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The Object of Predestination


by Francis Turretin


NINTH QUESTION: THE OBJECT OF PREDESTINATION
Whether the object of predestination was man creatable, or capable
of falling; or whether as created and fallen. The former we deny;
the latter we affirm.

I. After having spoken of the predestination of angels, we come to
that of men. The first question has respect to its question. object,
about which we must treat a little more distinctly because the
opinions even of orthodox themselves vary. II. The question is not
simply "what" the object of predestination was (as to nature). For
it is evident that here we speak of the human race, not the angelic
(of which we spoke before). Rather the question is "of what kind" it
was (with regard to quality, i.e., how man was considered in the
mind of God predestinating and with what qualities he was clothed;
whether those before the creation and fall or after).
III. The opinions of theologians can be reduced to three classes.
Some ascend beyond the fall (supra lapsum) and are hence called
supralapsarians. They think that the object of predestination was
man either not as yet created or at least not yet fallen. Others
descend below the fall (infra lapsum) and hold that man not only as
fallen, but also as redeemed through Christ (and either believing or
unbelieving) was the object of predestination. Others, holding a
middle ground, stop in the fall (in lapsu) and maintain that man as
fallen was considered by God predestinating. We will treat the
second opinion later; now we will examine the first and third.
IV. At the outset, we must take notice that whatever the
disagreement of theologians may be on this subject, yet the
foundation of faith remains secure on both sides and that they are
equally opposed to the deadly error of Pelagians and semi-Pelagians.
Both they who ascend higher in this matter and include the creation
or the fall of man in the decree of predestination, and they who
suppose both all agree in this: that men were considered by God as
equal (not unequal) and such that their choice depended upon God
alone (from which foundation all heretics depart).

V. Not without warrant, a reconciliation of this double opinion is
attempted by some from the broader or stricter use of the word
"predestination:' By the former, it is taken generally for every
decree of God about man in order to his ultimate end (in which sense
it undoubtedly embraces the decree concerning the creation of man
and the permission of his fall). By the latter, it is taken
specially for God's counsel concerning the salvation of men from his
mercy and their damnation from his justice (in which manner it is
resolved into election and reprobation and has for its object man as
fallen). Yet because that former signification is not of Scripture
use (and confounds the works of nature and grace, the order of
creation and redemption), we more willingly acquiesce in the latter
opinion (which the Synod of Dort wisely sanctioned from the word of
God) as the more true and better suited to tranquilize the
conscience and repress the cavils of adversaries. And if anyone
doubts that this was the opinion of the Synod, the words of Article
6 will prove it: "the decree of election and reprobation revealed in
the word of God" is said to be "the profound, equally merciful and
equally just choice of men lost" ("Primum Caput: De Divina
Praedestinationes," 6 in Acta Synodi Nationalis . . . Dordrechti
[1619-20], 1:279). And in Article 7, election is defined as "the
immutable purpose of God, by which, before the foundations of the
world were laid, he chose, out of the whole human race, fallen by
their own fault from their primeval integrity into sin and
destruction, according to the most free good pleasure of his own
will, and of mere grace, a certain number of men, neither better nor
worthier than others, but lying in the same misery with the rest, to
salvation in Christ" (ibid., p. 280).

VI. That the state of the question may be perceived better, observe:
(1) that it is not inquired whether the creation of man and the
permission of the fall come under the decree of God (for it is
acknowledged on both sides that this as well as that was determined
by God). But the question is whether they stand in the relation (in
signo rationis) of the mean with respect to the decree of salvation
and damnation, and whether God in the sign of reason is to be
considered as having thought about the salvation and destruction of
men before he thought of their creation and fall.

VII. (2) Again the question is not whether in predestination the
reason of sin comes into consideration. 'They who ascend above the
fall (supra lapsum), do not deny that it is here regarded
consequently, so that no one will be condemned except for sin, and
no one saved who has not been miserable and lost. Rather the
question is whether sin holds itself antecedently to predestination
as to its being foreseen, so that man was considered by God
predestinating only as fallen (which we maintain).

VIII. (3) The question is not whether sin holds the relation of the
impulsive cause with respect to predestination. For they who stop in
the fall acknowledge that it cannot be called the cause, not even
with respect to reprobation (because then all would be reprobated),
much less with respect to election. Rather the question is only
whether it has the relation of quality or preceding condition
requisite in the object. For these two differ widely: What kind of a
person was predestinated; and Why or on account of what? The former
marks the quality and condition of the object, while the latter
indicates the cause. So the question returns to this-whether to God
predestinating, man was presented not only as creatable or created
(but not fallen), but also as fallen; not as to real being, but as
to known and intentional being, so that although the fall was not
the cause, yet it might have been the condition and quality
prerequisite in the object? The learned men with whom we now treat
deny this; we affirm it.

