INFRALAPSARIAN, n. One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have sinned unless he had a mind to — in opposition to the Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person’s fall was decreed from the beginning. Infralapsarians are sometimes called Sublapsarians without material effect upon the importance and lucidity of their views about Adam.
Two theologues once, as they wended their way
To chapel, engaged in colloquial fray —
An earnest logomachy, bitter as gall,
Concerning poor Adam and what made him fall.
“‘Twas Predestination,” cried one — “for the Lord
Decreed he should fall of his own accord.”
“Not so — ’twas Free will,” the other maintained,
“Which led him to choose what the Lord had ordained.”
So fierce and so fiery grew the debate
That nothing but bloodshed their dudgeon could sate;
So off flew their cassocks and caps to the ground
And, moved by the spirit, their hands went round.
Ere either had proved his theology right
By winning, or even beginning, the fight,
A gray old professor of Latin came by,
A staff in his hand and a scowl in his eye,
And learning the cause of their quarrel (for still
As they clumsily sparred they disputed with skill
Of foreordinational freedom of will)
Cried: “Sirrahs! this reasonless warfare compose:
Atwixt ye’s no difference worthy of blows.
The sects ye belong to — I’m ready to swear
Ye wrongly interpret the names that they bear.
You — Infralapsarian son of a clown! —
Should only contend that Adam slipped down;
While you — you Supralapsarian pup! —
Should nothing aver but that Adam slipped up.
It’s all the same whether up or down
You slip on a peel of banana brown.
Even Adam analyzed not his blunder,
But thought he had slipped on a peal of thunder!