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AA Hodge on Supra-Lapsarianism

November 21, 2008

AA Hodge:

45. What is the supra-lapsarian theory of predestination?

The term supra-lapsarian (supra lapsum) designates that view of the various provisions of the divine decree in their logical relations which supposes that the ultimate end which God proposed to himself was his own glory in the salvation of some men and in the damnation of others, and that, as a means to that end, he decreed to create man, and to permit him to fall According to this view, man simply as creatible, and fallible, and not as actually created or fallen, is the object of election and reprobation. The order of the decrees would then be–

1st. Of all possible men, God first decreed the salvation of of others, for the end of his own glory. 2d. He decreed, as a means to that end, to create those already elected or reprobated. 3d. He decreed to permit them to fall. 4th. He decreed to provide a salvation for the elect. This view was held by Beza, the successor of Calvin in Geneva, and by Gomarus, the great opponent of Arminius…

47. State the arguments against the supra-lapsarian scheme.

This scheme is unquestionably the most logical of all. It is postulated upon the principle, that what is last in execution is the in intention, which undoubtedly holds true in all spheres comprehended in human experience. Hence it is argued that if the final result of the whole matter is the glorification of God in the salvation of the elect and the perdition of the non-elect, it must have been the deliberate purpose of God from the beginning. But the case is too high and too vast for the a priori application and enforcement of the ordinary rules of human judgment; we can here only know in virtue of and within the limits of positive revelation

The objections against this scheme are–

1st. Man creatible is a nonentity. He could not have been loved or chosen unless considered as created.
2d The whole language of Scripture upon this subject implies that the ” elect” are chosen as the objects of eternal love, not from the number of creatible, but from the mass of actually sinful men.–John xv. 19; Rom. xi. 5, 7.
3d. The Scriptures declare that the elect are chosen to sanctification, and to the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. They must therefore have been regarded when chosen as guilty and defiled by sin.–1 Pet. i. 2; Eph. i. 4-6.
4th Predestination includes reprobation. This view represents God as reprobating the non elect by a sovereign act, without any respect to their sins simply for his own glory. This appears to be inconsistent with the divine righteousness, as we as with the teaching of Scripture. The non-elect are “ordained to dishonor and wrath for their sins, to the praise of his glorious justice–Conf. Faith,” ch. 3, sec. 3-7, “ L. Cat,” question 13; “S. Cat.,” question 20.

48. Show that a correct exegesis of Eph. iii 9,10, does not support the supra-lapsarian view.

This passage is claimed as a direct affirmation of the supra- lapsarian theory. If the hina, introducing the tenth verse, refers to the immediately receding clause, then the passage teaches that God created all things in order that his manifold wisdom might be displayed by the church to the angels. It is evident, however, that hina, refers to the preceding phrase, in which Paul declares that he was ordained to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and to enlighten all men as to the mystery of redemption. All this he was commissioned to do, in order that God’s glory might be displayed, etc.–See “Hodge on Ephesians.”

AA Hodge, Outlines of Theology (London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1879),  232 and 233.  [Note: what AA Hodge says here does not do justice to C Hodge’s full explanation of this point in this Commentary on Ephesians. The reader should also peruse C Hodge’s remarks there.]

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 21, 2008 10:47 am

    The comments in Charles Hodge’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians can be read HERE.

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