IX. The reasons are: (1) a non-entity cannot be the object of
predestination. Now man creatable (or capable of falling) is simply
a nonentity because by creation he was brought from non-being to
being. The reason of the major appears from this: that the salvation
and destruction which are intended by predestination are the ends
which are introduced into the subject (which moreover is supposed
already to exist). Nor ought it to be objected here that the object
of the creation (or of the decree of creation) was a nonentity; for
such also might equally have been the object of predestination. For
the nature of creation is widely different. It speaks of the
production of the thing. It does not suppose its object from that
of predestination (which is concerned with an object already made)
and does not make it simply to be, but to be in this or that manner.
Therefore as the decree concerning the creation of man ought to
have for its object man creatable (to which it was destined), so the
decree concerning the salvation or damnation of man ought to regard
man as fallen (because redemption or destruction was destined for
him). Moreover, every subject is conceived to be before its
adjuncts.

X. (2) Either all creatable men were the object of predestination or
only some of them. Yet neither can be said: not the former because
there were innumerable possible men who never were to be created
and, consequently, neither to be saved, nor damned; not the latter
because if only some from all those creatable, they were not
indefinitely foreknown, but definitely as about to be (for no other
reason can be given why the other creatables were not predestinated
than because they were not about to be). To no purpose is the retort
that all creatable men were not absolutely the object of
predestination because all would not be creatable in time. For
besides the absurdity of saying they were creatable (if they could
not be created), no reason can be brought why as many as were
creatable did not fall under the object of predestination (if man
creatable as such was its object). Therefore that a discrimination
may be found between those who could be presented to God
predestinating or not, we must descend to the decree of creation
and suppose them as really to be created and not only as creatable.
XI. (3) The object of the divine predestination ought to be either
one eligible through mercy or reprobatable through justice. This
cannot be said of man creatable and liable to fall, but only man as
created and fallen. Nor is there any force here in the distinction
between "elicit and imperate acts:" as if man was not eligible or
reprobatable as to imperate acts (i.e., as to actual mercy), but
properly as to elicit acts (i.e., as to the intention of pitying and
of punishing). For it assumes that the elicit acts extend more
widely than the imperate (since the latter are the effects of the
former), and that the effects of the mercy or justice of God can be
destined to creatures, neither miserable nor guilty (which is
repugnant to the nature of these respective attributes which suppose
an object clothed with certain qualities).

XII. (4) If predestination regards man as creatable or apt to fall,
the creation and fall were the means of predestination; but this
cannot be said with propriety. (a) The Scripture never speaks of
them as such, but as the antecedent conditions while it passes from
predestination to calling. (b) The mean has a necessary connection
with the end, so that the mean being posited, the end ought
necessarily to follow in its time. But neither the creation nor the
fall has any such connection, either with election or with
reprobation, for men might be created and fall and yet not be
elected. (c) The means ought to be of the same order and
dispensation; but the creation and fall belong to the natural order
and dispensation of providence while salvation and damnation belong
to the supernatural order of predestination. (d) If they were means,
God entered into the counsel of saving and destroying man before he
had decreed anything about his futurition and fall (which is
absurd).

XIII. To no purpose would you say that God could not arrive at the
manifestation of his glory in the way of justice and mercy, unless
on the position of the creation and fall (and therefore both can
have the relation of means). For although sin and creation are
required antecedently to the illustration of mercy and justice, it
does not follow that they were means, but only the requisite
conditions. All those things (without which we cannot accomplish
something) are not necessarily means. Thus existence and ductility
are supposed in clay as the condition for making vessels for honor
or for dishonor, but it is not the mean. Disease in the sick is the
previous condition without which he is not cured, but it is not the
mean by which he is cured.

XIV. (5) This opinion is easily misrepresented (eudiabletos), as if
God reprobated men before they were reprobatable through sin, and
destined the innocent to punishment before any criminality was
foreseen in them. It would mean not that he willed to damn them
because they were sinners, but that he permitted them to become
sinners in order that they might be punished. And it would imply he
determined to create that he might destroy them.

