s good pleasure. Ante conditum Adam (Deus) apud se decreverit quidnam illi et posteris futurum esset,[62] but the reason why He did that remains hidden from us. Neither Pighius, nor anyone else, however, has then the right to say, that the reprobi do not perish iure. Calvin has continually emphasized that they iure pereunt, because by nature they are irae filii, for man fell sua sponte; but (and it is as if every time Calvin makes haste to do justice to God’s sovereignty and to cut off everything that would make Him dependent on us) sciente atque ita ordinante Deo cecidit Adam, seque et posteros perdidit. This does not throw the guilt on God either: not His arcanum consilium, sed aperta hominis voluntas is causa peccati.[63]

Time and again Calvin holds on fast with all firmness to God’s sovereignty and man’s guilt. On the one hand all emphasis falls on God’s good pleasure; on the other hand the sinner is not absolved, but all guilt is reckoned to him and he himself is named the immediate cause for his own damnation. Besides the doctrine of the secret decree, on which election and reprobation rest, Calvin also says that it is of God’s mercy, which elects some, “quibus succerrere Dei misericordiam, and His justice, which rejects others.[64] Calvin esteems the discussion of the predestination of greater importance for faith, than the consideration of the question why Adam fell. After having dealt at great length with the fall of Adam and maintained repeatedly that this was foreordained by God, he ultimately concludes that this is a mystery, concealed in the most inner holiness of God, in which we may not penetrate.                                                      

After that he passes on to the exposition of the second part of the decree of God, namely the predestination and says: Altera autem pars, quod ex damnata Adae sobole Deus quos visum est eligit, quos vult reprobate, sicuti ad fidem exercendum longe aptior est, ita maiore fructus tractatur. In hac doctrina, quae humanae naturae et corruptionem et rectum in se continent libentius insisto: sicuti no solum ad pietatem proprius conducit, sed magus mihi vidatur theological (more suitable for Christianity and also for edification).[65]

Now it seems at times that Calvin also adopts the infralapsarian view by using expressions, such as these, that God elected man massa perdita; however, Calvin thus speaking does not abandon his point of view: in those cases he pays more attention to the executio decreti, to the reality, as we perceive it, than to the decree itself.[66] Calvin’s view of predestination always ends up at the altius consilium. Every time that he, to counter the reproach that with his teaching the responsibility of man is taken away, puts emphasis on man’s sin and guilt. He immediately switches to the other side and fully maintains the sovereignty of God. He does not want to recognize a permissio quiescentis Dei:[67] that does not satisfy and does not provide a solution. That is why he rises up above the fall to the altius magisque reconditum arcanum consilium.[68]

Thus we found that, with Luther and with Zwingli and also with Calvin, al three of them include the fall in the Counsel of God; reject the nuda praescientia and teach a praedestinatio lapsus. Neither election, nor reprobation (and this should be especially observed) happen because of anything in man, but they rest only in the good pleasure of God in His secret Counsel, which precedes sin.

A remark must be added here. Already a moment ago I had the opportunity to observe that Calvin was averse to all paradoxical expressions, which Luther and Zwingli used. An expression such as this one, that God compels men to sin, cannot be found with Calvin. He says this word … is not my language at all, but a slang, employed by priests, but which I have never used.[69] That is why he can also write to Bullinger that Zwingli’s paradoxes differ quite a bit from the measured expressions always used by him. Zwinglii enim libellus, ut familiariter inter nos loquamur. Tam duris paradoxis refertus est, ut longissime, ab ea quam adhibui moderatione, distet.[70]

Still he defended Luther over against Pighius in this respect. When Pighius reproaches him: quod non exsecremur (Calvin himself says this) Lutherum tam horrendae blasphemiae autorem, then he answers him: De Luthero non est quid dubiam coniecturam sumat: quando nunc quoque, sicut hactenus, non dissimulanter testamur, eum nos habere pro insigni Christi apostolo, cuius maxime opera et ministerio restituta hoc tempore fuerit evangelii puritas.[71]

