Johannes Braun (1628-1708) on supralapsarianism

Johannes Braun cover

Johannes Braun (1628-1708) was professor at Groningen who further developed Cocceius’ federal theology by incorporating Cartesian philosophy, for which he took some stick. In the excerpt below he discusses the supralapsarian view of the ordo salutis. While personally I am cautious of making my stand with either supra- or infralapsarianism due to the possible danger of speculating about the hidden mysteries of God (Herman Bavinck wrote well on this issue), if I had to choose between the two I incline to a supralapsarian view (with Romans 9, especially verses 11, 22 and 23 being key to this inclination). Here is Braun on supralapsarianism:

“Some institute parts or acts of predestination from creation itself or from the fall of man; they are called sublapsarians [or infralapsarians] because they so arranged things as if creation and the fall preceded every act of predestination. Others start its actions at the actual end which God has set before Himself in the creation of man, namely at the manifestation of His glory through the exercise of His justice and mercy. For creation itself and the lapse of man were predestinated by God; therefore predestination precedes creation and the fall. Therefore the parts or acts of predestination should be ordered in this way. (1) God decreed to manifest His glory by manifesting His mercy and righteousness. (2) He decreed to create a creature endowed with reason and after His own image, to whom He could manifest His glory. (3) He decreed to create that creature liable to lapse. (4) He decreed to permit his lapse. Who does not see so far that the object of predestination is man creatable and liable to lapse? There follow the remaining acts of predestination, which look to the means and execution or actual exercise of justice and mercy; therefore (5) He decreed to free certain men already lapsed from lapse and misery, to leave others in that state. In this sense the object of predestination is homo lapsus [fallen man], not labilis [liable to fall]; for he who is freed from wretchedness or left in it must of course have already lapsed into wretchedness. Those who say that lapsed man is the object of predestination, in arranging the act of predestination begin with this fifth and last act, that God wishes to free some from wretchedness, to leave others in wretchedness; but this is bad, since the end precedes the execution in every intention. Since then the end is the first act in God’s intention and so the first act in predestination. Thus strictly speaking the object of predestination as regards the end homo creabilis et labilis [man creatable and liable to fall].”

– Johannes Braun (1628-1708), Doctrina Foederum sive Systema Theologiae didacticae et elencticae, I.ii.9.24

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