§7. THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD.
It is customary to speak of two eternal decrees of God, viz., the decree to create the world and the decree to redeem fallen man. Although both of these decrees are eternal, still in our thought we distinguish between them and place the creational decree first. In this decree God conceived of the rational creatures as being blessed in Him, and, in communion with Him in the bonds of holy love and with each other, constituting a blessed organism, the Kingdom of God. For this reason man was made in the image of God through the Son and unto Him. But sin prevented the realization of the original plan. Wherefore the decree concerning salvation became necessary, which in an objective sense was carried out through the Son and unto Him, inasmuch as He is the eternal archetype as well as the goal of man. The determination to save man was by grace alone and included all men, in like manner as the creational decree contemplated the salvation of all in God through the Son. We speak first therefore of the universal benevolence of God.
1. The General Benevolence of God.
BENEVOLENTIA DEI UNIVERSALIS or PRAEDESTINATIO LATE DICTA, which is conditioned by or refers to voluntas antecedens, is that act of the gracious ivill of God which implies that God in eternity has willed to save all men through Christ and through the Spirit to offer to all men this acquired salvation.
This general decree of salvation, which, strictly speaking, is not election, contains three specifications: a) God did not desire the death of any sinner, but had mercy upon the fallen human race; b) God determined to send the Son to perform the work of atonement and the Spirit to apply salvation; c) God determined the order in which men should be made partakers of salvation.
The following passages may be quoted: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2: 3, 4); “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3: 16); “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me” (John 15: 26); “Except one be born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
The following attributes are used concerning the universal will of God: 1) gratuita or gratuitous: “By grace have ye been saved” (Eph. 2: 8); 2) liberalis or free: “But all things are of God” (2 Cor. 5: 19); 3) sequalis or equal: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5: 19); 4) seria or serious: “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, saith the Lord” (Ezek. 18: 23); 5) efficax or efficacious: “But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4: 4, 5); and since God thought of men as saved in Christ and that without Him there is no salvation, we may add: 6) conditionata or conditioned: “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5: 21).
2. The Special Will or Benevolence of God.
BENEVOLENTIA DEI SPECIALIS, which refers to voluntas consequens, constitutes PRAEDESTINATIO STRICTE DICTA or ELECTIO (election). On account of the relation of men to the condition, the opposite of electio must also be treated, viz., reprobatio or reprobation. We desire at this juncture to remark that praedestinatio is not a genus with electio and reprobatio as subordinated species. Praedestinatio and electio, therefore, art not logical synonyms, but they are grammatical synonyms. They are to be distinguished formally, not materially. Praedestinatio, as can be seen by the prefix prae, has reference to priority, the order and the means. Electio, as seen by the prefix e, has reference to the objects for election, those taken out of the mass for election. In Ephesians 1: 4, 5, the corresponding verbal forms are used, from which it is clear that there is no material distinction.
ELECTIO, or predestination, is the eternal and conditioned decree of God. to save all who believe in Christ and who persevere in this faith to the end of their earthly life.
CAUSA IMPULSIVA INTERNA is equivalent to the free grace of God alone. CAUSA IMPULSIVA EXTERNA is equivalent to the merit of Christ, considered in relation to the foreknown final application. The Calvinists, on the other hand, say that the expression is equivalent to God’s unconditioned will. They also say that according to voluntas signi God wills to save all men, but not according to voluntas beneplaciti. But we say that the revealed and the secret will of God agree. Electio comprises the following three terms: a) πρόθεσις, or the decree of God to save those that believe in Christ; b) πρόγνωσις, or God’s foreknowledge of those that would believe in Christ; c) προορισμός, or God’s predetermination or foreordination to save those whom He foresaw would believe.
The following attributes are ascribed to electio: non absoluta, because election depends upon the attitude of man, sed ordinata et conditionata, since God has determined a certain order of salvation and necessary conditions. Although the foreknowledge of God does not imply any compulsion, yet by virtue of His omniscience God cannot make any mistake in His foreknowledge, wherefore dogmaticians generally say from this point of view that electio is also categorica, or determined and clear, immutable and irrevocable. In this sense electio is non conditionata, but this is something entirely different from the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination.
