Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calvin's Institutes, Chapter One

I don't have any commentary on the first chapter of the Institutes, so I'll just share my chapter summary.

The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves Mutually Connected---Nature of the Connection

Section One
Human wisdom is made up of knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves. The two knowledges are connected, and so it is hard to tell which comes first. Knowledge of our own pitiful existence, as well as knowledge of the good in the world, directs us to God. People tend not to seek God while they are content, but once they know their true (sinful) nature, they will seek God.

Section Two
In order to truly know themselves, people must first know God. We think we aren't really that bad, simply because those around us are more or less equally bad, until we contemplate how good God is.

Section Three
Because of this tendency to think of ourselves as less bad than we really are, people in the Bible became fearful when they were in the presence of God because they realized for the first time the extent of their sin.

Quotes from this Chapter:

Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us that in the Lord, and none but he, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.

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