Lapsarianism is the set of Calvinist doctrines describing the theoretical order of God’s decree – in his mind, before Creation – in particular concerning the order of his decree for the fall of man and reprobation. The name of the doctrine comes from the Latin lapsus meaning fall.

Supralapsarianism – also antelapsarianism – is the view that God’s decrees of election and reprobation logically preceded the decree of the fall while infralapsarianism – also called postlapsarianism and sublapsarianism – asserts that God’s decrees of election and reprobation logically succeeded the decree of the fall.

Many Calvinists reject both Lapsarian Views for various reasons. Herman Bavinck rejected both because he sees God’s decrees as eternal. Other Calvinists reject the lapsarian views because they perceive any particular ordering of the decrees as unnecessary and presumptive speculation. Critics of lapsarianism often argue that it is impossible to conceive of a temporal process by which God, in eternity, issued decrees, and it is impossible to know the mind of God without direct, scriptural evidence.

These are the main variety of Lapsarian Views:

– Supralapsarianism
Decree to: Save some and condemn others

– Antelapsarianism
Decree to: Create the elect and the reprobate

– Infralapsarianism
Decree to: Permit the Fall

– Sublapsarianism
Decree to: Provide salvation only for the elect

– Postlapsarianism
Decree to: Provide salvation only for the elect

Historically, part of the appeal of the infralapsarian position is that it can, at least in part, be viewed as a possible theodicy for the logical consequence of predestination that God is the author of sin.

Supralapsarians are often termed hypercalvinists, although, to some, this is a misnomer. To these individuals, all hypercalvinists are indeed supralapsarian, but not all supralapsarians are hypercalvinists.

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