July 14th, 2016
My move to supralapsarianism is pretty recent. I remember discussing and debating with my Calvinist friends back in the dorm rooms during my undergrad years. One thing was this issue of infra/supralapsarianism and I would debate it. Ironically, in debating against supralapsarianism for so long I started to see the harmony with it. To be clear, I don’t think any amount of biblical exegesis can derive the logical order of the fall and election. These types of positions are supported by exegesis and arrived via theological reflection.
I can see the tension between libertarian free will and supra. This is how I understand it: Logically prior to the creation of the universe (natural knowledge and middle knowledge, moments 1 and 2), God chose to create to glorify himself and to share the intratrinitarian love between the godhead. His chosen method was to redeem a people to himself. What are the necessary conditions for this redemption (remember, necessary conditions are the consequent in a conditional statement, so: If X obtains, then redemption [where X is the sufficient condition])? There must be evil/sin and consequently death. So since God’s decision to redeem a people to himself, there had to be sin. Is God the direct cause of sin? No. I think that’s metaphysically absurd. What must be required? Free agents.
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April 18th, 2016
For the last couple years I’ve been back and forth about infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism. In my pursuit to hold to consilient views, I’m starting to lean and adopt the supralapsarian position.
From the Latin, supra (prior to, below, before), lapsis, (fall). A term used to denote the logical moment of God’s election of the saints. Supralapsarianism if the belief that God chose the elect logically prior to the fall of man.
Supralapsarianism is generally held by Calvinists and a few Molinists. Supralapsarianism places the moment of divine election logically prior to the fall of Adam as opposed to logically posterior to the fall, which is known as infralapsarianism. When God chose the elect he did so without viewing them or considering them in their fallen state. God chose them in a pre-fallen state. This position can create controversy and may have unsavory implications.
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June 12th, 2012
A few years ago Ken Keathley, Professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a paper at the SBC’s Building Bridges Conference. Keathley is a Molinist and the title of his paper [on election] was “How to be a Consistent Infralapsarian.” This paper was the primary content in the chapter on election in his book Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach. There is an audio version of his presentation but all the links I found online were broken. Be sure to download the draft of the paper in the link above and read through it. He outlines a very robust model of election and reprobation. (As a Molinist I, of course, affirm much of what he argues.) Nonetheless, you cannot deny that he is being biblical and consistent in his model of election.
I had a review of Salvation and Sovereignty published in the Midwestern Journal of Theology you can read. Concerning Keathley’s chapter on election, his paper, this is what I had to say:
Keathley’s understanding of sovereign election, which he calls “consistent infralapsarianism,” follows from his understanding of overcoming grace. Under this view, God elects all individuals who would freely cease to resist his saving grace. God will so arrange the world, via strong and weak actualizations, to bring about a person’s experiences and circumstances in which they would freely refrain from rejecting him.
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May 31st, 2012
Here is an old lecture PPT defining the differences between soft/hard libertarian freedom and soft/hard determinism. There are a lot of discussion points in the notes section. I ususally have a great discussion with the class when I teach this. So, for you teachers out there, feel free to use this material as you wish and, if anything, I hope it helps grow your knowledge on the subject. Feel free to follow the sources cited.
Determinism: Choices are caused by prior decisions
Hard Determinism: Free will is an illusion
Soft Determinism: Free will is compatible with determinism
Libertarianism: Choices originate within persons
Hard Libertarianism: Persons always have free will
Soft Libertarianism: Persons have free will at significant times
May 7th, 2012
I recently had an online exchange with someone who was arguing against middle knowledge. He included statements like, “Supposedly Scripture teaches man has a free will” and, “That’s no where in Scripture.” You’ll be surprised how much doctrine we believe to be true is not explicitly stated in Scripture. Here are a few things that are not explicitly stated in Scripture that are commonly accepted doctrines:
- The Trinity: I believe God exists in a trinity of persons and I believe the Bible teaches the trinity but only implicitly. You’re not going to find “trinity” or “three beings in one” anywhere in the Bible.
- The Hypostatic Union: There isn’t a clear articulation of the coherence of the hypostatic union in Scripture. The Bible merely teaches what it was and that it happened.
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February 1st, 2012
The Word of the Week is: Supralapsarianism
Definition: From the Latin, supra (prior to, below, before), lapsis, (fall). A term used to denote the logical moment of God’s election of the saints. Supralapsarianism if the belief that God chose the elect logically prior to the fall of man.
More about the term: Supralapsarianism is generally held by Calvinists and a few Molinists. Supralapsarianism places the moment of divine election logically prior to the fall of Adam as opposed to logically posterior to the fall, which is known as infralapsarianism. When God chose the elect he did so without viewing them or considering them in their fallen state. God chose them in a pre-fallen state. This position can create controversy and may have unsavory implications. One of the implications is what’s known as double-predestination. This is the idea that God chose the reprobates (the non-elect) in the same fashion in which he chose the elect. This isn’t a necessary implication of supralapsarianism since God’s decree of reprobation may be logically posterior to the fall.
This view of soteriology is held by Alvin Plantinga, who is a Molinist with Calvinistic tendencies (there’s a wide spectrum of Molinism ranging from supralapsarianism to Wesleyan). Plantinga uses this idea in his theodicy, ‘O Felix Culpa’ (O happy sin). The reason why evil exists is because God first desired the cross of Christ–the means by which God would get the most glory. In order to bring about the cross there must be sin, thus God permits sin to happen because he desires the cross (which is why evil exists–so God may be glorified by atoning for it).