The Augustinian scheme

Charles Hodge is one of the all-time great theologians. A formidable intellect, he was always charitable and clear. In his Systematic Theology, he discusses the Augustinian scheme. This is what Calvin and, if you believe this fellow, Luther believed. Here is Hodge’s summary of the scheme:

  1. The glory of God, or the manifestation [display] of his perfections, is the highest and ultimate end of all things.
  2. For that end God purposed the creation of the universe, and the whole plan of providence and redemption.
  3. He placed man in a state of probation [a trial period], making Adam, their first parent, their head and representative.
  4. The fall of Adam brought all his posterity into a state of condemnation, sin, and misery, from which they are utterly unable to deliver themselves.
  5. From the mass of fallen men God elected [chose] a number innumerable to eternal life, and left the rest of mankind to the just recompense [payment] of their sins.*
  6. The ground of this election is not the foresight of anything in the one class to distinguish them favorably from the members of the other class, but the good pleasure of God.
  7. For the salvation of those thus chosen to eternal life, God gave his own Son, to become man, and to obey and suffer for his people, thus making a full satisfaction for sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness, rendering the ultimate salvation of the elect absolutely certain.
  8. While the Holy Spirit, in his common operations, is present with every man, so long as he lives, restraining evil and exciting [stirring up] good, his certainly efficacious and saving power is exercised only in behalf of the elect.
  9. All those whom God has thus chosen to life, and for whom Christ specially save Himself in the covenant of redemption, shall certainly (unless they die in infancy), be brought to the knowledge of the truth, to the exercise of faith, and to perseverance in holy living unto the end.

*This, in a nutshell, is the doctrine of double predestination, a term that confuses a lot of people. Hodge is expressing the understanding that the majority of Reformed believers have held, that while God foreordains who is elect AND who isn’t, He does not do so equally or in the same way. God actively saves the elect but passes over the non-elect to let them die in their sin. When he “hardens” Pharoah, he simply removes the restraints noted in item 8. The point is this: God is absolutely just and forces no one into sin. All of us are unwilling to come to the truth and deserve damnation, but in His mercy God saves some.

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