HOLLAZIUS presents therefore the following syllogism concerning predestination: “Every one who will perseveringly believe in Christ to the end of life, will certainly be saved, and, therefore, shall be elected and be written in the Book of Life. But Abraham, Peter, Paul, etc., will perseveringly believe in Christ to the end of life. Therefore, Abraham, Peter, Paul, etc., will certainly be saved, and, therefore, shall be elected and written in the Book of Life.” This syllogism contains the three terms or the major and minor premises as well as predestination itself. God does not predetermine that any one shall believe, but He foresees those who will be moved by the grace of God, and who will believe, whom He also elects to eternal salvation. This does not imply any contradiction between the General and Special Will of God, for, although God would that all men should be saved, still He cannot force anyone in a predeterministic way to believe, and without faith no one can be elected and saved. The foreknowledge of God does not imply any determinism, so that this foreknowledge should be the cause of faith, but God foresees that this or that person will believe. Although God works faith in a manner to exclude all Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism and Synergism, still this divine work of grace does not imply that God predetermines in whom He will work faith, for although He would that all men should be saved, yet man is able to hinder the gracious work of God’s Spirit. The responsibility of man must not be overlooked. God knows in ad- vance whether or not the sinner will oppose the work of the Spirit, whether he will be moved by the Spirit to believe, and whether he will endure unto the end. If this were not the case, then predestination would be unconditional. Human reason balks at this because it cannot comprehend how God can seriously call those concerning whom He foreknows that they will not believe. But it is clear that the call of God must be the same to all, since His predetermination depends upon His foreknowledge of the attitude of man to the proffered grace of God. The individual man could not enter into any relationship with God in this sense, if Christ had not died for him, and if the work of the Holy Spirit were not performed in his heart. Neither can we believe in God and limit His omniscience, for then He would cease to be the absolute personality. His omniscience does not encroach upon His love, His righteousness, and His faithfulness.As God is omniscient He necessarily foreknows. He must, therefore, foreknow persons who will have faith in Christ. If it is claimed that faith is antecedent to election, we must consider that from the divine viewpoint there is no antecedence, because God is eternal and omniscient. He does not reason in regard to election as we do. When He foresees who will believe. He does not think of faith as a cause of election. No one is saved on account of faith, but faith is necessary to salvation. If God in His omniscience has made such a condition. His knowledge in regard to believers does not mean that their faith is a merit or cause of election. The believers themselves know by their experience that the Holy Spirit effects faith. The phrase “election in view of faith” does not necessarily imply Synergism and cannot mean that, as no one can believe by his own powers. The cause of salvation is sola gratia, but only believers will be saved. If God wills that all should be saved by grace, through faith, would not God save every one, if it were possible? As the Holy Spirit works faith, why do not all men believe? Should we say that the reason is a mystery? We know that men resist the Holy Spirit, but why do some give up resistance? Is the grace of God irresistible? But such a belief would be Calvinism. Should we again exclaim: It is a mystery ! The Scriptures demand faith or repentance and faith; where shall we place the responsibiliy? The Holy Spirit works on the hearts of men by calling, illumining, convincing, convicting, etc. According to the Bible, He calls all seriously. If the Holy Spirit awakens sinners and illumines them by the Law to experience contrition and by the Gospel to become believers, the failure of conversion with its attendant responsibility must be due to the resistance of the sinner. But if the awakened sinner ceases to resist and becomes passive through “the illumination of the Spirit, this passivity cannot be called Synergism, Pelagianism, etc. The psychological moment and reason when and why some become passive and do not resist may look mysterious, but the fact that a person becomes passive and does not hinder the Spirit from continuing the good work to effect conversion cannot be called Synergism. Man cannot convert himself. But if a sick person becomes convinced that a certain physician can cure him and then yields to his treatment, this yielding or passivity is not a self-cure. Transferring the case to the spiritual domain of conversion, such an instance would not be Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism and Synergism. When resistance ceases, the Spirit effects conversion. If God elects in view of such work of the Spirit as leads the sinner to faith and preserves him in Christ unto death, such an election is not a causal antecedent of election to be styled Synergism. No one is elected on account of faith, but God elects believers who have faith at death, and the cause is sola gratia and the merit of Christ applied by the Holy Spirit through faith. As God is omniscient and not limited by the past, present or future. He knows His own elect also by foreknowledge, which expression is used in relation to us, since omniscience covers all relations of God.
