What is Supralapsarianism?

Laurence Vance: “If God has ordained everything for his glory then the reprobation of the wicked is his ‘determinate counsel’ (Acts 2:23) and takes place ‘according to the counsel of his own will’ (Eph. 1:11) no matter which lapsarian system one adheres to.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.298, emphasis mine)

The contention, here, is whether or not there is any real difference between Low Calvinism and High Calvinism, that is, whether the distinction between Supra-lapsarianism vs. Infra-lapsarianism is just a false dichotomy, in which a system of jargon is invented for the sole purpose of Special Pleading. In other words, the charge is essentially whether any Calvinism inevitably boils down to the highest form (or worst form) of High Calvinism.

What follows is a definition of Supra-lapsarianismInfra-lapsarianism and Sub-lapsarianism:

​1) Supra-lapsarianism: The damnation of the [alleged] “non-elect” is according to the secret purpose of God, without regard to their sin. Creation, the Fall, and sin must all be the manifestation of the secret counsel of God, having created the [alleged] “non-elect” by necessity. This is also known as “Double Predestination” or “Unconditional Reprobation.” Its logical order is:

Election and Reprobation
2. Creation
3. Fall
4. Atonement for the elect
5. Salvation for the elect

Here is a statement of Supralapsarianism

John Calvin: “...God has chosen to salvation those whom He pleased, and has rejected the others, without our knowing why, except that its reason is hidden in His eternal counsel.”  (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine) 

John Calvin: “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes of Christian Religion: Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “Hence Augustine, having treated of the elect, and taught that their salvation reposes in the faithful custody of God so that none perishes, continues: The rest of mortal men who are not of this number, but rather taken out of the common mass and made vessels of wrath, are born for the use of the elect.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.107, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “…the reason why God elects some and rejects others is to be found in His purpose alone. … before men are born their lot is assigned to each of them by the secret will of God. … the salvation or the destruction of men depends on His free election.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.203, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “There are some, too, who allege that God is greatly dishonored if such arbitrary power is bestowed on Him. But does their distaste make them better theologians than Paul, who has laid it down as the rule of humility for the believers, that they should look up to the sovereignty of God and not evaluate it by their own judgment?” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.209-210, emphasis mine) 

John Calvin: “At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208, emphasis mine) 

Dealing with the outside perception of his theology, Calvin states:

John Calvin: “When God prefers some to others, choosing some and passing others by, the difference does not depend on human dignity or indignity. It is therefore wrong to say that the reprobate are worthy of eternal destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.120-121, emphasis mine)

In other words, the perception that John Calvin recognized as being echoed by his opponent is that Reprobation would be just as unconditional as Election.

John Calvin: “If what I teach is true, that those who perish are destined to death by the eternal good pleasure of God though the reason does not appear, then they are not found but made worthy of destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)

In other words, the Unconditional Reprobation of the wicked is not in lieu of their sin, but in lieu of God’s alleged decree, which establishes their lot in life. As far as I could tell, John Calvin only had Special Pleading for his defense of these charges.

​2) Infra-lapsarianism: The damnation of the [alleged] “non-elect” is strictly according to the sin of man. This is called “Single Predestination,” and closely associated with “Preterition,” which conveys the meaning that the [alleged] “non-elect” are simply “passed by” and left out of the will of God. It rejects the idea that God creates sinners by “necessity,” and to ultimately damn them for the glory of God.

1. Creation
2. Fall
3. Election and Reprobation
4. Atonement for the elect
5. Salvation for the elect

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon: “If any of you want to know what I preach every day, and any stranger should say, ‘Give me a summary of his doctrine,’ say this, ‘He preaches salvation all of grace, and damnation all of sin. He gives God all the glory for every soul that is saved, but he won’t have it that God is to blame for any man that is damned.’ That teaching I cannot understand. My soul revolts at the idea of a doctrine that lays the blood of man’s soul at God’s door. I cannot conceive how any human mind, at least any Christian mind, can hold any such blasphemy as that.” (Jacob and Esau, emphasis mine)

So it seems that according to John Calvin, the sentiment expressed by Chares Spurgeon is nothing more than an example of how “the flesh rages” against the “arbitrary power” of the “sovereignty of God.”

​3) Sub-lapsarianism: As a close relative of Infra-lapsarianism, the prefix “sub” also implies “below” or “after.” This designation accommodates the atonement views of the 4-Point Calvinists, so that Election and Reprobation are placed in a logical order which are below or after the atonement:

1. Creation
2. Fall
3. Atonement for all
4. Election and Reprobation
5. Salvation for the elect

Now the question is whether any of these designations are legitimate distinctions, or merely worthless jargon used to confound, confuse and obfuscate:

Calvinist, G.C. Berkouwer: “We cannot speak of before and after in God’s eternal decrees as we do in time, hence the difference between supra and infra can be called imaginary because it implies the application of a temporal order to eternity.” (Divine Election, p.261, emphasis mine)

Berkouwer adds: “The fall must ultimately have been part of God’s counsel and therefore it ‘rests’ in God’s sovereign pleasure. But in that case the infra concept says the same as the supra.” (Divine Election, p.261, emphasis mine)

And that answers that! Calvinism can be a brutal theology, in which Calvinists term some of the issues as “the hard truths” or “high octane stuff.” Therefore, it makes sense that Calvinists would invent terms and concepts in order to soften the impact, because Calvinists are trying to salvage the concept of a loving God in lieu of Calvinist doctrine, which Calvinists otherwise believe is biblical theology, although Arminians would strongly argue that it is not.

Question: According to Calvinism, is God’s [alleged] decree “eternal” (i.e. pre-Fall and pre-Genesis)? 

Answer: If yes, does God’s [alleged] decree include “whatsoever comes to pass”? If yes, then it is false-marketing, deception and lies to suggest that God simply “picked people from the mass of sinful mankind, to have grace upon.” If the two prior questions resulted in “yes” answers from Calvinists, then the reality would be that God decreed an elect Upper Caste AND the environment of Total Depravity in which all were born. The analogy, then, is simple: (1) God set a building on fire, (2) picked which individuals to rescue from it, and while passing by the rest, in order to be applauded for false heroism. That’s Calvinism. That’s Greek Mythology. That’s Platoism or Neo-Platoism. It’s made to look like Christianity, but it’s not. It’s a derivative of ancient Gnosticism, and they were Determinists, similar to how Calvinists of today are Determinists. Both denied free will, although Compatibilists try to use trickeration in order to carve out a deceptive appearance of Free Will, so as to avoid accusations, because for many Calvinists, it’s all about marketing. That’s why the flowery terms like “Reformed” and “Doctrines of Grace.” Calvinists are very mindful of perceptions, and typically (from my experience), if a Calvinist doesn’t like what they hear, they will ignore the criticism and target the critic instead.​

Here is a link to a Blog on this topic.

Question:  What is Supra-lapsarianism

Answer:  The word “lapsarian” comes from the Latin word lapsus, which means the “doctrine of the Fall.” The prefix supra means above, while the prefix infra implies below. So the perspective of the former is “before the Fall” while the perspective of the latter is “after the Fall,” or in lieu of the Fall.