Following are the generally recognized systems that define the decretive work of God. The first two are generally considered to be Reformed.
Supralapsarian (Before the Fall)
- God’s decree to glorify Himself through the election of some to salvation and some to reprobation.
- God’s decision to create the universe.
- God decrees the fall into sin.
- God’s decision to provide a savior for the elect in the mediatorial work of Christ.
Note: in the supralapsarian system:
- The elective work is before the fall into sin.
- God’s decretive will begins with predestination.
- Election and reprobation are God’s primary work prior to creation.
- The 2nd-4th decrees are means toward realization of the 1st. Creation is for the sake of election and damnation. The fall serves God’s elective purpose.
- This decretive orderseems to suggest that God is responsible for the fall since some humans are created expressly for damnation.
Much of the Reformed Church do not hold to this system of decrees developed by Theodore Beza. Generally, they hold to infralapsarianism.
Infralapsarian (After the Fall)
- God’s decision to create the world.
- God’s decision to allow man to fall into sin through his own self-determination.
- God decrees to elect some to salvation in Jesus Christ.
- God determines to pass by and leave the non-elect to their just fate and condemnation.
Note: in the inralapsarian system:
- The elective work is after the fall into sin.
- Follows the Scriptural order: creation, fall and salvation.
- Creation of human beings
- Permit the Fall
- Provide salvation sufficient for all
- Election to salvation and reprobation
Arminian Decretive Order
- God’s decision to be gracious toward sinful human beings by providing a Savior in Jesus Christ.
- God decrees to accept those who repent and believe in Christ, but to leave the unrepentant and unbelieving in their sin and to hold them responsible for the wrath of damnation.
- Appointment of the proclamation of the Gospel as the means necessary to call people to salvation.
- God decreed to save and damn particular persons based upon His prescience of their decision to repent and believe.