Free Online Bible Library | Supralapsarianism

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Supralapsarianism

Particularly applied to the position taken by some Calvinist theologians as the development of Calvinist scholasticism after the mid-sixteenth century brought to the fore the knotty problem of the precise meaning of predestination.* Theologians such as Beza,* eager to have a fully worked out and internally consistent dogmatic, tended to be Supralapsarian (as against Sublapsarian*). At issue was the question of the logical order of God's actions in predestination (not the chronological, for God, as eternal, is outside time), and the problem was thus notably abstruse. The supra position held that God created mankind with the original idea in mind that some would be saved and some would not be; and then allowed the Fall, to bring about this intention. This seemed to imply, as the Sublapsarians pointed out, that God willed the Fall and was thus the author of sin. This the Supralapsarians denied, accusing their opponents of weakening God's sovereignty and indirectly holding to man's free will. Calvinist assemblies refused to support either position as binding. Thus, at the Synod of Dort,* Gomarus's attempt to have the supra position upheld failed; in the Swiss churches, later attempts to have the supra position condemned failed (cf. Formula of Consensus, 1675).