Monday, 12 January 2009
No excuse!....or is there?
"From this, my present contention is brought out with greater certainty, that a sense of divinity is by nature engraven on human hearts. For necessity forces from the reprobate themselves a confession of it. In tranquil times they wittily joke about God, indeed are facetious and garrulous in belittling his power. If any occasion for despair presses upon them, it goads them to seek him and impels their perfunctory prayers. From this it is clear that they have not been utterly ignorant of God, but that what should have come forth sooner was held back by stubbornness."
(1.4.4 - Hypocrisy from The Institutes of The Christian Religion, Calvin)
"It is, accordingly, clear that there is no one to whom the Lord does not abundantly show his wisdom.."
(1.5.2 - Hypocrisy from The Institutes of The Christian Religion, Calvin)
I came across these interesting thought today from none other then John Calvin inself in his infamous work. I think its a tremendous thought and fantastically true. Now I sure even the most hardened Athiest would agree that this is what people do in times of trouble: Cry out to God. The fact that they would give an alterior reason for doing so is irrelevant here but what is key is that this is mearly what people do. Calvin suggests that because God has revealed himself in nature, particularlly in mankind, that we are without excuse for ignoring the true God. This is what Calvin is refering to in the second quote. God has revealed himself so much in his wise creation that we cannot rationally disbelieve God but only stubbornly ignore him and harden ourhearts to his calling.
Now it may just be me but either Calvin isn't actually a Calvinist (which I have heard may people say, especially in relation to 5 point), or he is inconsistent. Either God has indeed shown himself to all people and therefore grace is irresistable or people are with excuse because God has not revealed himself to them. Now that is not to say that they are innocent as they are still sinners but to those who do not respond, if Calvinism is true, can do so with a clear conscience as they are unaware of its truth. Perhaps more reading will enlighten me of his views
What about us? I would agree with Calvin in these quotes that all mankind is indeed without excuse as he has sufficiently revealed himself to all, even in our very nature and most core desire. Humans long for God, and when we have no-where else to turn, we turn to him untill that time when we feel we can cope on our own and then shrug him off again, or worse claim that it was our doing in the first place.
Let us not be deaf and resist that call, let us not be deaf but hear his voice, let us not be blind but see God in his creation that he so carefully made. We have no excuse but our own Stubbornness.
Till next time