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How does the first sin fit with God's Sovereignty?


The information for this summary I obtained from the Darkness to Light Ministry website - an excellent and very comprehensive site with information on Predestination, other theology, cults, etc..

There are three main explanations given by different Calvinists to explain God's command in Genesis 3:3 with regards to His sovereignty and foreknowledge and ordaining of history and 'free will'.

  1. Some Calvinists say that this command should be regarded just the same as all other commands spoken by God. God gives us commands to show us His will and how He wants us to live out our lives. As we are sinners God's commands are to show us that, and they are a means to bring us to repentance. As Adam and Eve were sinless the command was to show them what sin was, humanity's (their) complete need for God in their lives, and that an aspect of their relation to Him is being under Him - a loving relationship yet He is God and King.
  2. Some other Calvinists say that Adam and Eve did actually have a free will before the Fall (also called the 'power of contrary choice'). They say this because Adam and Eve were created perfect by God so before the Fall they cannot have had a sinful nature. But Adam and Eve freely chose to disobey God, having disastrous effects for both them and all of humanity - they have a sinful nature. God looked at time after The Fall, saw that all of humanity was sinful and decided to save some - elect a few to Salvation. Calvinists who believe this are called 'Low Calvinists' or 'Infralapsarians'.
  3. The third group of Calvinists say that Adam and Eve's disobeying of Genesis 3:3 was predestined to occur by God. Therefore Adam and Eve did not have a free will, or at least their will was restricted with regards to eating from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. This command was just like the commands we receive from God as described in the first point above. The first sin was predestined by God to bring into place HIs plan for Salvation. Calvinists who believe this are called 'High-Calvinists', or 'Supralapsarians'.

My Views

I would say that both the second and third explanations are both possible. I am inclined towards the third, but as yet I am undecided. My reasons for this are as follows (progressive):

The (slight) appearance to me in the second reason of God not being in control, and (in my fifth point) that God may have planned to allow sin to enter at the time and in the way it did so that He can be glorified in the best way, causes me to be inclined towards the third reason. Having the first sin completely out of God's control not only appears to undermine God's Sovereignty (but again on this I'm not sure) but it also suggests that Adam and Eve acting differently then could cause God to be glorified more through His actions in that, different, history. The idea that God could be glorified more in a different history suggests to me that God is restricted in how much glory He can receive from creation (but this is conjecture - I'm certain God would be supreme regardless of what happened). It is for these reasons that I am inclined towards the third explanation, but the reasons could be flawed, and Scripture doesn't teach one explanation, or strongly imply one (as far as I've found). It is Scripture's teaching of God's supreme Sovereignty and control over creation (including history as God created time) causes me to think that God was in control over the occurance of the original sin and its causes. Despite my saying there is a slight appearance of God not being in control, the second reason, when explained well, can show God as not being 'taken by surprise' and not in any way undermine His authority. Yet it is probably very clear that I am not sure on this issue, but inclined towards the third explanation having the first sin within God's plan.