Government: Prelapsarian or Postlapsarian Institution?

by caseybedell

A question I have been working through, which really may be inconsequential, is whether or not the institution of government is a prelapsarian institution (Al Wolters in Creation Regained seems to argue this) or a postlapsarian institution (Abraham Kuyper in his Lectures on Calvinism clearly argues this).

The former seems to legitimate government as a creational good (i.e., I Tim. 4:4, “everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected), while the latter accepts government as a provisional good (i.e., Genesis 9: 6, Rom. 13, I Pet. 2).  A prelapsarian view would understand government primarily as a means of organization.  A postlapsarian view would understand government primarily as a means to restrain evil and promote justice.

John Frame argues that it is both, but works back from eschatology. He would argue that the new heavens and new earth will be governed by the Lordship of Christ, yet there will be no sin to restrain.  Thus the provisional gives way to the creational, but the creational finds its ultimate purpose in the eschatological, where the Son delivers the kingdom to his Father that God may be all in all (I Cor. 15:24-28).  But does this lead to the idea that government was a prelapsarian institution?  Again, this may be inconsequential.  If your methodological entry point is in protology or eschatology, the conclusion seems to be the same; government is good. God likes government.

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