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    john calvin help in understanding

    Hi

    I am reading john calvin, institutes of the christian religion. I am definately enjoying this book even if i need to sometimes reread the same section 2-3 times at times. this one passage though has got me thinking and i would like your insight please.

    In chapter 8, if i understood correctly, he attempts to argue the credibility of scripture. He argues that the examples in the book are sufficient because the prophesies happened very long after fortold and in no way elevate the one who told it. He argues about how the description of the Holy spirit is necessary for us to be able to distinguish who God is. He points out moments in story line that no one would ever want be told and thus renders the book authentic in its description due to humility. He also argues about the similitudes in the narratives of the gospels. He also argues about the fact that it is unchanged even if a long time ago bible were burned, clearly the bible was hidden and saved and the more ppl tried to supress the gospel the more it flourished by only what should be seen as Gods power. and so on.... But in the very end he says this : «These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and therby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that everyh man who would have any undersnding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace

    This intrigues me
    First what does he mean when he says possess piety and mental peace.

    Secondly it seems to me that the whole purpose of the bible is for us to know God and see him. This is more believable in light of the fact that in the previous chapter he explains how only through scripture is it possible to recognize God and in the next chapter he explains how scripture is never to be replaced by images because it lessens the fear of God and augments the desire to fall into superstition and thus idol worship. but then does it become close to absurdity to even argue or reason with anyone who does not beleive. What point is it if an unbeliever asks questions that we even show him anything in the bible or even ask him to take the bible as proof since ultimately it takes faith and faith only comes from God?


    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita View Post
    Hi

    I am reading john calvin, institutes of the christian religion. I am definately enjoying this book even if i need to sometimes reread the same section 2-3 times at times. this one passage though has got me thinking and i would like your insight please.

    In chapter 8, if i understood correctly, he attempts to argue the credibility of scripture. He argues that the examples in the book are sufficient because the prophesies happened very long after fortold and in no way elevate the one who told it. He argues about how the description of the Holy spirit is necessary for us to be able to distinguish who God is. He points out moments in story line that no one would ever want be told and thus renders the book authentic in its description due to humility. He also argues about the similitudes in the narratives of the gospels. He also argues about the fact that it is unchanged even if a long time ago bible were burned, clearly the bible was hidden and saved and the more ppl tried to supress the gospel the more it flourished by only what should be seen as Gods power. and so on.... But in the very end he says this : «These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and therby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that everyh man who would have any undersnding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace

    This intrigues me
    First what does he mean when he says possess piety and mental peace.

    Secondly it seems to me that the whole purpose of the bible is for us to know God and see him. This is more believable in light of the fact that in the previous chapter he explains how only through scripture is it possible to recognize God and in the next chapter he explains how scripture is never to be replaced by images because it lessens the fear of God and augments the desire to fall into superstition and thus idol worship. but then does it become close to absurdity to even argue or reason with anyone who does not beleive. What point is it if an unbeliever asks questions that we even show him anything in the bible or even ask him to take the bible as proof since ultimately it takes faith and faith only comes from God?


    Thanks
    Faith does not come from God. Many unsaved people believe in God. What man does not possess is an ability to seek God. Therefore left to himself man will not seek God. Election was based on the goodness of God, God enables those whom He chose to respond thus we believe unto salvation. We are not saved until we believe.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita View Post
    Hi

    I am reading john calvin, institutes of the christian religion. I am definately enjoying this book even if i need to sometimes reread the same section 2-3 times at times. this one passage though has got me thinking and i would like your insight please.

    In chapter 8, if i understood correctly, he attempts to argue the credibility of scripture. He argues that the examples in the book are sufficient because the prophesies happened very long after fortold and in no way elevate the one who told it. He argues about how the description of the Holy spirit is necessary for us to be able to distinguish who God is. He points out moments in story line that no one would ever want be told and thus renders the book authentic in its description due to humility. He also argues about the similitudes in the narratives of the gospels. He also argues about the fact that it is unchanged even if a long time ago bible were burned, clearly the bible was hidden and saved and the more ppl tried to supress the gospel the more it flourished by only what should be seen as Gods power. and so on.... But in the very end he says this : «These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and therby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that everyh man who would have any undersnding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace

    This intrigues me
    First what does he mean when he says possess piety and mental peace.

    Secondly it seems to me that the whole purpose of the bible is for us to know God and see him. This is more believable in light of the fact that in the previous chapter he explains how only through scripture is it possible to recognize God and in the next chapter he explains how scripture is never to be replaced by images because it lessens the fear of God and augments the desire to fall into superstition and thus idol worship. but then does it become close to absurdity to even argue or reason with anyone who does not beleive. What point is it if an unbeliever asks questions that we even show him anything in the bible or even ask him to take the bible as proof since ultimately it takes faith and faith only comes from God?


