Calvin at the Centre by Paul Helm

By Paul Helm

Calvin on the Centre explores the implications of varied rules within the considered John Calvin, and the impact of his rules on later theologians. The e-book units to at least one part the belief that Calvin's perspectives are in basic terms biblical and unaffected by means of the actual highbrow conditions during which he lived.

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Further, a positive endorsement of Descartes’s first proof of God’s existence in the Meditations could not be ruled out, given the ambiguity of Calvin’s attitude to discursive proofs of God’s existence in the Institutes and elsewhere. It is not unreasonable to think that Calvin may have been receptive to certain kinds of natural theology, and it is clear that he was receptive to probabilistic arguments in support of the authority of Scripture. 107 More generally, Calvin was a theologian respectful of the achievements of the philosophers, and even of their speculations, and with a positive view of ‘science’ and of its potential for human good and the glory of God.

3. 91 Sermons of Maister John Calvin, upon the Book of Job, trans. Arthur Golding (London, 1574; repr. in facsimile, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1993), 477. The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves 33 it is eclipsed by God’s saving wisdom as revealed in Jesus Christ, the key to which is the fear of God. C A LV I N AND DESCARTES An attempt at a positive comparison between Calvin and Descartes is likely to be met by pained surprise. ’ In this last section of the chapter we will consider how the Augustinian motif of the knowledge of God and of ourselves was modified in the hands of Descartes, by comparison with how it fared with Calvin.

While characteristically Cartesian, this is a rather narrowly defined understanding of the Apostle Paul’s reference to the knowlege of God being plain to everyone (Rom. 1: 19). Treating these two issues philosophically means proving them by the 92 The Philosophical Works of Descartes, ed. E. A. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1931), i. 133–4. 34 The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves natural reason alone. This is a procedure that is so easy to acquire that those who fail to do so are ‘without excuse’—also no doubt a reference to Romans 1: 20).

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