Infralapsarians (Sublapsarians)

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From Lat. infra, within, and lapsus, fall, originally 16th century Calvinists who held that God permitted the Fall of Adam and then elected some men out of the mass of the fallen to be saved and rejected others, leaving them to the just consequences of their sins. The Infralapsarians opposed those Calvinists who held a supralapsarian view of predestination. Both parties claimed John calvin as favoring their view. Although some statements of Calvin, especially in his work De aeterna predestinatione Dei (1551), seem to indicate a Supralapsarian doctrine, the Genevan Reformer was neither Supralapsarian nor Infralapsarian. His desire was to place emphasis on the election or reprobation of man by divine decree, not to indicate when it was done. The view of the Infralapsarians concerned the order of God's decrees. They held that first God created man, then He permitted the Fall, and only then He elected some of the fallen to be saved, "passing over" (Westminster Confession, 1648) the others. God then provided a redeemer for the elect and, finally, sent the Holy Spirit to bring redemption to them. Infralapsarianism was condemned by the Dutch Synod of Dort (161819), but the triumph of the Supralapsarian view was short-lived; today no Reformed Church holds it, although a number teach Infralapsarianism.

See Also: calvinism; confessions of faith, protestant; predestination (in non-catholic theology).

[r. matzerath]