    Thanks
    Hi Nikita,
    I have not read Calvin, Augustine or Luther. But I do know they all believed in the true bible doctrine of election. It is true that those three men had incredible intelligence and the fact that some of the things they wrote are hard to understand is no suprise.
    The main point is that in the matter of election, they wrote down the truth.God does not give account of why He arranged salvation to be accomplished through election. God is just everything He has done, is doing and will do.
    In the matter of election, God has purposed that while the truth is so blatantly obivious to the sheep, the goats will never be able to see it, comprehend it or believe it. I don't know why God set it up this way, but this is the way He has ordained it.
    All people are born dead. As all live, all commit trespasses and sins. In the case of the sheep, at some point in their lives, the Holy Spirit quickens them and they spiritually come to life. At that point, their eyes, ears and understanding are opened to the truth. As they study scripture, all of the verses about election become clear. They see and believe the truth.
    On the other hand, the goats are never quickened and they will never come to knowledge of the truth. The truth cannot be discovered or believed due to any person using natural means. Besides, if a goat does not believe in election, why would they try to study to learn about election?
    The whole key to this is the working of the Holy Spirit. The sheep and the goats read the same exact words printed on paper. Yet, only the sheep are given the knowledge of the truth. The fact is that if a person is a goat, it will not matter how many verses you can show, how the words are defined and what they mean, how strong a case you make to prove election, a goat will always reject election.
    When you point out the verses to a sheep, they recognize the truth immediately and believe it.
    I posted many verses that clearly show that God opens or blinds eyes to the truth. If you cannot locate that post, let me know and I will list the verses for you.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita View Post
    Hi

    I am reading john calvin, institutes of the christian religion. I am definately enjoying this book even if i need to sometimes reread the same section 2-3 times at times. this one passage though has got me thinking and i would like your insight please.

    In chapter 8, if i understood correctly, he attempts to argue the credibility of scripture. He argues that the examples in the book are sufficient because the prophesies happened very long after fortold and in no way elevate the one who told it. He argues about how the description of the Holy spirit is necessary for us to be able to distinguish who God is. He points out moments in story line that no one would ever want be told and thus renders the book authentic in its description due to humility. He also argues about the similitudes in the narratives of the gospels. He also argues about the fact that it is unchanged even if a long time ago bible were burned, clearly the bible was hidden and saved and the more ppl tried to supress the gospel the more it flourished by only what should be seen as Gods power. and so on.... But in the very end he says this : «These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and therby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that everyh man who would have any undersnding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace

    This intrigues me
    First what does he mean when he says possess piety and mental peace.

    Secondly it seems to me that the whole purpose of the bible is for us to know God and see him. This is more believable in light of the fact that in the previous chapter he explains how only through scripture is it possible to recognize God and in the next chapter he explains how scripture is never to be replaced by images because it lessens the fear of God and augments the desire to fall into superstition and thus idol worship. but then does it become close to absurdity to even argue or reason with anyone who does not beleive. What point is it if an unbeliever asks questions that we even show him anything in the bible or even ask him to take the bible as proof since ultimately it takes faith and faith only comes from God?


    Thanks
    I break it down to this.
    A person could intellectually believe the Bible is genuinely the word of God. But, it is of no value if God does not give the gift of faith. (In Ephesians 2:8-9 we see that we are saved by grace through faith, which is a gift from God.)
    Calvin is expressing this truth in the section you quoted.
    Augustine expresses this in that piety and peace were not anything Augustine could attain on his own. (Read his autobiography and see how wicked and depraved Augustine was before God saved him. See how hard he tried to achieve piety and peace on his own while utterly failing.)
    Hopefully that helps.
    I commend you for your efforts. The Reformers were deep thinkers, trained in classical education. Reading their works is not for the person who like a mile long and inch deep waters. Their writings are often an inch long and a mile deep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita View Post
    ...it seems to me that the whole purpose of the bible is for us to know God and see him.
    Keep in mind that Christ's Resurrection is the apex of the Bible's story, the Old Testament and Gospels are a crescendo leading up to His passion, death, burial, and resurrection. The whole Christian faith hinges on this one event, such that believing that He is risen, constitutes the faith in its entirety, in the sense that it is a seed that grows into the whole faith. But without Christ's Resurrection, the whole religion is a sham. 'Says so in the Bible.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Wow. I really liked the replies i got. I think i understand more what he is trying to say. I had not realized it comes back to the elect. But it does. So basically we can all choose to believe in God is shown by thr fact that all are easily idolaters. But only through faith do we actually seek God. Then i have to wonder what is the definition of seek God. I would think it is to know him on a personal level....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita View Post
    Wow. I really liked the replies i got. I think i understand more what he is trying to say. I had not realized it comes back to the elect. But it does. So basically we can all choose to believe in God is shown by thr fact that all are easily idolaters. But only through faith do we actually seek God. Then i have to wonder what is the definition of seek God. I would think it is to know him on a personal level....
    The problem is that man is a fallen being. And because he is a fallen creature he does not have a desire to know God.


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