3. The decree to permit both the former and the latter to fall.
4. The decree to provide salvation only for the former, that is, for the elect.
Richards, Theology, 302-307, shows that Calvin, while in his early work, the Institutes, he avoided definite statements of his position with regard to the extent of the atonement, yet in his latter works, the Commentaries, acceded to the theory of universal atonement. Supralapsarianism is therefore hyper-Calvinistic, rather than Calvinistic. Supralapsarianism was adopted by the Synod of Port (1618, 1619). By Supralapsarian is meant that form of doctrine which holds the decree of individual salvation as preceding the decree to permit the Fall; Supralapsarian designates that form of doctrine which holds that the decree of individual salvation is subsequent to the decree to permit the Fall.
By comparing some of his earlier statements with those of his later utterances, the progress in Calvin?s thought may be seen. Institutes, 2:23:5 ? ?I say, with Augustine, that the Lord created those who, as he certainly foreknew, were to go to destruction and he did so because he so willed.? But even then in the Institutes, 3:23:8, he affirms that ?the perdition of the wicked depends upon the divine predestination in such a manner that the cause and matter of it are found in themselves. Man falls by the appointment of divine providence, but he falls by his own fault.? God?s blinding, hardening and turning the sinner he describes as the consequence of the divine desertion , not the divine causation . The relation of God to the origin of sin is not efficient, but permissive. In later days Calvin wrote in his Commentary on <620202>1 John 2:2 ? ?he is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.? Calvin goes on to say, ?Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without distinction, his blood being shed not for a part of the world only, but for the whole human race. For although in the world nothing is found worthy of the favor of God, yet he holds out the propitiation to the whole world, since without exception he summons all to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than the door unto hope.?
Although other passages, such as Institutes, 3:21:5, and 3:23:1, assert the harsher view, we must give Calvin credit for modifying his doctrine with a more mature reflection and advancing years. Much that is called Calvinism would have been repudiated by Calvin himself even at the beginning of his career and is really the exaggeration of his teaching by more scholastic and less religious successors. Renan calls Calvin ?the most Christian man of his generation.? Dorner describes him as ?equally
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