Tuesday, February 9, 2016
3: God and Creation
In Chapter 5 of Book 1 of the Institutes, Calvin discusses the two main ways that God is revealed in creation. The first of these Calvin divides this into two sub-parts: 1. Creation acts as a type of mirror by which we can begin to see God (Section 1) and 2. the complex way in which creation is ordered (Section 2). To see evidence of God’s wisdom requires us to look no further than the intricate way humans are designed (Section 3). The second way God is revealed is through the governing order of society (Section 7). This essentially means that God is just. All of this should give humanity the desire to worship God. “Indeed, no one gives himself freely and willingly to God’s service unless, having tasted his fatherly love, he is drawn to love and worship him in return,” he writes. I think this chapter is very relevant to the discussion of the origin of life, or the question of “who” versus “how.”
Turning to Lane’s first question (p.38): In what ways is God made manifest in the created order? As mentioned above, God is made manifest in the creation and continued ordering of the universe. Calvin makes example of the stars, the human body, even infant “speech.” To this list, he describes how God commands the heavens with a mere shake of his head (in the middle of Section 6).
Next question from Lane: What is the effect of this upon unregenerate humanity? Calvin says that it is humanity’s fault – not God’s – for being too prideful to see evidence of God (Section 4). Calvin blames us for being too dull (Section 15). You know the old saying: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
Here's my question for this chapter: Is it problematic to discuss the ways in which God is such a great creator, but then discuss how the perfect creation is tragically flawed?