"His handiwork... you owe Him your life" - Calvin

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Stope, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Reading Institutes, Calvin says (echoing Rom. 1):

    "For how can the thought of God penetrate your mind without your realizing immediately that, since you are his handiwork, you have been made over and bound to his command by right of creation, that you owe your life to him?"

    I have never really resonated with this. That is, I can see that I owe God my life since He so graciously and lovingly saved me, I can see I owe Him my life and thats the only place true life exists, but I am unable to see how it follows that just by there mere fact that God created me that is a compelling reason to surrender my life to Him. Im sure Im thinking about it incorrectly, but, for example, I "made" my daughter, and there is an amount of honor due us as her parents, but does it follow that shoe owes us her life in the sense that I require/desire anything beyond just her love towards me and fellowship?

    Im sure I am wrong here, I know this is a safe place to ask for clarity and so I thank you for not burning me at the stake
  2. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    It sounds like you have not been gripped by the weight of the clarifiers in the statement you quoted, let alone the clarifiers in the rest of that section.
  3. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Indeed I havent :(

    But it sounds as though you have - might you share your thoughts?
  4. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    You are objecting to God's rightful ownership and governing of His creation, .

    You didn't "make" your daughter. You were merely an instrument in the hand of her Creator. You don't own her as God does. You are a steward. And even that is a gift.
  5. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am unable to see how it follows that just by there mere fact that God created me that is a compelling reason to surrender my life to Him... Lily, in what ways have you found it compelling?
  6. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    The "mere fact"? Your issue is with God as Creator and Ruler.

    "By right of creation." That alone, as Calvin notes, is reason enough.
  7. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have no "issue", I only dont see how it follows that since God created us = we by default should worship that creator. For example, if we had a crappy God that created us who was cruel and mean-hearted and for some selfish reason created humans would it still then follow that we should by default worship him?
  8. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I think you missed the context of that section of the Institutes, as well as the preceding (Man Before God's Majesty). Please reread those both. It "follows" that we owe him all because it is GOD Who has created us. "What is His nature?" Calvin asks. He is the Source and Fount of all that is good and righteous.
  9. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I just read it last night, and nothing popped out in my mind - in fact I felt he jumped to the conclusion (hence my asking here).
  10. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    Ok, my apologies in that I thought you had carefully read at least the section you pulled the quote from, and that we were on the same page about God and His basic attributes and character.

    I won't repost both entire sections here. I count about 20+ mentions in the two sections of God's goodness and righteousness in rule and care and why we should trust him.
  11. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    Let me say that differently - I was being a bit sarcastic. Because of the number of references to the goodness and righteousness of God's character as Creator and Ruler in these 2 sections of Calvins Institutes, and Calvin's repeated, "therefore we should trust...", I find it hard to believe you actually read the sections. It sounds like you are just spouting your objection and shutting your ears. For whatever reason.
  12. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

    Romans 9:20-23King James Version (KJV)
    20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

    22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

    23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Then by this reckoning the frequent non-believer's argument carries some water. Sigh. Unfortunately for them, there will come a time their Creator will actually, literally, drive them to their knees, despite their views that He is not a God worth believing by default.

    Calvin discusses the attributes of God at length. How is it "nothing popped out in your mind"? What warrant do you have from a careful reading of the full context of your reading to claim Calvin "jumped to the conclusion"? Tease that warrant out a wee bit rather than just asserting it so it can be examined by us all such that we may have more insights into your thought processes.

    The plain fact is, if you are really reading and understanding Calvin's treatment of the topic, you would know that you do not have a "c-----" God. Despite your hypothetical, the God you do have is such that should drive you to your knees, as it did the prophet, who exclaimed, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts"

    WCF 2.1
    1. There is but one only, (Deut. 6:4, 1 Cor. 8:4-6) living, and true God, (1 Thess. 1:9, Jer. 10:10) who is infinite in being and perfection, (Job 11:7-9, Job 26:14) a most pure spirit, (John 4:24) invisible, (1 Tim. 1:17) without body, parts, (Deut. 4:15-16, John 4:24, Luke 24:39) or passions; (Acts 14:11,15) immutable, (James 1:17, Mal. 3:6) immense, (1 Kings 8:27, Jer. 23:23-24) eternal, (Ps. 90:2, 1 Tim. 1:17) incomprehensible, (Ps. 145:3) almighty, (Gen. 17:1, Rev. 4:8) most wise, (Rom. 16:27) most holy, (Isa. 6:3, Rev. 4:8) most free, (Ps. 115:3) most absolute; (Exod. 3:14) working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, (Eph. 1:11) for His own glory; (Prov. 16:4, Rom. 11:36) most loving, (1 John 4:8,16) gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; (Exod. 34:6-7) the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; (Heb. 11:6) and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, (Neh. 9:32-33) hating all sin, (Ps. 5:5-6) and who will by no means clear the guilty. (Nah. 1:2-3, Exod. 34:7)

    WCF 21.1
    1. The light of nature sheweth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. (Rom. 1:20, Acts 17:24, Ps. 119:68, Jer. 10:7, Ps. 31:23, Ps. 18:3, Rom. 10:12, Ps. 62:8, Josh. 24:14, Mark 12:33)

