I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.
(Isaiah 45:7)
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Supralapsarianism and Its Practical Implications
Author: Fenley, Ward

Supralapsarianism and Its Practical Implications

Editor's note: 5solas.org does not endorse this author in any way because of his stance on preterism. However I believe this article by Ward Fenley is representative of the true gospel and a brilliant masterpiece. - Brandan


Supralapsarianism:

Some have dismissed supralapsarianism as mere logic. Some believe it ascribes sinfulness to God. Typically, these are the same arguments used by Arminians against the doctrine of predestination. Sadly, there are far too many who profess predestination yet are not supralapsarian. Well-known theologian, R.C. Sproul has adopted the infralapsarian position. He struggles to present his case in his book, Chosen By God. Because of the stature of Sproul many are turning to the Arminian position of infralapsarianism. Their justification is that they believe supralapsarianism makes God evil.

First, I would like to present a totally Biblical argument for the supralapsarian position. Second, I will desperately try to not use any extra-biblical logic since this has aroused so many infralapsarians. However, I will confess that to profess that God is omniscient and omnipotent and yet deny the supralapsarian position is philosophically illogical and impossible. Nevertheless, to satisfy those such as myself who have a tendency to refuse all logic against Scripture (which is actually quite a nice thing to do), I will simply expound the Scriptures. For those of you who want the philosophically logical and inevitable defense of supralapsarianism, just let me know.

The first and foremost part of my proposition is that God is intrinsically holy. This holiness cannot be changed nor does it have an end or a beginning. The second part of my proposition is that God, in His holiness, has an immutable decree for all events in time and outside of time. This decree is as immutable and eternal as His holiness. This decree providentially permeates, and by God's infinite power is the causal factor of, every facet of all events in time and outside of time.

The third but less significant part of my proposition is that the knowledge of the supralapsarian position is an extremely important part of the Christian life and the worship of God. Within this part of the proposition we should note that we are strongly admonished through examples and commands in Scripture to praise God for the good and the bad that He brings. Ultimately this is because they all work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose. Therefore, I assert that the active, ineffable power of God over good and evil, righteousness and sin, to fulfill His decree, is to be praised by the Christian. God's power is not merely an attribute.

The power of God is God:
  • Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
    Exodus 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
    Numbers 14:17-18 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, {18} The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
    2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power: And he maketh my way perfect.
This power of God is Jesus Christ:
  • 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; {24} But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

    The Christian life is lacking when the power of God is only praised for good. In everything we are to give thanks. This includes good, evil, righteousness, and sin. This concept is foreign to many because the nature of man gravitates toward likening God to man:

    Psalms 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Certainly man at His best state is altogether vanity (Ps. 39:5). Man throughout history has attempted to fashion a god after his own mind. This is primarily because a god of his own device will conform to that which he naturally adores-self. With such a marred past, we must consider the fact that we have carried many carnal views into our Christianity. As long as the Lord wills, there will always be baggage we need to discard.

Though many do not know the term, supralapsarianism is the most hated doctrine of God. This is precisely why the unbeliever is so vehemently opposed to it and many believers are reluctant to embrace this wonderful truth.

Infralapsarianism can be technically defined as God decreeing salvation because of the fall. Supralapsarianism is defined as God decreeing both the fall and salvation based upon no condition whatsoever. In essence infralapsarianism is here seen to closely parallel the Arminian doctrine of conditional election. Infralapsarianism must end with that conclusion. For if God decreed salvation because of the fall, for God to be consistent in His decree He must have decreed election because of the activity of the one who had fallen. This is not logic supporting supralapsarianism; rather this is the logic of infralapsarianism. There are many more logical conclusions to which infralapsarianism leads, however, we will examine the Biblical position of supralapsarianism.