As the Bible is the Word of God and a revelation to us who live in time, the Holy Spirit uses the words suitable to our condition. In Rom. 8: 29, 30 we find the order of God as to election expressed in a way which will permit the use of the word foreknowledge in regard to the justified, and we are justified by faith. We read: “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained.” The Greek word for foreknow cannot in English be rendered by foreordain. God foreknew certain persons from eternity, whom He also foreordained or predestined to be saved, and He began to realize this decree in time by calling, justifying and glorifying. These persons were not foreknown, because they were predestinated, but their predestination to salvation or election was dependent upon foreknowledge, since God is omniscient. Who are the persons whom God elects? Christ died for all, but only believers are elected to salvation. It is not an unconditional predestination to faith. No one is excluded from salvation by an absolute decree; every one is privileged to become a believer. If we are justified by faith, we are also elected by being in Christ at the end of life. God knows beforehand from eternity who are His elect. GERHARD says: “Justification, which occurred in time, is a mirror of the election which occurred before time.” The expression “elected in view of faith” has been differently explained. Bene docet qui bene distinguit. The larger part of the Lutheran Church uses this expression while denying that it implies Pelagianism. If a phrase is not recognized by all, but the definition is correct as to the meaning, there should be no dispute. If the rejection of the words “in view of faith” would be looked upon by a large part of the Church as a Calvinistic tendency and the retaining of the words would appear to the rest as Synergism, we should keep in mind that God elected the believers who are in Christ at the close of their life, and He elected them from eternity, as He is omniscient. If the expression “elected to faith” may be defended according to Praedestinatio late dicta, the wording “elected through faith” may be just as correct according to Praedestinatio stricte dicta or Electio. We have already discussed faith as the work of the Spirit. But the Spirit does not compel men to believe. Man is responsible, if he does reject the proffered grace.
If the elect are those who die as believers, it may be that not all believers at present are elect, because they may fall from grace and die in unbelief. On the other hand there may be unbelievers at present who are elect and, therefore, will be regenerated. Though they fall, they will be restored to faith and will die as believers. God is infallible in His foreknowledge or omniscience. Faithfulness unto death is not the consequence of predestination or election, but the condition of election. An elect person remains in Christ, not by his own power, but by the grace of God. The only cause of election to salvation is the sole grace (sola gratia) of God as effective in the merit of Christ, but the condition of election is faith in Christ. Whatever the mystery in the election, it is revealed that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The new birth or regeneration is a necessary condition for entering heaven. Christ said to Nicodemus: “Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The Lutheran Church believes that children at their Baptism are regenerated and, therefore, have faith. If children die without falling from baptismal grace, there is no Christian who doubts their salvation. Only a Calvinist might ascribe absolute or unconditional rejection to such children in case they were not unconditionally elected or predestinated. Why do not all grown persons become regenerated at Baptism ? The answer is, because of resistance in unbelief. When they come. to believe. Baptismal grace is fully applied and effective. Why does Baptismal grace apply immediately to a child? The answer is, that such a child does not self-consciously resist the Spirit at Baptism. As omniscient, God must have foreknown the circumstances and have from eternity elected those children who die without having fallen from grace. In the Christian Church, except for some sects, all children are baptized, but many fall from Baptismal grace. As the Spirit calls them to return to God by prevenient grace and by so-called preparatory grace and continues to work through illumination, when does the Spirit work faith? The answer is, when resistance ceases. The Spirit of God works upon the spirit of man, illumines his mind and appeals to his feelings. In the impelling, not compelling, .work of the Holy Spirit man may yield and faith be effected. If such a person remains in Christ or dies in faith, he is elected from eternity. But we must not ignore the work of the Spirit in Baptism and on account of Baptism. The decree of election has no proviso in itself. God is omniscient and knows His own from eternity. From the viewpoint of God their names are irrevocably written in the Book of Life. Our own certainty is not absolute, but relative, but we are ordinarily certain of our justification and regeneration, and we know that God will spare no effort to preserve us. The Lord says: “No one shall snatch them out of my hand.” We should use the means of grace, live accordingly and trust the Lord, Compare also the following passages: Rom. 8: 38, 39; 1 Cor, 9: 27; 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8; Rev, 3: 5.
