Pristine Grace

The Two Seeds
by Bob Higby
The Two Seeds

     Part I: Are the wicked a second ransom insuring the eternal security of the saints?

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. (Gen. 3:15, NKJV)

     No expositor has ever questioned that this passage in scripture is the first mention in linear time of the doctrine of redemption in Christ. But how many have really examined its implications? Very few. Most brush over it with astonishingly brief exposition and go straight to other ‘more important’ considerations. But the first redemptive promise of God in linear time contains vital and eternal truths rewarding only those spirits who truly and passionately seek the One God as the author of scripture! Others will miss out. Most in previous generations have missed the implications of this passage. Most will continue to miss it for many generations to come!

     Before meditating on the purposes of God announced at the linear beginning of the history of mankind, it is imperative to first consider the revelation of God’s purposes manifested at the end of linear history. A mind accustomed to Eastern, Western, modern, and post-modern philosophy can only perceive of God's purposes as occurring in the order of time. The 'divine decrees' have to start with what is first in time and end with what is last. But if we are to understand God's plan of salvation, we must start at the final end of history and reason back to the beginning. God has purposed a final outcome. Everything that occurs prior to that ultimate goal of history happens in order to achieve it. Gordon Clark is lucid:

Supralapsarianism, for all its insistence on a certain logical order among the divine decrees, is essentially, so it seems to us, the unobjectionable view that God controls the universe purposefully. God acts with a purpose. He has an end in view and sees the end from the beginning. Every verse in Scripture that in one way or another refers to God's manifold wisdom, every statement indicating that a prior event is for the purpose of causing a subsequent event, every mention of an eternal, all-embracing plan contributes to a teleological and therefore supralapsarian view of God's control of history . . .

The connection between supralapsarianism and the fact that God always acts purposefully depends on the observation that the logical order of any plan is the exact reverse of its temporal execution. The first step in any planning is the end to be achieved; then the means are decided upon, until last of all the first thing to be done is discovered. The execution in time reverses the order of planning. Thus creation, since it is first in history, must be logically last in the divine decrees.

     As both the climax of linear history and the first of God’s purposes, the new creation contains three groups of created beings:

  1. The elect angels who never rebelled.
  2. The elect humans saved from sin and death in the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
  3. The reprobates who always and continually rebel.

     In the entire history of Christian dogma, there is not a single good treatise fully explaining the subject of reprobation and why God positively destined group #3 to eternal judgment. A few supralapsarian teachers have ably defended the scriptural teaching of equal ultimacy: God predestines souls to reprobation as deliberately and positively as he elects persons to salvation. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to those few who have stood against the populist infralapsarian dogma of the masses. They got us to thinking biblically regarding the implications of what it means for God to be truly sovereign. Unfortunately, since the rationale of most supralapsarians in the past has been dedicated to maintaining Patristic and Augustinian views of creation and the fall, a strange and almost incomprehensible doctrine from the history of dogma has reared its ugly head among them. That doctrine is the teaching of the wicked as a second ransom insuring the eternal security of the saints!

     In early 2004, the "New Focus" magazine re-printed a defense from the late Dr. Herman Hoeksema of the doctrine of second ransom. Bible students have to wonder why an expositor of such stature and inestimable value in Christian history would so passionately defend such a notion. But he was only defending a belief that had long-standing respect among Calvinists. There is no motive for the doctrine other than the a priori reasoning from the ‘common fall’ to eternity future, which is strictly an infralapsarian argument. So this very lucidly demonstrates to us that those who call themselves supralapsarian often still reason exactly like their infralapsarian opponents.

     The Calvinist doctrine of a second ransom is as much a doctrine of devils as the papal doctrine of a second mediator. As Christ does not share his glory as mediator of our salvation with Mary, he certainly does not share his glory as the ransom for our sins with the wicked. This is nothing but a metamorphosis of the Patristic doctrine of atonement. One of the great ironies in the history of dogma is that Protestants will not renounce the Patristic and Augustinian view of the origin of sin. Although Protestantism totally renounces the Patristic doctrine of Christ’s atonement as a ransom paid to the devil, the trained churchmen of today are as dedicated as ever to maintaining the Patristic denial of God as the sovereign cause of evil. For supralapsarian churchmen, the unique ‘spin’ and end-result of defending Neo-Platonism is obvious. It translates into a doctrine of second ransom in eternity future.

