Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius, Grand Rapids, MI: Sovereign Grace, 1971, 126 pp.
Absolute Predestination is a translation in English from the original Latin text of Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590). It presents a strong Calvinistic view on God’s will, election, and reprobation.
Modern “Calvinists” who teach the error of the so-called “well-meant offer of the Gospel” are likely to shudder when reading Zanchius who definitely opposes their view. He writes, “Since the determining will of God being omnipotent cannot be obstructed or made void, it follows that He never did, nor does He now, will that every individual of mankind should be saved.” (p. 18) And on this position Zanchius well quotes Augustine, Luther, and Bucer in support.
Zanchius also writes “God may in some sense be said to will the being and commission of sin.” (p. 20) He argues in favor of “more than a bare permission of sin.” (p. 30) In addition to referencing Biblical passages, he again looks to Augustine, Luther, and Bucer in support. “God may be said to be the Author of all of the actions done by the wicked, yet He is not the Author of them in a moral and compound sense as they are sinful; but physically, simply and sensu diviso as they are mere actions, abstractedly from all consideration of the goodness or badness of them.” (p. 32)
While a certain 20th century theologian often caught flack for his view that God’s love is not an emotion (but a volition), it is seen that the 16th century Zanchius took much the same position. He writes, “When love is predicated of God, we do not mean that He is possessed of it as a passion or affection.” (p. 43)
On reprobation Zanchius makes a good point that the “The punishment of the non-elect was not the ultimate end of their creation, but the glory of God.” (p. 78) And he quotes: “The Lord has made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov. xvi.) which gives a nice Old Testament precedence to the teaching of Romans 9:23.
Zanchius could rightly be considered a high Calvinist, though there is debate whether he was a supralapsarian or infralapsarian. Regardless, he is a must read for Calvinists today.
Credit is due to Sovereign Grace Publishers and, more recently, Reformation Heritage Books for printing this volume. Other publishers like Banner of Truth and P&R would likely never print it because it opposes their agendas.