Theology of the Reformers - Lesson 11
The Institutes: Book Two
The Institutes: Book Two
TH230-11: Theology of the Reformers - The Institutes Book Two
I. Background and Context of The Institutes Book Two
B. Historical and Cultural Context
C. Authorship and Purpose
II. Key Concepts and Themes
A. The Knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ
B. The Nature of Sin
C. The Role of Law and Gospel
III. Theological Implications and Significance
A. Impact on the Reformation Movement
B. Influence on Protestant Theology
C. Relevance for Contemporary Theology
- Through this lesson, you gain insights into church history as a theological discipline, the Reformation, key figures, theological contributions, and the lasting impact of the Reformation on theology and the church.0% Complete
- Through this lesson, you grasp Augustine's pivotal role in shaping Reformation theology, influencing key figures like Luther and Calvin, and leaving a lasting impact on the church.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain insights into Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism, understanding their roles in shaping the Reformation and the influences of key figures within each movement.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you explore Martin Luther's life and theological contributions, uncovering key events leading to the Reformation and examining the lasting impact of his work on Christianity.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the diversity in the Reformation in Saxony, its theological differences, and its impact on society and modern theology.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you gain insight into Huldrych Zwingli's life, theology, and contributions, exploring his views on the Lord's Supper, role in the Swiss Reformation and Anabaptist movement, and key writings, while also understanding his lasting impact on the Reformation.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteBy studying this lesson, you gain insights into John Calvin's central role in the Swiss Reformation, his theological contributions, and the lasting impact of his ideas on church organization, education, and social reforms.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you gain insight into John Calvin's theology, its key components, and its lasting influence on the Reformed tradition and society.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteBy studying this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of John Calvin's theology in Book One of The Institutes, focusing on the knowledge of God, Christ, providence, and predestination, and its impact on Protestant theology.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you explore the key themes and insights from Book One of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," gaining a deeper understanding of God's sovereignty, human humility, and the centrality of Scripture in Reformation thought.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteGain insights into Book Two of Calvin's "The Institutes," exploring the knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ, sin's nature, law and gospel, and its lasting impact on Protestant theology.0% Complete
- By examining Calvin's Farewell Address and other Reformation issues, you gain insight into the key themes and controversies that shaped the theological landscape and learn about the enduring influence of the Reformers.0% Complete
The leaders of the Protestant reformation built on the thoughts and teachings of scholars who came before them and spent their lives seeking God and explaining his Word.
Dr. Timothy George
Theology of the Reformers
The Institutes: Book Two
[00:00:03] Theology of the Reformers. Tape 11 The Institute's Book one continued. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation wakes and eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed for the creation was subjected to frustration not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning, as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Or in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has. But if we hope for what we do not yet have we wait for it patiently. In the same way the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit because the spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God for new, He also predestined to be conform to the likeness of his son, that he might be the first born among many brothers and those he predestined. He also called those he called.
[00:01:47] He also justified. Those He justified. He also glorified. What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How really not also along with him, graciously give us all things who will bring any charge against those? And God is chosen. It is God who justifies. Who is He that condemns Christ Jesus who died more than that, Who was raised. The life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us, who shall separate us from the love of Christ. Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword as it is written for your sake. We face death all day long. We are considered as sheep for the slaughter. Knowing all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels and demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor death, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. That is in Christ, Jesus, our Lord. This is the Word of the Lord. Let us pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this majestic passage of Scripture, this mountain peak from your Word that points us beyond ourselves and the vicissitudes of life and the trouble and the stress and the distress that we experience to your eternal purpose, your unconquerable love, your great and tender mercy. We thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ and for the promise of your Word that the sufferings that we experience here and now are not even worthy to be compared with the glory and the joy that shall be revealed then and there.
[00:03:42] And in this hope, we rest our lives and our future. And we ask your blessing. Now, on this time of study in the life and the theology of John Calvin, give us wisdom and insight to understand it. And so to discern in it what you would have us to learn about you and your word. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Any questions from last week about where we are or where we're headed? My goal today in this presentation is to get through book one. That's my goal. I'm already behind schedule and I can't afford to get any more behind. So we've got to do that today. But before we launch into that, any comments placed in particular to speed up quite a lot of the information and the work we've done. I remember when you opened this place with these major figures taking place. I have Calvin and I read the fine print about what I hear with every book in that book. And I thought, Oh yeah, Calvin has a lot to say against the school man. That's his usual term for scholastic theology. And he knew scholastic theology fairly well. He actually doesn't cite Thomas Aquinas as much as he does some of the others. Right. And so I think we have to be a little careful when we compare Calvin and Aquinas. There is a book by a Dutch reform scholar named Voss, I think the OS entitled Aquinas Calvin and I forget the rest of the title, The Will of God or something like that. In a way, it's a comparative study of the theology of Aquinas and Calvin, and he makes the opposite point from the one you are, namely that there's a lot of continuity, more than is usually assumed between these two great figures.
[00:05:29] So Acquaintances is an ambiguous person. He was, after all, a radical Augustinian in his view of salvation at a very high view of predestination. That is not totally that different from Calvin's in some ways. But clearly when you get down to the sacraments in the way the church works and some of those issues, there are points of difference. So I'd say yes or no to your comment. Good comment. Anybody else? Occupation. How you doing? Nice to see you here. All right. I think we have to leave off last time in the doctrine of Scripture. Is that right? We got through about page 95, 96 and book one. And so I want to begin today by talking a little bit about Calvin's view of images, particularly because it's a point where I think Calvin could stand a little bit of correction so that those of you that think I'm just totally, absolutely a devotee of Calvin's thought, here's a place where I want to challenge you just a little bit. It's not the only place either, but it's it's one place. Now, before we get into that discussion, let me point out the way in which he describes what it is he is doing in the institute. This is actually the top of page 97. Well, he has this statement yet. I shall be content to have provided godly minds with a sort of index to what they should particularly look for in Scripture concerning God and to direct their search to a sure goal. He's just been describing God's revelation and creation in the universe and so forth. And he says this is even more vividly revealed in the word that is the Bible. And here at the top of page 79, there's this very interesting sentence.