     As the Bible never speaks of a mediator other than Jesus Christ, it just as certainly never speaks of anyone other than Jesus Christ as the ransom for our sins. So we must surely accept the truth that scripture has an entirely different doctrine of positive reprobation than that promoted by the typical supralapsarian Calvinist.

     Part II: Is There an Alternative to the Second Ransom Theory?

     In Part I, it was observed that supralapsarian Calvinism has fallen short in its explanations of why God has determined to create billions of creatures for a reprobate destiny. Although high-grace Calvinism has masterfully demonstrated from scripture that God desires and purposes a damned people; in his final and perfect determined state of the universe, it has suggested the very worst of reasons for this plan of divine wisdom. The reason that has been proposed is this: the saved need a second ransom in order to insure the eternal security of their souls.

     The second ransom theory certainly betrays its serious doubt that God is able to regenerate previously sinful humans to a perfection that guarantees an eternity free of rebellion. Some further ‘insurance’ is needed in this view. Therefore, in addition to his plan to elect a people conceived in iniquity to eternal salvation in Christ, God determined to elect and create a people with the same nature as the redeemed in their unregenerate state to everlasting misery and the withholding of salvation. The example of a people created in the identical and exact circumstances of body and soul—but denied the inestimable gift of salvation and instead tortured without measure—this would provide the insurance needed to absolutely guarantee that no saved creature in glory would ever consider as second rebellion. The gratitude of the elect of being saved from such an awful state of indescribable torment would be the key to eternal security.

     Naturally, the second ransom theory provides the motive needed for high Calvinism to defend the Augustinian view of the common fall. If God has delighted to purpose the torture of a people for eternity that might have been elected and saved in Christ, the nature of the sin of the reprobate is consequentially defined to be identical to that of the elect. So an ‘ingenious compromise’ (for lack of a better expression) has been reached; one that enables supralapsarian teachers to remain in the community of faith as defined by historic churchmen and still be accepted. That community consists of all men and women who confess the law established by Plato in his Republic—considered binding on all teachers who would be respected for all time: God must never be proposed to be the author of sin.

     In contrast to all this, does the Bible provide a better and more rational answer to the question of why God positively purposed reprobation? The good news is, most definitely! In fact, the theory of second ransom has not a single scripture to support it. The solution to unraveling this mystery of God’s ultimate purposes transcendent of time and space is not difficult. It lies in gaining a biblical understanding of the nature and destiny of three distinct groups of eternal spirits. These created beings have been positively elected by God to experience extreme distinction one from another, in order to glorify himself.

     Part III: The Truth about Elect Angels

     It is crucial to realize that since the 2nd century, the law of Plato has been an underlying and a priori assumption in all formulation of institutional Christian doctrine. This law proposes that God is the creator only of that which is good and of nothing evil. Nowhere in Christian thought is devotion to this law more evident than in the historic teaching on elect angels.

     The elect angels are the first of three distinct congregations of souls in the final creation. The published history of theology is very much in error in its teaching about the angels who never rebelled. This is because of a compartmentalized approach to the history of the universe. It is proposed that after the 'common fall’ of mankind in Adam, all the principles in scripture regarding the functionality of evil came into being. Before that point, however, it is proposed that sin and rebellion did not originate out of corruption in the hearts of creatures. The principle that bad fruit is always born from a corrupt tree was not yet supposed to be in operation. This conclusion has to be reached if one assumes that God never creates evil. John Gill is one of the most explicit of Calvinist teachers in defining and defending this compartmentalized view of the origin of evil.

     Looking to the final creation, the logic of the traditional view would not only propose that wicked human beings are a necessary ransom to insure the holiness of elect humans. The same logic would propose that wicked angelic souls are a needed ransom to insure the holiness of the elect angels! But this whole teaching on ransom would never have existed without the a priori assumption of the law of Plato. So it is interesting to note the contribution of supralapsarian Calvinists. Although many of them claim to begin with the pre-eminent creation in Christ as the starting point in reasoning God’s purposes, the application of the law of Plato still results in a view of eternity future that is conditioned on an assumed common creation of angels and mankind. So the reasoning ends up being left-to-right after all!

