Part 5 Biblical Theism Divine Decrees -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 096:383 (Jul 1939)
Article: Part 5 Biblical Theism Divine Decrees
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Part 5
Biblical Theism
Divine Decrees

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Series continued from April-June Number, 1939)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 4–6, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–3 respectively.}

[Author’s Note: This the second and last installment on the doctrine of The Divine Decree, will be followed in the next issue of BIBLIOTHECA SACRA by an article on The Names of God. Succeeding issues will present a series of articles on Trinitarianism-The Trinity, The Father, the Son, The Holy Spirit.]

1. The Decree of God

b. Predestination.

The term predestination signifies a predetermining of destiny. The body of truth which this term represents is properly a subdivision of the doctrine of Divine Decree. It does not relate to the destiny of material things; but in its broadest meaning it concerns the destiny of all intelligent creatures, including angels and men. For want of specific revelation, little is known concerning the destiny of angels. It is assumed that the holy angels will abide in that estate and they are seen in the eternal city (Heb 12:22–24). Those angels which kept not their first estate are destined to the lake of fire (Matt 25:41; cf. Rev 20:10), and there is no intimation that any redemption is ever offered to them. A far more determining revelation is found in the Bible as to the destiny of men. And as certainly as God foreordains “whatsoever cometh to pass,” the future of each human being is marked off in God’s eternal plan. Like the larger doctrine of Divine Decree, this particular aspect of predestination is fraught with perplexities, all of which, it may be believed, are due to the restrictions which encompass the human mind. Since divine predestination is taught in the Bible without

dimunition, it is to be received and believed. Rationalistic attempts to modify this revelation, as might be expected, have resulted in greater complications.

Outside the predetermined destiny which belongs to Israel and the nations who “inherit the earth,” the doctrine of Predestination falls into two divisions, namely (1) Election and (2) Retribution. In its earlier and basic significance the term retribution had to do as much with the rewards which accrue to the saved as to the penalties which accrue to the unsaved. Election and Retribution are counterparts of each other. There can be no election of some that does not imply the rejection of others.

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