De Moor VII:3: Double Meaning of "Predestination"

Predestination is also extended to Angels:



α. Certain of which, α. are called Elect, ἐνώπιον—τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων, before…the elect angels, 1 Timothy 5:21, whether the word ἐκλεκτῶν/elect be taken nominally, or rather participially, in the same manner in which ἔκδοτος in Acts 2:23 is taken participially for delivered;[1] as ἐκλεκτὸς/elect in the New Testament is wont to be used with respect to the decree of Predestination, whether the speech be of Christ,[2] or of Elect men:[3] but, if you explain the term adjectivally of the Excellence of these Angels, you will not be able to derive the Excellence of those above the Fallen Angels from any other source than from the gracious Good Pleasure of the Electing God. 2. And others occur as destined for Judgment; who were thus, by the active sentence of God and its execution, deprived of their primeval felicity, and were cast into prison, there to be kept for heavy and final punishment, according to 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6, so that they might be destined from eternity unto the one or the other, just as nothing in time is able to happen except the eternal Will of God: but there is mention of this preparation of punishment for Devils made already of old, Matthew 25:41.


β. And since, as I just now said, nothing comes to pass in time except the eternal Will of God, from the event itself and the differing states of the Angels, the Election of some with the Rejection of others is able to be concluded sufficiently enough.

Johannes a Marck

Now, as the Angels have a common Predestination with Men, so our AUTHOR proposes a Distinction to be observed between the Predestination of the one and the other:


1. In the State of the Object; while all Men were going to Fall, the Good Angels, on the other hand, were destined for eternal felicity without an intervening Fall. Moreover, as Scripture makes very sparing mention of the Predestination of Angels, so learned Men are wont to divide their conceptions concerning this Decree: which, when Scripture determines nothing, is permissible; only let the analogy of faith remain intact, and let us not slip into absurdities. More specifically, there are those that in Predestination conceive an Equal State of Good and Evil Angels, but only of Liability to Fall: other conceive an Unequal State of both, inasmuch as they maintain the Evil as Destined to Fall, the Good as Liable to Fall. Against the first opinion they observe, a. That in Predestination Evil Angels are not able to be considered as merely Liable to Fall equally with the Good, because it is not the Creature’s Liablity to Fall, but an actual Fall, that makes it Reprobable. b. Therefore, they say that a proper End of the Permission of the Fall of Angels is not wanting, although the Decree of the Permission of the Fall be set in order before the Decree of the Reprobation of the Angels that are going to Fall: but they think that it is able to be said that the Fall of many Angels was permitted, for the manifestation of the Glory of God in the infirmity of the Creature, so that thus the distinction between the Creature, mutable and Liable to Fall, and the immutable Creator might be more clearly evident; and at the same time for a demonstration of divine Freedom and its absolute Dominion; and also for the greater illustration of divine Grace in others, whom He willed to preserve from Falling. Hence they maintain that the State of Angels in Predestination is not able to be considered as Equal; unless Reprobation be taken in a broader sense, so that it might include the Decree of not preserving from Fall, and of permitting that: for thus necessarily an Angel to be reprobated ought to be considered as Whole, but Liable to Fall. But, if Reprobation be taken more strictly and properly, for the Decree of forsaking in the Fall and of condemning because of the Fall; they teach that Evil Angels are not able here to be regarded as Whole but Liable to Fall after the likeness of the Good, but as going to Fall.


The Most Illustrious MARESIUS[4] has digested the whole matter in an order not incommodious, Systemate Theologico, locus IV, § 33, note b, page 161, writing: “It is much easier to conceive that God, 1. for the glory of His Name, to which He has regard in all His counsels, first decreed to create all Angels in an equal condition and equally Liable to Fall. That, 2. out of all those He decreed to permit a Fall, otherwise voluntary, of some in a sufficiently great number. That, 3. He decreed these Fallen by their own fault, both to cast off forever, because they had previously deserted their habitation, and to subject to eternal punishments, in the exercise of His Justice.[5] That, 4. He likewise decreed the rest, who had persevered and fell not, through the grace of confirmation not owed, to raise from Liability to Fall and render fixed in glory.”


2. Our AUTHOR wants another Distinction to be observed in the Mode of Execution, since Angels were predestined without the ordination of Faith or Unbelief: for, they were not predestinated in Christ as the Mediator of Salvation, neither through positive or negative Unbelief unto Damnation: which our AUTHOR will further confirm in Chapter IX, § 16, 25, 27. On the other hand, all Elect Men were elected in Christ: and the blameworthiness of Reprobate Men is especially aggravated by Unbelief.


3. Our AUTHOR notes a third Distinction in the End of the decree of Predestination, that with respect to the Reprobation of Angels and Men equally it has as an End the demonstration of divine Justice: now, with respect to the Election of Angels, the demonstration of divine Goodness; but with respect to the Election of Men, of divine Mercy: for, since Good Angels were confirmed in the State of Integrity, they never experienced the State of Misery, and so were not able to be made an object of divine Mercy.


Now, as God published a manifest proof of His Severity in all Fallen Angels, Reprobate without any Hope of pardon, soon to be delivered to punishment after the sin committed; while, on the other hand, from mankind about to fall He purposed to restore many to Himself after the Fall, indeed, also to bear for a long time reprobate men[6] and to endow them with many benefits in this life: so in Election, in a certain respect a more illustrious Degree of divine Goodness is able to be observed to be demonstrated in Angels, who are destined to eternal felicity without any intervening Misery; but in another respect it is able to be said that a brighter appearance of divine Mercy presents itself in the Election of Men, than of divine Goodness in the Election of Angels, since sinful Men, worthy of hell, who regarded God and His Laws and communion as matters of indifference, God notwithstanding wills to save and destines for salvation: compare WENDELIN’S Exercitationes theologicas VI; MARESIUS’ Disputationem Theologicam de Angelorum Prædestinatione, in his Sylloge Disputationum, part II, pages 792-816.


But, with that Predestination of Angels now set to the side, in what follows in this Chapter we, with out AUTHOR, will treat especially of the Predestination of Men.

[1] Acts 2:23: “Him, being delivered (ἔκδοτον) by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain…” [2] Luke 23:35: “And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God (ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκλεκτός).” [3] For example, Romans 8:33: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect (ἐκλεκτῶν)? It is God that justifieth.” Titus 1:1: “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect (ἐκλεκτῶν), and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness…” [4] Maresius, or Samuel Desmarets (1599-1673), was a French Huguenot minister and polemist. He held various ministerial posts, and served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1625-1636), and at Groningen (1643-1673). [5] See Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4. [6] See Romans 9:22.

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