XV. Hence it appears that they speak far more safely and truly who,
in assigning the object of predestination, do not ascend beyond the
fall. The Scripture certainly leads us to this. It says that we are
chosen out of the world; therefore not as creatable or capable of
falling only, but as fallen and in the corrupt mass: "Because ye
are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you" (Jn. 15:19). Nor does he escape who
says that eternal predestination is not meant here, but calling
(which is made in time). These are not to be opposed, but brought
together. For from what mass in time God calls a man, the same he
elected him from eternity. The kind of man that was considered by
him in the execution of the decree, such he ought to be considered
by him in the decree itself For that cause, it was not necessary
that there should be the same order of intention and execution, but
only that there should be the same object of calling and election.
From this, it may be gathered that man as a sinner was elected
because he is called as such.

XVI. Next, the election of men is made in Christ (Eph. 1:4)
Therefore, it regards man as fallen because they cannot be elected
in Christ except as to be redeemed and sanctified in him. Therefore
they are chosen as sinners and miserable. Nor ought it to be replied
that to be "chosen in Christ" is nothing else than to be chosen "by
Christ" (not as Redeemer, but as God) to denote not the means, but
the principal cause of election. For although it is not to be denied
that Christ, as God, is the author of our election, yet it is plain
that it cannot be so understood in this place. ( 1 ) We are said to
be chosen in Christ in the same way as we are said to be blessed and
redeemed in him (Eph. 1:3, 7). But this ought to be understood of
Christ not as God simply, but as Redeemer. (2) It is confirmed by
the parallel passage where grace is said to have been given us in
Christ before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9)-surely not as God simply,
but as Mediator (3) The whole order of things in the chapter (in
which are recounted the saving benefits of God bestowed upon us
through Christ) proves that it treats of Christ under that aspect
(schesei). Nor does Beza himself disavow this (although wedded to
the first opinion). He holds that "in him" means "to be adopted in
him" (Annotationum Maiorum in Noveum Testamentum [1594], Pars
Altera, p. 349 on Eph. 1:4). Since then no one can be elected to the
salvation to be obtained by Christ except as lost and miserable, the
object of this election must necessarily be man as fallen.

XVII. Third, the mass of which Paul speaks (Rom. 9:21) is the object
of predestination. However it is no other than a "corrupt mass.
(1) That mass is meant from which are made the vessels of mercy and
the vessels of wrath; the former to honor, the latter to dishonor
(Rom. 9:21-23)-for wrath and mercy necessarily suppose sin and
misery. (2) That mass is meant from which were taken Isaac and
Ishmael, Jacob and Esau who are proposed as examples either of
gratuitous election or of just and free rejection. But such is the
corrupt mass because it speaks of twins conceived in the womb (Rom.
9:11) and consequently sinners. (3) That mass is meant lying in
which men can be hated of God, as Esau. But such ought to be the
corrupt mass because God could not hate a pure and innocent
creature. (4) That mass is meant from which Pharaoh was raised by
God to manifest his power in his destruction, but no one would say
that Pharaoh was raised from a pure mass. Such is the opinion of
Augustine who calls it "the mass of perdition" (Enchiridion 25 [99*]
and 28 [107] [FC 3:450-53, 460; PL 40.278, 282]). "Because that
whole mass was condemned, justice renders the due contumely, grace
gives the undue honor''; and afterwards, "they were made of that
mass, which, on account of the sin of one, God deservedly and justly
condemned" (Augustine, Letter 194, "To Sixtus" [FC 30:304, 315; PL
33.876, 882]). He asserts the same thing in Against Tun Letters of
the Pelagians 2 (NPNFI, 5:391-401) and Against Julian 5.7 (FC
35:269-75).