The following Scripture passages may especially be noted: “Even as he chose us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1: 4, 5). There are some who would refer this passage to the general or universal will of God, maintaining that the general decree of salvation in Christ is here expressed. But since the letter is written to the saints and the faithful, it is clear that the special will of God is referred to. However, the special will of God is connected with and grounded in the general will. This is important for the reason that some say that all are elected. To be sure, everything depends upon a good interpretation, and if we add — in Christ, then it would be correct. Nevertheless, it is better to express oneself in such manner that no misunderstanding may arise. The faithful are the elect, as expressed in the special decree or will of of God. It is one thing that God would that all men should be saved, and another, to be elected, since in the latter case the relationship of man to the proffered salvation is taken into consideration. The cited passage also shows that election is eternal. Cf , 2 Tim. 1:9: “Before times eternal.” The particularity of election is expressed in Matt. 22: 14: “Many are called, but few chosen.” Its immutability is expressed in 2 Tim. 2: 19: “Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal. The Lord knoweth them that are his,” and also in 1 Peter 1:5: “Who by the power of God are guarded.” Cf. Rom. 8: 29, 30. Its certainty is expressed in the following passages: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10: 20); “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shell be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8: 38, 39). That the elect can fall and have fallen is referred to in such passages as the following: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Ps. 51: 12); “When once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren” (Luke 22: 32); “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10: 12). When the elect fall, God foreknows their return to faith and that they will die in faith. Otherwise they would not be elect. Concerning perseverance in faith unto the end the following passages may be quoted: “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 10: 22). “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life” (Rev. 2: 10). One of the most important passages that throw light upon the doctrine of election is Rom. 8: 29, 30: “For whom he foreknew, he also ordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Cf. Acts 13: 48. The verb for ordain is τάσσω and not as in Rom. 8: 30. The expression does not support the Calvinistic view. Finally we must direct attention to the 9th chapter of Romans, which, the Calvinists claim, militates against the Lutheran position. Verses 11, 12, 13, 18, 22 and 23 treat specifically of the question: “That the purpose of God according to election might stand —- Jacob I loved, Esau I hated. —- So then he hath mercy upon whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.” —- Vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction —- vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory.” HOLLAZIUS says that these passages speak of God’s voluntas consequens. The hardening is judicial. QUENSTEDT says that the text speaks of Jacob and Esau from the temporal point of view, and not concerning their election in a spiritual sense. If the Calvinists were right in their interpretation, then this passage would mean that the descendants of Jacob would be saved and the descendants of Esau damned. We must likewise bear in mind the object of Paul’s arguments in the 9th chapter, inasmuch as he does not treat directly of the doctrine of election, but speaks of the position of the Jews and the heathens. Besides we should not forget the analogy of faith. In the preceding chapter Paul clearly expounds the doctrine of election. The clear passages explain the doubtful.
3. Concerning Reprobation.
REPROBATIO, or reprobation, is the eternal and conditional decree of God by which He leaves to eternal condemnation those that are unfaithful to the end of life and who therefore die in unbelief.
CAUSA IMPULSIVA INTERNA is equivalent to the punitive righteousness of God, justitia punitiva. CAUSA IMPULSIVA EXTERNA is equivalent to the rejection of the merit of Christ by the unbelievers, i. e., the foreseen incredulitas finalis.