It must be noted that there are differing views of those who claim to hold the supralapsarian position. The "orthodox" view would say that God did indeed decree salvation and the fall based upon no foreseen condition. However, the vast majority of those who hold the supralapsarian position would be very reluctant to say that God is the author of evil or sin. Some would go so far as to say that God is the author of evil yet not the cause of sin. The sound of the phrase, "cause of sin" is particularly disturbing when we consider the holiness of God. But we must ask the question: Do we believe God is the Creator of all things?

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Do we really include all things as we consider this passage and sing so many songs that use this verse? Some try to say that sin is not a thing. What is sin if it is not a thing? To identify something as a thing does not mean it has to be material. The Bible speaks of immaterial things:

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Jesus Christ created all things visible and invisible. Sin is invisible. Sin is used as both a verb and a noun in the Bible. Nothing can be excluded from the seemingly infinite parameter of God's creation. The atheist affirms that the universe suddenly appeared or evolved out of nothing. We say that this is futile and illogical. Yet these very atheists attack the man-centered presentation of God as all-knowing, all-powerful, yet not the author and cause of all things. This attack is justified primarily because the atheist sees the extreme irrationality of a God who is such. Though we will not consider it here, it is very profitable to thoroughly consider the profundity of the omniscience and omnipotence of God. Sadly, many secular courses in logic present a more Biblical view of God than most professing Christians. Certainly Arminianism has entirely deviated from the God of Scripture.

Though this may seem extreme, infralapsarianism leads to the same deviation when taken to its logical conclusion. I fully confess that just about every doctrine we hold could lead to deviation from Scripture if we scrutinized every possible result from any given doctrine. However, because this involves such enormous and clear attributes of God, and because it involves such obvious reproach against Jesus Christ we must review our presuppositions and make sure they are in conformity with Scripture. In doing so we will not only have a far greater appreciation for the absolute sovereignty of God over righteousness and sin; we will also present God as He is to the fallen world and to professing Christians: namely, a God who is actively (not permissively) involved with each event transpiring in time and eternity from the salvation of the soul to the sparrow that falls to the ground, from a corrupt murderer of millions of Russian peasants to those who crucified the Lord of glory.

In this examination I will make brief comments concerning the following passages:

Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: {11} Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

God has declared the end from the beginning. Nothing was left undone. Nothing was decreed after an event. To say otherwise would be to deny the omniscience of God. Not only did God declare the end from the beginning, He also promised to bring it to pass and to do it. "Do it" is not an act of permission but commission.

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

God created all things, sin and righteousness for Himself. This is the purpose of all creation: to bring glory to God. God created the wicked to be damned.

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

This passage clearly teaches they were ordained for condemnation. God planned or decreed that certain men would be damned for eternity.

Romans 9:22-23 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: {23} And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

There are some who have correctly analyzed the use of the passive voice for the word "fitted" and the active voice for the word "prepared." A faulty analysis of the "passive" voice is made when associating the "passiveness" with God. The truth that the phrase is conveying is diametrically opposed to that imagination. The passive voice is used to describe the passiveness of the vessel of destruction. That is, the vessel of destruction is passively having to receive the decree and hardening of God upon their hearts. Otherwise, vv. 18,19 would not make any sense in the context:

Romans 9:18-19 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. {19} Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

The whole context deals with the discussion of the will of God to harden some and save others. If it were some sort of discourse concerning some imaginary passive attribute of God then the questions of the earthly opponent would be completely out of place. The whole reason the earthly opponent responds with hatred toward God is that they are confronted with the inevitable reality that an omnipotent, omniscient God has just declared that He hardens whom He wills. "Hardeneth" is a present tense verb in the active voice. Literally the passage reads, "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he is continually hardening." There is so much force behind this statement for the supralapsarian position that only the angriest mentality would find ways to ignore the clear implication of the verse.

