Home > Theology Proper > God’s Eternal Decree by W. E. Best Pt 4 (A)

God’s Eternal Decree by W. E. Best Pt 4 (A)

Comparison Of The Supralapsarian And Infralapsarian Theories

Supralapsarians and infralapsarians differ in their opinions concerning the order in God’s decree. Supralapsarians proceed on the assumption that in God’s purpose His thoughts proceed from the end to the means in a retrograde movement; so that which is first in design is last in execution. Whereas, infralapsarians suggest a more historical order. The infralapsarian view of the order of history is correct. The events of the creation, fall, incarnation, cross, resurrection, and pentacost are found in succession in history.

Supralapsarians are correct to magnify God’s sovereignty. That which is first in intention is last in execution, and that which is last in execution is first in intention. God’s purpose is eternal. The first thing in God’s mind was the manifestation of Himself. He decreed to reveal Himself by manifesting His glory through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ stands first in the counsel of God. He is the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15), the firstborn from among the dead (Colossians 1:18), and the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He is the first because election is in Christ. Therefore, according to God’s purpose, the Lord Jesus Christ preceded the elect in God’s plan. In that sense, the supralapsarian view is correct. God decreed to manifest Himself – His glory – before He decreed to create man, decreed the fall, decreed to elect some, decreed to pass by some, etc. The last thing in the execution of His plan is for His glory: salvation of the elect, passing by the nonelect, displaying and bestowing grace, and the kingdom.

Infralapsarians correctly appeal to Scripture for support of some beliefs. Pharaoh already existed when the Lord declared His purpose for raising him up. He was a fallen creature whom God used to manifest His power to the world. The Lord will have mercy on whom He will and will harden whom He will (Romans 9:18). The potter has power over the clay. The clay refers to the fallen mass of mankind. The apostle indicated a mass of people already created and fallen. From that mass, God elected some and passed by others.

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