[00:07:09] It's almost a methodological comment in which he says, What I'm about, what I'm trying to do here in the institute is to provide a sort of index, as he calls it, to the study of scripture itself. And I've written two words here on the board handbook and later book. They're German words. And the institute is more of a handbook than it is a letter book. Now, what's the difference between these two? A handbook? A letter is the word for doctrine or teaching in German. And so you shouldn't see the institute as a letter book. Calvin didn't. It's not a systematic theology. It is a handbook. It is an introduction to the study of the Bible. And so he says, I really want to write this. It's a it's a kind of index. It's a kind of a pointer. It's an introductory statement of where you really need to go and delve into detail to find out what I'm talking about here. And that is in the Scriptures themselves. It's a handbook to the Bible. It's not a book, it's not a systematic theology comprehensively laid out, as it is often claimed to be, and presented in fact, as being by many students of Calvin. I just point that out because it's really important since in this class we are focused primarily, if not exclusively, on the institutes by necessity. We only have one semester. You've already argued me from 2 to 3 hours, and if I say any more, they'll go from 3 to 4. So another petition is circulating in your minds already. I can see that. So I point that out because I have to keep reminding you that you've got to go read the commentaries. Whether you do that for this semester or not, I leave that to you.
[00:08:47] But you'll never understand, Calvin. You'll never understand where he's coming from or how he's doing theology. If all you ever know is the institute's, that's a good place to start. I think the institute's. But he says here himself that he's pointing us beyond these preliminary introductory statements. This is an index. It's like a table of contents, if you will, that points us beyond itself to the scriptures. Just keep that in mind. I think I've said that before, but I want to say it again, because this is something Calvin himself brings out here at the beginning of his discussion of images. Now, let's go right into that discourse and chapters, particular chapters ten and 11, where he's dealing with the question of images, and it comes out pretty negatively, wouldn't you say, about about images. That's not over stating it too much. And there there's some awful statements in here, or at least some awfully strong statements in here. And I want to point out a few of them. But before I mention a word of critique about this, I want to try to understand what Calvin is saying and where he's coming from, because I do agree with what I think is motivating him to be so negative about images and paintings and sculptures in the church. I want to mention maybe three or four points, and the first thing to say is that Calvin is rightly concerned about the temptation of idolatry. And obviously that is a major league concern of his throughout this section. He is afraid that the setting up of images will actually become the worship of idols, even though the Catholics say they're not doing this and so forth. There's almost an in-built temptation, he says. Whenever you make any visible representation of deity, and even if picturing God or violating the first of the Ten Commandments or whatever directly, there is an almost inbuilt a temptation that once you began to make these visual images and likenesses, you will be prompted to move your attention and affection away from God.
[00:10:48] You will be robbing Him of some honor and glory that is due to him, and you'll be giving it to a creature, something that is made with hands. And that of course, is idolatry to place instead of the creator. The reverence, the honor that is due only to God on a creature that has been made. And so he says God is the sole and proper witness of himself. Remember that statement? God is the sole and proper witness of himself. And so we shouldn't look for God to be. This is on page 100. The end of that first paragraph, actually, in chapter 11, where he says God himself is the sole and proper witness of himself. Those ellipses, those, as they say, are himself ending on his testis, the sole and proper witness of himself. That's that's a legitimate concern. And I think we have to agree with what motivates Calvin to be fearful of setting up these kinds of substitutes for God. And particularly at that point is is underscored when you consider how images were used in the late medieval church. Images were used very much the way Catherine describes them often. And that is there was a kind of vowing to them a reverence for them as a praying visibly, audibly to them, a direct a direction of affection and devotion to them that would seem to belong only to God. That really did go on on a massive scale. And so he is reacting to not just some theory, but to a practice in the late medieval church that gave him grave concern and I would say legitimate concern. That's point number one, Calvin's fear of idolatry. And by the way, I could just point out here, Luther was motivated by something a bit different than Zwingli and Calvin on this point.
[00:12:49] What was Luther's really major concern in setting forth his presentation of the Gospel? What was he against? What was he trying to war against? Lapsing again to say, Well, yeah, but what's behind that? I'm thinking, what system of thought, what what was what was always on Luther's mind? Yes. And where do you find works? Righteousness, at least in Luther's representation of it, so powerfully presented below. Yeah. You're. You're all onto it. Well, as in Judaism, it at least Judaism as it was interpreted and understood, say, through a fair cycle, a kind of interpretation. This was this was Paul's message against the Judaism of Galatia, and this was Luther's big concern to set forth the free grace of God over against works, righteousness over against a dependance upon the law. And so many of Luther's polemical attacks are focused in that direction against a false Judaism, if you can call it that. Now, Zwingli and Calvin agreed with Luther on that point. They believed in justification by faith alone, too, of course, But they had a different set of concerns and this motivated them to some different outcomes on issues like images. What was in the background for both Zwingli and Calvin, who differ from one another on a number of points? But on this basic point there at one, what was the system of thought, the religious background against which they are reacting? It isn't Judaism so much. It's. Paganism. And of course, the Christian gospel had to, as it were, a fight, aa2 front battle in the New Testament apostolic era, didn't it? Against a relapse into works, righteousness on the one hand, and against the false gods, the idols of paganism on the other. And so this is what really motivates the reformed Capital R tradition much more than the Lutheran one.
[00:14:45] And you can see how this works itself out in the way they deal with the Eucharist. They want Zwingli, Zwingli and Calvin, who are concerned about not making a piece of bread into the very body of Christ, because then you've turned the Creator into a creature. It's idolatry. Talk about chewing Christ in your mouth. Well, the way Luther could do in a very medieval way sometimes allow, you know, the body of Christ isn't on the altar of Christendom. It's not in a host, a wafer, its inheritance, right hand of God thing. Whereas their concern was for placing too much trust in visible earthly elements, whether it's the water of baptism or whether it's the bread and wine in the Eucharist, or whether, in fact it's images or paintings in a church. Luther didn't have this problem in the way that Zwingli and Calvin did. And of course, who in a sense are the heirs of Zwingli and Calvin on this point, Sorry. Yes, of course, the Puritans. Well, let's get a little more specific. What about the Baptists? We can name lots of groups, the Congregationalist and so forth, the independence. Finally, you get down here to the poor old Quakers who were so concerned to flee from idolatry. But they don't even have the Lord's Supper in their church. They don't do baptism. You got the word in your heart. I think that's kind of a logical extension of this. I want to say again, quite legitimate concern that Zwingli and Calvin have, and it comes out here in the section on images, the fear of idolatry. But I will show you a more excellent way. But before I do that, let us let us look at three other concerns that Calvin had that are all legitimate in their own way.