The terms that are used in describing reprobatio are the following: a) πρόθεσις, or the decree of God that all men who continue in unbelief shall be condemned for their sins; b) πρόγνωσις, or God’s foreseeing who they are; c) ἀποδοκιμασία, or the application of the decree that those whom God has thus foreseen shall, by reason of their rejection of the grace of God, be left to eternal condemnation.
Reprobation does not imply determinism, but is conditionata, i. e., dependent upon the attitude of man in rejecting the proffered grace of salvation, and immutabilis, because God correctly foresees who will die in unbelief and bases His decree to leave them to eternal condemnation upon that foreknowledge. The knowledge and the will of God do not correspond. The free acts of man do not take place because God foresees them, rather God foresees that they will take place. God is therefore not the cause of the rejection of any man, and is not active in the same manner in reprobation as in election.
The following passages may be quoted: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5); “He that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3: 36); “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25: 41); “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at thy word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8). This latter implies no other predetermination than that contained in the definition. God has foreseen their unbelief and He has determined that all unbelievers shall be rejected.
4. Notes on the History of Dogma.
During the first or Apologetical period it was generally taught that Christ had suffered and died for all, that the call is general, and that God has predetermined men only on the ground of His foreknowledge of their belief or unbelief. In the following period the struggle between Augustine and Pelagianism, etc., took place, when it may be said that the foundation of the doctrine of predestination was laid, which was developed with all its implications by Gottschalk during the Scholastic period and by Calvin during the period of the Reformation. Within the Catholic Church the controversy concerning predestination again waxed warm at the close of the sixteenth century, and through the Jansenistic struggle during the first half of the seventeenth century. In the Lutheran Church at the same time a struggle arose on account of Huber, who had come over to the Lutheran Church. Concerning election he taught a limitless universalism. Aegidius Hunnius combated Huber’s heretical view. Within the Reformed Church there arose at the same time a tendency that has been called Amyraldism, and still another called Pajonism. In modern times Schleiermacher sought to nullify the dualism of the doctrine of predestination and was thereby led to a solution of the problem that would imply the final salvation of all men. Within the Lutheran Church during recent times there has been no important controversy concerning predestination with the exception of a bitter struggle within a part of the Lutheran Church in North America. The controversy arose on account of the expression intuitu fidei, whose content in the doctrine of predestination the Missouri Synod did not approve. This synod sets forth a view that partly may imply Calvinism and Amyraldism in the actual result. But the Missourians protest that they do not teach Calvinism in any sense, because they accept the General Benevolence of God and reject double predestination. We herewith append some special notes.
ORIGEN was the first to present clearly the relationship between the foreknowledge of God and the acts of man. The acts of man do not take place by virtue of God’s foreknowledge, but God foresees how men will act.
During the Polemical period Basil the Great, Cyril of Jerusalem and Gregory of Nyssa took similar positions on the doctrine. CHRYSOSTOM says that predestination to salvation depends both upon the love of God and the virtue of man. According to the first will of God He would that all men should be saved, and in accordance with His second will He would that those who obey His will should be saved, and that the others should perish. JEROME taught that grace was offered to all, but that predestination was dependent upon God’s foreknowledge and that therefore election was conditional. In the beginning AUGUSTINE taught that grace was conditioned by the free will of man, and that predestination was dependent upon God’s foreknowledge of man’s faith. But when he later began to emphasize man’s inability, maintaining that only that grace could save which was not conditioned by the relation of man, he was led on to the doctrine of gratia irresistibilis. From this point he reached the position that God through a decretum absolutum had chosen