“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.
The Creation of Humanity
We now will talk about the creation of humanity. Humanity is God’s noblest work and the most amazing specimen of his justice, wisdom, and goodness. Furthermore, we can’t know God unless we know ourselves. Knowledge of ourselves is twofold. First, there is knowledge of humanity as God originally created it. Second, there is knowledge of our humanity after Adam’s fall into sin.
It wouldn’t be of value to us if we only knew of our original created state while remaining ignorant of the corruption and degradation of our nature because of the fall. In this chapter, however, I’m going to focus on our original condition. Before we examine our miserable condition due to sin, we should consider this first. We need to be careful. If we only focus on humanity’s sinfulness, we could confuse ourselves and think God is the author of our sin. It could give people the opportunity to blame God for their sin rather than taking responsibility.
Some people try to exonerate God by excusing their depravity as a defect of nature. But this idea fails as well because it would dishonor God if anything sinful was proved to exist in nature. Our fleshly, sinful nature is always on the lookout for ways it can excuse its failures and remove blame for its own wickedness. We should treat this issue seriously as to cut off every excuse and vindicate God’s justice. We’ll see later how far humanity has fallen from its original purity.
First, a person’s pride should be cut down when he reflects on the fact that he was created out of the dust of the ground. It’s absurd to be prideful when you realize you’re dust ashes. But God decided to animate a vessel of clay. He also made the body the habitat of an immortal spirit. Therefore, Adam could glory in the great generosity of His Maker!