“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.
Scripture is the School
In Psalm 19, the author declares that creation shows the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). But he also makes mention of God’s Word:
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether (Psalm 19:7-9).
The psalmists main point is this: although God’s Word has other uses, it is the school which educates God’s children. Since the invitation to know God through creation goes unheeded by the nations, God’s Word is necessary to educate us. The same truth is reiterated in Psalm 29. After the psalmist speaks of God’s dreadful voice—which, through thunder, wind, rain, cyclones, shakes the earth, makes mountains trembles, and breaks oak trees—he concludes, “in His temple everything says, ‘Glory!’” (Psalm 29:9). Yet, unbelievers are deaf to all of God’s words even when they echo through the air. In another Psalm, after describing the raging seas, the author concludes: “Your testimonies are fully confirmed, holiness befits your house” (Psalm 93:5).
Jesus says pretty much the same thing. When having a conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus says that the nations worshipped what they did not know, and the Jews alone had true worship to God (John 4:22). The human mind is weak. It is unable to come to God unless it is aided by God’s sacred word. Therefore, all people—except the Jews to the degree that they sought God through His Word—work in vain, trying to know God.