[00:16:39] And the first one is the fear of our daughter. The second one is his strong, overwhelming sense of the transcendence of God. You see this on page 102. Where he says that, you know, he's talking about in the Old Testament, God did sometimes, you know, there were there were evidences of God's presence, like in the smoke at Mount Sinai and that sort of stuff. But, you know, it was just a wisp. It was here and that was gone. The like the Holy Spirit. This is a great argument. I this is totally unconvincing. But, you know, he says the Holy Spirit appeared under the likeness of a door of Matthew 316, since, however, he vanished at once, he does not see that by one moment's symbol, the faithful were obliged to believe the spirit to be invisible, in order that content with his power and grace, they might seek no outward representation for themselves. So, okay, the Holy Spirit did come in the form of the dove, right? But it didn't stay very long, you know, He just came. They left. And so it's almost as though God is saying, look, here's the Holy Spirit and see it just a little bit. Then it was gone. So don't put your faith in a bird. You know, it's not feathers. You're concerned about wings, beaks. You know, it's the real thing. So the way he's doing there, I mean, that's kind of ingenious exegesis, I think. But still, you kind of get his point. His point has to do with with transcendence. And it goes on to say in the next paragraph, the mercy seat from which God manifested the presence of his power under the law was so constructed as to suggest, Listen to this. The best way to contemplate the divine is where minds are lifted above themselves with admiration.
[00:18:20] They love that phrase lifting up your mind, your heart. That lifting up becomes one of the major metaphors or spatial metaphors that Calvin uses again and again to describe what true worship is. And he didn't invent that. Again, it's there in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. But Calvin really rings the changes on this. In true worship, you do not bring Christ down from heaven. Our hearts, our minds, our souls are lifted up into the heaven leads the heavenly realm. Paul talks about Ephesians, read Calvin's commentary on Ephesians. On this we're lifted up that sense of transcendence and of soaring to the heights by the power of the Holy Spirit into the very presence of God. So where does worship take place? Worship doesn't take place in this chapel. It doesn't take place in your church. Where does true Christian worship occur? It takes place in heaven. That's where the angels are singing. That's where Christ is seated on the right hand of God, the Father. And if you're going to truly worship God, then your hearts have to be lifted up into heaven. And if that doesn't happen, you haven't worshiped. So why do you want to paint up a church? Why do you want to put the images that remind you of something heavenly? Because worship is the lifting up of your heart into heaven. See, it's transcendence, this vertical dimension that's very characteristic of reformed worship, whether it's Reformed Baptist or Reformed Presbyterian or reformed something else that's very characteristic of that kind of worship transcendence. Oh, that's a that's a very biblical notion, isn't it? Isaiah six And in a lot of texts we can point to and Calvin does point to some of them. Now, my third point so far, I'm agreeing with him on all of this stuff, but at least I'm agreeing with what motivates him.
[00:20:26] But my third point is his polemic about the fact that in his day, images and paintings and symbols and so forth were being substituted for the scriptures. And he has this long polemic on page 105 and 106 and 178, that section there of Chapter 11, where he's dealing with the traditional notion that the images in the church were the books of the unlearn it. Remember that he quotes Gregory the great Pope. Gregory the first who uses that expression castle on the books of the unlearn it. And of course, you have to remember that in the middle medieval period from Gregory the first up to the time of Calvin, that whole almost 1000 years, Gregory became pope in 604. So you can say almost 800 years, a thousand years. From his day to the Reformation, the vast, vast majority of people within Christendom were, in fact, illiterate. They couldn't read. And moreover, if they could have read, they couldn't read Latin, which was the only language the Bible was available in. And even then most of the Bible wasn't available. Even in Latin, it's available in just little snippets and sections, unless you were some learned scholar, a monk somewhere that had a good library in a monastery. So, you know, the case was made that the way to present the gospel is in the paintings and the stained glass windows. If you've ever been to the cathedral at Charlotte or any of the great cathedrals of Europe, York York Minster, where Westminster Abbey. The Cathedral at Canterbury. Mary, any of these great cathedrals, they have these beautiful stained glass presentations. All right. Well, it's the salvation history. There's a creation window. And then they you know, there's no one. Abraham and Moses and David. It's the Old Testament, the patriarchs, the prophets.
[00:22:13] And then on the other side, they're the apostles. They're the miracles in Jesus life. And of course, there's always the death and resurrection and the ascension. And sometimes even the second coming. Like Michelangelo painted that on the Sistine Chapel and Rome. Well, what were they doing? They were trying to present to unlearned, illiterate, we would say, ignorant people, the essentials of salvation, history. And Calvin comes at that and says, Now, wait a minute, you can't use that as an excuse for doing images. Why not? What's his argument against that? Well, his argument against that is if you'd been doing a good job preaching the Bible, preaching the word in the first place, you wouldn't need these images. So he says this becomes a way to bypass the Bible. And therefore, it is inappropriate, illegitimate to claim that things are somehow the books have been learned. What you need is, is the Bible is the scripture. Now he's living in a time when the Bible is available and becoming more and more available in the common language of the people. And when the printing press is making it much more available on a mass scale than it ever was in the Middle Ages. So there's a little bit of anachronism, I think, going on in Calvin's argument against the books of the unlearn it in my own view. He's a little rough on them at that point, but still, you can see he does have a valid point there too, because in fact, often even in the Counter-Reformation, the Bible was not generally available in the language of the common people for worship. They did depend on these kinds of helps and AIDS rather than turning to the pure teaching of scripture. And that remained the case in some Roman Catholic circles right up to Vatican two.
[00:24:01] And in fact, in some places in the world where Roman Catholicism is very strong, it's still the case today. So he's got to he's got a point there, a little bit overstated, but it's a it's a valid point now, number four. And here is where I have to really take up my cudgels against Dr. Calvin or Mr. Calvin a little bit. And that's where he he basically comes down against what he calls the childish arguments for images that were put forth at the second Council of Nicaea in 787. This is on page 114 115 and following. Now, the background here is Eastern orthodoxy is the Eastern church and a great struggle that took place over the use of images in the Eastern Orthodox Church during the eighth century came to a head at the second Council of Nicaea in 787. Now, this was a very special council. Some of you know, if you know your early church history very well, that there are seven ecumenical councils that are still recognized to this day by the Eastern Orthodox Church as providing a sure and solid foundation of Christian teaching. The first one was, of course, the first Council of Nicaea that took place in 325 convened by Constantine, and Calvin likes that. He said some good words about that council. That's the council, of course, at which areas was refuted by Athanasius and the doctrine of the Trinity was set forth. And then there were then there was the Council of Constantinople, one in 381 and Ephesus in 420, 430 and Chalcedon in 451. And you finally go through these seven councils to you get up to Nicaea two, which takes place in 787. And this council really took place over the question of whether or not it was legitimate to have icons in the church.
