Saturday, February 28, 2009
This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.
Of no small importance is the following statement as we open this chapter concerning the two-fold knowledge of ourselves necessary to properly know God.
"first, to the condition in which we were at first created; and, secondly to our condition such as it began to be immediately after Adam's fall."
The condition in which man was created, which we were created in Adam as the first man, is a paramount truth we should not forget. That our Great God could say "let us make man in our image" and then upon completion look around at all His creation and say "it is VERY good" is no small truth and no small part of understanding the gospel.
Secondly of equal importance is understanding that we have fallen from that first condition.
There are three questions which interest us very much, questions that perhaps take different form in different cultural settings, but boil down to this.
1) Who am I? (this includes also, "why am I here, what is my purpose?)
2) Why do I do what I do?
3) How can I change?
These three questions are very much spiritual in nature and are answered spiritually. Not psychologically, not according to man's wisdom. For example in the negative: We should not answer saying "I am the center of the universe, I am very worthy of self-esteem and self-love and self-respect. I am basically good inside, I do what I do when I suppress my basic inner goodness. I do what I do because I do not love myself appropriately or because I do not have a high self-esteem. I can change by believing in myself, by listening to my heart, by loving myself, by thinking positive thoughts, etc.
The first two questions are dealt with in Calvin's opening statement regarding the two-fold knowledge of ourselves. 1) to understand our condition in which we were first created and 2) understanding our condition subsequent to Adam's fall.
The third question is answered in the gospel of grace. Ye must be born again.
With these three questions in mind, the glory of God ever before me (my purpose in being) I greatly look forward to continuing on in our daily reading.
These three questions and the biblical revelation that answers them impact our lives in multiplied ares. How we can be a good husband, a good father, understanding our children and how to raise them, conducting ourselves in business, even in the establishment of governments. (thinking of the check band balances of our own Republic necessary and arising from an understanding of the fallen nature of man.)
Thanks be to God who gives wisdom to understand ourselves and to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.