XVIII. It is vainly alleged: (1) that the pure mass is here meant
because the children had done nothing good or evil (Rom. 9:11). The
answer is that they are not said absolutely to have done nothing
good or evil (since it treats of them as conceived in the womb,
therefore already sinners), but in comparison with each other (i.e.,
having done nothing good or evil by which they might be
distinguished from each other). Jacob did nothing good on account
of which he should be elected in preference to Esau. Esau did
nothing evil before Jacob on account of which he should be
reprobated, for they were equal as to all things. So that the
distinction of one from the other could arise from nothing else than
the good pleasure (eudokia) of God: "that the purpose of God
according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that
calleth" Romans 9:11. 2) It is vainly alleged that the mass from
which vessels are made to dishonor is meant; thus not corrupt, but
pure because man would be already a vessel of dishonor. The answer
is that atimia here does not denote sin, but the punishment of sin
(as honor indicates the crown of glory for which man is prepared).
So to be made a vessel unto dishonor is not to be created fro
destruction but to be reprobated and prepared for destruction (which
agrees with no one but the sinner). Paul does not say of the vessels
of wrath that God prepared (katertisen) then (as he says of the
vessels of grace), but that they were prepared (katertismena) for
destruction because God finds some as vessels fitted for destruction
by their own fault; others he makes vessels of grace by his mercy.
(3) It is vainly alleged that the mass, not of sin, but of clay from
which Adam was formed, is intended. The answer is that whatever
reference Paul had in the comparison of the potter (whether to Jer.
18:6 or Is. 45:9), no other than the corrupt mass can be meant
because from no other clay could vessels of mercy and of wrath be
made by God. Nor does the comparison have any other object than to
show the highest liberty of God in the election to reprobation of
men. (4) It is vainly alleged that the corrupt mass cannot be meant
because then all the objections proposed by Paul (Rom. 9:14, 19)
would easily be removed. The answer is we deny it. For the
objections always remain in election and reprobation when made,
since no reason can be given why he should elect or reprobate this
rather than that one. No answer can be given other than that of the
apostle, "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?" (Rom. 9:20). (S) It is vainly alleged that thus Adam and Eve
would be excluded from predestination because they were not formed
from the corrupt mass. The answer is that we deny it. That formation
is not to be understood physically by creation, but ethically by
predestination. In this manner, our first parents themselves could
also be formed from the corrupt mass because as miserable and
sinners they were elected to salvation, not indeed in the mass of
original sin originated (which exists only in their posterity), but
of original sin originating (with which they were infected).
XIX. Fourth, the manifestation of God's glory by the demonstration
of his mercy in the elect and of his justice in the reprobate was
the end of predestination according to the apostle (Romans 9:22-23).
But this requires the condition of sin in the object, for neither
mercy can be exercised without previous misery, nor justice without
previous sin. If God has predestined man to glory before the fall,
it would have been a work of immense goodness indeed, but could not
be properly called mercy (which regards not only the not-worthy, but
the unworthy and the one meriting the contrary). So if God had
reprobated man free from all sin, it would have been a work of
absolute and autocratic (autokratorikon) power, but not a work of
justice. For he mercifully frees and justly condemns man, as
Augustine says. Therefore he ought to consider the fall both in
election and in reprobation. To no purpose does the very subtle
Twisse take exception saying that the exercise of mercy and justice
(effectively considered) supposes men to be miserable and guilty,
but not equally the intention of pitying. Otherwise it would follow
from the equality that since the object of salvation is the
believer, he is also the object of eternal destination (which no one
but an Arminian would say). For whether mercy and justice are
considered effectively (by reason of their exercise and the external
act in man) or affectively (by reason of the internal act of God),
they demand the same object. Although predestination places nothing
(as they say) in the predestinated (and so the purpose of pitying is
not mercy itself effectively considered communicated to the
creature), it does not follow that it is not an act of mercy (which
accordingly ought to suppose misery and the fall); just as a prince,
who decrees to pardon the criminal, by that very thing exercises an
act of mercy towards him, although he has not as yet in fact made
known to him the absolving sentence. Nor does the learned man's
reason from equality avail concerning the decree of salvation
because the previous condition is confounded with the subsequent
mean. The former (as is the fall) ought indeed to precede as much
in intention as in execution; but the latter (as is faith with
respect to salvation) ought indeed to precede the execution-not
equally in intention, but rather as the means, it ought to follow
the intention of the end. So the sick man is the object of the
physician's deliberation about his cure, but in that he cannot be
considered as already purged because purgation is the means for
obtaining the cure.

XX. Thus the end of predestination with respect to man (to wit,
salvation and damnation) supposes necessarily creation and fall in
the object. The means also prove that very thing: in election in
Christ, calling, justification, sanctification (which demand the
previous condition of the fall and sin, for Christ is the Savior
from sin, Mt. 1:21). Calling is of sinners, justification of the
guilty, sanctification of the unholy. And in reprobation the means
are the abandonment in sin, separation from Christ, retention of
sin, blinding and hardening (which apply only to the sinner).
XXI. The creation and fall are not ordered as means by themselves
subordinate to the end of predestination, but solution. are the
condition prerequisite in the object(as existence and ductility in
clay are not the means which the potter strews under his purpose of
preparing vessels for honor and dishonor, but only the condition or
quality prerequisite in the object and the cause sine qua non). For
unless man were created and fallen, it could not come into
execution.

