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De Moor VII:18: The Object of Predestination, Part 4

Our AUTHOR, being about to add his ἐπίκρισιν/epicrisis concerning these differing opinions, advises that a Twofold Extreme is to be Avoided:

Johannes a Marck

1. On the one side, that all Respect to Sin is excluded: for the assertion was too harsh, that No Regard to Sin, whether antecedent or concomitant, in Predestination absolutely considered, to both salvation and damnation equally, is necessary. Since no one is Reprobable before the perfectly Just God, except because of Sin: but if God could destine eternal Punishments for the Innocent, He could also inflict such Punishments on the same, which our AUTHOR refuted, Chapter IV, § 46.


2. On the other side, that it is denied that Creation and the Permission of the Fall are Means, to the End of Predestination or salvation and damnation according to the governing Intention of God. The Sublapsarians produces reasons for this denial certainly not to be despised: a. That Scripture never speaks of Creation and the Fall as Means of Predestination; but as antecedent conditions, since it passes next from Predestination to Vocation. b. That Means have a necessary connection with their End, so that, with the Means posited, the End ought necessarily to be posited in its time: but neither Creation nor the Fall have any certain connection with Election, or with Reprobation: for men were able to be created and to be preserved from a Fall, like the good Angels; they were able to be delivered over to a Fall, and not to be elected unto Salvation, but all to be left in misery, like the evil Angels; also, all the fallen were able to be destined for Salvation. c. Because Means ought to be of the same order and dispensation with the intended End: but Creation and the Fall pertain to the natural order and dispensation of Providence; but Salvation and Damnation pertain to the supernatural order of Predestination. d. Because, if Creation and the Fall were means to the salvation or damnation of man, God would have formed a plan concerning the salvation and destruction of man, before He had decreed anything concerning his futurition and Fall; which is absurd.


Let us say, therefore, that the Creation and Fall of man are not Means properly so called leading to the End of the revelation of divine Mercy and Justice through man’s Election and Reprobation; but that they are properly Conditions prerequisite in the object, without which it had not been possible to arrive at the revelation of His Justice and Mercy in such a manner as God destined through Election and Reprobation: in a similar manner, as existence and malleability in Clay are not means, which the potter made subservient to his counsel concerning preparing vessels for honor and for dishonor; but they are presupposed as prerequisite conditions, when the Clay is destined by the craftsmen to such different uses. Disease in the sick is a preceding condition, without which healing is not able to obtain in him; but it is not a means through which he is healed. At the same time, since the one God by one act of the Will decreed all things, as much Creation and the permission of the Fall, as the Predestination of man to salvation or ruin; one is hardly able of himself to be granted to separate the divine works and counsels, that God did not, decreeing the permission of the Fall, at the same time intend by this intervening calamity to reveal His Mercy and Justice, through the Election of certain ones and the Reprobation of others, in the Decree of Predestination. And so Creation and the permission of the Fall, less properly called Means, would be prerequisite Conditions, with which intervening God willed to glorify Himself in the gracious salvation of some, and the just damnation of others; yet in such a way that man, to be created and going to fall, remains the object of Predestination: with the Decree of Providence, according to our manner of conception, having been made subservient to that which is of Predestination, and has regard to the another order of things.


Nevertheless, I would not dare with the Supralapsarians out of Proverbs 16:4 to infer, that God created the impious only for that end, that He might condemn him, because He hath made the wicked for the day of evil; so that the Decree of Creation is a proper means for executing the Decree of Predestination. In this manner also, progressing further blasphemously, you could infer from this text, that God made man wicked, instilling malice in him. Solomon rather said here, that the wicked, whom he discovers to be such by his own proper fault, God made, that is, ordained by moral and juridical determination, for the day of evil, that is, of calamity and ruin; as to make is often to ordain: in accordance with which Jude said, that the impious were written unto judgment, verse 4.[1]



At the same time, our AUTHOR prefers the Method of the Sublapsarians; to the extent that,


α. This is especially accommodated to human comprehension: while the opinion of the Supralapsarians is able easily to be traduced, as if God had reprobated men, before they were reprobable through sin; and that He destined the innocent to punishment, before any fault was foreseen in them: and so He did not will to condemn them, because they were sinners; but He permitted them to become sinners, so that they might be able to be punished, and decreed to create, so that He might destroy.


β. The Decree of Predestination is not solely proposed for the revelation of Justice and Mercy; but at the same time the destination of certain Persons, in whose salvation or damnation God exercises Mercy and Justice; together with the destination of apt means leading to this end.


γ. And the Scripture also uses the terms Predestination and Election more strictly, and so not much of Creation and the permission of the Fall; as of the Destination of Fall man to his ultimate end and the means that tend toward it: whence also Pauls did not say, whom He did predestinate, them He created; whom He created, them He permitted to fall; whom He permitted to fall, them He called, etc.; but to Predestination he immediately subjoins Calling, etc.: Romans 8:29, 30.


δ. Indeed, the conception of Damnation and Salvation presupposes the conception of Creation and the Fall: because Salvation and Destruction are ends that are brought upon a subject, which then is supposed already to exist; while a man Creatable and Liable to Fall, simply considered, is a Non-Being, because the man has not been advanced from non-being to being by Creation. The Decree of Creation does indeed have for an object a Non-Entity, because Creation makes its object; it does not presuppose it: but Predestination concerns an object already constituted, and does not simply cause that it might be, but that it might be in this or that manner. Therefore, as the Decree concerning the creation of man ought to have for its object creatable; so the Decree concerning the salvation or damnation of man ought to have regard to fallen man, because Redemption or Destruction was destined for him: now, every subject is conceived to be priour to its adjuncts; a Non-Entity has no characteristics/relations.


In addition, either all Creatable men are the object of Predestination, or only certain of them. Not all, because there are innumerable possible men that are never to be created, and, consequently, are never to be saved or damned. Therefore, only certain ones; but, if only some of all the Creatable men are the object of Predestination, then they were foreknown, not indefinitely, but definitely, as future through the intervening decree of Creation: for no other reason is able to be rendered why other Creatable men were not predestinated, than than they were not going to be.

[1] Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained (οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι) to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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