The conception of the Reformers met with objections already in their day, and it seemed too hard and too severe for some. Especially Bullinger was not agreeable to this view and the dogma of the: “non pari conditione creatos esse” and the predestination of the fall appeared objectionable to him.[72]

In connection with the process with Bolsec, Calvin had, on behalf of the preachers of Geneva, also written a letter to the preachers in Zürich, informing them of the facts of the case and asking them for a judicum. Included with this epistle was a letter of the Magistrate, as well as the official acts of the proceedings. The preachers of Zürich gave a lengthy answer, whereas Bullinger himself wrote to Calvin in private regarding this matter.[73] In it he advised him to moderate himself and to publish separately a treatise showing the he (namely Calvin) did not teach that God is the author of sin. Bullinger found this necessary because many were offended by several pronouncements in the Institutes, and from it deduced the above-mentioned tenet.[74]

In a reply to Bullinger Calvin wrote about it, which letter I mentioned a moment ago,[75] and in which Calvin shows what he thought of the paradoxes of Zwingli. Calvin utterly repudiates the accusation that he taught that God is an author mali; in the pamphlet Contra Libertinos he sufficiently showed how much those blasphemia are repugnant to him.[76]

Bullinger’s response[77] was that there was much in Calvin’s teaching that appeared hard to him. Deum non tantum praevidisse sed praedestinasse et dispensasse lapsum Adami, huiusmodi esse videtur ex quo origo mali causaque peccati in ipsum possit reflecti Deum autorem. Durum mihi esse videtur, asserere Deum eos quos in mortis creavit exitium, ut in finem suum perveniant audiendi verbi sua facultate privare, adeoque et per praedicationem excaecare etc. Also in his letter: De Providentia Dei eiusdemque praedestinatione electione ac reprobatione, deque libero arbitrio et quod Deus not sit auctor peccati (written to the Englishman Barthol. Traberonus in a correspondence concerning Predestination, March 3, 1553),[78] develops this sentiment. In it he says also: Quod idem (Calvin) suis alicubi inserit, Deum non modo primi hominis casum et in eo posterorum ruinam praevidisse, sed Arbitrio quoque suo dispensasse: item, quos in exitium creavit ut irae suae organa fierent, eos ut in finem suum perveniant nunc audiendi verbi sui facultate privare, nunc eius praedicatione magis excaecare et obstupefacere etc. quis non videat ea eo modo esse proposita ut veteres ea minime agnovissent? Ego certe sic loqui non ausim, utpote qui existimem gratiae divinae sinceritatem defendi posse, utcunque non dicamus Deum hominem creare in exitium et in illum finem ipsum deducere aut impellere indurando aut excaecando.[79] He does teach that sins cannot be the cause of reprobation, but they are the cause of damnatio; it is true that he became later more defined and sharper in his views, especially under the influence of Martyr, but in one respect he is definitely opposed to Calvin: he avoids the Predestination of the fall and remains standing at the Praescientia.[80]

What can we now conclude in view of the foregoing? This, that in earlier times there were two opinions regarding the relationship of the Counsel of God and the fall. The first was the opinion of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, who included the fall in the decree of God and who spoke of predestination; the other sentiment was that of Bullinger, who did not dare to do this, and only wanted to know of a praescientia of sin. One presentation climbed up to an arcanum consilium, which preceded creation and the fall, tracing it back to both predestination and rejection, allowing Reprobation to rest solely in God’s good pleasure; the other, while excluding everything that is in man and rejecting a fides praevisa, yet grounded Reprobation on the praevisio peccati. The difference therefore touches two questions, which, however, are closely connected:

1. Is the fall predestined by God, or can there only be mention of a praescientia Dei?

2. Is Reprobation an act of God’s sovereignty or of His justice?

Well then, this is fundamentally the dispute between Supra- and Infralapsarism. The supralapsarian sentiment, as advocated by the three greatest Reformers, professes the predestination of the fall; while the infralapsarian view remains standing at the praevisio as Bullinger leads us to see. The general idea, that the dispute between both opinions is in a dissimilar view of the order of the decrees as well as in the object of predestination, is therefore incomplete as it does not go back to the original thought lying at the root of both sentiments.