out of the fallen mass of humanity a certain number of vessels of mercy upon whom He conferred faith and donum perseverantise. The other He left to everlasting condemnation. Nor was any injustice done, because they had deserved the perdition of hell. He said that the fall into sin depended upon the freedom of Adam. AUGUSTINE held the Infralapsarian view. The Infralapsarians taught that God had made His unconditional decree to save some and leave the others to condemnation, because of the fact that through the fall into sin man had made himself guilty of condemnation. The Supralapsarians taught that God had made His unconditional decree prior to and independent of the fall into sin, which He nevertheless foreknew, so that the fall itself was a result of this decree. The Pelagians rejected the unconditional theory of predestination. Their position was dependent upon their conception of human freedom. The Semi-Pelagians, such as Cassianus, Faustus and others, taught the universality of grace and rejected the unconditional theory of predestination. Naturally this depended upon their doctrine of man’s assistance in his conversion. The Semi-Pelagians were victorious at Aries in 472 and at Lyons in 475. PROSPER AQUITANUS, who defended Augustine, taught that God’s foreknowledge and predetermination coincide merely with regard to the elect. He spoke of a concealed will of God, according to which only the elect were considered, and of a revealed will, in accordance with which God would that all men should be saved. During the second half of the fifth century a book appeared that bore the title, De vocatione gentium, which is supposed to have been written by Leo the Great. This book rejects Semi-Pelagianism and unconditional predestination, but speaks of universal grace and also of special grace with reference to the elect. FULGENTIUS OF RUSPE and CAESARIUS OF ARLES did much to accomplish the defeat of Semi- Pelagianism at Orange in 529. The question of predestination was not touched, but the theory that God had predestined certain persons to sin was rejected. GREGORY THE GREAT supported a moderate Augustinian view. He based his theory of predestination on the foreknowledge of God and rejected the doctrine of decretum absolutum. Although he taught that grace could be lost, still he seems to have supported the theory of gratia irresistibilis.
JOHN OF DAMASCUS followed Chrysostom, but said: “It behooves us to know that God knows all things beforehand, but that He does not determine all things. With relation to us He foresees all, but does not determine it.” ALCUIN supported the views of Augustine, but rejected predestination to perdition. GOTSHALK was the first to present clearly the doctrine of a double predestination. He did not teach that God had predetermined sin, but that He had predetermined the reprobate to eternal perdition. Therefore he also taught that God did not desire that all should be saved, and that Christ had not died for all. His doctrine was condemned at the Synod of Quiercy in 849, chiefly through the efforts of Rabanus and Hinemar. RABANUS MAURUS rejected the doctrine of double predestination. He said that predestination was unconditional in relation to the elect, but in relation to the damned it was conditioned on their attitude, which God had foreseen. Like Prosper Aquitanus he distinguished between voluntas beneplaciti and voluntas signi. Hinemar, Florus and John Scotus Erigena fought against the doctrine of Gottschalk, but Prudentius and Ratramnus supported the doctrine of double predestination. ANSLEM considered that that which was necessary from the viewpoint of eternity may appear in its temporal development to be dependent upon the will, and that the foreknowledge and predetermination of God are united in relation to the good. PETER THE LOMBARD set forth that predestination and foreknowledge were united only in relation to the good. He said that God rejected those He knew would sin and thereby deserve eternal death. Like Anselm, Lombard tried to follow Augustine without accepting Augustinianism in all its severity. THOMAS AQUINAS considered that both electio and reprobatio belonged to God’s predetermination, but that God did not predetermine the evil, only the punishment of evil. Antecedenter God would that all should be saved, but not consequenter. The will of God was therefore twofold. He predetermined to salvation certain ones upon whom He would show His mercy, and others upon whom His goodness would reveal itself in the form of punitive righteousness. DUNS SCOTUS held the Semi-Pelagian view. THOMAS BRADWARDUNE was an Augustinian, yea, a new Gottschalk. He complained that nearly the whole world had fallen into the Pelagian error. WICKLIFFE and HUSS approached closely the view of Augustine.
