Calvin the Calvinist: The Third Argument Against Pighius (of Seven)

john calvin

The third argument: This doctrine banishes all political authority and order, all instruction in good living, from human life. For the promise for good deeds would be to no purpose, and the threat of punishment for crimes equally so, if it is necessary that what will happen should happen. As though in fact, when we say that God determines everything by his choice and directs it towards his end, we do not also add that he himself employs certain methods, as it were means, or secondary causes [ICR 1.17.6, 9]. So the world is held together by political authority and instruction given by laws, but, insofar as God uses them, he does so to bring about that preservation of the world which he in his counsel determined. We are not Stoics who dream up a fate based on a continuous connection of events [ICR 1.16.8]. All we say is that God is in charge of the world which he established and not only holds in his power the events of the natural world, but also governs the hearts of men, bends their wills this way and that in accordance with his choice, and is the director of their actions, so that they in the end do nothing which he has not decreed, whatever they may try to do. Accordingly we say that those things which appear to be in the greatest degree due to chance happen of necessity—not by their own innate properties but because the purpose of God, which is eternal and steadfast, is sovereign in governing them [ICR 1.16.1, 6, 8]. But we do not for that reason, discount the means which God has appointed to be subject to his will, nor do we say that those things are without effect or superfluous which serve the fulfillment of the divine purpose.

John Calvin, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will: A Defence of the Orthodox Doctrine of Human Choice against Pighius (p. 38)

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