XXII. Although predestination did not precede the decree to create
man and permit his fall, it does not follow that God made man with
an uncertain end. For if God did not have the manifestation of mercy
and justice in salvation and damnation as an end, it must not
straightway be said that he had no end at all. Why may God not have
willed to manifest his glory in both by the exercise of other
attributes (i.e., of power, wisdom and goodness) although he might
not have looked to his mercy and justice because their object had
not as yet been constituted? Therefore the end on account of which
God decreed to create man and to permit his fall was not the
manifestation of his justice and mercy in their salvation and
damnation from the decree of predestination (which in the order of
nature and in the sign of reason [in signo rationis] is posterior to
it [unless we wish God to have first thought about refitting his
work before he thought about constructing it; and about the cure of
the sick before he determined anything about the disease]). Rather
it was the communication and (as it were) the spreading out
(ektasis) of the power, wisdom and goodness of the Creator which
shone forth both in the creation of man (Ps. 8:5, 6) and in his fall
in different ways (which was the last within the bounds of nature
and in such an order of things). But after sin had corrupted and
disturbed this order entirely, God (who elicits light from darkness
and good from evil) instituted the work of redemption for no other
end than to display more magnificently and (as it were) in the
highest degree in another order of things, the same attributes and
together with them his mercy and justice. To this end the means
serve, not creation (which belongs to another kind and order), not
the fall (which was only the occasion and end from which God began
the counsel of salvation), but the covenant of grace, the mission of
the Son and the Holy Spirit, redemption, calling, etc. (which belong
not to the order of nature, but to the higher supernatural order of
grace).

XXIII. The common axiom which supralapsarians like to use here (and
with which Twisse makes himself hoarse and on which alone he seems
to build up the artfully constructed fabric of his disputation on
this argument) is: "That which is last in execution, ought to be
first in intention:' Now the illustration of God's glory through
mercy in the salvation of the elect and through justice in the
damnation of the reprobate (as the last in execution, therefore it
ought to be the first in intention) admits of various limitations.
First, it holds good, indeed, as to the ultimate end, but not as to
the subalternate ends. Otherwise it would follow as well that what
is next to the last in execution is the second in intention, and
what is next to that is the third and so on. In the execution, he
(1) creates, (2) permits the fall, (3) redeems, (4) calls,
sanctifies and glorifies. Thus it behooved God first to intend the
glorification and redemption of man before he thought about his
production or the permission of his fall (which everyone sees to be
absurd). Now the illustration of mercy and justice in the salvation
and damnation of men is not the ultimate end simply and absolutely
(as to the government of man in general), but in a certain respect
and relatively (as to the government of the fallen). For the
ultimate end (as I have said already) was the manifestation of God's
glory in common by the creation and fall of man. Hence the decree of
election is called the first in intention, not absolutely (as if it
was the first of all the decrees in order, even before the creation
and fall), but both in the class of decrees concerning the salvation
of sinful man and with respect to the means subordinate to it.
Second, it holds good only in the same order of things and where a
necessary and essential subordination of things occurs. They, with
whom we treat, do not disavow this but maintain that it only holds
good in things subordinated by nature. But no necessary connection
and subordination can exist between the creation and fall and
redemption. Rather all must see between them rather a gap and great
abyss (mega cluuma) (on account of sin) which has broken up the
order of creation and given place to the economy of redemption. Sin
is against nature. It is not the means either with respect to
salvation (unless accidentally, i.e., the occasion) or with respect
to damnation (for damnation is on account of sin, not sin on account
of damnation). Therefore God's ways in nature and grace, and his
economies of providence and predestination must not be confounded
here. Since the end is different, the means must also necessarily be
so. Therefore the axiom can have place in the same order-as what is
last in execution in the order of nature or of grace, is also first
in intention. However it does not hold good concerning disparates
where a leap is made from one dispensation to another, from the
natural order of providence to the supernatural order of
predestination (as is the case here).

