For a better understanding of the predestinarian theory of Calvinism, I find that a study of lapsarianism helps in determining the line of reason taken by John Calvin and those who agree with him. We in the Churches of Christ have not dealt with this topic in depth. Many preachers have not even heard of the word “lapsarian” and other terms related to it like Supralapsarianism, Infralapsarianism and Sublapsarianism. These are dealt with in Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology under the chapter on Predestination (pp. 109ff). It is noticed in Millard J. Erickson’s Christian Theology (pp 826ff).
Ukol sa pananaw ng mga Supralasarians, the order of God’s decrees follows:
1. The decree to save (elect) some and reprobate others.
2. The decree to create both the elect and the reprobate.
3. The decree to permit the fall of both the elect and the reprobate.
4. The decree to provde salvation only for the elect.
Sa aking pagkaintindi, when Calvin and those who follow his ideas, try to imagine kung ano ang iniisip ng Panginoong Diyos noong Kanyang lalangin ang mundo at ang tao, nauna raw sa kaisipan ng Diyos yaong #1 sa taas. Nauna raw sa kaisipan ni Yahweh na mayroong bahagi ng sangkatauhan na maliligtas o matatawag at ang iba naman ay hindi matatawag o mawawala. At sa ikalawang hakbangin, ipagpatuloy ang paglalang even in the midst of God’s knowledge that some will be saved (elected) and others will be reprobated. Hindi lang alam or foreknowledge na may mawawala (reprobate) kundi talagang they are destined nay un na ang mangyayari. Kaya nga tinatawag nito ay “predestination.”
Under the study of God’s Decrees in Systematic Theology, wala pang tinutukoy na “free will” among Supralapsarians, but when the study reaches the topic on “Sin” man’ free will is mentioned. Ang pagkakasala, ang pagsuway ay kagagawan ng tao. I’ve not read any supralapsarian who connects the number one decree “The decree to save (elect) some and reprobate others” with human free will.
Supralapsarians don’t accept the conclusion that decree number one above would make God the author of sin. But if we analyze more deeply, that number one decree above would make God the author of sin because God being omnipotent and omniscient, it is God Himself who consigned the “others” as reprobate even before there was an Adam.
My usual illustration on who should we lay the blame on is this: An inventor/programmer makes two mechanical robots – one robot is programmed to do jobs that are beneficial to the inventor until the mechanical parts wear out or die, while the second robot is programmed to do jobs that are beneficial to the inventor for one month but on the second month, the program says the second robot should self-destruct. Kung and self-destruction is bad, who is the author of self-destruction? Is it the inventor programmer or the robot? I dare say that the author of self-destruction is the inventor/programmer. But the line of reasoning of Supralapsarians point the blame on the programmed, self-destructing robot as the one to blame.
One Supralapsarian writer reasons this way: Although God decreed that some are reprobates, it is not God to be blamed because it is not God who does the act of sinning, rather it is man himself. This kind of reasoning is obviously weak. It is weak because even in our justice system today, the master mind in a crime is the one heavily blamed while the one who personally carries out the crime is only an accomplice who is meted a very much lighter penalty. The accomplice suffers a degree of penalty because he is responsible in the exercise of his free will. God is just and logical. God instilled in humans free will. Why is our line of reasoning in the justice system correct when applied to human but not correct when it is applied in our understanding of spiritual justice?
As a consequence of Supralapsarianism, T.U.L.I.P (T-otal depravity, U-nconditional election, L-imited atonement, P-erseverance of the saints) was formulated to explain the order of God’s decrees as tabulated in lapsarianism. TULIP, therefore, is an expansion of Supralapsarianism.
Comments and observations are welcome. © –Eusebio Tanicala (1.10.11)