Now I must consider how both sentiments continued to develop. For that purpose I discuss the supralapsarian view first and shall try to set forth this system based on Beza and Gomarus.

The supralapsarian system was first “developed with awareness” by Beza.[81] He worked out what had not as yet come to a full development with Calvin; and with him we find for the first time a complete scheme of the order of the decrees, “Calvin’s Supralapsarism was introduced into Dogmatics only by Beza’s stronger emphasis.”[82]

Beza also proceeds from the principle that the fall is included in the counsel of God. Adam did not fall sine decreto Dei.[83] It will not do to remain standing only at the praescientia. That may seem to satisfy, but in reality it does not present a solution. With an “otiose” looking of God at the fall of man, God is guilty just as well, since He solo nutu cadentem fulcire potuit. Adam fell, non modo praesciente sed etiam iuste ordinante ac decernente Dei.[84] The fall did not take place by a nuda et otiose permissio, but by God’s decree, because God, who established the purpose for this world Himself, also ordained the causes leading to that purpose; the fall belongs also among those media.[85]

It is true that it was not declared in the Holy Scriptures expressis verbis that Adam fell non sine Dei decreto, but this truth is implied by them. Paul teaches the same when he uses the image of the potter and the clay. This clay is symbolic of the human race; not of the lump condita, but of the lump condenda; non modo quod Deus nondum reipsa condidisset sed etiam quod non consideraret sive prospiceret ut conditum nedum ut corruptum. When the apostle spoke of the lump condita, aut secundum Dei praescientiam hanc similitudinem vellet intelligi, then he must not say: Deum facere vasa irae, but: ea quae suapte natura praesciret fore, vel quae iam essent irae vasa, in miserabili statu relinquere. Then there would not be a reason either for the exclamation: O homo, tu quis es? And while some assert, that Paul does not deal here with the question, why some are cast off, but cur hi potius quam illi reprobentur … quid enim et his et illis praeter iustam poenam debebutur, si (ut vos vultis) praevisa illorum corruptio decretum Dei antegreditur?[86]

Somewhere else Beza disputes this opinion. The Reprobatio cannot rest on the praevisio of sin, but only in God’s good pleasure; otherwise the secret will of God would not be the last ground.[87] Still he put all emphasis on the fact that man fell sua sponte and that sine ulla culpa Dei.[88]

That is why Beza also makes a distinction between the propositum Reprobandi and Reprobation itself, namely the execution of the decree.

The cause of the first is solely the will of God, but the latter takes place on account of sin of men.[89] In order for God to show His mercy and His justice He included all under sin, to be merciful to one and to another just.[90] Therefore, (and this clearly shows that Beza was a student of Calvin) even though man is not in the least absolved and bears all guilt,[91] he does not fall absque ordinatione Dei. God makes vasa irae et misericordiae. He ordains the ultimate goal, but also the causae necessariae unto that finis and among these causae is the fall also. God ordained that fall juste, so that He cannot be accused at all of being the fons malorum.

That is how Beza arrives at his scheme of the decrees and their execution.[92] The goal is the Gloria Dei in the manifestation of His virtues; namely those of mercy and justice. The media to attain this finis are: a. common for both: Creatio and Permissio Lapsus and b. for both in particular:

1. for electio: vocatio, gratia, fides, etc.

2°for reprobatio: dereliction, induratio, damnatio, etc.

He presents this in the following schematic:[93]



With him then corruption does not come before the decree, but flows forth out of the decree. Only: the dereliction justa does not work more efficiently, but more deficiently. In order to make this clearer Beza uses the picture of a setting sun. That sunset is not the causa efficiens of the night, sed potius umbra terrae, et tamen nisi sol occideret, umbra terrae nulla esset.[94]

As we have shown earlier, not everyone can agree with his view. There are those who, as far as the doctrine of Election is concerned, go along with him, ruling out a praevisio fidei aut operum; but who at the section of Reprobation cannot let go of the teaching of the corruption praevisa. Their sentiment is: Deum apud se ab aeterno capientem aliquos eligendi et aliquos reprobandi consilium sibi prposuisse genus humanum ut coruptum ac proinde ut maledictione dignum.