    This God, the Creator of all that exists should be worshipped by His moral creatures. That is God's and should be all mankind's default position. It is not God's worthiness that we should stand in judgment upon, placing God in the dock to give an account of Himself, so that we judge His worthiness. Rather it is God's command that we worship Him. God said it. That settles it. Live and do that.
  14. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes! Thank you!
  15. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    ---Indeed Im reading (actually part of a Facebook that is reading through it in a year), and as mentioned I just read those sections the previous 2 nights, and yes Calvin talks about a few different reasons why we should look to and worhsip God, but from what I saw the basis of Calvin saying we should look to God because He created us was that fact that he created us - that stood alone for Calvin. But, that said, act like I didnt even bring Calvin up, just change it to this "The Bible, and many people, say that we should offer God our lives for many reasons, and one of those is that He created us. My question is, do you guys find that compelling? I think I am missing something here"
  16. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks, as always for the response!!! I would do the multi quote but its not working, so I have to go old school:

    ---I am NOT asking if God is "worth" believing. That is, I know He is worth it for many reasons, but what I am asking is WHY is the singled out fact that we are his creation necessarily follows that He deserves worship for that? Like mentioned earlier, if I have a daughter by default she will love me because Im worth it, but one of the reasons I would not expect her to love me is because of the isolated fact that I created her. Sure there is honor that is due me for that, but if that was the ONLY reason she should follow me doesnt at this time make sense to me (yet I know its Biblical and thats why Im asking). In other words, please address this scenario:

    In a book, a god (who is bi-polar), created a world with people. After he created them he stepped back and left them alone (he wound up the clock and charged the batteries as it were so the world could continue). He didnt do anything else for them (he didnt engage with them, he neither loved nor hated them, etc.). Would it follow that this god should be worshiped?
  17. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Multi-quote works just fine. I think you are just not doing it correctly. You select the posts you wish to multiquote, except the last post. For the last post, you select Reply and the window that opens.

    If you are using the WYSIWYG editor, it will populate with the previously multi-quoted posts. You will see an "Insert Quotes..." button or something similar. Just select that and the posts previously selected for multi-quoting appear. Remove any post that are not applicable as the software remembers past selections of multi-quote that you ultimately did not quote. Once you clean up the offered Insert Posts... options you can then opt to insert the remaining and they will appear in the editing window.
  18. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    As noted, your assumptions are erroneous, unless you mean to assume you are a god that created your daughter:
    When it comes to
    theology proper topics, I don't engage in these sort of idle speculations regarding hypotheticals, if p then q. They are folly as they make impossible demands upon one's metaphysic to accept the premise being offered up, as in your bi-polar watchmaker god. I do not accept the premise for it is more important for us to know of what sort God is and what is consistent with His nature.

    Your sort of argument asks the believer to step out of his beliefs. This is an impossibility unless one's reasoning ability is so defective that it is somehow able to disconnect properly basic presuppositions, e.g., God exists, from themselves. My mind is unable to apprehend God without being compelled to honor Him. It is not sufficient to hold that there is a God that we all ought to honor and adore, unless we are also persuaded that He is the source of every good, and that we must seek nothing elsewhere than in Him.

    What good is it to speculate some sort of God who has cast aside the care of the world only to amuse Himself in idleness? In short, what help is it to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? Instead, our knowledge should serve first to teach us fear and reverence. With it as our guide and teacher, we should learn to seek every good from God, and, having received it, to credit it to His account.

    How is it that even the thought of God penetrating your mind is not accompanied by the immediate realization that since you were created by God, you have been fashioned and bound to His command by God's right of creation, that you owe your life to God? In other words, by owing your life to God, whatever you aims in life are, whatever you do, they all ought to be attributed to God.

    If this is true, it certainly follows that your life (your aims and acts) is wickedly corrupt unless your life is disposed to God's service given that God's revealed will ought for us to be the law by which we live. You cannot behold God clearly unless you acknowledge Him to be the originating source of every good. Given this, the desire to cling to God and trust in Him becomes apparent, except for the fact that man's depravity seduces His mind from rightly seeking God.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  19. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Graduate

    We should worship God due to the truth that He is God....
    And we who have been blessd by Him with the gift of eternal life in Jesus ought even more exault and paise His name!
  20. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    "His handiwork...By right of creation..."

    This handiwork, this "Creation" intrinsically bears witness to its Creator's essence and attributes. As heartily and absurdly as men try, you cannot separate God as He is - the only true God - from Creation, from the work of His hands and expression of Himself. That's a fallacy. You are objecting to an impossible problem. God's invisible attributes, His eternal power and divinity, are "clearly seen" ... Even His law is written on man's heart, bearing witness to His righteousness, holiness, and goodness. Men are truly without excuse.

    To speculate about separating this true God from His revelation through Creation is, as Calvin notes, vain, and dishonors the Creator.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  21. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I did not mean to muddle God's transcendence. Of course He is wholly distinct from and over creation, not needing any part of it. But creation cannot empty itself of the fingerprint reflection of its Creator, nor be rightly understood apart from Him.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  22. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    Great response.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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