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God’s decree concerning creating man and allowing him to fall

December 6, 2013 1 comment

Chapter II

WHEREIN THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION IS EXPLAINED AS IT RELATES IN GENERAL TO ALL MEN.

Thus much being premised with relation to the Scripture terms commonly made use of in this controversy, we shall now proceed to take a nearer view of this high and mysterious article, and-

II.-We assert that God did from eternity decree to make man in His own image, and also decreed to suffer him to fall from that image in which he should be created, and thereby to forfeit the happiness with which he was invested, which decree and the consequences of it were not limited to Adam only, but included and extended to all his natural posterity.

Something of this was hinted already in the preceding chapter, and we shall now proceed to the proof of it.

(1) That God did make man in His own image is evident from Scripture (Gen 1:27)

(2) That He decreed from eternity so to make man is as evident, since for God to do anything without having decreed it, or fixed a previous plan in His own mind, would be a manifest imputation on His wisdom, and if He decreed that now, or at any time, which He did not always decree, He could not be unchangeable.

(3) That man actually did fall from the Divine image and his original happiness is the undoubted voice of Scripture (Gen 3:), and

(4) That he fell in consequence of the Divine decree* we prove thus: God was either willing that Adam should fall, or unwilling, or indifferent about it. If God was unwilling that Adam should transgress, ho  came it to pass that he did? Is man stronger and is Satan wiser than He that made them? Surely no. Again, could not God, had it so pleased Him, have hindered the tempter’s access to paradise? or have created man, as He did the elect angels, with a will invariably determined to good only and incapable of being biassed to evil? or, at least, have made the grace and strength, with which He endued Adam, actually effectual to the resisting of all solicitations to sin? None but atheists would answer these questions in the negative. Surely, if God had not willed the fall, He could, and no doubt would, have prevented it; but He did not prevent it: ergo He willed it. And if He willed it, He certainly decreed it, for the decree of God is nothing else but the seal and ratification of His Will. He does nothing but what He decreed, and He decreed nothing which He did not will, and both will and decree are absolutely eternal, though the execution of both be in time. The only way to evade the force of this reasoning is to say that “God was indifferent and unconcerned whether man stood or fell.” But in what a shameful, unworthy light does this represent the Deity! Is it possible for us to imagine that God could be an idle, careless spectator of one of the most important events that ever came to pass? Are not “the very hairs of our head all numbered”? or does “a sparrow fall to the ground without our heavenly Father”? If, then, things the most trivial and worthless are subject to the appointment of His decree and the control of His providence, how much more is man, the masterpiece of this lower creation? and above all that man Adam, who when recent from his Maker’s hands was the living image of God Himself, and very little inferior to angels! and on whose perseverance was suspended the welfare not of himself only, but likewise that of the whole world. But, so far was God from being indifferent in this matter, that there is nothing whatever about which He is so, for He worketh all things, without exception,” after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11), consequently, if He positively wills whatever is done, He cannot be indifferent with regard to anything. On the whole, if God was not unwilling that Adam should fall, He must have been willing that he should, since between God’s willing and nilling there is no medium. And is it not highly rational as well as Scriptural, nay, is it not absolutely necessary to suppose that the fall was not contrary to the will and determination of God? since, if it was, His will (which the apostle represents as being irresistible, Rom 9:19) was apparently frustrated and His determination rendered of worse than none effect. And how dishonourable to, how inconsistent with, and how notoriously subversive of the dignity of God such a blasphemous supposition would be, and how irreconcilable with every one of His allowed attributes is very easy to observe.

* See this article judiciously stated and nervously asserted by Witsius in his Oecon. 1.1, cap. 8, s.1O-25.

(5) That man by his fall forfeited the happiness with which he was invested is evident as well from Scripture as from experience (Gen 3:7-24; Rom 5:12; Gal 3:10). He first sinned (and the essence of sin lies in disobedience to the command of God) and then immediately became miserable, misery being through the Divine appointment, the natural and inseparable concomitant of sin.

(6) That the fall and its sad consequences did not terminate solely in Adam, but affected his whole posterity, is the doctrine of the sacred oracles (Psalm li. 5; Rom 5:12-19; 1Co 15:22; Eph 2:3). Besides, not only spiritual and eternal, but likewise temporal death is the wages of sin (Rom 6:23; James 1:15), and yet we see that millions of infants, who never in their own persons either did or could commit sin, die continually. It follows that either God must be unjust in punishing the innocent, or that these infants are some way or the other guilty creatures; if they are not so in themselves (I mean actually so by their own commission of sin), they must be so in some other person, and who that person is let Scripture say (Rom 5:12,18; 1Co 15:22). And, I ask, how can these be with equity sharers in Adam’s punishment unless they are chargeable with his sin? and how can they be fairly chargeable with his sin unless he was their federal head and representative, and acted in their name, and sustained their persons, when he fell?

Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady

Chapter III: Of God’s Decrees

1. God hath (a) Decreed in himself from all Eternity, by the most wise and holy Councel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever comes to passe; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin, (b) nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the Creature, nor yet is the liberty, or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather (c) established, in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power, and faithfulness (d) in accomplishing his Decree.

a Is. 46.10. Eph. 1.11. Heb. 6.17.Rom. 9.15,18.

b Jam. 1.15,17. 1 Joh. 1.5.

c Act 4.27,28. Joh. 19.11.

d Numb. 23.19. Eph. 1.3,4,5.

2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may, or can come to passe upon all (e) supposed conditions; yet hath he not Decreed anything, (f) because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

e Act. 15.18.

f Rom. 9.11.13.16.18.

3. By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory (g) some men and Angels, are predestinated, or fore-ordained to Eternal Life, through Jesus Christ to the (h) praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their (i) just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.

g 1 Tim. 5.21. Mat. 25.41.

h Eph. 1.5,6.

i Rom. 9.22,23. Jud. 4.

4. These Angels and Men thus predestinated, and fore-ordained, are particularly, and unchangeably designed; and their (k) number so certain, and definite, that it cannot be either increased, or diminished.

k 2 Tim. 2.19. Joh. 13.18

5. Those of mankind (l) that are predestinated to life, God before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret Councel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his meer free grace and love; (m) without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.

l Eph. 1.4.9.11.Rom. 8.30. 2 Tim. 1.9. 1 Thes. 5.9.

m Rom. 9.13.16. Eph. 1.6.12.

6. As God hath appointed the Elect unto glory, so he hath by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, fore-ordained (o) all the means thereunto, wherefore they who are elected, being faln in Adam, (p) are redeemed by Christ, are effectually (q) called unto faith in Christ, by his spirit working in due season, are justifyed, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith (r) unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the Elect (s) only.

o 1 Pet. 1.2. 2 Thes. 2.13.

p 1 Thes. 5.9,10.

q Rom. 8.30. 2 Thes. 2.13.

r 1 Pet. 1.5.

s Joh. 10.26. Joh. 17.9. Joh. 6.64.

 7. The Doctrine of this high mystery of predestination, is to be handled with special prudence, and care; that men attending the will of God revealed in his word, and yeilding obedience thereunto, may from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their (t) eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter (u) of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and (x) of humility, diligence, and abundant (y) consolation, to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

t 1 Thes. 1.4,5. 2 Pet. 1.10.

u Eph. 1.6.Rom. 11.33.

x Rom. 11.5,6.

y Luk. 10.20.

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession