Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Predestination and Creation

I am reading through several of John Calvin's works. It is difficult to think of man whose writings are as rich in Scriptural insight and pastoral theology as Calvin's are. I am continually amazed by the relevance of what he wrote. Here are a few quotes from his book, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God. The final quote is actually Calvin quoting Augustine to prove his point.

Those who suggest that they were ordained [to salvation] by the motion of their own heart deserve no more refutation that those who say the world was created by itself. (p. 104)

Nothing higher is demanded of us than that we be sons of God...The more anyone tries to invade and penetrate those profound recesses of the divine counsel, the further he recedes from God. (p. 113)

Attend to who God is and who you are. He is God, you are man. Should you think you are talking of justice, is the fount of justice dried up? You as a man expect an answer from me. But I also am a man. Let us both therefore listen to one who speaks: O man, who art thou? Better is the ignorance of faith than the temerity of knowledge! Seek for merit, and you will find only punishment. O the height and the depth! Peter denies, the thief believes. O the height and the depth! You ask a reason. I stand in awe before the height and the depth. You ratiocinate [to think or argue logically], I admire; you dispute, I believe. I see the height, but I do not comprehend the depth. Paul rests quietly because he found wonder. He calls the judgments of God inscrutable-do you mean to scrutinise them? He say His ways are past finding out-do you suppose to find them out? Similarly in another place he [Augustine] says: Will you dispute with me? Rather admire with me and exclaim: O the height and the depth! Let us agree to tremble together lest together we perish in error. (p. 118)

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8