18 a fourth methodological feature of calvins defense

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18 A fourth, methodological, feature of Calvin’s defense against Pighius is the decisive role of Scripture, reflected by the lengthy exegesis of core texts from Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Ephesians. This “biblicism” is an implica- tion of Calvin’s conviction that we can know nothing about God’s purpose and decree apart from his express revelation in Scripture. Moreover, his exegetical approach makes him sensible to the shortcomings of traditional concepts and distinctions. 19 An important example is the intricate question of how God’s will is involved in the occurrence of evil. Calvin mentions Augustine’s solution that there is nothing “positive” in evil: as a merely “negative” entity, it does not have God’s will as efficient cause. Calvin acknowledges an element of truth in 15) CO : : “Providentiam vocamus, non qua Deus e coelo otiosus speculetur quae in mundo fiunt, sed qua mundum a se conditum gubernat”; : ; –: “Praedones sancti Iob pecora rapiunt. Crudele et indignum est facinus. Satan hoc modo eum ad desperationem sollicitat. Magis detestenda machinatio. Atqui Iob autorem alium praedicat: Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit. […] Audimus commune esse et Dei et Satanae et latronum opus” (: –). 16) CO : ; –: “bene vult Deus, quod homines male volunt.” 17) CO : ; ; . 18) CO : ; . 19) CO : ; ; . On a closer analysis, some of the scholastic distinctions rejected by Calvin ( voluntas ordinata—absoluta ; potentia ordinata—absoluta ) belong to the extreme nominalism professed by the Sorbonne faculty; cf. Richard A. Muller, The Unaccommodated Calvin. Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition [Oxford Studies in Historical Theology] (New York, ), pp. –.
Dolf te Velde / CHRC .– () –  this argument, but then takes his own principle elsewhere: “Whatsoever hap- pens wrongful and unjust by humans, is also the righteous and just work of God. If this seems, at first sight, to be a paradox to some […], we have to inquire from the Word of God what this means.” He then refers to Prov. , and Ex. , as biblical texts that attribute everything to God’s decision and operation. 20 Calvin’s strong biblicism seems to dispense him from the need for further conceptual clarification. In this respect, it touches on the same point I have already stated in my first remark: God’s sovereignty is a regulative insight by which Calvin attempts to silence audacious discussions. Zanchi on Predestination Zanchi’s treatment of the doctrine of predestination 21 differs from Calvin’s exposition in several respects. He employs a clearly scholastic procedure of clarifying the theme by a sequence of questions, answered by pointed theses.

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