To this Beza raises his objections: Sed ex hac opinione praesupponitur quod in Deum cadere non posttest, ispsum videlicet tum demum cepisse de hominem fine et exitu consilium, quum Illos ut iam corruptos consideraret, quandoquidem corruptionis praevisionem volunt in mente Dei causarum ordine decretum illud antegredi.[95] But in his plan a wise builder will determine first the purpose to which he desires to lead the work. Quinam igitur corruptionis praenotio, quae certe integritatem naturae ut priorem (privation videlicet habitum) praesupponit, in mente Dei praecesserit de hominem exitu deliberationem et causam sive occasionem de humani generis fine statuendi Deo praeburit? The decree of God de Gloria sua et in nonnullis quos ipso visum esset per misericordiam servandis, et in nonnullis iusto iudicio perdendis patefacienda, ordine causarum precedes the decree of creation and fall, because God establishes first His ultimate goal and does not devise a work ambiguo fine. As media these are subordinated to God’s finis. [96] The miseria and gratuita misericordia [97] do indeed come between the decree of election and its execution and likewise between the propositum Reprobandi and de exequutio Reprobationis de Induratio, [98] but God’s decrees themselves are absque ullo qualitatum respectu. Paul also teaches this in Romans 9. There the lump is ex qua figulus vasa conficit the image of the genus humanum, not as conditum, but as condendum. Ex quo consequitur recte et vere dici omnes reprobos factos esse in Adamo simul eodemque momento, sicut Deus ab aeterno constituerit, not tantum vasa id est homines; sed etiam vasa irae, id est homines iustae per medias quidem contingenter sequuturae, ex decreto Dei autem prorsus necessario eventurae destinatos.[99]

Gomarus was the second who, after Beza, presented a worked out system. Where his sentiments are in complete agreement with Beza, he can be discussed briefly.

Gomarus affirms in his Explicatio op Romans VIII the Predestination can be viewed in two ways.

1. Generatim pro decreto Dei de rebus omnibus futuris.

2. Speciatim pro decreto de creaturis ratione praeditis ad finem suum ultimum et ad media eo pertinentia dirigendis.

This special Predestination has duas partes: Electio and Rejectio.[100] God, however, does not execute His decree in an absolute manner, sine mediis causis, but per justa media which are subordinated to that decree, the subordinate permissione peccatorum also, quae peccata non efficit, sed fieri permittit, tolerat et regit, ac tandem justo judicio punit. The purpose of God is duplex. In both cases the manifestatio gloriae, but in reprobos: declaratio irae suae et potentiae; in electis: declaratio bonitatis et gratiae Dei.[101]

With him also sin appears before him as included in the decree of God, even as a means to the goal: God glorifies Himself in His mercy and justice by means of the creation and the fall: election and reprobation come therefore ordine causarum before creation and lapsus and rest in the secret will of God.

That is why he cannot agree with those who regard the homo conditus and lapsus as objects of Predestination and thus have the decree of creation and fall preceding the decree of Election and Reprobation. Nec enim Deus primus decrevit creare mundum et homines temere fine nullo praestituto, quasi post decretam creationem tum demum praepostere in quem finem Dei a diametro adversatur: utpote qui nihil frustra faciat.[102]

That is how he also develops in his disputatio de Aeterno Dei Decreto, that purpose of predestination is the gloria Dei; means are: creation and permissio lapsus,[103] while he regards the homo creabilis et labilis as object.[104]

With this I consider the supralapsarian system as sufficiently elucidated. We have found this historical development: With the Reformers (Luther, Zwingli and Calvin) the main question of concern is whether the fall was predestinated and the teaching of the nuda praevisio is opposed. We see in nuce already with Calvin that this view makes its influence felt on the ordo decretorum, while Beza is the one who gives a sharply-defined supralapsarian scheme: election and reprobation precede creation and fall. Finally, Gomarus puts all emphasis on the latter; the problem is now mainly related to the object of predestination and his are the expressions: creabilis, labilis etc. which later became termini technici.

