Thursday, 13 June 2013


 Note: I hope to add, over time, many seminal quotes from the great Genevan Reformer on various controversial subjects. As will be apparent, these concern issues where it may be thought that Calvin held contrary opinions.

"…the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish."(Commentary on: John 3:16)  

"...Christ gives thanks to the Father for his infinite mercy towards the human race, and the inestimable benefit of redemption..." (1 Corinthians 11:24)

"There are evidences of God's love toward the whole human race, sufficient to convict all who perish of ingratitude." (Secret Providence of God)

"So wonderful is His love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved and is of His own self prepared to bestow salvation of the lost. " (Comments on 2 Peter 3:9)  

"In the person of one man Christ has exhibited to us a proof of His grace which is extended to the whole human race." (Comments on the mad man of Gardara in Luke 8:39)


My note: Calvin is not arguing here that God loves all men equally or that His desire for the salvation of all is equal. It is evident from Scripture itself that some men are loved more than others i.e. efficaciously unto salvation while others are left to their chosen sin and therefore damnation. Ephesians 5:25 which tells us that men are to love their wives, even as Christ loved the church obviously speaks of a deeper love than a more general"Love thy neighbour" type thought.

Again, sometimes Calvin's use of the term "whole human race" may not be as embracing as it sounds. Like the Scriptural use of the word "world" it may mean "Jew and Gentile" alike, as opposed to "each and every human being, ever born." I say this on the basis of a comment that he made in Matthew 26:26 where Christ referred to thanking God "for the eternal salvation of the human race." Since Calvin obviously did not believe the heresy of Universalism i.e. that each and every individual ever born would be in Heaven, then it is obvious that references to "the human race" had a limited import. 

However, Calvin's third quote, from the Secret Providence of God re: ingratitude from those who would eventually perish, can only have weight when it carrys the wider meaning as given in the title above. 

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