Analysis Of Calvin 's Institutes Of The Christian Religion Essay

Analysis Of Calvin 's Institutes Of The Christian Religion Essay

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Knowledge of God – This is the first section of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559). True wisdom, according to Calvin, consists of two different types of knowledge – the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self. It is only by comparing oneself to God that humans can fully understand their identity. Meaning, after they see the brilliant and overwhelming majesty of God, they begin to understand how despicable they are because God is the standard to which all try to measure up against. The true knowledge of self of human beings entails a conscious recognition of how totally deprived and corrupt they are, and therefore they grasp humility. This is important in the Christian faith.
Scripture – Calvin holds the belief that Scripture is a written carrier of the knowledge of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Not only is the written Word the light that can lead people to salvation, but also it is a gift from God. Its authority comes from God and not from the church, which is made up of fallible humans. Since humanity is totally corrupt, God needs a way for His Word to be passed down from generation to generation and He solves this problem through a tangible written form. Furthermore, Calvin declares that if human beings do not possess Scripture, they fall into grievous error. It is entirely possible to forget God, he says, so Scripture helps to prevent this issue. In addition to this, Calvin scoffs at those who claim they can know God by simply relying on revelation in the surrounding nature. Unbelievers will never come to the true faith without the act of the Holy Spirit and written Word of God working in tandem, according to Calvin.
Original Sin – In order to understand the concept of original sin, ...


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...his kind of humility is required so that Christians may treat others with a sincere attitude of love and selflessness. After all, Calvin says, every good gift comes from God and he lavishes them on whomever he pleases. Therefore, Christians are to look at others and recognize the image of God in them and see the gifts that they have to offer before being tempted to regard them as less important than themselves.

Questions
1) Calvin is quick to point out that the authority of Scripture does not depend on the decisions and opinions of the church, but would he go as far to say that the church itself has no authority?
2) When talking about original sin, Calvin says that infants are responsible for their own guilt, even in the womb. How would he approach the question of whether or not infants can be saved if for some reason they die in the womb or very early in life?

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