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Herman Bavinck – Nothing Is Atheistic

28 Apr
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1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

According to Scripture the whole universe is a creation and hence also a revelation of God.

In an absolute sense, therefore, nothing is atheistic. And this witness of Scripture is confirmed on every side. There is no atheistic world. There are no atheistic peoples. Nor are there atheistic persons. The world cannot be atheistically conceived since in that case it could not be the work of God but would have to be the creation of an anti-god.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 56-57.

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Herman Bavinck – The Theater of His Glory

19 Mar

1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

All knowledge of God rests on revelation. Though we can never know God in the full richness of his being, he is known to all people through his revelation in creation, the theater of his glory. The world is never godless. In the end there are no atheists; there is only argument about the nature of God. The recognition is universal of a power greater than human beings themselves, to whom they owe piety.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 53.

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John Calvin – The Turning Point in the Institutes and in Our Lives

10 Oct

The whole human race perished in the person of Adam. Consequently that original excellence and nobility which we have recounted would be of no profit to us but would rather redound to our greater shame, until God, who does not recognize as his handiwork men defiled and corrupted by sin, appeared as Redeemer in the person of his only-begotten Son. Therefore, since we have fallen from life into death, the whole knowledge of God the Creator that we have discussed would be useless unless faith also followed, setting forth for us God our Father in Christ. The natural order was that the frame of the universe4 should be the school in which we were to learn piety, and from it pass over to eternal life and perfect felicity. But after man’s rebellion, our eyes—wherever they turn—encounter God’s curse. This curse, while it seizes and envelops innocent creatures through our fault, must overwhelm our souls with despair. For even if God wills to manifest his fatherly favor to us in many ways, yet we cannot by contemplating the universe infer that he is Father. Rather, conscience presses us within and shows in our sin just cause for his disowning us and not regarding or recognizing us as his sons. Dullness and ingratitude follow, for our minds, as they have been blinded, do not perceive what is true. And as all our senses have become perverted, we wickedly defraud God of his glory.

We must, for this reason, come to Paul’s statement: “Since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of preaching to save those who believe” [1 Cor. 1:21]. This magnificent theater of heaven and earth, crammed with innumerable miracles, Paul calls the “wisdom of God.” Contemplating it, we ought in wisdom to have known God. But because we have profited so little by it, he calls us to the faith of Christ, which, because it appears foolish, the unbelievers despise.

Therefore, although the preaching of the cross does not agree with our human inclination, if we desire to return to God our Author and Maker, from whom we have been estranged, in order that he may again begin to be our Father, we ought nevertheless to embrace it humbly.

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 2.6.1. p. 340-341.

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Francis Turretin – The Highest Art

3 Oct

turretin

Not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but every blade of grass and flower in the field, every pebble on the shore and every shell in the ocean proclaim not only his power and goodness, but also his manifold wisdom, so near each one that even by feeling, God can be found. Augustine says, “The prophetic voices excepted, the world itself by its own most regular mutability and mobility and the exquisitely beautiful appearance of all visible things, silently as it were proclaims both that it was made and could be made only by a God unspeakably and invisibly great, and unspeakably and invisibly beautiful.”

You may say perhaps that these things were so arranged by chance and by a fortuitous concourse of atoms. But I know not whether such an impious and absurd opinion is worthy of refutation, since these things denote not chance, but the highest art.


~Francis Turretin~




Institutes of Elenctic Theology – Volume 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 1992) p. 172.

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Cornelius Van Til – Our World is Not Normal

6 Aug

Van Till

Men are glad to read the utopias that dreamers have dreamed; they are glad even to include the story of Genesis in their repertoire of light reading for leisure hours, but men rebel against being told that their ethical ideals must be judged by the ethical ideals of Adam.

The real meaning of this opposition to the original perfect ethical ideal is nothing short of hatred of the living God. If God does exist as man’s Creator, it is as we have seen, impossible that evil should be inherent in the temporal universe. If God exists, man himself must have brought in sin by an act of wilful transgression. Hence, existence, as it now is, is not normal but abnormal. Accordingly, to maintain that existence, as it now is, is normal, is tantamount to a denial of man’s responsibility for sin, and this in turn makes God responsible for sin, and this simply means that there is no absolute God.

~Cornelius Van Till~




The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 2008) p. 85.

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John Calvin – God’s Wonderful Wisdom Evident Everywhere

29 May

There are innumerable evidences both in heaven and on earth that declare his [God’s] wonderful wisdom; not only those more recondite matters for the closer observation of which astronomy, medicine, and all natural science are intended, but also those which thrust themselves upon the sight of even the most untutored and ignorant persons, so that they cannot open their eyes without being compelled to witness them.

~John Calvin~






The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.5.2.

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John Calvin – Sparks of His Glory Wherever We Cast Our Gaze

23 Apr

The final goal of the blessed life, moreover, rests in the knowledge of God [cf. John 17:3]. Lest anyone, then, be excluded from access to happiness, he not only sowed in men’s minds that seed of religion of which we have spoken but revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe. As a consequence, men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see him. Indeed, his essence is incomprehensible; hence, his divineness far escapes all human perception. But upon his individual works he has engraved unmistakable marks of his glory, so clear and so prominent that even unlettered and stupid folk cannot plead the excuse of ignorance…in the creation of the universe he brought forth those insignia whereby he shows his glory to us, whenever and wherever we cast our gaze…wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of his glory.

~John Calvin~






The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.5.1.

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John Calvin – The Spectacles of Scripture

28 Sep

Now in describing the world as a mirror in which to behold God, I would not be understood to assert either that our eyes are sufficiently clear-sighted to discern what the fabric of heaven and earth represents, or that the knowledge we thereby derive suffices for salvation. As a matter of fact, because the Lord invites us to himself by means of created things but with no effect except thereby to render us inexcusable, he has added (as was necessary) a new remedy, or at any rate mitigated the coarseness of our disposition by means of other assistance. For with Scripture as our guide and teacher, not only does he make plain those things that would otherwise escape our notice, he virtually forces us to behold them, as if he had assisted our dull sight with eyeglasses.

~John Calvin~







Genesis 1-11: The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL; IVP Academic; 2012) p. 13.

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Wolfgang Musculus: Trusting God as Creator

27 Sep

The knowledge that we all have the same creator and maker admonishes us not to harbor contempt for God’s work, whether in ourselves or in another, by asking “Why did he make it like this?” Thus we read in Isaiah, “Woe to anyone who, like an earthen potsherd, argues with its maker. Shall the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?'” And in Proverbs, “Whoever disregards the needy insults their maker.” And so this faith, wherein we believe that we have been created by God, brings about these three things in our hearts: First, that with all our hearts we depend in all things upon God our creator. Second, that each of us be contented with our circumstances–indeed, that we embrace them with thanksgiving, given that God our creator has placed us in them. Third, that none of us view our neighbor’s circumstances with contempt, however vile and miserable they be, lest we thereby cast aspersions upon our common creator.

~Wolfgang Musculus~




Genesis 1-11: The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL; IVP Academic; 2012) p. 12.

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