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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of Predestination

THESIS I: Hitherto concerning the knowledge of God in Himself. Now follows the knowledge of Him in His works: which are internal or external.

THESIS II: The Internal works of God are those that are in the very will of God from eternity: and they are called the decrees of God: whereby from eternity God has ordained what is going to happen in time.

EXPLANATION: I. The internal works of God are distinguished by Doctors into personal and essential. Those that are terminated in the divine persons are personal; like the generation of the Father, whereby He generates the Son from eternity; the Spiration of the Father and the Son, whereby They spirate the Holy Spirit from eternity. Those that have creatures for their object are essential, of which sort are the decrees of God concerning all future things in time. Concerning the latter internal works does our Thesis speak.

The internal personal works of God are proper to the persons. The essential works of God are common to the whole Trinity.

* II. Theologians distinguish divine Acts into purely inward, purely outward, and mixed. Acts purely inward are essential or personal: The former are common to the three persons, like to understand, to will: The latter are of certain persons, like generation, procession.

Acts purely outward are essential, and common to the three persons: like creation, government, justification, sanctification, etc.

Acts mixed are in a diverse respect and manner common to the individual persons, and proper to a certain person, like the incarnation: which, although it is terminated in the Son alone, who is alone incarnate: yet the three individual Persons also were concurring in that by their common power and will.

Note: We retain the received expression of the Theologians, when we call the decrees of God works. For we speak of God according to our manner of conception, to which God Himself accommodates Himself in Scripture, and displays His own majesty to us ἀναλόγως/analogically with respect to man. Therefore, we call the decrees of God works, because the decrees of man are works or acts, really distinct from man and his intellect and will: through which we conceive of the decrees of God, or rather the decreeing God: even if they are not the internal works of God properly so called: for every work, properly so called, is an effect of the worker, really distinct from the worker. But if works of this sort existing from eternity in God are granted, the consummate simplicity of God is at stake, and Deity throughout eternity will not be able to be proven.

III. All the decrees of God are eternal, Acts 15:18, known unto God are all His works from eternity. This knowledge is nothing other than His decree concerning all things future in time.

All the decrees of God are also immutable: because God Himself is immutable, Malachi 3:6, I, Jehovah, change not.

THESIS III: The Decree of God is concerning the creation of the world, or the government of the same.

THESIS IV: The Decree is concerning the creation of the world, whereby God from eternity decreed to create the world in time.

EXPLANATION: This decree is known to us by the event. For, since God does nothing in time, that He will not have decreed to do from eternity: but God created the world in time; it follows that He decreed to create it from eternity.

THESIS V: The Decree is concerning the government of the world, whereby God from eternity decreed to govern the world created by Himself. Which, with respect to the objects, is various. Yet among them all the principal is the decree of predestination: which, although it concerns Angels and men equally, Scripture chiefly inculcates to us men the predestination of men.

EXPLANATION: I. That among the objects of predestination Angels are rightly referred, I have proven in Exercitation 6.

* II. But the predestination of angels and men agree, (1.) in the efficient cause, which is God: (2.) in form, the separation of those to be saved from the damned: (3.) in end, the illustration of the divine glory. They differ, (1.) in order: for that of the angels is prior, like their creation also: (2). In the condition of the subject or object: To the Predestinating God the objects were angels in their integrity, but fallen men: (3.) the Means ordained for execution: which with respect to elect men are Christ, faith upon Him, justification, and sanctification. Elect Angels had no ned of Gospel redemption and justification: because they were never fallen.

THESIS VI: Therefore, Predestination, as far as it has men as its object, is the eternal and immutable decree of God concerning the future eternal state of men.

THESIS VII: Predestination is election or reprobation.

EXPLANATION: In vain are some of the Papists, and especially of the Lutherans, persnickety about the term prædestinationis/predestination, by which they contend that election alone is denoted: in vain, I say, because they have no refuge in the Greek or Hebrew text of the Scripture, since the term is Latin, and is to be assessed according to its Latin usage in speech and writing. And it is certain, that by the ancient Latins it is taken as to determine, as much concerning punishment as reward: but that by the ancient Theologians predestination is used, not only to grace and glory, but also to wrath and punishment. Whoever doubt it, let him read, Augustine, Enchiridio, chapter 100; de civitate Dei, book 12, chapter 24; de peccatorum meritis et remissione, book 2, chapter 7: Prosper,[1]ad capitula Gallorum, chapter 14: Fulgentius,[2]ad Monimum. See Exercitation 7. Among our men see also Chamier in his Panstratia, Tome 3, page 102.

[1] Prosper of Aquitaine (403-463) was a student of Augustine, and, like his teacher, he was an opponent of Pelagianism. [2] Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe (468-533), was a champion of Augustinian and Nicean theology.

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