Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Purpose of Our Knowledge of God

A friend of mine asked me yesterday if my study of Calvin were my decision or if God predestined it. I pray that it was God's will for me to start this study. I know that Luther would say it was 100% God's decision because we have no will of our own. We will have to explore this question more as we get to relevant topics where Calvin might have some insight.

Today's reading started off discussing the purpose of our knowledge of God. Simply put, it is so that we will worship him and to give us hope for eternal life. We are sometimes puzzled when good people suffer and the wicked thrive. Calvin says that this points to an afterlife where the good shall be rewarded and the wicked will be punished. He quotes Augustine again where he wrote, "If now every sin were to suffer open punishment, it would seem that nothing is reserved for the final judgment. Again, if God were now to punish no sin openly, one would believe that there is no providence."

Calvin writes that even though God has represented himself and his Kingdom in "the mirror of his works," we are too stupid to recognize and profit from it. Many people do not even begin to ponder God's greatness when they view creation. Men tend to mistake God's providence for dumb luck.

Man, in his own stupidity and sin, tends to create other gods instead of relying on the one true God. He writes, "...scarcely a single person has ever been found who did not fashion for himself an idol or specter in place of God." He claims that the more learned someone is, the more camouflaged and sinister their idols are. Man gets to a point where he gets so confused by these idols that he will end up worshiping anything, even an unknown god as demonstrated in Acts 17.

We should continually strive to properly recognize and worship God. We must be careful not to fall into the snare of idol worship. God wants us to recognize him and his works in our lives.

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