“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Error Cannot Be Erased Until the Truth is Planted
God had to enshrine the truth in the Bible because of our fallen human condition. We easily forget God. We fall into error. We invent new religions to escape the truth. Therefore, God wrote down the truth so that it would not pass away, either through neglect or purposeful corruption. God has given us His Word because He knew that people would not respond to the knowledge of Himself which comes from looking at creation. If we want to truly know God, then, we must go directly to His Word which accurately describes God’s character and works. The work which God does must be evaluated by His eternal truth, not by our own depraved estimation. If we turn aside from the truth found in Scripture, we will never reach the goal of knowing God. In fact, we will only get to ignorance quicker.
God’s essence, His character and works—which Paul describes to be inaccessible (1 Timothy 6:16)—is like a maze which we will never figure out, unless the Word serves as a guide for us. It is better to limp along slowly on the path of true knowledge of God than to sprint down the halls of ignorance. For example, the Psalmists repeatedly declare that all false beliefs about God should be exiled from the world so that the truth about God would flourish (Psalm 93, 96, 97, 99). Furthermore, the Psalms describe God as “reigning.” Describing God as reigning does not refer to His sheer power by which He runs the whole universe, but rather, it refers to the way He maintains His supremacy in the world. God reigns through His truth, because error can never be erased from our hearts until the true knowledge of God has been implanted in it.