Infralapsarianism

Sublapsarianism

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(Lat. for "after the fall," sometimes designated "sublapsarianism"). A part of the doctrine of predestination, specifically that which relates to the decrees of election and reprobation. The issues involved are God's eternal decrees and man's will, how can the one be affirmed without denying the other. If one argues for God's predetermination of mankind's fate, this tends to deny mankind's free will and threatens to make God responsible for sin.

On the other hand, if one argues for the freedom of mankind's will, thus making man responsible for sin, this can threaten the sovereignty and power of God since his decrees then are contingent upon mankind's decisions. The argument / dilemma is not new. Pelagius and Augustine argued over the issue with the Synod of Orange, 529, which sided with Augustine. In the Middle Ages, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham questioned Augustine's position. Luther and Erasmus argued the issue in Freedom of the Will and Bondage of the Will. Melanchthon got involved and was accused by Flacius of synergism, and by the end of the sixteenth century the position of Arminius stirred the controversy among the Reformed, who attempted to resolve the issue at the Synod of Dort.

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What is the order of the eternal decrees of God? Infralapsarians argue for this order:

The key to the order of the decrees is that God decreed election to salvation after the fall, not before; hence the name of the view "infralapsarianism." The supralapsarian view would offer an order in which the decree for election and reprobation occurs before the creation. Those on both sides of the issue cite weighty arguments for their positions, quote Scripture as a foundation, and comb through Augustine, Calvin, and others for support. Generally most Reformed assemblies have refused to make either infra - or supralapsarianism normative, although the tendency has been to favor the former without condemning those who hold to the latter.

R V Schnucker
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)


Infralapsarians

Catholic Information

(Latin, infra lapsum, after the fall).

The name given to a party of Dutch Calvinists in the seventeenth century, who sought to mitigate the rigour of Calvin's doctrine concerning absolute predestination. As already explained (see CALVINISM), the system evolved by Calvin is essentially supralapsarian. The fundamental principle once admitted, that all events in this world proceed from the eternal decrees of God, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that the fall of man was not merely foreseen and permitted, as the Catholic doctrine teaches, but positively decreed, as a necessary means to the Divine end in creating Man, the manifestation of God's power in condemning, as well as of His mercy in saving, souls. It was this corollary of Calvinism, viz., that God created some men for the express purpose of showing His power through their eternal damnation, that brought on the troubles associated with the name of Arminius (see ARMINIANISM). In their controversies with opponents, within and without the pale of Calvinism, the Infralapsarians had the advantage of being able to use, or abuse, for the purpose of argument, the texts of Scripture and the Fathers which establish the dogma of original sin. But since, to remain Calvinists at all, they were obliged to retain, even if they did not insist upon, the principle that God's decrees can in no wise be influenced or conditioned by anything outside of Himself, the difference between them and the more outspoken Supralapsarians seem to have consisted simply in a divergent phrasing of the same mystery. To the sould which is foreordained to eternal misery without any prevision of its personal demerits, it matters little whether the decree of condemnation date from all eternity or --

"Five thousand years 'fore its creation,

Through Adam's cause.

Publication information Written by James F. Loughlin. Transcribed by Tom Burgoyne. In memory of Father Baker, founder of Our Lady of Victory Homes The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York


Also, see:
Supralapsarianism
Sanctification
Justification
Conversion
Confession
Salvation
Soteriological Ordering. Various Attitudes on Salvation
Arminianism
Amyraldianism

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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