[00:25:59] And there was a strong variant which actually turned into a violent movement against painting Christ or making any visual images of Christ. And the arguments, of course, were drawn from the Old Testament Scripture. You should not make any graven image from the Ten Commandments. They were many of the same arguments. Calvin uses idolatry. This is idolatrous. You put more devotion on the object than you do on the one to whom the object is supposed to point. That is God. And therefore, it's totally perverted. It becomes not a means to worshiping God or truly, but a hindrance. A stumbling block, all these arguments. And so the iconoclast they were call. The iconoclasts argued for smashing the icons, tearing them, ripping them from the churches, burning them, doing away with them out as an act of religious devotion. They weren't just vandals. They were doing this because they felt that this kind of use of art and painting and images was detracting from the true worship of God. It was a very powerful movement. It was filled by a lot of knocks from the Eastern Orthodox monastic tradition. But there was another party, and we call these the icon of duels from this word that Calvin plays around with a lot here in the institutes duly are versus lot three are not real. Is that right? One word means kind of devotion. The other word more borders on worship or something like that. And he says there's really no distinction here. He kind of proposed this this whole distinction between the two. But they are kind of duels where those who said no. There is a kind of an appropriate reverence or devotion might be a better English translation of dhulia that you can you can actually render to an icon without it becoming worship, which must only be given to God.
[00:28:00] Everybody agreed on that. If they didn't agree on that, it would, you know, there'd be a polytheist, right? At least theoretically. So there was the great debate between these two, and it was resolved in 787 at the Council of Nicaea. They are kind of duels won, the iconoclast lost. And so to this day, in every Orthodox church in the world, you have lots of icons. It becomes a standard form of Eastern Orthodox devotion. Calvin's against it and he says, Sure, there's a little difference. In the West. We actually make statues, and in the East they say you can only have a flat surface, but you are at that as a matter. It's still the same thing in Calvin's mind. And it's all illegitimate. Now, where I disagree with Calvin on this is that Calvin nowhere, as I can read this section of the Institute or anywhere else in his writings really comes to grips with the central theological argument set forth by the second Council of Nicaea in favor of the use of images and pictures in church and in worship. And what is that central argument that Calvin would have agreed with? Surely, but he just totally ignores it. Well, the central argument that was set forth by particularly by John of the Marcellus, many others, but particularly by John of Damascus, the great theologian of this period, was that it is appropriate to picture Christ and to use images, icons in worship because the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. John 114 was the argument from the incarnation because God himself in the beginning was the word. The word was with gotten the word was God. We're not dealing here with something other than God. The word the Lord, not the eternal Son of God became again a title in Greek flesh.
[00:29:53] And so the second Council of Nicaea said, because God Himself has taken human form in the flesh of Jesus Christ, it is appropriate for us to reproduce that in art and images and icons which are, as it were, windows onto the reality that is revealed to us in Scripture and in Christ, not an end in themselves saying and here's that, here's here's Calvin never gets this. An icon is not opaque. An image is not opaque. You know, it's not like this book or any book that I could hold before you. And there and there you see an object solid. An icon is just like a translucent window. You see through it into the reality to which it points. That is namely the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. And if it doesn't do that, if it doesn't serve that function, then it is not a proper, appropriate object for use in worship. Calvin never deals with that argument. He has a very strong doctrine of the incarnation and of a deity of Christ. We'll see when we get to the Trinity in a minute. But because he was so concerned to address these abuses in his own day, very legitimate concerns that he raised against the abuse of icons and images, I think he missed a central theological point on this issue. And so what would he think about our chapel? There's a line in here, I can find it that I came across. I may not be able to find it here where he condemns very strongly paintings in the churches. You remember that? I'll see if I can find it later, because it's worth underlining and putting an exclamation point beside. Anyway, what would you think about it? Well, I think he would be surprised to see his own likeness actually looking down upon these rather unseemly portrayals that he would not particularly relish.
[00:32:10] But I hope now in heaven he understands it better than he did when he was here on Earth. So anybody want to defend Calvin against my attack? Yes, sir. I probably wouldn't want to deal with that, but I don't think you can do that. But I find that the images that I've seen lately, both of them prepared to interview view, and that creates a different kind of. Yeah. Yeah. Like kind of a monocultural ism. Yeah. Yeah. I think what I see in the point. Yeah, we're coming to the it is that we are so limited in the way we speak. Yeah. Do we? You know, we want to do this film that. Right. Good point. Yeah. Yeah. I mean I enjoy I think. I think. But is a difficult issue. Yeah. Yeah, that's a very good point. I think it does in a way address that about their values and let them do that. Yes. Today, the values and I think a lot of black Asian do. And I've even seen the European Jews insist on talking to women. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And I think because of a focus, which is sort of provided. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Trying to make use of all of it. Yeah. Yeah. Right. But I don't think. And I think it's true. Yeah. Good. Good comment. Yeah, I think I would do that, even if it means different things that people, they still have know value. So you say that the images that we have of people that do they have now? What if they. Yeah, I would say if they don't have value for teaching, we shouldn't use them. I mean, I'm at one with Calvin there. There's no reason to do it just because they're pretty or beautiful or, you know, they look nice.
[00:34:00] You know, they those aren't bad things, but I mean, that's not a reason enough, you know, to incorporate them into a setting for worship. They have to point beyond themselves to something that is a value dogmatically, doctrinally, theologically. They don't do that. I would be against using them you because they're only talking to like the interesting thing about what's going on with them and that. Right. Yeah, I think that ought to be the primary. I wouldn't say the only I mean, you know, esthetics is is important. I mean, God can receive glory from something that's beautiful, but the primary reason ought to be exactly what you said. Yeah. But yeah, you're kind of making it to the level what went through a lot of people that want to withdraw from that. You know, basically the segregation was the wealthy didn't go to church at all, you know, unless they died or went on Easter or something like that. No, there weren't there weren't too different churches for them to go to the same building, same cathedral. And of course, the cathedrals were built by the unlearned, mostly the artisans and the peasants who worked on the great cathedrals. They themselves couldn't read or write. For the most part. They referred to some of the intelligence activities because of poor people. Yeah, some of them were. That's right. Yeah. You were reading that in writing or people are being added on, but you wouldn't say the last part again from the past on religion. Yeah, that's the orthodox view, isn't it? I don't think I would say quite that. I wouldn't say that God couldn't receive glory out of out of some act like that. I think it could be done in such a way as God could receive glory from it.
