Blogging The Institutes
Ligon Duncan
Calvin reminds us in 1.16.9 that though all things are ordained by God's plan yet the events of our lives and world often look to us as if they are random and fortuitous. As Calvin says "the order, reason, end, and necessity of those things which happen for the most part lie hidden in God's purpose...
Guy Waters
In this section, Calvin mentions individuals who draw unwarranted inferences from the providence of God. One false inference is that means do not matter. One might say, "if God has unchangeably set the time of my death, then what does it matter if I eat well, exercise, and see the doctor?" Calvin...
Guy Waters
For Calvin, the biblical doctrine of providence is not a matter for idle speculation. On the contrary, "ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it" (1.17.11). In this section, Calvin develops three practical observations concerning...
Guy Waters
In this section, Calvin responds to an objection to and clears a misconception about the biblical doctrine of providence. Calvin responds to those who say "that the plan of God does not stand firm and sure, but is subject to change in response to the disposition of things below" (1.17.12). They...
Guy Waters
Calvin takes up two further objections to the biblical doctrine of providence. First, "if nothing happens apart from God's will," does it not follow that "there are in him two contrary wills because by his secret plan he decrees what he has openly forbidden by his law"? (1.18.3). It is true that...
Guy Waters
Calvin proceeds from "The Knowledge of God the Creator" (Book One) to "The Knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ..." (Book Two). Calvin begins Book Two with a meditation on self-knowledge (2.1.1-3). Why begin an exposition of "the Knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ" in this way? Calvin has...
Iain D Campbell
Calvin self-consciously draws on Augustine as he explores the meaning and effects of sin. Estrangement from his Maker, he says, was the death of Adam's soul (2.1.5). But what Adam lost when he sinned were gifts which had been granted to the whole race: 'when he was infected with sin, contagion...
Iain D Campbell
The 'total' in Total Depravity means that 'the whole man is overwhelmed - as by a deluge - from head to foot, so that no part is immune from sin and all that proceeds from him is to be imputed to sin' (2.1.9). The sin that is ours from the beginning of our existence invades and pervades every...
Iain D Campbell
What is free will? Some theologians, according to Calvin, have come too close to philosophers who credit the will with too much. There is a perennial temptation to try to make theology agree with the prevailing philosophy, and Calvin accuses some of the Church Fathers of going too far in that...
Iain D Campbell
Calvin's debt to Augustine is nowhere seen as in the discussion on free will. Of all the theologians who have gone before him, he finds Augustine's statements on the will to be biblical and pastorally significant. Augustine's doctrine of man in sin turns upon the pervasive nature of the captivity...