Monday, June 25, 2007

Theology 101 - Supralapsarian or Infralapsarian?

* As I mentioned HERE earlier, this post has been in the works for a while now. I was delighted to hear supra. and infra. brought up briefly last night in our small group discussion--our church is reading through Pink's "Attributes of God" together this summer. My reading in Pink's book earlier last week is what brought supra. and infra. back to my mind!

Let's just dive right into this one! Please keep in mind, this is NOT an "essential" of the faith! It is, however, a very helpful tool in sorting through, organizing, and better understanding God's sovereignty and providential dealings with His creation.

Supralapsarian and infralapsarian are differing views of predestination which exist alongside each other within Reformed circles. The supralapsarian order may be stated thus: election, creation, fall, salvation. The infralapsarian order may be stated thus: creation, fall, election, salvation.

Berkhof's Manual of Christian Doctrine offers this,

"...we limit ourselves to a bare statement of the difference between the two views. The difference pertains primarily to the order of the divine decrees. The question is, whether in the plan of God the decrees of election and reprobation precede or follow the decrees to create the world and to permit the fall. This naturally involves another question, namely, whether in the decree of predestination God regarded man as already created and fallen, or as an object still to be created and certain to fall."
I consider myself to be supralapsarian because the order does not suggest that a "plan B" was put into action by God as a result of man's rebellion and sin (The Fall) against Him in the Garden. I also find greater scriptural support for the supra. order in that God elected His people "before the foundation of the world".

For your further consideration, here are the two views in greater detail:


a. God first decreed to glorify Himself in the salvation of some and in the damnation of other men, who at this stage existed in His mind only as possibilities.

b. As a means to that end, He decreed to create those already elected or reprobated.

c. For the consummation of the plan so far formed, He further decreed to permit man to fall.

d. Finally, He decreed to open up a way of salvation for the elect and to lead them to everlasting glory, passing the others by and consigning them to everlasting destruction for their sin.


a. God first decreed to create man.

b. Then He decreed to permit the fall of man.

c. Next He decreed to elect a certain number of the fallen and justly condemned race to eternal life, and to pass the others by, consigning them to everlasting destruction for their sin.

d. Finally, He decreed to provide a way of salvation for the elect.

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