Incidentally, the command to Pharaoh was, "Let my people go." Sin is disobedience to God. To disobey God's command would be sin. For Pharaoh to not hearken to the command of God to let the children of Israel go would be to sin and rebel against God. There is no contention here among all positions. The issue is clarified in God's explicit statement to Moses:

Exodus 4:21-23 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. {22} And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: {23} And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

There is no mistaking the fact that God caused Pharaoh to sin. But before we ascribe evil to God, we must ask two essential questions: Does God have the right and does God have a purpose? No true Christian would deny the fact that God has a right to do whatever He pleases. This is certainly Scriptural:

Psalms 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psalms 135:6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

The problem is that far too many professing Christians are not even saying, "What doest thou?" They are simply saying, "Thou wouldst not do it!" Yet, "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand…"Or as the opponent exclaims, "…Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?" Romans 9:19. God's purpose is that He would be glorified and His power would be made known.

The response of the atheist to the imagined passive side of God is, "God could not be passive if He is omniscient and omnipresent." If we presented the truth of God's active sovereignty over good and evil, the atheist's reply would be much more similar to that of the opponent in Romans. "How can He find fault if He is the one hardening and His will cannot be resisted?" Paul gives the most hated reply:

Romans 9:20-21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? {21} Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

We could close the case here, but there are far too many Scriptural jewels we would overlook in doing so.

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Some try to make the distinction between moral evil and natural calamity in their analysis of this verse. However, this view simply will not harmonize with the rest of Scripture for two reasons: First, the word for evil is the identical Hebrew word used in these passages:

Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

These passages elucidate the fact that good and evil are contrasted. Certainly moral evil is that to which the writer of Genesis is referring. This in and of itself, however, does not prove our point. But Lamentations certainly does:

Lamentations 3:37-38 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? {38} Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

God's sovereignty over the will of man is seen in vs. 37. To clarify the sense of the verse, the writer is saying, "Who is the one that says 'It shall come to pass,' when the Lord has not ordained it to come to pass?" In other words, regardless of man's counsel, only God's counsel stands:

Psalms 33:10-11 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. {11} The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Lamentations 3:38 is especially apparent:

Lamentations 3:38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Even Job recognized this after Satan had taken his property, his children and had given him boils:

Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Certainly Satan's acts are all morally evil. Job said this came from the hand of the Lord. The moral evil Satan committed was from the hand of the Lord. This idea is very pronounced in a comparison of Samuel and Chronicles:

2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. cf. Job 1,2

Compare the two clauses:

"Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel"
"…the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel"

The question is not who did it, but rather, who controls whom. Satan was a piece of wicked clay that God created to do whatever He wanted:

Job 26:6-14 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. {7} He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. {8} He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. {9} He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. {10} He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. {11} The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. {12} He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. {13} By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. {14} Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

Notice that God formed the crooked serpent.

Ecclesiastes 7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

From what we have studied so far, it is clear that God creates men wicked for the purpose of condemning them. The reasons are as follows: First, so that God would show His power and that His name would be declared in all the earth. The second reason is found in Romans 9, that ever-so-faithful passage that will always convince me of the supralapsarian position so long as it is in the Bible:

Romans 9:22-23 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: {23} And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

God certainly could have ordained each and every one of us to the lake of fire. God certainly could have hardened us. God confronts us with this truth that He ordains some for condemnation and hardens them to that end so that those who were ordained for glory as vessels of mercy would praise Him. Instead of praising God for this awesome truth, far too many are saying, "That makes God unjust; That's unfair; That's not the God of the Bible; My God would never do that; That would mean God is evil," and the list goes on and on. They forsake God's word because they are thinking that God is altogether like them.

We will now examine some of more detailed events which God sovereignly causes.

Job 12:6-10 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. {7} But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: {8} Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. {9} Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? {10} In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Verse 9 says, "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?" In all honesty the infralapsarian would be forced to answer that they do not know that the hand of the Lord hath wrought these things. Particularly we see that the hand of the Lord "bringeth abundantly into the hands of robbers." God's hand (denoting active sovereignty) causes the tabernacle of robbers to prosper. Is robbing a sin? God causes their sin and their sinning to prosper. But why?

