According to John Calvin, Ignoring Science is an Act of Sloth

(system) #1
"If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful...not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the Giver." -John Calvin
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Brad Kramer) #2

Thanks to @marusso for putting together these quotes. Mario and I are both available to talk about Calvin, Science, and Christianity.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #3

… accustomed to compare the Scriptures to a pair of spectacles, enabling us to decipher again the divine Thoughts, written by God’s Hand in the book of Nature…

I’ve heard this thought before, from those who are concerned that such an order has been switched, and that instead we are now looking at Scripture through the spectacles of science. In setting the question of precedence up as a contest, are they being faithful to Calvin’s original thought? Today I think we rightly see both of these books informing each other and then recognize that any contest of precedence is irrelevant and inappropriate. Still, I wonder if Calvin would agree.

(Brad Kramer) #4

I think there’s good reasons to be skeptical about about whether Calvin would be an evolutionary creationist if he were around today. But I think that, based on his quotes, he would reject the “Secular science vs. Christian science” mentality that undergirds much of the origins debate today. That’s the point I really wanted to make in this post.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #5

…he would reject the “Secular science vs. Christian science” mentality that undergirds much of the origins debate today. That’s the point I really wanted to make in this post.

And make it you did. Thanks. I’m glad these comments are working here [underneath the essay] again!

Given what I also remember being quoted from Calvin … to the effect of “let he who would learn astronomy seek elsewhere…” regarding what the scope of Scriptures are, I think there is more than a little room for the doubt about where Calvin would be on all this were he alive today. It certainly doesn’t seem a slam dunk for modern anti-evolutionists to insist that Calvin wouldn’t accept evolution even up to common descent.

Thanks for your article.

(Larry Bunce) #6

If Calvin rejected Copernican astronomy and insisted on 24-hour days for Creation, it seems likely that he would have rejected evolution also. His good advice on science in general came from the fact that the science of his day did not challenge a literal reading of Genesis. In his defense, however, 16th century science didn’t have telescopic evidence or Newton’s equations to support a sun-centered planetary system, so Calvin was correct in not re-interpreting Scripture on the basis of an unproven hypothesis.

(Mario Anthony Russo) #7

I agree with Brad, and echo his position. Calvin seems more concerned with eradicating the false dichotomy between secular and Christian science. All truth is God’s truth. There is nothing distinctly “secular” or “Christian” about truth. Truth finds its ultimate source in God, and since God has revealed himself in both nature and the Bible, truth that is discovered in both arenas are always compatible.


In science, no hypothesis is considered to be proven. They can only be disproven.

Beautifully put.

(Mario Anthony Russo) #9

Excellent thoughts, Mervin. Here are two recent articles that you may find helpful in this area.

I hope you find these stimulating and helpful.

(Larry Bunce) #10

I should have said untested hypothesis.

(system) #11

This topic was automatically closed 4 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.