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Calvin on Knowledge of God

Calvin on Knowledge of God

As I continue to listen to Calvin's Institute of the Christian Religion, I stumble upon great quote after great quote. Here is one from Calvin on the limits of human understanding and how we must receive our knowledge of God from His revelation which is His word:

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Here, if anywhere, in considering the hidden mysteries of Scripture, we should speculate soberly and with great moderation, cautiously guarding against allowing either our mind or our tongue to go a step beyond the confines of God’s word. For how can the human minds which has not yet been able to ascertain of what the body of the sun consists, though it is daily presented to the eye, bring down the boundless essence of God to its little measure? Nay, how can it, under its own guidance, penetrate to a knowledge of the substance of God while unable to understand its own? Wherefore, let us willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. In the words of Hilary (De Trinit. lib. 1), “He alone is a fit witness to himself who is known only by himself.” This knowledge, then, if we would leave to God, we must conceive of him as he has made himself known, and in our inquiries make application to no other quarter than his word. (Inst. I.XIII.XXI)

This emphatic position to conceive of him only "as he has made himself known" still needs to be recovered and defended today. Far too often we define words in abstract or concrete ways based upon our own ideas and carry these back into our understanding of God. Calvin is thoroughly against such a practice. I am also reminded of Barth's similar warning:

"We do not know what love is and we do not know what freedom is; but God is love and God is freedom. What freedom is and what love is, we have to learn from him." (Dogmatics in Outline, pg 39)
Written in the Water

Written in the Water

Music Review: Wildflowers in the Graveyard

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