Psalms 92:5-7 O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. {6} A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. {7} When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:

God simply wants to destroy them forever, which is exactly why He is causing them to prosper. The Potter sovereignly and actively controls the clay for His own purposes.

This same idea is conveyed with authority in the book of Joshua:

Joshua 11:20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

God actively hardened the Gentile enemies of God's chosen nation of Israel to come against Israel in battle so that He would destroy them utterly. Why, for the Gentiles were certainly no more wicked than the Jews?! It was so that God would keep His covenant with Israel to bring them completely into the land. God did not want these Gentiles to have any favor. God wanted to destroy them therefore He hardened them.

A question that we might ask concerning one of man's chief rebellions against God is, Is it a sin to hate God's people? Certainly the Bible teaches hatred is murder. No doubt, hating God's people is hating Jesus Christ, for He said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of the my brethren, ye have done it unto Me. To hate God's people is to hate God. One of the strongest statements concerning God actively causing sin is found in Psalms:

Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtly with his servants.

God is here said to have turned (actively) the Gentiles hearts to hate His people. Some may say that this refers to non-elect Israel. The passage says God turned their hearts…"to deal subtly with His servants." God here actively caused these Gentiles to hate His people and make them deal subtly with His servants. Some will try to play word games by saying turn does not really mean turn etc. This is quite simply twisting Scripture.

Consider this passage:

Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Some might say that this passage is clearly "vindicating" God from any exercise of His active power over the actual thoughts of man. However, the rest of Scripture shows the true meaning of this verse:

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Proverbs 20:24 Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

God is said to prepare the heart in man, to give the answer of the tongue, and to cause man's goings and ways. Isn't it fascinating that the question is raised in response to the statement that man's goings are of the Lord, "How can a man then understand his own way?" This explains why infralapsarians are so puzzled. Theologically they do not even believe that all of man's goings are of the Lord, therefore they are not even to the point of asking how can a man then understand his own way? Instead the pride exposed in infralapsarianism is this: They believe man can understand his own way because ultimately, infralapsarian theology must take God out of the picture. Therefore their theology must ascribe greatness to man, though the infralapsarian would utterly reject this accusation.

In Isaiah chapter 10 God identifies the King of Assyria thus:

Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.

The Psalmist describes the wicked similarly:

Psalms 17:13-14 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: {14} From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

In both passages the wicked are described as being either instruments in the hand of God or the actual hand of God. This can hardly be construed as the imaginary indolence of God the infralapsarian suggests. Psalms is clear: The soul of the wicked is the sword of God against David. Coming against the anointed king of Israel was and remains a sin. I find it hard to imagine God wielding a sword passively. The wicked men are said to be the hand of God again indicating God's desire to have the power of controlling and causing the wicked to sin ascribed to Him. Would we dare try to take this away?

The passage in Isaiah 10 is part of a greater context which deals with the active sovereignty over the king of Assyria:

Isaiah 10:5-15 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. {6} I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. {7} Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. {8} For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? {9} Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? {10} As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria: {11} Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? {12} Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. {13} For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: {14} And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. {15} Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

God in no uncertain terms identifies the king of Assyria as a saw and an ax. God reproves him for thinking he is not wood. First, saws, axes, and pieces of wood do not move themselves:

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being…

We cannot move, think, or exist unless God causes each and every thought, action, and breath. God further describes His control over the king of Assyria:

Isaiah 14:24-27 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: {25} That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. {26} This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. {27} For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Compare this active control over the heart of the king of Assyria with this passage:

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Joseph Stalin murdered over fifty million people. Adolph Hitler murdered over six million people. The death toll of Bill Clinton's victims is rising every year with the demise of millions of babies. What is God's purpose? Why is God turning the heart of Clinton to do this? God is said to be turning the heart of Clinton as the rivers of water, withersoever He wills. What right does God have?

What about the man that curses the godly king?

Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Yet consider the sovereignty of God over the heart of Shimei:

2 Samuel 16:5-12 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. {6} And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. {7} And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: {8} The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. {9} Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. {10} And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? {11} And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. {12} It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

David's response to this cursing is stunning not only from the perspective of examining his godliness; it is also stunning that he ascribed the causal factor of Shimei's cursing to God. It was a sin for Shimei to curse David. David said:

"so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?" The Lord inviting Shimei even goes beyond the control of this man's heart to sin. God is actually said to have invited Shimei to commit this sin. But remember, God causes all things to work together for good, as David said:

2 Samuel 16:12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

God actually stops good counsel when it serves His purpose:

2 Samuel 17:14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

Two things: First, God appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel. Second, God intended to bring evil upon Absalom by defeating the good counsel. We see God's active sovereign power to cause goodness to cease so that He might bring about the destruction of His enemies. This seems to be a regular pattern of God. This sheds light on the murders of millions by the aforementioned men. God has done this that they might be destroyed forever.

The Bible says:

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Lying is sin which is transgression of the law:

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

The following verses show God's active sovereignty over this sin:

2 Chronicles 18:19-22 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. {20} Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? {21} And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. {22} Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
Ezekiel 14:9-10 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. {10} And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

When the Bible says that God put a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets, this is not the same as saying God passively overlooked the sin. Or as one put it when replying to another's Infra & Supralapsarianism, "Seems to me that God is passive (passed over) toward [the] non-elect". Both of these men affirm the infralapsarian doctrine of a passive God. Though these men would never confess that their view is modified Deism (the belief that God created the world and then left it to itself to operate), yet in theology, if God is passive over evil, God is passive over the vast majority of human affairs; thus Deism would be correct in well over ninety percent of human history.

Quite honestly, that is a terrifying thought. I shudder at thinking that evil is just on a free course allowed by God to transpire. I shudder ever greater at a doctrine that denies God his rightful place in the active control and cause of evil. The Bible says that the Lord told the lying spirit (which God created) to entice King Ahab and that the lying spirit should prevail. With even more strength God says in Ezekiel, "…if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet." Is this a passive deception? I have never heard of such an idea. God actively deceives people everyday. He did this in the Old Testament and He does it in the New Testament:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, {10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. {11} And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: {12} That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Revelation 17:16-17 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. {17} For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

God did not passively send the false teachers strong delusion. God did not passively put it into their hearts to follow the beast. These actions were caused by the active power of God to show Himself strong:

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

Finally, the greatest atrocity in human history, the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, is shown to have been caused by God. The Lord of glory Himself testified of this:

John 19:10-11 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? {11} Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

A question must be raised: Was it a sin to crucify Christ?

Exodus 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

Was Christ innocent? Did the Jews slay Him? Peter seemed to think so:

Acts 2:22-23 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: {23} Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

But Peter did not merely proclaim this truth before men. He was utterly bold with the rest of the apostles as they prayed:

Acts 4:25-28 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? {26} The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. {27} For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, {28} For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

The question David raised was, "Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things. Peter answers the question: "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, {28} For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Peter exclaims, "Of a truth" these wicked men were "gathered (not passively) to do whatever Thy hand (active) and Thy counsel (decree) determined before (predestined) to be done." There is no escaping it. God actively caused these men to crucify Christ to such a degree that God is said to have bruised Christ (Isaiah 53:10).

Here we see perhaps the greatest end of why God causes men to sin. Without this active power of God demonstrated and exercised every one of us would certainly be damned. These men could not have crucified Christ unless God caused them to crucify Him. This is precisely what Christ was saying to Pilate.

