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De Moor VII:11: God's Independence in Predestination Defended, Part 3

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, of the Papists in this controversy is, the Error of our Works’ Merits and Power unto Good, remaining after the Fall.

James Arminius

The πρῶτα ψεύδη, fundamental errors, of the Arminians are, the Predestinarian heresy imputed to the Orthodox: that God will all to be saved and a Universal Covenant of Grace, to which is subordinated Predestination as a merely Evangelical Decree. That there is in God a foresight of Faith, etc., before the Decree. The means of executing salvation are confused with the cause of the determination of the same.

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, of the more Orthodox Universalists; as if the virtues of God, Goodness, Righteousness, etc., would be better preserved in their integrity.

Compare LEYDEKKER’S Veritatem Religionis Reformatæ, book I, chapter V, which concerns the Errors of the most recent Pelagians concerning Predestination, pages 69-93.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Finally, the Absolute Independence of Predestination is to be held against those, whether of the Lutherans or even of Our Own Men, who from the principles of the Philosophy of Leibniz[1] and Wolff[2] prattle concerning Objective Reasons, which, as a Sufficient Reason, might move God to elect one to Salvation rather than another; who are thoroughly refuted in Examen van het Ontwerp van Tolerantie, part 7, pages 427-448. 1. From the express teaching of Scripture, wherever it speaks of Predestination; which, with all procatarctic[3] Causes or Objective Reasons removed, derives the determination of this Decree solely from the proegumenic[4] Cause of God’s most free and independent Good Pleasure; and in the responses to the objections moved from Roman 9:14, 19 appeals in no way to Objective Reasons, as if would have been necessary to do, if there were any. 2. From the Absolute Independence of God, which is denied, if we should posit an Objective Reason, which, as a Sufficient Reason, determines the Will of the electing God. 3. From the Existence of no other thing before the determination of the Divine Will, except the possible through its Omnisufficiency; but through which God does not discover and know things and entities in any certain Connection with this or that System, since He Himself posits the connections of things according to His own will. Now, from eternity God knows all men, either Creatable in the common state of Moral Goodness and Able to Fall; or as going to be Created and going to Fall in the common Parent, and thus likewise Liable to Condemnation, when He makes appointment concerning their eternal End: and there is not anything in addition that is able at this point to come into account, that by way of Objective Reason might make for the moving of God’s Will; without an occasion of inquiry thus always remaining with respect to the Reprobates, concerning the qualities not granted to them because of which they would be as eligible as the others: but, with respect to the Elect, through the System of the Best World would be removed the obligation of bearing their Salvation, received in all its greatness completely and only from God by means of a gracious Gift. 4. From the inextricable difficulties, wherein we are entangled, when we wish to seek the reasons of Election and Reprobation in the Object in one or another way: while, by acquiescing only in the divine Good Pleasure, independent and ἀνυπευθύνῳ, not accountable to any other, we easily quench all the fiery darts of the Sophists with the shield of Faith,[5] appealing to Paul in Romans 9:20-23.

It is of no use to Object, that the rational Creature acts all the more wisely, the more it allows itself to be determined by the Principle of Sufficient Reason discovered in Objects; which, applied to God by Way of Eminence, leads us here to Objective Reasons determining God’s predestination.

While, by Way of Negation, comes here to be removed from God that which arises in Creatures from their finite and dependent perfection, through which they neither know of themselves objects outside of themselves, nor in themselves constitute them to be; but they come upon them, and learn about them from external sources, and need them in a number of ways.

Neither does the Principle of Individuation make for this at all, with which Perfect Equality is not able to consist: since no such principle of differentiation is able thence to be placed in turn upon the Object, which principle of differentiation would determine God’s predestination, who of the same mass makes one a vessel unto honor, but another unto dishonor, Romans 9:21. SPANHEIM, in his Disputatione inaugurale de Quinquarticulanis Controversiis, § 4, opera, tome 3, column 1168, asserting that the Cause of the Decree of Election is not to be sought outside of God and His ἐκλογὴν/choice, among other things advises: “Hence also the Apostles calls them the ἐκλογὴν χάριτος, election of grace, Romans 11:5, and wishes by such great force to wipe away all stain of injustice from God, between those by condition equally implicated in the same corruption and the same guilt, receiving the one according to His own good pleasre, and leaving the other, Romans 9:14, etc. Whence also the elect, εὐλογημένοι/blessed, and σκεύη ἐλέους, vessels of mercy.[6] Neither is the illustrustration of His mercy, and the praise of His glorious grace, to be established as the impulsive cause of Election, distinct from εὐδοκίᾳ, good pleasure. On the much less solid foundation rests the assertion of some Orthodox men, stating that other causes are not wanting to God, why He might elect or reprobate this one rather than that one, Jacob rather than Esau, even if the causes escape us.” For the illustration of this case it is also helpful to consult E.D.P’S[7]Brieven aan J.E. Voet, part 2, letter 9, pages 264-289, compared with letter 8, pages 254-263.

CANZIUS[8] is able to be consulted, in his Usu Philosophiæ Leibnitianæ et Wolffianæ in Theologia, but it is to be read with judgment, when it is discovered without difficulty that he in the whole discourse concerning Predestination gushes out prejudices and false hypotheses, suited to establish the Lutherano-Arminian doctrine, tome 2, chapters IX, X, pages 596-914.

[1] Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was an accomplished German polymath, excelling particularly in mathematics and philosophy. Indeed, Leibniz was a proponent of a species of Cartesian Rationalism, but adorned with demonstrations rigorously mathematical in character. [2] Christian Wolff (1679-1754) was perhaps the most eminent German philosopher between Leibniz and Kant. Wolff philosophy is a modified form of Leibniz’s, pursuing rational demonstrations with the same mathematical certainty, and is very optimistic concerning the powers of reason to apprehend and describe reality; it was hotly contested among the theologians of the Lutheran and Reformed churches. [3] That is, external, contextual, predisposing. [4] That is, internal. [5] See Ephesians 6:16. [6] See Romans 9:23. [7] E. D. P. (Een Duits Predikant), a Dutch Minister. [8]Israël Gottlieb Canz (1690-1753) was a German philosopher and theologian, teaching logic, metaphysics, and theology at Tubingen.


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
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