God has implanted in all men the knowledge of God

It is fascinating to read about whether deep down the hearts of every man & woman, there is an awareness of the divine God. No matter how much a person denies the divinity, somehow, there is always a crack when he or she will show the fear of God existentially when he or she falls into trouble or danger.

In New York or most city folks, men and women are chasing after careers, money, pleasures, sex and forgetting God. God is a marginal issue. But Calvin argued prolifically that deep down every person heart, there is an awareness of God. Lets see his argument applied to our situation. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty.[1] He went on to say that there is no eminent pagan, no people or nation so barbarous, savage, and remote that they have not a deep-seated conviction that there is a God. Interestingly how do you compare that with the urban city folks? They are not remote, not savage, but educated, but extremely worldly. Essentially they love for themselves, and their families or loved ones. That probably rings true for all countries in the world today. Actually, the world that we see today in the big cities especially like New York, the trend is definitely towards what’s written in :

2 Tim But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, abusive, disobedient, slanderous, no self-control, etc.…all the virtues are lost. Why? That’s the prophecy for the end time. So if you balance these two together, there got to be an intentional denial, of the deep conviction that there is a God. That sense is usually ignored or intentionally marginalized. Unless the Spirit of God moves in their hearts, they are essentially gone! The direction of life will be marching towards the bottomless abyss. It is a sense of helplessness and fear as we witness the civilization falling in front of our eyes. Yet, Calvin argues fervently that sense of the knowledge of the divine has not been gone altogether. My article today is what do people do with that tension in their hearts? That’s a really good tension, and I believe the stronger the tension towards the divine God, the stronger the pull by the Holy Spirit, the better chance does a person have in coming into the family of God. Calvin argues that there is no city, no household, since the beginning of the world, which could do without religion; there lies in this a tacit confession of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all.[2] So well written by Calvin! In other words, no civilization through human history throughout the whole world has been able to survive without a religion. That’s true, because I have never seen an atheist civilization that grown massive in history. Look at Rome, the Roman empire calls Caesar god even! In China, the emperor is called king from heaven, same as Japan too. Indeed every idolatry is ample proof of this conception. Talking about idolatry, you can see that everyday in the world we live in today, no matter which year, which country. We all have idols in our hearts. A lot of times, we idolize money, career, sex, women, power, greed or even children. This just shows these idols actually take the place of God in our lives.

History tells us of a Roman emperor after Caesar, Gaius Caligula, who showed unbridled contempt of deity (God) ; yet he trembled miserably when any sign of Gods wrath manifested itself-albeit unwillingly, he shuddered at the God whom he professedly sought to despise. He who is the boldest despiser of God is of all men the most startled at the rustle of a falling leaf. [3](Lev 26:36) 36 And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues.

So question is where does this arise but from the vengeance of divine majesty, which strikes their conscience all the more violently the more they try to flee form it. [4] He is saying that even though men try to run away and hide themselves from the Lord’s presence in some disguise, love of boy or girlfriend, or money, and to efface it again from their minds. But deep down, they are always entrapped. Although sometimes it may seem to vanish for a moment, it returns at once and rushes in with new force. There is no respite.[5] In other words, there is always a sense of emptiness in their hearts, even though in the surface, they seem to be happy and fulfilled, but their hearts are far from being in rest. This is the attitude and result of an impious mind, non-reverence to the mighty God, and this exemplifies the seed of God is alive in all men’s minds.

 

[1] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol 1, Westminster John Knox Press 2011, p 43

[2] Ibid p44

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

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