Even Isaiah did not deny God causing sin and hardening people:

Isaiah 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

There is no passiveness about this verse. Notice that Isaiah does not say, "Oh LORD, you passively let this happen. Why? After all God, you could have stopped it." No, rather, the prophet asks what we all ask, "Why hast Thou made (active, not passive) us to err from Thy ways (to err from God's ways is sin) and hardened (active, not passive) our heart from Thy fear (to not fear God is sin)?" Isaiah does not try to take away God's rightful place as the absolute Sovereign over evil. Instead, Isaiah has the Biblical and God-fearing response, "Restore for Thy servant's sake, the tribes of Thine inheritance." Isaiah begs God to restore His people; and even this begging and making mention of the name of the Lord is by God:

Isaiah 26:12-13 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. {13} O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

God hardened the people from fearing Him. Yet, God is the one who must put that fear in man:

Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

This corresponds perfectly with Psalms:

Psalms 90:1-3 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. {2} Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. {3} Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

God turned us to destruction and then said, "Return, ye children of men." But how do we turn?

Jeremiah 31:18-19 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. {19} Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
Lamentations 5:19-21 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. {20} Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? {21} Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.

The argument presented here was virtually without any extra-biblical logic. I have not found any infralapsarian who can refute the Scriptures presented here. In fact, it is the infralapsarian who attempts to impose faulty human logic upon the Scripture. I have been accused of just using logic. I welcome anyone to show me that the supralapsarian position is unbiblical. You weigh the positions. Let your conscience examine the Scriptures. May those of you who have previously disagreed be humbled at the Scriptures presented and boldly admit and proclaim the God who is able to save and to destroy; the God who has created all things for His purpose, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Its Practical Implications:

At this point we must examine the practical implications of supralapsarianism. After all, is this not one of the chief objectives of all doctrine we believe? Of course our highest objective is the glory of God for the doctrines which so perfectly describe Him. But next to this is how the acknowledgment of the doctrines of God must have an abounding effect in the Christian life. Doctrine without effect is like seed on thorny ground. Because of the sobering implications of this doctrine we must be utterly cautious as to the way we manage and disseminate the truth at hand. To the disgrace of Christianity, many unbelievers have taken this ominous doctrine and used it to bring shame to the name of Christ.

Basically the way they handle this doctrine leads to what is ironically called fatalism. To view the doctrine of supralapsarianism as an excuse to sin against God is unquestionably a fatal mistake. They negate the responsibility of man in their defective analysis of the sovereignty of God. Responsibility is often assumed to be the freedom of the will. The terribly perplexing aspect of the sovereignty of God is that which confronted the opponent in Romans 9. The opponent was confronted with this foreboding doctrine and it angered him. His response was fatalistic. The God of the Bible was not suitable for his worldview. The fatalist makes the fatal flaw of disregarding his utter need to praise God for the glory of His power.

A proper view of the sovereignty of God loves to be a part of His plan to praise and trust Jesus Christ for the working of obedience to His word:
  • Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
    Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast. {10} For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
    John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
God's absolute sovereignty works itself in our lives in manners such as causing us to stumble when we become exalted in our victories over certain sins thinking we have mastered those sins forever. We begin to forget the power of God. God in His infinite and penetrating love seizes the pride and scourges every son whom He receives. Through sin God reminds the Christian of the weakness that left them pale in the vice of death.

The true Christian is brought to a place of a deep and gripping fear of God that is in awe of Him and delights in His almighty power. The true Christian ascribes infinite value to each and every attribute of God. The true Christian falls upon the mercy seat of Christ and is broken but not crushed to powder. The true Christian cries "Abba, Father" as they tremble at their inability to please Him who has the power to throw men into eternal punishment yet will never touch the souls of His elect with even an ember of His wrath. For God's blessed Son has carried the eternal weight of their guilt. The true Christian sings daily at the throne of their God:

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinner's gain
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall my Savior, 'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, Vouch safe to me Thy grace.

The Father then brings the comforts of His love to the heart of His children that He rejoices over them with singing. He says to His bride: "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine." The true Christian's only response can be nothing else but that which the Psalmist prayed:

Psalms 43:2-5 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? {3} O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. {4} Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. {5} Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Thus through the sovereign, providential power of God, He brings joy to the hearts of His children. This is our lot for eternity. May we hear the Lord of glory rejoicing over us with singing:

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.



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This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. - Ps 118:23