Quote for 3/13/16. It is popular among critics of Christianity to attack parts of the Bible as though it was inconsistent or contained an immoral directive for believers. Calvin touches on a passage which has suffered unjustly from both charges.
When Abraham said to his son, God will provide, (Gen. 22:8,) he meant not merely to assert that the future event was foreknown to God, but to resign the management of an unknown business to the will of Him whose province it is to bring perplexed and dubious matters to a happy result.
John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 236.
Contrary to the charge of the critic, they are guilty of inconsistency because they base their criticism of this passage on their unstated denial of the biblical teaching of God’s providence. Had they taken into account the entirety of biblical teaching they would not misrepresent this passage.
Quote for 3/9/16. John Calvin cautions all Christians against putting stock in the idea that heavenly bodies have control over our circumstances. This quote is taken from his discussion of God’s providence:
In this way, and in no other, can the immoderate and superstitious fears, excited by the dangers to which we are exposed, be calmed or subdued. I say superstitious fears. For such they are, as often as the dangers threatened by any created objects inspire us with such terror, that we tremble as if they had in themselves a power to hurt us, or could hurt at random or by chance; or as if we had not in God a sufficient protection against them. For example, Jeremiah forbids the children of God “to be dismayed at the signs of heaven, as the heathen are dismayed at them,” (Jer. 10:2.) He does not, indeed, condemn every kind of fear. But as unbelievers transfer the government of the world from God to the stars, imagining that happiness or misery depends on their decrees or presages, and not on the Divine will, the consequence is, that their fear, which ought to have reference to him only, is diverted to stars and comets. Let him, therefore, who would beware of such unbelief, always bear in mind, that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.
John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 235.
This is certainly applicable to the modern notion of horoscopes. We have no warrant to worry (or “fear”) what the newspaper tells us in our horoscope. It goes against the teaching of God’s providence to draw hope or fear harm from those who so blatantly deny he is the providential ruler of the universe.