The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Calvinism, however, went further, for it also brought about an alteration in man's views of "things". Calvin's emphasis upon God as creator, sustainer and ruler over all of nature meant a new approach to the physical universe. For one thing Calvin gave a new dimension to the idea of natural law. It was not something that existed by itself, but had been created and was sustained by God through the Holy Spirit at all times. Therefore, if man wished to know about nature he should not follow Aristotle's rationalistic method, nor even the medieval technique of seeking explanations of physical phenomena from the Bible. Rather, man must go to nature itself for his answers. As a result he gave theological support to an empirical method of investigation of the physical and social worlds. Of equal importance was his insistence that all knowledge must be used for man's benefit and to God's glory, Since cultural activity should always be applied to life and used in life, mere rationalizing, speculation or even observation for their own sakes meant nothing. Man had the responsibility of using God's good gifts which he had found.

--W. Stanford Reid: "The Impact of Calvinism on Sixteenth Century Culture"