[00:35:50] But I, I think that's beginning to, to border a little more toward a devotion to the object itself than seeing it as a as a window into reality. It really depends on the attitude you'd bring to it. I would think one way. Yeah, right. The for example, the Bible is often kissed in some even Episcopal, not just Greek Orthodox, but this couple. Some of it is high. This, what we call Anglo Catholic churches, will kiss the scriptures when they read. Well, is that appropriate? I can. I can. I can. I can live with that. That's all right. So long as we don't somehow think that by kissing the Bible, you know, it becomes a relic or some object which transfers to us some supernatural power in and of itself as an object. No, we reverence it because it's the word of God, and therefore it's appropriate that we lift it up, that we honor it, that we venerate it, all those words and we even kiss it. But in doing so, we have to understand what it was intended for its purpose is. So that's my own view. I think the I think an orthodox view would be closer to what you just articulated. Truly orthodox capital. Oh, you may not be Orthodox Catholic. Smaller. It's not Catholic capital city Small. C okay, I would. Yeah. You said that you felt that what they had left. Yes. So how. How then, and how would they take you on on their. Our cars and the bus that we're going up. How would you answer that? You've been in an Orthodox churches once or twice. I guess they wouldn't care for it. Yeah, because when it's three dimensional, you tend to focus on the objective. Yeah. Your eyes, your eyes fixed on it.
[00:37:42] And the idea behind the outcome was for you not to do that. All right. Right. Not even to look at the icon. Yeah, but sort of a tangible way of interacting with it. Yes. All right. Make those people go and get icons. But that and that's one reason why the painting, the style is so stylized often, isn't it? You don't see a lot of variation in truly Greek Orthodox painting. I mean, the Russian icons, the Greek icons, they're all for some difference. But then essentially they follow a very similar pattern. They're very stylized. And that that reinforces the point that Bill has just made. The focus is not on the beauty of the art, though it may be beautiful in some ways, but it's on seeing in that a a window as the best way I can think about it into the reality that to which it points. Okay, well put that in your pipe and smoke it and see what you think about it. I think everything has to be done very carefully here and it's a balanced way. And you can certainly go to seed on all of this. And Calvin had some very legitimate concerns, but I think he also missed something on this point. Luther is better than Calvin. Here is a guy, in my opinion, that was talking about Calvin's doctrine of the Trinity for a few minutes, where we take a little break before I give you my spiel on this. What struck you as interesting or bizarre or significant about Calvin's treatment of the Trinity here in Brooklyn in. Begins on page 120, Chapter 13, and goes on for a little bit before. Yeah. So there's. Yeah, exactly right. 227 maybe that it somewhere in there where he quotes Augustine along the same line you're talking about on page 127, this wonderful statement from St Augustine's Day Trinity.
[00:39:38] This is the end of the first full paragraph there and Augustine's excuses, similar on account of the poverty of human speech and so great a matter the word hypothesis has been forced upon us by necessity not to express what is, but only not to be silent on how father, son and spirit are. Three. So Augustine was challenged in his day. Why? Why are you using the word Trinity in this word? Things? Well, you know, I wish I didn't have to use it, but I'm going to speak this way. Not because through these words, I am somehow comprehensively, exhaustively describing the reality, but rather so as I won't have to be silent so I can say something instead of just sitting there in silence. When this question is posed. The principle of theological reticence. It's what I would call that principle of theological reticence, always the chaste and careful, circumspect, even sparing in the way in which you use theological language. That's one of the, again, principles of the reform tradition. And Calvin certainly does adhere to it here, especially given what he said before. But if you remember those lines, when they go to the curiosity and the dilemma that you would tell him to do, but it doesn't work if you know that that was kept in place. Yeah, it was like a little bit disappointed as well. I'd like to bring up the real distinction between the three, but what we don't know right, right now, you could you could take that point that both of you have just made, which is a very Calvinist point. And you could say, well, if you're really going to follow the principle of theological reticence and speak with humility and so forth, why do you talk about Trinity at all? Why don't you just use the language of the Bible where Trinity is not in the Bible? Why do you insist on homo ooze? These three persons, one essence, all this kind of mumbo jumbo that comes from a Greek philosophy? How would Calvin answer? How did Calvin answer that question? As it was challenged to him? It was thrown up to him in his own day.
[00:41:51] He had a good answer to that question, or at least an answer. The use of the word pulp, The Foolish Truth and Pulp Fiction. Yeah, okay. That's right. You know, he says that this is the beginning of section five, paragraph on page 125, the bottom of the page, and that's 126. If therefore, these terms were not rashly invented, we ought to be where lest by repudiating them, we be accused of overweening rashness. So here he's saying, okay, these aren't biblical terms, but they emerged out of the context of controversy. They were used to repudiate false teachers areas and others rebellious. And so we ought to be careful. Calvin's here shows real respect for tradition, and particularly the tradition of the early church confirmed in the Council of Nicaea and Chalcedon and so forth. Indeed, I could wish they were buried. That is all these words who passed us, this persona Trinity us. I wish all these words were buried, if only among all men. This faith were agreed on that God, I'm sorry that Father and Son and Spirit are one God. Yet the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit the Son, but that they are differentiated by a peculiar quality. Now, as a matter of fact, when Calvin actually started his work as a reformer and as a theologian, he tried to do exactly that. His first articulation of the doctrine of the Trinity didn't have any of that Greek philosophical language used by Nicaea and Chalcedon and all that. I'm just going to stick to the Bible. I'm a biblical theologian. But he soon found himself confronted by, well, Civitas down the road becomes a big enemy. But before service, there was a man named Wally as a sign, as a Polish theologian who was and a number of others, a man named Pierre Karoly, who was actually a schoolteacher for a while in Geneva.
