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Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Two brief but valuable pieces on Providence by Calvin and Beza were translated from French and Latin by John Knox. However as they have laid in the midst of Knox’s massive volume on Predestination in very old and difficult English (even in the latest reprint of Knox’s Works), few people it seems are aware of them.

Few people are also aware of Calvin’s writings against the ‘hyper-Calvinists’ of his day: the Libertines. The Libertines held to what is known in philosophy as a form of Occasionalism, that all events that occur are directly and immediately worked by God. True secondary causation is eliminated. One main problem with this is that it makes God the Author of Sin, something that the Libertines expressly affirmed. Calvin here not only repudiates this blasphemy, but he also lays out three ways (and only three ways) in which God brings all things to pass through his providence, herein establishing true secondary causation.

Beza provides 29 propositions on providence from his work against Sebastian Castellio, touching upon similar themes as Calvin. Both Calvin and Beza’s pieces, while making some basic distinctions, expound the Lord’s providence in a way that is easy to grasp with illustrations from Scripture and human life. May we grow in our love and trust of our great and good God, who directs all things to the eternal good of those who trust in Christ our Savior.

Calvin, John & Theodore Beza – ‘Calvin & Beza on Providence: Translations by Knox’ trans. John Knox (1545, 1558, 1560; 2021)​
 
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