Friday, July 29, 2011

Common Grace Revisited

I've written before that I disagree with common grace (link). The more I think about it, the more I believe on which side of the fence one sits is tied to the way in which one views God's eternal decree.

As a supralapsarian, for example, I believe God's eternal decree is teleologically arranged. When we ask "why did God ordain such and such," there might be a proximate reason. But if we keep asking the same question regarding these proximate reasons, we will ultimately discover God ordains all things so that His glory will be maximally manifested. That is God's ultimate purpose in all things, and that is why it is the chronological end of all things. The supralapsarian thereby connects the eternal decree of God with the historic execution of the decree by an inverse correlation: the foremost purpose of God is what will be [continuously] manifested last in time; that which occurs first in time (creation), however, is that which is last in the teleological arrangement of God's decrees. In other words: why did God create? Ultimately, so that He could manifest His glory. On the other hand, there is nothing God does in time to which, upon asking why God has done such, it may be answered "so that He could create."

So how does this relate to the issue of common grace? Because what occurs in time has to be viewed in correlation with God's eternal decree. When it is asked if reprobates can receive grace, the answer has to be no. Why? Because we must remember that what occurs earlier in our lives has to be measured against the fact that the purpose of such was so that what occurs later in our lives will come about according to God's eternal, teleological decree. In the case of the reprobate, what occurs early in his life occurs for a reason, and that reason is, ultimately, that he will continuously reject God unto damnation. When viewed in this light, it is evident that what occurs relatively early in the life of the reprobate cannot be a result of divine grace. Any and all occurrences in the life of the reprobate are ultimately to the ends of condemnation and damnation. In what way, then, can any occurrence be said to be an evidence of divine favor? Only when one arbitrarily abstracts an occurrence its ultimate, divinely decreed end can it be so considered.

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