Briefly revisiting the White-Sungenis debate, one of Sungenis’ more persistent accusations is that Reformed believers promote a God whose election is arbitrary. He repeatedly wonders why it pleases God to choose, out of a mass of sinners, only a particular people. Setting aside the answers provided in my evaluation of Sungenis’ opening statement, Sungenis is, perhaps unwittingly, criticizing Reformed infralapsarianism. Supralapsarians believe God elected without respect to man’s sinful condition. One would think that Sungenis, who distinguished between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism, would know this.
Now, the infralapsarian has access to many of the same answers that the supralapsarian does in response to Sungenis’ argument: God desired to maximally manifest His glory by the exhibition of His excellence, which is most notable in redemptive history, etc. However, if we change the question from “why” God chooses the elect to “how” God chooses the elect, there may be something to the argument. I wrote a post some months ago about the reasons I am a supralapsarian rather than an infralapsarian, and I would here add another reason (noting that, as is often the case in these discussions, any order referenced is logical rather than temporal): for the infralapsarian, the fact that God’s elective decree would be with respect to sinners is inconsistent with the fact that sinners are worthy of His wrath; that is, for God to, in love, choose to grace people who He should rather regard as worthy of His wrath is inconsistent. Only if one accepts that God chose to elect men in Christ before He decreed the Fall does it make sense that a holy God can choose to save a people deserving of wrath: because they, the elect, had already been chosen to be vessels of mercy. Hat tip to a Mr. Williams for pointing this out to me some time ago.
[To anyone who has not yet listened to the cross-ex portion Sungenis-White debate, be forewarned that it is not particularly riveting. How anyone can read Romans 9 and believe it teaches a conditional election is beyond me.]