LUTHER at first supported the stern doctrine of predestination, as may be seen in his book De servo arbitrio against Erasmus. He held that he could not be certain of his salvation, if it were dependent upon human freedom. By his doctrine of the total inability of man, he considered himself compelled to accept the stern doctrine of predestination. Afterwards, however, he liberated himself from the Augustinian doctrine of predestination, when he succeeded in harmonizing his new viewpoint with the doctrine of all by grace. ZWINGLI supported the doctrine of predestination as it had been developed after Augustine, and said also that sin had been predetermined. CALVIN set forth that God, in order to tear down all human righteousness and in accordance with His own will, independent of any foreknowledge of the belief or unbelief of man, had decided to elect certain persons to salvation in order to glorify His mercy, and to elect others to condemnation to glorify His righteousness. Predestination was therefore unconditional, and based upon the absolute will of God without reference to the death of Christ. Christ died only for the elect. Calvin was a Supralapsarian, i. e., according to his view, the fall itself was predetermined. Regeneration and predestination become almost identical, and the elect cannot fall. The formula of Concord treats of the doctrine of predestination principally in a broad sense and from the practical standpoint. Predestination is referred to election and there- fore has reference to those that believe. The condemnation of the unbelievers is not an object of predestination. For this reason rejection is called reprobatio and not praedestinatio. In relation to the evil there is only praesciens. Christ died for all. The evangelical promises of grace belong to all. There is no secret decree concerning which we need feel disturbed. There is no twofold call. It also sets forth how we become certain of our election. We are directed to the call of God and to the means of grace. We must look away from ourselves. Those that believe and follow the Word are the elect, etc. The following are the eight points in the Formula of Concord: 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless obedience, suffering and death, has merited for us righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life. 2. That such merit and benefits of Christ is offered, presented and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments. 3. That He is efficacious and active in us by the Holy Ghost through the Word when it is preached, heard and pondered, to convert hearts to true repentance and preserve them in the true faith. 4. That all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith He justifies and receives unto grace, adoption and inheritance of eternal life. 5. That those who are thus justified He also sanctifies in love, as St. Paul (Eph. 1: 4) says. 6. That, in their great weakness, He also defends them against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and rules and leads them in His ways, and when they stumble raises them again (places His hand beneath them), and under the cross and in temptation comforts and preserves them (for life). 7. That the good work which He has begun in them He strengthens, increases, and supports to the end, if they observe God’s Word, pray diligently, abide in God’s goodness (grace) and faithfully use the gifts received. 8. That those whom He has elected, called and justified. He eternally saves and glorifies in life eternal. GEHARD says: “Election is the eternal decree of God to justify and save men. Therefore also He decreed from eternity to justify and save only those who will believe (credituros), and consequently He elected those only whom He foresaw as remaining in Christ through faith. —- As Paul accordingly declares, Eph. 1: 4, that God elected us in Christ, so he declares, 2 Thess. 2: 13, that God elected us in faith, since we could not be elected in Christ except in view of faith which embraces Christ.” BAIER defines election: “Predestination or election can be defined in the stricter sense to be the eternal decree of God by which God in His infinite mercy determined to give eternal salvation to all those, and only to those, of whom He foresaw that they would believe in Christ till the end, and this for the sake of Christ’s merits, which must be apprehended by persevering faith, and foreseen as such, —- for the sake of their salvation and of His glory.” The Socinians adopted the view of the Pelagians and rejected Calvinism for the same reason that the Pelagians rejected Augustinianism. At the end of the sixteenth century a controversy arose between the Thomists and Dominicans on the one hand and the Scotists, Franciscans and Jesuits on the other. The former held Augustinian views. MICHAEL BAIUS expressed himself in favor of strict Augustinian views as against Semi-Pelagianism, for which reason Pope Pius V. condemned 76 propositions in his writings. THE JESUIT LOUIS MOLINA referred salvation to the self-determination of man. God elects those of whom He foresees that they will fulfill the conditions. In his presentation he introduced into dogmatic terminology the expression scientia media. The controversy had no result. During the seventeenth century controversies concerning predestination occurred within the Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed Churches. The Jansenist controversy was fought out in the Catholic Church. CORNELIUS JANSEN defended the strict Augustinian system of doctrine in his work on Augustine. He accepted a double predestination and took the view that absolute predetermination