This historical process can also be observed with different theologians who also share the supralapsarian view: “non pauci theology praestantissimi orbis Christiani.”[105] The earlier ones, such as Petrus Martyr,[106] Guil. Withaker,[107] Hieron. Zanchius,[108] G. Perkins,[109] Joh. Piscator,[110] Am. Polanus à Polansdorf,[111]  Zach. Ursinus,[112] L. Trelcatius Sen.,[113] Jac. Trigland,[114] stand, some more, others less on the standpoint of the old Reformers; and their supralapsarian sentiment comes out more in their doctrine of the predestination of the fall over against the doctrine of the praevisio and praescientia nuda, than in a worked-out scheme of the order of the decrees, (although they also speak of the object of the predestination). By the later one, however, the emphasis is put more or less on the question of how God viewed man in His predestination; or a developed system of the decrees is offered in the sense of Gomarus, among others by Dan. Tossanus,[115] D. Joh. Kuchlinus,[116] G. Voetius,[117] F. Burmannus,[118] Herm. Witsius,[119] Joh. Hoornbeek,[120] Alex. Comrie[121] and others. With Maccovius[122] we find that the praedestinatio lapsus is placed more in the foreground.

With the foregoing I believe to have named the most important supralapsarians; and it will not be necessary to discuss each of them separately. Later on we shall have again sufficient opportunity to refer to most of them.

Even though one side may be emphasized by one and the other side by another, still everyone’s idea comes finally down to this that sin is a necessary link in the eternal plan of God, because He so desired it to be according to His eternal good pleasure. His eternal purpose is therefore the revelation of His mercy and justice in the salvation of some and in damnation of others, namely by electing the one and reprobating the other. God attains that end by creating man and permitting the fall. Nevertheless they cast the accusation far from them that they would then make God the author of sin, the cadit igitur homo, Dei providentia sic ordinante sed suo vitio cadit, remains for them the valid rule; on the one hand they hold fast to the responsibility and the guilt of man, on the other hand they ultimately rest in the altius Dei consilium, which also precedes the fall, and unto which both Election and Reprobation must be redirected.

Now we have come to the exposition of the infraplapasarian view. This sentiment was found with Bullinger in its originally purest form: No praedestinatio but preaevisio and praescientia lapsus; Reprobation is not a deed of God’s Sovereignty, but of His justice. Has this standpoint been purely preserved, or has it been subject to changes? Has Infralapsarism been able to strictly maintain the praescientia lapsus, at the same time insisting that reprobation was only an actus justitiae Dei? This question must now be answered.

Of the later theologians Maresius is regarded as the purest representative of Infralapsarism. He circumscribes Predestination in this way: Praedestinatio est aeternam, certum, efficax et immutabile Decretum, quo Deus juxta merum suum beneplacitum, ex toto humano genere, per Adamum lapso et exitium aeternam promerito, alios per Christum servare decrevit, alios in miseria sua relinquere, aeternam tandem propter peccata sua puniendos, ad laudem gloriae suae, per Misericordiae et Iustitiae patefactionem illustrandae[123]. Thus the object is the homo lapsus (that is, man regarded a posteriori and not a priori, as homo creabilis;[124] only the homo lapsus and miser can be the object of the misericordia and justitia, not the homo creabilis. Nor can creation and lapsus be viewed, instar medii ad Praedestinationis finem, but must be regarded as conditiones in obiecto, just as the existentia et ductilitas in luto. As the potter finds those characteristics in the clay, so God knows that there are these conitiones in the object; in other words not of a praedestinatio but of a praevisio and a praescientia lapsus must be spoken.[125] The purpose why God decided to permit the fall was not directly the Manifestatio Justitiae et Misericordiae suae ex Praedestinationis decreto, quod ordine naturae et in signo rationis est eo posterius, sed partim ut constaret homini quid posset liberum arbitrium sibi relictum, partim ut in communi gloriam suam ex illius lapsu illustraret; unde lapsu iam facto, vel ut existente considerato placuit Deo distincte in hominibus lapsis suam Misericordiam et Justitiam commendare. [126]