[00:43:55] And all of them began to challenge Calvin on this point, and particularly Civitas. And so signers were teaching what we would call today Unitarianism on the basis of the Bible alone. You think that can't be done or just read? Arius Just read. So sign us. An argument can be put forth and has been put forth for Unitarianism based on Scripture alone. So here's what Calvin in working through this and being challenged, this was the real first major theological controversy he was engaged in in Geneva with Corelli, who challenged Calvin's own Trinitarian theology. Calvin came to the conclusion that in order precisely to be faithful to what the Bible taught about the reality of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he had to use extra biblical language. You all get that in order to be faithful to the Bible. He had to use language that came from outside the Bible. In order to refute these false teachers and these people that were twisting and perverting as he saw it, the words of Scripture do non a biblical meanings. You ever had an argument with a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses? Now you understand where Calvin's coming from a little bit. Any comments? They came to me just looking back over my head. Is he very practical because he's written a book that talking about God's redemptive work. And part of that work is, well, the work is the work of the general. And what he's basically saying is that God, that father, that you have to you got it. And I know that we don't know God. Right down. We've got a 301 debate that you walked into, right? Right. There's a three methodology is the one that is out. And all of this engaging in the event so that we're not doing it because it's appropriate.
[00:46:08] Right. You're doing it because it's practical. Yes. It's so theologically motivated. That's a well taken point. And you see that specifically in his focus again and again. What's the central? Did you get the central? What burned in his soul about the Trinity? It's the deity of the word. He keeps ringing the changes on that and the eternity and the deity of Jesus Christ. And if you don't teach the doctrine of the Trinity, you know you're not going to hold on to that central, sultry, illogical affirmation. And if Jesus Christ is not God, We're back to Athanasius now and the Council of Nicaea one. And if Jesus Christ is not God, he can't save you. He can't take away your sins. And so that's what I think is religiously at stake for Calvin in setting forth this. And he came to realize, as I think Orthodox Christians down through the centuries, have you believe this was not a new recognition? It was not a new insight. It was a recovery of a very old insight that to be faithful to the teaching of the scripture, we have to sometimes use language that comes from outside the Bible. That's a hard concept for some people to get their minds around the days of the Bible because of that. How do you distinguish definition in word? I'm not sure I follow your statement that dictionary definition of the word. We had the meaning of the word. Yeah. Yeah. That's one way to think about. I mean, what you have in the Bible really is in the Old Testament. You have an affirmation hero is or the Lord our God is one. The shimmer in the New Testament. What do you have? Well, you have three names. Father, Son and Holy Spirit and a confession.
[00:47:57] Jesus is Lord. Well, how do you reconcile the Old Testament affirmation? God is one with the New Testament confession. Jesus is Lord understood in terms of these three names Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The baptismal confession of faith. Well, the answer to that is the doctrine of the Trinity that was worked out in the first four centuries of the Christian era. And so can you be a Trinitarian? Can you be a Christian and not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? Well, not in the sense that it was. I mean, so you don't have to you don't have to use hypotheses and persona fact. You know, when you're sharing the fourth spiritual loss with somebody or whatever path of salvation you happen to use, you probably will never use who processes or persona as you're talking to a Greek person. But once that insight is gained, they begin to ask, Well, what does what does this really mean? You're baptized in the name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit. Then you're forced into some kind of language like this in order to clarify against false teachers who say something different than what the Bible teaches and implies. Well, that's why we need confessions, creeds, cataclysms. Not that these are in and of themselves autonomous documents that sort of drop from heaven like artifacts of revelation. But because they reflect a tradition of theology on the basis of the Word of God that we cannot disengage ourselves from if we want to be faithful to what the Scriptures themselves teach. Calvin struggled with this, and you see where he comes down here in the institute. If you really want to trace this in his in his work, go back and read the early editions of the institutes and you can see how from Edition two edition from 1536 to 15, 41 to 15, 45 to 1553, all the way through up to 1559.
[00:49:48] This issue is evolving in his own mind, and it's shaped by the controversies in which he was engaged, including, of course, the great controversy with Michael served us. It's 4:00. Let's take a five minute break. We'll come back and wrap this up. Let's move on now and talk a little bit about creation and providence. In the remaining minutes that we have. This begins Chapter 14, page 159 And following. And particularly, I want you to notice a Calvin's discussion of angels and devils. He puts some good attention there, and if you had to characterize his view, let's say just of the angels for a moment, what would they be? Well, on page 164, for example. Here again is a methodological point that we've encountered before, and you keep coming against this in his writings. Popper 164 Moses tells that the Earth was finished. The heavens with all their hosts were finished. What point then is there and anxiously investigating on that day, Apart from the stars and planets, the other more remote heavenly hosts began also to exist. Not to take too long. Let us remember here, as in all religious doctrine, that we ought to hold to one rule. Up to a favorite Calvert Calvin's favorite words modesty and sobriety. Not to speak or guess, or even to seek to know concerning obscure matters. Anything except what has been imparted to us by God's Word. Furthermore, in the reading of Scripture, we ought ceaselessly to endeavor to seek out and meditate upon those things which make for edification very key point. Let us not emphasize, not indulge in curiosity or the investigation of unprofitable things. And because the Lord will to instruct us not in fruitless questions, but in sound godliness, in the fear of his name, in true trust and in the duties of holiness.
[00:52:13] Let us be satisfied with this knowledge. For this reason, if we would be duly wise, we must leave those empty speculations. Know, you sort of seem spinning every time. Is that speculation, which I don't then have taught, apart from God's Word, concerning the nature orders and number of angels. What would Calvin say about your friendly local Christian bookstore excepting the base and bookshop about all the books on angels? Have you ever noticed how many of them are there? You go into the Baptist bookstore or any other bookstore? Christian Bookstore. Angels. Angels. Angels. Angels. Angels. Well, I think he would say about a lot of that what he says right here about a very old but very popular book on Angels from the early Middle Ages, namely the Celestial Hierarchy by Dionysius Theory of AGI. He says a wonderful line, No one will deny that Dionysius, whoever he was. And of course, we don't know who he was. We today scholars refer to him as pseudo Dionysius because we don't really know who he was. But anyway, no one will deny that Dionysius, whoever he was subtly and skillfully discussed many matters in the celestial hierarchy. But if anyone examined it more closely, he will find, for the most part, nothing but talk. The theologians task is not to divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true and sure and profitable. So on the one hand, Calvin warns against a kind of excessive, esoteric speculation about angels that he finds to be very unprofitable. But on the other hand, the last sentence in that section of page 165, therefore bidding farewell to that foolish wisdom, Dionysius and all of that, let us examine in the simple teaching of Scripture what the Lord would have us know off His angels.
