“These two words describe two classes of Calvinists. The first, those who hold that God permitted the first man to fall into sin, without absolutely pre-determining his fall: so that the decree of predestination regards man as fallen, by an abuse of the freedom which Adam had, into a state in which all were to be left to unavoidable ruin, who were not exempted from it by predestination. The second class hold, that God has resolved by an eternal decree, antecedently to the fall of Adam, and independently of it to reject some and save others, and consequently decreed the fall of Adam. The words are from the Latin, supra lapsum, before the fall, sub lapsum, after the fall”.
Quoted in full from:
Farrar, John, 1878, “An Ecclesiastical Dictionary, Explanatory of the History, Antiquities, Heresies, Sects, and Religious Denominations of the Christian Church”, entry “Sublapsarians, Supralapsarians” p. 529, pub. Wesleyan Conference Office, London