That is how sin always comes before Predestination and thus he regards election and reprobation merely as deeds of God’s mercy and justice. Still it does not appear to be that way with his teaching on Reprobation, in which he makes a distinction 1. an actus negativus and 2. an actus affirmatives. Affirmativa reprobatio debet tribui hominis reprobati peccatis quibuslibet, tum originali, tum actualibus. Negativa vero potest considerari vel absolute, vel comparate. Si absolute expendatur, est adscribenda corruptioni hominem nativae quae eas effecit juste reprobabilis; si comparate solius Dei beneplacito albo vitae inscribentis quos voluerit et ita caeteros pro libitu praetereuntis. Cur igitur hunc potius reprobaverit quam illium, cum essent aeque reprobabiles, non magis ratio redid potest quam cur hunc potius quam illium elegerit; cum hic illo eligibilior, aut dignior qui assumeretur, non fuerit.[127]

Here it looks as if in the end he leads Reprobation back to God’s sovereignty, but that is no more than show. This only concerns the question of why one is reprobated and another not. That only depends on God. But the objects of reprobation and election are both reprobabiles, because the corruption hominum nativa made them thus juste: sin is presupposed and even the reprobatio negativa occurs because of man’s sin: it is sin, the peccatum quod eam (creaturam) reprobabilem fecit.[128] Reprobation is only a deed of God’s justice.

He arrives therefore at following order of decrees:

1. Deus decrevit hominem condere ad imaginem suam sed labilem.

2. Voluit permittere eius lapsum. 3. Ut in hominibus lapsis et miseris ostenderet Misericordiam et Justitiam suam, quosdam eligit ad salutem, aliis relictis in natura sua miseria et corruptione. 4. Ne miseretur Electorum cum praeiudicii suae Iustitiae, destinavit ipsis Christum etc. 5. Eos quos elegerat decrevit vocare etc.[129]

Even as to the Praedestinatio Angelorum, (who by no means could have been saved e miseria) he refuses to recognize a supralapsarian order. He asserts that they err, qui putant Praedestinationem Angelicam praecurrere lapsui Angelorum et istius lapsus permissionem pertinere ad executionem Reprobationis eorum qui lapsi sunt. Neither the permissio lapsus Adami, nor the permissio lapsus Angelorum pertinet ad executionem Reprobationis.[130] From this it actually follows that the Reprobation and Election of angels does not have its ground in the good pleasure of God, but in the deed of the angels. This shows us at the same time to see to what dangerous consequences Infralapsarism can lead.

Turretinus opines similarly on the predestination of angels. He asserts that the difference between the Praedestinatio hominem and angelorum consists herein that men are equal before God, in eadem corruptionis massa et ut peccatores et lapsi, whereas the angels appear dispares. Nam qui electii sunt ex ipsis are regarded ut stantes, the reprobi, however, ut lapsi. The object of Reprobation is therefore the angelus lapsus; of Election: the angelus nondum lapsus;[131] or, in other words, reprobation takes place propter praevisum lapsum and not propter beneplacitum Dei.

From the foregoing, Turretinus’ original infralapsarian standpoint shows up just for a moment. But elsewhere it becomes evident that this sentiment takes on a modified form. He also teaches that the fall comes under the decree of God, saying that one may reproach Infralapsarism of denying this no more than accusing Supralapsarism of not teaching damnatio propter peccata.[132] Still, even though he has forsaken the original sentiment of Bullinger, he espouses a different view of the predestination of the fall than Supralapsarism does. Both include sin in the decree of God, but Supralapsarism does so as a means to an end, and preceding election and reprobation; whereas Infralapsarism does not do that. With Supralapsarism sin is also considered with damnatio, but more consequently (it follows out of the decree), whereas Infralapsarism views it more antecedently (quoad esse praevisum ita ut homo non observetur, nisi ut lapsus Deo praedestinanti). Both also teach that sin is not the causa impulsiva of Predestination, but still Infralapsarism declares: sin has indeed rationem qualitatis conditionis praecedaneae in objecto requisitae.[133]