was founded in the will of God. Like Augustine he was an Infralapsarian. BLAISE PASCAL, ARNAULD and QUESNEL held Augustinian views. The latter wrote an exposition on the New Testament. Clement XI, in his Bull Unigenitus condemned 101 propositions in Quesnel’s book, yet Jansenism extended its influence into the eighteenth century. In the Lutheran Church, SAMUEL HUBER, who had come from the Reformed Church, fought against the Reformed Particularism to such a degree that he lapsed into a species of Universalism. Huber rejected the doctrine of the Lutheran theologians, that God elects only those of whom He foresees that they will believe. But Huber was not consistent, for he said that not all would be saved, but only those who accept election. AEGIDIUS HUNNIUS combated the universal doctrine of predestination that Huber championed. In the Reformed Church there arose the controversy between the Arminians, who developed Semi-Pelagian tendencies, and the Gomarists, who supported Calvinism. The Arminians, or the Remonstrants, taught concerning predestination that God through an eternal and inscrutable decree before the foundation of the world had arranged in Christ, on account of Christ, and through Christ, to save all those who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in Christ and persevere in this faith unto the end of life. Besides, the controversy on predestination continued in the Reformed Church through Amyraldism and Pajonism. AMYRALDUS essayed to modify the strict Calvinism of the Synod of Dort. His doctrine, which has been called universalismus hypotheticus, contained a real Particularism and an ideal Universalism. God would save all, but faith was the condition. Man himself cannot fulfill the condition. He speaks therefore of a particularistic will, in accordance with which God from eternity has determined to save a certain number, to whom He grants the gift of faith. The objective grace offers salvation to all on condition of repentance and faith. The subjective grace is particularistic. PAJON accepted the doctrine of objective grace, but rejected the subjective, according to which the Holy Spirit acts immediately upon some. He supported Reformed determinism in the form that conversion and election depend on external circumstances, such as the environment in which the individual is placed.
SCHLEIERMACHER presented religion as the feeling of absolute dependence. He conceived of God as causality. There was no distinction between God’s foreknowledge and His predetermination. God had predetermined both sin and redemption from sin. But he translated the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination into another form that led to universalism, if not in this life, then in eternity. He essayed to nullify the dualism in God’s being and in His acts, which had clung to the doctrine of predestination. He therefore declared that sooner or later all men would be saved. God has from eternity determined upon the redemption of the human race; and He carries out His decree, albeit through a temporal election, so that the one sooner, the other later, becomes the object of the practical application. Those that cannot be reached in this world become objects of the same work of salvation in another world. MARTENSEN considered that predestination was an eternal act and election a temporal act. He rejected the expressions ex praevisa fide and ex praevisa incredulitate. THOMASIUS did not approve of the division of the will into voluntas antecedens and voluntas consequens. Because the notion ex praevisa fide does not enter into the universal election, therefore it should not be used, but he approves of the doctrine of God’s foreknowledge. PHILIPPI considers that in the foreknowledge of God in election is included the passivity of man in relation to the proffered grace. As has been stated before, a controversy concerning predestination has occurred in the Lutheran Church in the United States. The main question at issue concerned the expression ex praevisa fide or intuitu fidei and its significance. The Missouri Synod’s leading theologians did not approve of the expression, while on the other hand the theologians of the lowa Synod maintained strongly that the content of this expression agreed with the Lutheran confession and the development of orthodox theology. The Ohio and Iowa Synods accused the Missouri Synod of Calvinism. However, the Missouri Synod taught the universality of the atonement, as well as the universality and the seriousness of the call. The Missouri Synod set forth with reference to the merit of Christ that men are pre- destined to faith in order to be saved The Iowa Synod and the others laid the emphasis on the fact that by virtue of or in view of faith in the merit of Christ men are predestined to salvation. H. E. Jacobs, having discussed the relation of justification and election or predestination, reduces this relation to a tabular form, using Paul as the personal example: Paul was justified and elected in view of the merits of Christ accepted by faith; or, of faith accepting the merits of Christ. The formula of justification and that of election are one and the same. Nothing dare be admitted with respect to justification which is rejected with respect to election. We also quote Dr. Jacobs’ definition of election: “It is the eternal decree, purpose or decision of God, according to which, out of pure grace. He determined to save out of the fallen, condemned and helpless human race each individual, who from eternity He foresaw would, by His grace, be in Christ unto the end of life.” Compare A Summary of the Christian Faith by Jacobs, Chap. 41.