     If the law of Plato is thrown out, we have no such difficulty and no reason to defend these positions. One day it will be known that Plato’s chief hatred in philosophy was the Hebrew scriptures. It was these that he opposed most of all--in his philosophy of a God who only creates what is good. Bible revelation teaches us that the sovereign God of the universe always accomplishes his perfect pleasure in everything that he determines (Isa. 46:9,10). God causes all; he does not merely permit anything. Everything is planned to the end of a positive and perfect destiny that is the first and greatest of his purposes.

     All philosophy must start with certain assumptions, assertions, and propositions. The a priori assumption here, based on scriptural revelation, is that the principles of the created universe never change in time and space. Evil thoughts and actions proceed only from evil hearts, in all places and times.

     The main issue with the souls of elect angels is whether God created them impeccable. Historic Christian dogma denies that this is possible--because it assumes that all angels had to be created alike. Otherwise, God is proposed to be ‘the author of sin.’ The Bible, of course, does not engage in a detailed discussion of the original state of soul of righteous angels. It is not a systematic theology. But we must conclude, based on the eternal and unchanging principles contained in scripture, that the original state of soul of elect angels was indeed impeccable. They were unable to sin and had no desire or impulse to entertain the propositions of the devil. Their praises eternally ascend unto God and they never tire in their worship of him (Rev. 4, 5)!

     God has purposed to have a congregation of souls in eternity that never entertained the slightest thought of rebellion; souls that were always perfectly faithful to him. His purpose with regard to them is absolutely complete and faultless. They need no example of a congregation of fallen and tortured angels created exactly the same originally--to keep them faithful or increase their gratitude towards God. They will be perfectly content in their absolute adoration of God; not only thanking him for their own creation as impeccable souls—but in his creation of wicked human souls who were to be redeemed in the atoning work of Christ. They were privileged to serve as ministering spirits on behalf of these souls. They fought valiantly with reprobate angels to keep them from harming God’s saints. They will constantly study for eternity in wonderful awe the mystery of human redemption.

     Part IV: The Truth of the Gospel

But if even we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. (Gal. 1:8-10, NKJV)

     The only true and genuine basis of Christian unity is the everlasting gospel delivered once-for-all to the saints. This gospel is concerned with the salvation of elect mankind in the person and work of Jesus Christ. A proper understanding of it must of necessity include belief in the following doctrines:

  1. The Trinity - Salvation, being the work of the triune God, is unintelligible to man apart from knowing the contributions of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in relation to it. The apostolic doctrine on the Trinity was attacked very early in the post-apostolic assemblies. The fact of God’s unity in three eternal persons was recovered in the early centuries, however, the glorious implications of this to the work of salvation has been recovered mainly since Reformation times.
  2. The Person and Work of Christ - The truth about who Jesus was in his incarnation and the redemption achieved in his work for the elect is certainly the core of the gospel. This includes the facts regarding Christ’s true deity, humanity, sinless life, atoning death, resurrection, and coronation as Lord of all.
  3. The Universal Sinfulness of Man - A doctrine of two seeds of evil is being proposed here as the only true Biblical teaching. But the fact that all persons descended of Adam are indeed sinful rebels, deserving only of God’s wrath, is fundamental to knowing the gospel. Christ suffered the curse of the law under the wrath of God--as a substitute for the deserts of the elect in their rebellion and sin.The dominion of sin is broken in the elect at regeneration--but the presence of the flesh (impulses of sin) will not be eradicated until final glorification or re-birth.
  4. Justification by Faith Apart from Law - The truth of the gospel involves more than solely by gracesolely by Christ, or even solely to the glory of God! The assurance of justification is declared to an unworthy sinner solely by faithpersonal faith. If this faith is proposed to be anything but personal to the elect sinner (but the property and gift of God alone), assurance is destroyed and the work of the Holy Spirit in applying redemption is denied.
  5. Divine Election - The gospel is concerned primarily with the salvation of a great multitude; it is focused on the truth that God has elected a people in Christ to a new and saved humanity. The kingdom of God in Christ will have no end--as prophesied of old by Daniel and confirmed by the angel to Mary (Dan. 2:44, Luke 1:33). The nature of the kingdom encompasses both spiritual and material (cosmic) redemption.

