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The Westminster Confession on Divine Permission of Sin

May 13, 2009

WCF:

Of Providence

5: 5. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof:

6: 1. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

LC 19:

Q19: What is God’s providence towards the angels?

A19: God by his providence permitted some of the angels, willfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory; and established the rest in holiness and happiness; employing them all, at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.

Contra: “…permission in the case of the Almighty has no specific meaning,” Gordon Clark.1

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1Gordon Clark, What do Presbyterians Believe?, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 1965), 67. Perhaps this work should have been entitled, What do Hypercalvinists believe?

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