[00:54:14] So on the one hand, he's against excessive speculation, but on the other hand, he's also against a kind of rational denial of angels. And he deals with that a little bit later on, on page 172 in that right now it's somewhere else. MARTIN Yeah. Where is that one? 69. Yeah. You know, he says, you know, like in the old days there were the Sadducees and so forth. So now there are people who say, well, just the angels are just sort of thoughts in your mind and, you know, their ideas. And so he believes and fully affirms the scriptural teaching about the reality of angels and the Ministry of Angels. So you see here a way and this is a theological point he's making, the theology must be done within the limits of revelation alone. Beware of philosophy and theology that exceeds the bounds of what God has himself revealed. But where God has spoken there, we must listen and believe and obey. And so He talks about angels in just those terms, the way in which Scripture talks about angels. And what is the primary use of angels? So that's his great point. Page 171 God makes use of angels, not for his own sake, but for hours. And God could get along very well without angels in heaven. He did. In eternity. Past the angels. Are creatures too, like us in that respect. They're not eternal, and God made angels to be ministering spirits, to serve his purpose, to execute and carry out his divine plan. And so he makes use of angels, Calvin says, to comfort our weakness that we may lack nothing at all that can raise up our minds to good hopes in that raising up, lifting up your mind or confront them.
[00:56:09] Insecurity. And so it's a form of accommodation that's obvious. Is page 171. This is how Gavin talks about one thing and ought to be quite enough for us that the Lord declares himself protector. I mean, he tells us, right. He's our shield and our right hand. He's our shepherd, he's our rock, he's our fortress. That ought to be enough. But but isn't this true here, you that Calvin, the pastoral theologian at work. But when we see ourselves beset by so many peril, so many harmful things, so many kinds of enemies, such is our softness and frailty, we would sometimes be filled with trepidation or yield to despair if the Lord did not make us realize the presence of His grace according to our capacity, He accommodates himself. Just like in Scripture, He uses baby talk. He listens so to with angels. He not only promises to care for us, but tells us he has innumerable guardians whom he has bidden to look after our safety. That so long as we are hedged about by their defense and keeping whatever perils may be written, we have been placed beyond all chance of evil. So that's Calvin's doctrine of angels. Not excessive speculation, but not undue skepticism either. But you can misuse the doctrine of angels. And on page 172, he says, You must be clear that we don't use Angels or the Saints as mediators between us and God. There's one mediator. Jesus Christ. He's the one we must wholly depend on and lean upon and rest in peace. So if you're if you're placing too much confidence in your guardian angel or your favorite saint, then that may be a good sign. Not focused as you ought to be on your one and only mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
[00:58:16] Okay. Any comment about the angels before we go to the Devils? John Paul. You know. And. After that. I'm sorry I missed the very first commonality of would he have you right now the level of evil in paganism? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it's certainly clear that angel ology is not a distinctively Christian teaching, right? I mean, it's. It's there in Gnosticism. It's there in lots of other world religions. So, yeah, I don't know. In Calvin's day, if he was as concerned about that as he was, the kind of abuse of angel ology in medieval Catholic teaching, I think your point is well taken. There is a kind of supernatural ism that is divorced from the Christian faith that is very dangerous and it is tied to paganism, and it may account for a lot of the revived interest in the supernatural, the occult angels, whatever that we see flourishing new age. Lots of other manifestations of it today. Anybody else have a comment on? That's a very good point. I would prefer to see those people before, but because we need to be talking. You know, people talk about the personal security. Yeah, it been somewhat dubious. And I think that we don't know. Getting on a piece of paper. What would Calvin say if he were here and one of you stood up and gave a personal testimony about an angel who visited you last night? What would he say about that? It would have to be more. Who said that? That's a good answer. Yeah, right. I know that he was looking for an excuse not to bring attention to himself. Right. Good point. The point to Christ. To serve the purposes of God. Well, I think Calvin would be. What's the right word here? Openly skeptical, skeptically open.
[01:00:25] I don't think he would dismiss. Because in the Bible, people see angels. What does it say in the Scripture that that stopped when Paul got his head chopped off? And so if God wants to reveal himself to Bill Nikita's through an angel, I think he has the prerogative to do that. And if Bill bears testimony to that, we'd want to listen to it. Now, we might want to be skeptical that we should be openly skeptical. I think that's what Calvin would say. At least that's what he should say. My opinion. But but if you begin if you begin to focus, if that becomes, you know, the object of your devotion, then obviously, you know, you're you're miss the point. If the angel did come to you because would out to the ten angels every day, contrary to the gospel, may be a very good thing. Everything you say is intended to make verbal information or they have physical protective work that would somehow make the object in today controlled invasion and things like that. There's a lot of the invasion where they see the end of the game and it's not proven the all clear with no protection. And then later the. You believe that is a perfectly good thing? That's right. It certainly wasn't about the mine being a factory of idols. And, you know, Calvin was very shrewd. He lived for a hundred years before Sigmund Freud, but he had this great intuition about the deep recesses of the human psyche and the way in which we manufacture thoughts and ideas out of the abyss, the labyrinth that is ourselves. So he would warn, he would be cautious, but I don't think he would be dogmatically closed to the supernatural. Don't think so.
[01:02:10] I believe too much in the sovereignty of God to do that, and neither should we. Now, what about devils? Summarize Calvin's doctrine of devils in two sentences or less. That's a good question. One sentence. It's been a long time since you all read book one, right? You're struggling over. Where are you now? Book four. That's all right. If I'm going to be able to match between the two businesses. Yeah. You know, I've said in the past, Saint Augustine doesn't have a very robust doctrine of the devil. And of course, he believes in the devil. I mean, anybody who believes the Bible has to believe in the devil, This whole idea of the devil is just a figment of your imagination. A bunch of modern junk, essentially. I mean, no Bible believing Christian seems to make can dismiss the reality of the devil. But Augustine has a hard time fitting the devil in to his theological system. Why? Because he's so shaped by neoplatonism by this unified view of reality. See, all evil is nonbeing. Think about that. If all evil is Nonbeing, then where's the devil? How's the devil fit in? I mean, that means he doesn't exist. I mean, the worst evil could be. And that's exactly what Augustine says insofar as the devil exists at all. He's good. He's a good creature. Byron Perverted. But insofar as the devil still has any existence, he's good. So Augustine struggles with how to fit the devil in, and he never quite pulls it off. Luther, on the other hand, you know, he fights the devil every night, and he throws an inkwell at it. You know, he spits in his face. He makes fun of any right hymns against a mighty fortress is our God.
