John Calvin's Institutes Analysis

2012 Words 9 Pages
Analysis of Book III of John Calvin’s Institutes John Calvin is a French Reformation theologian that is most noted for his views on the predestination of the human soul. In the third book of his Institutes, Calvin lays out his doctrine of predestination, compounds his beliefs upon the works of other theologians such as Martin Luther and Saint Augustine, and further fleshes out his ideology through a series of responses to his contemporaries’ objections.
To understand Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, it is imperative to first grasp his worldview of the state of humanity in relation to the nature and characteristics of God. To Calvin, like Luther before him, humankind is bonded to sin and whose works, without reverence to God, are completely
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Many would feel that it seem that God is tyrannical over humanity in that he is aware of the inevitable sin of his own creation and henceforth condemns some based on their abscence of faith, the arbitrary baseline by which someone needs for salvation. From the scripture that Calvin himself includes in the text, God seems to be a puppet-master when “God has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” (Romans 9:18, Institutes …show more content…
For if those that are chosen will inevitably come to faith and life, does it matter how they conduct themselves whatsoever? To respond, Calvin speaks of the scripture and of “God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure," (Phil. 2:12-13). Calvin here means that we shouldn’t discount actions that do God’s will, for even though they are not meritorious in and of themselves, they are pleasing to God. It is important here to remember that Calvin’s double predestination allows that only those that have come to faith are capable of acting in accordance with God’s will. This viewpoint sounds closely related to the aforementioned “regeneration” of the human spirit, and undoubtedly, Calvin’s thought on the subject carries similarities to theologians on both sides of the spectrum. Surprisingly, here, Calvin sounds somewhat akin to Erasmus, who, in his faith as a journey model, shows that a human in a state of sin can find God’s cooperative grace and thereby begin doing good works. While Calvin definitely would not agree with the meritorious quality of the human in coming to faith that permeates Erasmus’ model, the fact that there is a regeneration of the human spirit in Calvin’s conception of predestination goes further than that of his contemporary Martin Luther in the Bondage of the Will. Whereas Luther is adamant about humans as “evil

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