     Why pause to re-affirm some of these great and historic truths? It is because nothing of historic Calvinist dogma regarding Christ and salvation is being challenged in this viewpoint. Everything on the redemption side of God’s purposes, occurring in-between the original sin of Adam and the final glory, is affirmed to be exactly as the great Reformed teachers of the past have taught it. In addition, the joys and glory of eternal life in Christ following the consummation are affirmed to be the same. The extreme differences lie in the affirmations of the nature of reprobation in the first and pre-eminent creation and the origin of evil in the shadow creation.

     Why does any of it matter? Is not salvation itself more important than the plan of salvation? It matters because of the nature of worship. God is jealous for his own glory and demands that we ascribe glory to him only in the way that he has indicated. The final state of the universe is strictly ordained unto the glory of God and the proper worship of himself. We know that the central focus and theme of eternal ages will always be the redemption of an elect people in Christ, to the glory of God the father. We have already seen a second elective purpose of God to glorify himself in eternity: the creation of a multitude of elect and impeccable angels who would never entertain an unfaithful thought or act. A third elective purpose of God is reprobation and will be the subject of the next study.

     Part V: The Truth About Reprobation

     On the redemption aspect of New Testament teaching, there is no substantive disagreement between the author of this study and the rest of interpreters in the Reformed tradition. We are in agreement on what constitutes both a sound Christology and an orthodox soteriology. The purpose of this study will be to condemn the false teachings of Augustine on the matter of eternal sin and reprobation. Regardless of the consequences, the study of this subject is a most necessary and significant endeavor in the current time of increased knowledge. We are to study the truth of biblical revelation on all important matters to show ourselves approved unto God. Either the Augustinian doctrine of the fall and reprobation is true--or the Bible teaches a different message.

     There are many critical subjects taught in the Bible that no thorough work of the human pen has adequately addressed. These include the nature of the Christian community (ecclesiology), the doctrines of baptism and communion, the matter of the origin of evil, the biblical doctrine of judgment, the biblical doctrine of wholistic man, and the issue of what truly constitutes double predestination. Of course, volumes have been written on all of these subjects. The fine details of the perspectives vary almost endlessly. But in the final analysis, the Augustinian and Patristic tradition ends up defining the essence of every one of these doctrines. Naturally, the presence of teaching similar to St. Gus is abundant in the writings of Rabbinic and Philonic Judaism. This fact contributes heavily to the assumed certainty of the correctness of tradition and God’s leading in all of it.

     It took many centuries for the studied within Christendom to condemn many Patristic errors. The false views of the atonement endured for a thousand years and were only gradually corrected afterward. Ditto the false doctrine of the sacraments (making salvation dependent on receiving ‘the drip’), the doctrine of the rule of bishops over the conscience and society, endless philosophies on the natural autonomy of man, and the damnable dogma of subjective justification. A good example of the slowness of christen ’dumb’ to oppose false teaching is the matter of Origen’s heathen and unscriptural eschatology. Two centuries later, Eusebius still included Origen as an orthodox saint in his chronicling of the history of Christianity.

     The matter of Augustine’s orthodoxy certainly lies at the crux of these issues. Theologians of any tradition other than Reformed (notably Lutherans) have been candid in admitting Augustine’s dependence on Neo-Platonic philosophy. The great Reformed teachers, believing Augustine to be the post-apostolic champion of the doctrines of grace, refuse to admit this. Even Dr. Gordon Clark in his Ancient Philosophy, after masterfully demonstrating how the philosophy of Plotinus transformed Platonic thought by synthesizing in a large amount of determinism, nonetheless insists that Augustine’s dependence on this Neo-Platonism is much overstated by theologians. Non-Reformed observers are bound to notice that this is one more example of the Reformed tradition’s extreme and unwarranted over-reverence of St. Gus.

     The present author is convinced, after studying the ‘partial determinism’ taught by Plotinus, that Augustine’s view of predestination indeed comes from the philosophic tradition of Neo-Platonism. It is not the Hebrew and Pauline doctrine of predestination. The thought of Plotinus hastened to admit that the events in the universe are largely determined by a higher power. But it still deferred to Platonic thought in refusing to believe that evil has its origin in the purposes and direct creation of God (Gordon Clark, Ancient Philosophy: "Plotinus Theory of Empirical Responsibility" pp. 444-458). The Augustinian and Reformed doctrine of predestination follows the philosophy of Plotinus exactly.