XXIV. Moreover that subordination is so to be conceived as not to be
understood subjectively and on the part of God. Since all things
are decreed by one and a most simple act (which embraces the end and
means together), not so much subordination has place here as
coordination. By coordination, these various objects are presented
together and at once to the divine mind and constitute only one
decree. Rather that subordination is to be conceived only
objectively and on our part, inasmuch as for more easily
understanding, we conceive of them subordinately according to the
varied relations (schesin) and dependence which the things decreed
mutually have to each other (which, however, are united in God).
XXV. God did not make the wicked as wicked by a physical production,
instilling a bad quality into him. Rather whom he apprehended as
wicked by his own fault "he made" (i.e., "ordained" by a moral and
judicial destination) for the day of evil (i.e. for the day of
calamity and destruction). To this condemnation Jude says the
wicked are ordained. The word poiein is often used in the
Scriptures for ordination.

XXVI. Although the object of predestination is determined to be man
as fallen, it does not follow that predestination is made only in
time. Fallen man is understood as to his known and foreseen being,
not as to his real being. Also the prescience of the fall and its
permissive decree is no less eternal that the predestination itself.

XVII: ~Although God is said to have raised Pharaoh up for this same
purpose that he might show his power in him (Rom. 9:17), it does not
follow in his reprobation that he was considered before his creation
and fall. He does not speak of the first creation, but of his
production from an unclean seed or his elevation to the kingdom
which God brought about by his providence, that in him (whom he
foresaw would be rebellious, and hardened by his miracles and
plagued by his just judgment) he might have the material upon which
to exercise power in his destruction.

XXVIII. Although the apostle speaks of the absolute power and right
of God in the predestination of men by the comparison of the potter
(Rom. 9:21, 22), it does not follow that it preceded the creation
and fall of man. For that most free power and absolute right of God
sufficiently appears in the executed reprobation of fallen men,
since that separation of men from each other can have no other cause
than his good pleasure alone.

XXIX. Although the creation and fall come under the decree of God
and so can be said to be predestinated, the word "predestination"
being taken broadly for every decree of God concerning the creature;
yet no less properly does predestination taken strictly begin from
the fall because in this sense the decree of creation and the fall
belong to providence, not to predestination.

XXX. That Calvin followed the opinion received in our churches about
the object of predestination can be most clearly gathered from many
passages, but most especially from his book Concerning the Eternal
Predestination of God (trans. J.K.S. Reid, 1961). "When the subject
of predestination comes up," he says, "I have always taught and
still teach that we should constantly begin with this, that all the
reprobate who died and were condemned in Adam are rightly left in
death" (ibid., p. 121). And afterwards, "It is fit to treat
sparingly of this question not only because it is abstruse and
hidden in the more secret recesses of God's sanctuary; but because
an idle curiosity is not to be encouraged; of which that too lofty
speculation is at the same time the pupil and nurse. The other part,
that from the condemned posterity of Adam, God chooses whom he
pleases, and reprobates whom he will, as it is far better fitted for
the exercise of faith, so it can be handled with the greater fruit.
On this doctrine which contains in itself the corruption and guilt
of human nature I more willingly insist, as it not only conduces
more to piety, but is also more theological" (ibid., p. 125; cf. ICR
3.22.1 and 7, pp. 932-34, 940-41). "If all have been taken from a
corrupt mass, it is no wonder that they are subject to condemnation"

(ICR 3.23.3, pp. 950-51). So too he thinks that Paul speaks of a
corrupt mass where, among other things, he says, it is true that
the proximate cause of reprobation is because all are cursed in
Adam" (New Testament Commentary on Romans and Thessalonians [trans.
R. Mackenzie, 1961], p. 200 on Rom. 9:11). In this judgment of the
celebrated theologian (answering to Article 12 of the French
Confession [Cochrane, pp. 148-49] as also to the decree of the Synod
of Dort), we entirely acquiesce and think it should be acquiesced in
by all who are pleased with prudent knowledge.

XXXI. Besides these two opinions about the object of predestination,
there is a third held by those who maintain that not only man as
fallen and corrupted by sin, but men also as redeemed by Christ (and
either believing or disbelieving in him) was considered by God
predestinating. This was the opinion of the semi-Pelagians and is
now held by the Arminians and all those who maintain that Christ is
the foundation of election, and foreseen faith its cause (or, at
least, the preceding condition). But because this question is
involved in that which will come up hereafter (concerning the
foundation and impulsive cause of election), we add nothing about it
now. For if it can once be proved that neither Christ nor faith
precede election, but are included in it as a means and effects, by
that very thing it will be demonstrated that man as redeemed and, as
believing or unbelieving, cannot be the object of predestination.


 

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