Turretinus calls therefore the essential difference between both sentiments this: An Deo praedestinanti homo observatus sit, non modo creabilis, vel conditus at non lapsus, sed etiam ut lapsus; non quoad esse reale, sed quoad esse cognitum et intentionale ut licet lapsus non fuerit causa, fuerit tamen conditio et qualitas in objecto praerequisita? Supralapsarism answers with a no, Infralapsarism with a yes![134]

As far as the permission of the fall is concerned we find with him the following view: The mutability of Adam was causa sine qua non, therefore antecedens lapsus, not a causa per se. However, a distinction must be made between the mutabilitatis ipsa (as God created them) and the actus mutabilitatis istius (quo homo ad mutationem inclinavit[135]). That inclination was fons omnis peccati and therefore man is the guilty one.

The lapsus hominis can fall under the Providentia Dei in various ways[136].

1. vel ratione praescientiae quia illum praescivit infallibiter.

2. vel ratione decreti, quia decrevit eius futuritionem immutabiliter.

3. vel ratione permissionis actualis in tempore, quia permisit fieri liberrime et decrevit sapientissime.

Not one of these three representations ascribe sin to God. Neither the first, for the praescientia is not causa rerum. Nor second, quia decrevit permittere, non efficere. Nor the third, quia nec voluntatem tentandi diabolo inspiravit nec illum ad id impulit.[137]

Turretinus also has to acknowledge: cum permissione accessisse negationem gratiae et auxilii efficacies quo actu staret. Nam si tale auxilium didesset Adamus, lapsus no fuisset. And furthermore: Deus gratiam istam homini adhuc immerenti denegare voluit, sine qua praevidebat eum lapsum vitare non posse.[138] We must only rest in the liberrimum Dei beneplacitum;[139] neither the negative permissio nor the praescientia can satisfy.

It is evident here how much Infralapsarism changed. What Turretinus acknowledges here was certainly not taught by Bullinger, but lies in the Calvinistic line. Nonetheless, once in a while the original standpoint also with him comes to the surface. He also speaks of a praevisio peccati: Praescientia Dei infallibilis non infert Deum esse causam peccatorum, quia Deaus praescit peccata ut certo eventura non tamquam a se efficienda qua peccata, sed ut permittenda.[140]

Here again it is clear that, even though Turretinus wants to include man’s fall into the decree of God, he is not able to disengage himself from the teaching the praevisio and in a proper sense does not dare to speak of a praedestinatio lapsus. That’s how we find in him a type of Infralapsarism that has returned to Supralapsarism; and we see that the fundamental view of Bullinger was not retained in its pure form.

We find this phenomenon with almost all of the later Infralapsarians, even when a few like Maresius represent the original type to a greater extent. The assertion, that not a single Infralapsarian will exclude the fall of man from the Counsel of God, is indeed true for the later adherents of this system, but it confirms at the same time how far they have deviated from Bullinger’s original standpoint.

Among the Infralapsarians can be reckoned: A. Rivet,[141] A. Walaeus,[142] P. Molinaeus,[143] J. H. Heidegger,[144] Fr. Spanheim,[145] D. Gerdes,[146] P. à Mastricht,[147] Joh. à Marck,[148] B. de Moor,[149] and among the more recent Ch. Hodge,[150] W. G. T. Shedd,[151] A. H. Strong[152] and others.[153]

The limited scope of this section does not allow for a detailed discussion of the objections that were raised by both sides. To consider all of them, however, would go beyond the purpose of this chapter, as it consisted in this that we wanted to discover the original difference between both sentiments, and having found them, to set forth these two views more clearly. In their argumentation they appeal to different pronouncements of the Holy Scriptures. Especially Romans 9 is applied for this purpose and the question of how in verse 11 the lump should be viewed, as corrupta or incorrupta, is characteristic for both points of view. The main objection of the Supralapsarians against the Infralapsarians is that God cannot decide to create without first determining the goal unto which He desires to lead created man: Election and Reprobation must therefore precede

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