     The teaching of the supralapsarians has come the nearest to recovering the scriptural position on the twin purposes of God in salvation and reprobation. The current writer joyfully acknowledges his dependence on the advances in Bible understanding gained by a study of these men. Without this step forward in the history of Christian thought, it would be impossible to go the rest of the way. Strangely enough, even universalist Karl Barth admitted that the supralapsarians were the closest to the truth among the historical ‘orthodox.’ Which is the greater sin: to deny that a portion of mankind will be damned or to deny that God positively determines the destinies of all? Although both of these denials are condemned by scripture, the far greater sin is to cast disrepute on God’s sovereignty! The election side of God’s purposes is absolutely perfect, complete, and glorious in and of itself. If there were no damnation, it would not detract the least whit from the glories and perfection of the plan of salvation in Christ. Reprobation is an opposite plan designed to bring glory to God in an entirely different manner.

     Luther had to re-discover an orthodox soteriology by returning to the Bible itself. There is no published source between the apostles and Luther that clearly enumerates the scriptural doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness received by faith alone. Even so, the alternative to Rabbinic, Patristic, and Augustinian teachings on the origin and purpose of evil and reprobate souls can only be discovered by returning to the scriptures. The other writings of man cannot help us on this one.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sin, and from the west, that there is none beside me: I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together: I the Lord have created it. Isa. 45:5-8, KJV

Remember the former things of old, For I am God ant there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. Isa. 46:9-11

But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him. Job 23:13,14, NKJV

But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day. Deut. 2:30

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 1 Sam. 16:14,15 KJV

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Prov. 21:1

Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land—even the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness! And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together," says the LORD. "I will not pity nor spare nor have mercy, but will destroy them."’" Jer. 13:13,14

Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good? Lam. 3:38 KJV

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Col. 1:16; Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Col. 2:15

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, Rom. 9:22,23

But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable, And He said to them,"To you is has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’" Mark 4:10-12

When he is judged, let him be found guilty. And let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; Let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. Let the creditor seize all that he has, And let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him, Nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off, And in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be continually before the LORD, That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Ps. 109:7-15

But You, O GOD the Lord, Deal with me for Your name’s sake; Because Your mercy is good, deliver me. Ps. 109:21

Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Ps. 139:19-22

Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 2 Thess. 1:6,7

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" Rev. 19:1-4

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Gen. 50:20

Shall the trumpet be blown in a city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? Amos 3:6, KJV

The scriptures cited above, when taken as a complete and logical whole, reveal a very different doctrine from that of historic churchmen on teachings related to the subject of reprobation. These teachings will now be discussed individually. In harmony with the right-to-left view of the plan of salvation taught by supralapsarians, the ‘last will be first’ and the ‘first will be last.’

     1. The nature of final glory in the relationship of the saved to the damned.

     The historic churchmen have certainly taught us a stoic view of eternity future, very unlike the triumphant spirit of Revelation! The preaching on the tortures of hell--especially by Calvinists--is not directed to the lost. The wicked are unable to discern spiritual matters anyway; this fact is freely admitted. No, the preaching of hell-fire is aimed at the saints to sober their perception of the reality of heaven. The wicked in their torture are forever proposed to be a second ransom for the saints, keeping them safe from all future rebellion. It is suggested that the knowledge of the fate of the ungodly in the present--and the actual witnessing of it in the future--will make the saints very sober, considering what they have escaped. After all, the non-elect human souls are proposed to be exactly the same in nature as the elect saints were before conversion. It is taught that the reprobate will always be capable of regeneration--but additionally denied it by God! The wonder of grace is supposed to be that God selected some for eternal life--while leaving others of the same sinful essence to their just deserts--as a consequence of Adam’s unique sin committed while having no impulse toward sin whatsoever. In the Calvinistic view, it seems that Adam will have a dubious position in the eternal state of things--since every human being will justly be able to accuse him of causing the damnation of billions into torturing hell-fire without measure and without end! A prominent TV evangelist once stated that the first thing he will do in heaven is to find Adam and slap him on the face!

