Insights in the Institutes – Postmodernism

24 07 2008

Uncertainty is massively overated, and the upcoming generation know that full well. They have been living in a world, schooled in an education system, and saturated by a media industry, which has extolled the benefits of not knowing anything truly or firmly – except for the fact that one doesn’t know anything truly or firmly. They have listened to the equivocations, deliberations, and qualifications of a world whose supreme idea of virtue is ambivalant vacuity, and they have found it wanting in the balance of their own judgement.

Young Christians do not want stumbling, fumbling words about maybes, might-bes, and conversation. They are not set alight by the despondent countenance of a hermeneutical humility which probes every point in every part of modern life, without ever daring to jump to a single conclusion. What convinces, what inspires, what motivates to true Christian knowledge and full Christian living is the Truth and certainty revealed in the Word of God – the sense of belonging to something big, grand, historic, and genuine. The sense that they have a Saviour who can speak for Himself, a God whose Word is firm eternal and right. These are truths worth living and dying for.

In the Institutes, Calvin likewise imagines the shameful state of a world in which nothing is known certainly, and little is held to firmly, and he addresses this issue with precision and force – blowing the speculations of godless philosophy in his day and ours into tiny pieces.

Some praise the reply of Simonides, who, asked by the tyrant Hiero what God was, begged to be given a day to ponder. When on the following day the tyrant asked the same question, he asked for two days more, and after having frequently doubled the number of days, finally answered, ‘The longer I consider this, the more obscure it seems to me’. He wisely indeed suspended judgment on a subject so obscure to himself. Yet hence it appears that if men were taught only by nature, they would hold to nothing solid or clear-cut, but would be so tied to confused principles as to worship an unknown god.
[Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol.1, p.66]