Blog 33: 1.15.8 - 1.16.3
1.15.8 is a "rock your world" important passage in the Institutes. In it, Calvin explains a fundamental source of confusion in the quest for "free will.""The Philosophers," says Calvin, by discussing the question of free will apart from understanding the consequences of the fall "were seeking in a ruin for a building, and in scattered fragments for a well-knit structure." Christians who follow the philosophers in failing to take into account the gravity of the fall when discussing human free choice are "playing the fool." This section shows how crucial the doctrine of the fall is to Calvin's understanding of humanity.
Those interested in Calvin's apologetic views will be fascinated by two comments in 1.16.1 - "the minds of the impious too are compelled by merely looking upon earth and heaven to rise up to the Creator . . ." and "the wisdom, power, and goodness" of God revealed in creation "are self-evident, and even force themselves upon the unwilling." But the main thing Calvin wants to assert in this section is that creation and providence are inseparably connected, and that by his providence God "sustains, nourishes, and cares for, everything he has made."Consequently, there is no such thing a luck, fortune or chance (1.16.2).
Asserting again God's universal providence in 1.16.3, Calvin puts the truth to pastoral use immediately: "they may safely rest in the protection of him to whose will are subject all the harmful things which, whatever their source, we may fear; whose authority curbs Satan with all his furies and his whole equipage; and upon whose nod depends whatever opposes our welfare. "