[01:04:10] The prince of darkness. Graham We trembled up for him. I mean, now, where does Calvin fit into that? Is he closer to Augustine or to Luther in his appropriation of the evil one? I think the more down somewhere in between. That's what I think, too. He. He's not quite the devil. Isn't quite the raging tornado in Calvin that he is. And Luther. I can't imagine Calvin hurling an equal at the devil. But neither is the devil. Merely a principle. Almost as he becomes for Augustine, it seems to me, because Calvin, again, is so much of a biblical theologians trying to be faithful to what Scripture really teaches about the devil and has a lot to say about the devil. And on page 177, I think this is one of the best sections on Calvin's view of Evil in the Devil Section 18, Chapter 14 176 178, where he talks about the victory that Christ has achieved over Satan is top of 177. But because that promise to crush Satan's head, Genesis 315 pertains to Christ and all his members in common. I deny that believers can ever be conquered or overwhelmed by him. Often indeed. Are they distressed but not so deprived of life as not to recover. They fall under violent blows, but afterward they are raised up. They are wounded, but not fatally. In short, they so toil throughout life that at the last they obtain the victory. And there's a very strong statement about the victorious Christian life overcoming the power of the evil one through the work of Christ. And he also describes the atonement in language. It's very close to what Gustav Elling called Christus Victor. You all know this book by Gustaf Lain and you have to read that for theology or church history or something.
[01:06:13] That's a very good book. I read that myself as a first year seminary student, and I think it's one of the best studies I've ever read of The Atonement. Christus Victor by Gustav Link. He traces different theories of the Atonement through history. And of course, there's the moral influence theory that we associate with Abelard. There's the what's often called the Latin theory we associate with Anselm Christ paid the penalty for our sin. There was this transaction that took place on the cross when he died is our substitute. But then there's this other way of thinking about the atonement, which Alan pulls out of the Scriptures, out of New Testament, but also out of the early church fathers in which the devil has a very important role to play and that we are captive to the devil, we are enslaved to the evil one. And what happens on the cross in this view is that the power of the devil is smashed. Christ is the victor, the conqueror of evil. And I think you can find, you know, the language of the Testaments. Ransom Christ was the ransom for our sins. So it seems to me Calvin comes close to appropriating the. Christus Victor view of atonement here in this passage in that paragraph that begins, I won't read it all. To the extent that Cross Kingdom is built, Satan with his power falls and so forth, describes their the work of the cross as a victory of Jesus over the power of the devil and all of his pomp. And that's an important doctrine for us not to lose sight of today. Now, Calvin elsewhere weighs in pretty heavily on the side of Anselm, too. In fact, if you had to place Calvin in any one camp on his doctrine of atonement, it probably would be with the penal substitution review that comes out in book, too, I think you'll see.
[01:08:05] But here he hasn't neglected entirely the Christmas victor view either, as of course the Bible does. The Bible speaks in both of these ways about the triumph of Christ in the cross. Okay. Here's an interesting sentence on the devil on page 178. Bottom of the page. How meaningless would these expressions be? Just been quoting a lot of scripture that the devils are destined for eternal judgment, that fire has been prepared for them, that they are now tormented and tortured by Christ's glory if devils were non-existent. But this matter doesn't require discussion if we believe the Bible. So points out that what caught my attention there was that expression. The devils are now tormented and tortured by Christ's glory. Now an interesting way of putting it. Hmm. Next, Calvin moves to talk about the greatness and abundance of creation. And I don't think I'm going to have time to get into the full discussion of Providence. I really wanted to do that today. We'll touch on that next week, I promise, because that's too good to leave out. But sections 20 through 22. He reiterates again some of the things he said before related to the works of God. The Earth is the theater of God's glory. The world uses that language again. So the theater, the most beautiful theater in which the works of God are displayed. He also uses the language of mirrors here. Page 181 There's no doubt the Lord would have us uninterruptedly occupied in this holy meditation that while we contemplate in all creatures, as in mirrors, those immense riches of His wisdom, justice, goodness, power, we should not merely run over them cursorily. I say that cursorily, and so to speak, with a fleeting glance. But we should ponder them at length, turn them over in our minds, seriously and faithfully, recollect them repeatedly.
[01:10:19] But Galloway talks a lot about this, about listening to God's voice in creation and in nature, and taking nature walks and stuff like that. Well, I think Calvin would like that. After all, he lived in the midst of the Alps. You know, he enjoyed the beauty of the grandeur of nature all around him. And so. So he has an appreciation for the goodness and the majesty of God's creation, as revealed in the mirror of the world, which is also the theater of his glory. But again, the purpose of this is not to satisfy idle curiosity or even to collect flora and fauna for a biology class. What's the purpose of it? Section 22, Page 181. It is to recognize that God is destined all things for our good and salvation, but at the same time to feel his power and grace in ourselves and in the great benefits he has conferred upon us. And so bestow ourselves. Bestow ourselves to trust. Invoke praise and love him. So we come always back again. And Calvin to a what you might call a spiritual application, an exhortation to holiness, to godliness, to. So seeing the work of God in creation, in nature, as we are stirred within ourselves to praise to Thanksgiving, to gratitude to humility, to all of those things that spur us on to that great last sentence in this section where this whole last paragraph I just read this last paragraph is everybody have your institutes open them to page 182. Let's read this out loud in unison. This will close our time together, starting with to conclude, Once we're all ready, here we go To conclude once for all, whenever we call God the Creator of Heaven and Earth, let us at the same time bear in mind that the dispensation of all those things which he has made is in his own hand and power, and that we are indeed his children, who he has received into his faithful protection to nourish and educate.
[01:12:38] We are therefore to await the fullness of all good things from him alone and to trust completely that he will never leave us destitute of what we need for salvation and to hang our hopes on none but him. We are therefore also to petition him for whatever we desire, and we are to recognize as a blessing from him and thankfully to acknowledge every benefit that falls to our share. So invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all our heart here into the lesson.