     Is the real essence of final salvation taught in the doctrine of second ransom? Is the chief point of eternal bliss the notion that the saved among men will look upon the damned among men; stating with trembling awe: It might just as easily have been me? If so, the triumphant redemptive note sounded in the Bible is nonsense. The saints have no reason whatsoever to celebrate the downfall and punishment of reprobates--if what they are witnessing in eternity is supposed to be their own destiny. According to such a proposition, the judgment executed on the finally impenitent is the exact same destiny as that the saints were headed for--except for the grace of God in selecting or snatching them out of such a fate in Christ!

     To comprehend their unworthiness and desert of God’s retribution, the elect are to look to the wrath of God poured out on Jesus Christ in his atonement. They are not to look to the final punishment of the reprobate. The notion that Christ’s suffering is the equivalent of the suffering of the reprobate is nowhere advanced in scripture. It is instead a philosophy stemming from Anselm’s erroneous position on God’s justice--which compares the divine law to medieval notions of punishment meted out on a pound-for-pound scale. If the seed of the woman is not created reprobate, God’s wrath upon the finally impenitent was never a possible destiny for them. This is why a triumphant note is always sounded by God’s people when action is taken against the hopelessly godless. If their attitude is instead supposed to be sober, always thinking "it might have just as easily been me," then such exuberant praise to God for condemning the reprobate would not be appropriate. God’s people are to look only to the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ and think "it might have been me."

     So what is the real purpose of the election of multitudes to reprobation? It is the advancement of the glory of God in the manifestation of absolute and unstoppable impenitence! In the end, the stubborn refusal of reprobate creatures to repent is ordained to praise the wisdom of God’s sovereign purposes. It is no more complicated than this. Every creature that God has created in his image, whether angelic or earthly, is absolutely dependent on God’s eternal purpose in the final destiny that is received. The elect angels will forever praise God that they were created impeccable and unable to rebel. The elect humans will forever praise God that they were shapen in iniquity and nonetheless redeemed by the blood of Christ. The reprobate angels and biological descendants of Adam will forever glorify God in their blasphemous cursing. The premise of their rebellion is absolutely irrational and stupid. It is the notion that God forever owes those who are hopelessly wedded to sin the life of evil that is their sole and continuous desire.

     Final judgment on the impenitent consists of two aspects: the curse of the law and the curse of the gospel. Reprobate mankind will be judged according to law and suffer material torment in proportion to their deeds. The whore is given torture and grief in proportion to her sins (Rev. 18:6-8). This is not eternal punishment but torment with measure. She will suffer the same sort of punishment meted out on Jesus Christ. Christ suffered the curse of the law for the chief of sinners; which is one who persecutes and murders the saints (symbolized by the woman).

     The finally and hopelessly wicked will also be judged according to the gospel; which involves a plunging into everlasting shame and contempt. Christ did not suffer this fate for anyone; he atoned only for sin that was to be forgiven and repented of. The atonement is for the seed of the woman, not for the seed of the serpent. The curse of the gospel is a unique destiny which befalls only those who forever laugh at God’s grace and mock the plan of salvation as it exists on God’s terms. This aspect of punishment is what brings the most glory to God in the plan of reprobation; the wrath of unimaginably stupid devils bringing him praise.

     The final state consists of the triumphant rule of Christ, the redeemed saints, and the elect angels over the reprobate angels and men. Every aspect of the final and first creation is the pre-eminent and eternal purpose of God. God positively predestined a great multitude to reprobation. He created and breathed life into them for the sole purpose of displaying his glory in their damnation. In no sense are they ever potential candidates for redemption. God never desired their salvation; his pleasure was always to lift them up for a time, endure their iniquity until the appointed day of demise, and finally plunge them into a state of everlasting shame and contempt. Christ and his saints will forever and triumphantly rule over them with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:26,27).

     2. The biblical nature of judgment.

     Western Christianity has short-changed the biblical doctrine of judgment in so many ways. In the jargon and writings of historic churchmen, ‘judgment’ generally refers to the anger and wrath of God. In the Bible this is only one side of judgment; not even the most important side. The more important aspect is that God’s justice, righteousness, and justification brings salvation to the elect. In the Psalms and other Old Testament works, the people of God appeal continuously to the justice of God to bring redemption. Contrary to the writings of so many scholars, the Bible does not contrast God’s justice and mercy: they are not opposites. Justice comprises God’s elective purposes of both mercy and wrath.

