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Order of Decrees

The Amyraldian Order:


  1. the decree to create the world and (all) people.
  2. the decree that (all) people would fall.
  3. the decree to redeem (all) people by the cross work of Christ
  4. the election of some fallen people to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
  5. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to the elect.


The Infralapsarianism Order:  the Historical Principle  ( election after the fall)


  1. the decree to create the world and (all) people.
  2. the decree that (all) people would fall
  3. the election of some fallen people to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
  4. the decree to redeem the elect by the cross work of Christ
  5. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to the elect.


The Supralapsarianism Order:  the Teleological Principle (election first but then historical)


  1. the election of some people to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
  2. the decree to create the world and both kinds of people
  3. the decree that all people would fall
  4. the decree to redeem the elect, who are now sinners, by the cross work of Christ
  5. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to these elect sinners.


Other Supralapsarianism Order:


  1. the election of some sinful people to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the rest of sinful mankind in order to make known the riches of God’s gracious mercy to the elect)
  2. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to the elect sinners
  3. the decree to redeem the elect sinners by the cross work of Christ
  4. the decree that people should fall
  5. the decree to create the world and people.


The Supralapsarianism Order:  the Teleological Principle consistent (the end always precedes the means in a rational mind)


  1. For the praise of the glory of his grace God elected some sinful people (note: in order to reveal the glory of his grace, he views these people as transgressors of his law from the outset; how it is that they may be so viewed is determined by the fourth decree) to salvation in Christ (Eph 1.3-14) and for the praise of his glorious justice reprobated the rest of sinful mankind.
  2. The Holy Spirit would apply Christ’s accomplished redemptive benefits to elect sinners of the NT age and those same redemptive benefits anticipatively to elect sinners of the OT age; the necessary first condition to the consummation of the original determined end.
  3. Christ would actually redeem elect sinners of both the New and Old Testament ages by his cross work, the necessary second condition if the Holy Spirit was to have Christ’s redemptive benefits to apply.
  4. People would fall in Adam, their federal head, the necessary third condition if Christ’s redemptive benefits were to have any elect referents needing redemption.
  5. He would enter into a covenant of works with the first man “wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience”, making him thereby the race’s federal head as well, and then providentially “permit” the federal head to fall, but this “not by a bare permission, but such [permission] as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing…in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends” (Westminster Confession, V/iv) and yet to bind, order, and govern the entire Adamic temptation in such a way that “the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who being most holy and righteous neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin” (Westminster Confession, V/iv) , all these features of the plan comprising the necessary fifth condition if people were to experience a moral and ethical fall.
  6. He would create Adam in a condition of holiness (status integritatis) or state of integrity, but also in a mutable condition (posse pecarre et posse non pecarre)   (possible to sin and possible not to sin/remain free from sin) so that he might fall from it.
  7. He would create the universe (since this is the last means in the plan, it does not become a seventh “end” requiring a following means). 


Note:  In the OT Christ redeemed the elect by his (for them) anticipated cross work and the NT elect by his accomplished cross work, with the Holy Spirit applying to both groups the redemptive benefits to the praise of God’s glorious grace. 


Reymond, Dr. Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian FaithNashville:

            Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998. 

Arminianism and reformed:  two views


Arminian View of salvation


  1. Free will, or human ability:  though affected by the Fall, man is still able to exercise faith in God in order to receive the gospel and bring himself into possession of salvation
  2. Conditional election.  God knows or foresees who will respond to the gospel and elects those whom He saw would want to be saved of their own free will and in their natural fallen state (now not completely fallen).
  3. Universal redemption.  Christ died to save all people; but only in a potential fashion.  Christ’s death enabled God to pardon sinners, but only on the condition that they believed. 
  4. Resistible grace.  The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is limited by the human will.  The Holy Spirit, as He begins to work to bring a person to salvation in Christ, can be effectually resisted and God’s purposes frustrated.  The Holy Spirit can not impart life unless the sinner is willing to have this life imparted.
  5. Falling from grace.  A saved person, truly saved, can fall finally from salvation.  Man is responsible for the final outcome of his salvation.


In 1618 the Synod of Dort sat for 154 sessions over seven months and at the end could find no ground on which to reconcile the above view with the Word of God.  Therefore, the Synod of Dort formulated its Five Points of Calvinism to counter the Arminian system.  It is set in the acrostic form:  TULIP.


Reformed or Calvinist view of salvation


  1. Total Depravity.  Also known as total inability, this sets forth that man’s fall was total, man’s natural state is a state of total depravity and therefore, of total inability.  Man fell in his totality and is thus in his natural state dead, bound, blind and deaf, uninstructable, naturally sinful, and cannot save himself.
  2. Unconditional Election.  God chooses those who are to be saved sovereignly, not based on anything in the one saved, but based upon God’s electing love.  Salvation is a gift of God’s grace for which God alone receives the glory.
  3. Limited Atonement. (particular redemption)  Christ died positively and effectually to save a certain number of hell-deserving sinners on whom the Father had set His free electing love.  The Son paid the debt note of sin, making full satisfaction of divine justice, and imputes His own righteousness to them so that they are complete in Him.  Christ’s work was necessary and sufficient, not lacking in power, able to fulfill the purposes of the Father.  It is an accomplished work.
  4. Irresistible Grace. (effectual calling) When the Holy Spirit calls a person, it is an inward call and not merely an outward call, and this inward call is effective, cannot be frustrated, and cannot be resisted. One is saved by grace alone and by God alone.
  5. Perseverance of the Saints.  (preservation)  The elect persevere because God preserves.  What God began, God concludes.  Salvation is by God alone.

Copyright 2011 Mary Craig

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