Saturday, January 29, 2011


Predestination ("predestined" Rom 8:30) is the best way to start an Ordo Salutis because it correctly implies God planned salvation from the earliest moments of Creation. ("God chose you from the beginning to be saved" 2 Thess 2:13) Interestingly the letter to the Ephesians shows that it is the Father who initiates predestination ( "he [v3 the Father] chose us in him before the foundation of the world" Eph 1:3-4).  The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each have a different focus in God's work of salvation.  Salvation takes place in Christ ("in him we have the redemption through his blood" Eph 1:7), quite literately in his body as he lives and dies and lives again in his human nature. Then the Spirit comes in to carry us along on the way to our divine inheritance ("with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance" Eph 1:13-14).


The Apsotle Paul while broadly discussing the place of Israel in God's plan of salvation in the letter to the Romans, employs the concept of election and reprobation, the idea that God chooses some and condemns others. ("Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated" Rom 9:13) A concept reflected throughout the entire biblical narrative of Israel from Abraham to Nehemiah.  Even the exceptions such as the story of Jonah only serve to highlight the dominate theme of predestination, God choosing a particular people for his particular purposes, while the pagan gentile nations are condemned.  God can choose but does he condemn? In the letter from Jude, it mentions those "who were designated for this condemnation" (Jude 4).

There could also be tangents about the place of free-will but that's more of a discussion in the context of God's sovereignty.  Anyway, predestination is the natural corollary of God's sovereignty.  Also elsewhere some have argued that election is corporate. But Scripture slips deliberately and frequently between the corporate and the individual, so it's saying to little to say God only predestines a group of people.


I choose the hand writing symbol to echo the image of God having the names of those people he'd chose to save in the "book of life" (Rev 20:15).  The entire blue box represents that predestination is a plan, it's the way God has decided Salvation will play out.

My visual Ordo Salutis, is a work in progress, for example in the slide above I still have an envelope but I'm merging the 'deposit of the Holy Spirit' with 'Regeneration.'  The original slide show, showing how these doctrines unfold and relate to each other is at the Ordo Salutis tab on the top of the page.


All God's decrees, even election and reprobation, are made visible to us in the progress of history.  They are, however, rooted in God's eternal foreknowledge and foreordination, which stands forever and will come to pass. While Romans 9 most certainly speaks of God's action in time, the ground for action lies outside of time, in the will and good pleasure of God alone. (Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, 337)


Augustine (In Psalmum 31 and 33) compares the human will to a horse preparing to start, and God and the devil to riders. "If God mounts, he, like a temperate and skillful rider, guides it calmly, urges it when too slow, reins it in when too fat, curbs its forwardness and over action, checks its bad temper, and keeps it on the proper course; but if the devil has seized the saddle, like an ignorant and rash rider, he hurries it over broken ground, drives into ditches, dashes it over precipices, spurs it into obstinacy or fury." With this simile, since a better does not occur, we shall for the present be contended.  Those whom the Lord favors not with the direction of his Spirit, he, by a righteous judgement, consigns to the agency of Satan. (The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 191)