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18A fourth, methodological, feature of Calvin’s defense against Pighius is thedecisive role of Scripture, reﬂected by the lengthy exegesis of core texts fromPaul’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 anddecree apart from his express revelation in Scripture. Moreover, his exegeticalapproach makes him sensible to the shortcomings of traditional concepts anddistinctions.19An important example is the intricate question of how God’swill is involved in the occurrence of evil. Calvin mentions Augustine’s solutionthat there is nothing “positive” in evil: as a merely “negative” entity, it does nothave God’s will as eﬃcient cause. Calvin acknowledges an element of truth in15)CO: : “Providentiam vocamus, non qua Deus e coelo otiosus speculetur quae inmundo fiunt, sed qua mundum a se conditum gubernat”; : ; –: “Praedonessancti Iob pecora rapiunt. Crudele et indignum est facinus. Satan hoc modo eum addesperationem sollicitat. Magis detestenda machinatio. Atqui Iob autorem alium praedicat:Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit. […] Audimus commune esse et Dei et Satanae etlatronum 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 rejectedby Calvin (voluntas ordinata—absoluta;potentia ordinata—absoluta) belong to the extremenominalism professed by the Sorbonne faculty; cf. Richard A. Muller,The UnaccommodatedCalvin. Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition[Oxford Studies in HistoricalTheology] (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 ofGod. If this seems, at first sight, to be a paradox to some […], we have toinquire 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 andoperation.20Calvin’s strong biblicism seems to dispense him from the need forfurther conceptual clarification. In this respect, it touches on the same point Ihave already stated in my first remark: God’s sovereignty is a regulative insightby which Calvin attempts to silence audacious discussions.Zanchi on PredestinationZanchi’s treatment of the doctrine of predestination21differs from Calvin’sexposition in several respects. He employs a clearly scholastic procedure ofclarifying the theme by a sequence of questions, answered by pointed theses.