     There are no gray areas in the biblical perspective; it is all black and white: men are either righteous or wicked. On the day of final reckoning, there will be no wicked who ‘almost made it’ or righteous who ‘almost didn’t make it.’ Neither are the elect among the truly wicked in their unregenerate state. The seed of the woman is conceived in iniquity and depraved in every aspect of being prior to regeneration. Yet they are righteous in God’s own reckoning and purpose. The fact that Jeremiah was called to be a prophet while still in the womb does not mean that he escaped the lot of depraved conception. But he was always reckoned as one of the godly in the justice of God; his justification was constituted in the future atonement of Jesus Christ.

     The Psalms are full of imprecation of God’s wrath by his people against their enemies. Many skeptics view these passages as evidence that the Bible is full of error. The type of prayers engaged in would be inappropriate if there were any overlap between righteousness and wickedness in God’s purposes. There is not. The assumption is that the wicked are hopeless reprobates who cannot repent. Therefore the full wrath of God against them earnestly invoked, to be manifested in every sort of judgment.

     3. The origin and nature of evil.

     We now come to the last discussion, which is the matter of two seeds of evil—the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The promised seed of the woman is ultimately Jesus Christ. However, the culmination of the prophecy in him is not all that is talked about. There is a long historical enmity between the two seeds which spans the time between the original curse and the death of the promised Messiah.

     ‘Seed’ in this instance cannot mean pure biological descent, though it includes an element of that. All of humankind, both elect and reprobate, are biologically descended from Eve. Yet there are two separate seeds promised in Gen. 3:15. This introduces a spiritual element. As the serpent was not merely physical but also the habitation of Satan, even so a large portion of mankind would be created in his likeness. They were to appear biologically as humans--but spiritually they would be snakes: not human but devil. They would all be the devil’s children, created in an iniquity that is beyond redemption. Since God purposed from eternity to create them for the sole purpose of glorifying himself in their damnation, there would be no capability of righteousness in them.

     It is impossible for an elect soul to experientially understand the nature of the mystery of iniquity: eternal sin unto death that will never be forgiven. Even though all the elect are conceived in iniquity, they are not of the seed of Satan. They are not devils. The seed of the woman, Jesus Christ only excepted, is born in the likeness of Eve in her rebellion. This seed is purposed to experience sin and guilt, then be saved by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is the seed in which the Holy Spirit works throughout history to wage war against the devil’s children. It was also to have a biological element between Eve and Jesus Christ—there was to be an unbroken physical line of regenerate souls through which the Messiah would finally come.

     The fact of two seeds of evil demonstrates that sin and rebellion does not come through the genes. It is created directly by God in each individual soul. After the creation of it, God directs the evil to specific thoughts and acts predestined in history to accomplish his purposes. Every wicked impulse, thought, and act of devils and elect men is planned in detail by the Lord: it is he that has accomplished it all. It is the philosophy of Plato that God cannot create evil, not the teaching of scripture. Many of the references cited above are from the KJV--because the NKJV has lessened the force of the Hebrew RA to include only calamity. So have all more recent translations attempted to change the word of God. In this reasoning, God only caused the calamity resulting from the intoxicating of men in wickedness--not the sin itself. But RA means both wickedness and calamity: all things related to the kingdom of darkness. The Lord stirs up the hearts of reprobates and elect to specific sin, resulting in the calamity that he purposes.

     The angels have no biology. God created each one directly. The passages above in Colossians make it clear that the devils (principalities and powers) conquered by Jesus in his atonement were also created by him. The Platonic assumption that God cannot create evil is the only reason why men have come up with an alternate system of doctrine from the Bible: teaching that Satan was created holy and righteous, then later sinned without having an impulse of sin.

     As a rock cannot be changed into an apple and still be a rock, a snake cannot be changed into a woman and still be a snake. The two seeds are entirely different: black and white, wicked and righteous. A reprobate cannot be changed into a lover of Christ. The nature of reprobates is as different from the elect, even in their unregenerate state, as a rock differs from an apple or a snake differs from a woman.

     God’s purpose in reprobation is to glorify himself in the opposite manner than he is glorified from redemption. God purposed from eternity to create a people unto damnation--a people who would have souls incapable of regeneration, a people whom he and the saints would always hate and joyfully celebrate their downfall and condemnation.