Paul's Passing Thoughts

John Calvin: Mankind Fallen BEFORE the Fall

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 17, 2015

Originally published December 22, 2013

For some time I have heard teachings coming from Calvinists that seem to insinuate that man was fallen before the fall. A popular teaching in the Patriarchy movement is the idea that Adam sinned before Eve bought into the idea that she needed a mediator between her and God. In fact, the need for mediation between man and God before the fall is very prevalent in Calvin’s writings. Francos Wendal, in his work, Calvin: Origins and Development of His Religious Thoughts (Presses Universitaires Defrance 1950) states the following on page 216:

“Indeed, for any contact to be established between the most holy God and sinful man, it was necessary for God to come right down to man, since man would never, of his own strength, have been able to raise himself up to God. ‘The majesty of God is too high,’ said Calvin, ‘For us to say that mortal men could attain to it, seeing that they can do no more than crawl over the earth like little worms,’*

“That, of course. Is the state of man since the Fall. But Calvin had no very high opinion of humanity even before the original sin. It is not so surprising therefore, that he could write:

‘Even If man had remained in his integrity, still his condition was too base for him to attain to God. How much less could he have raised himself so far, after having been plunged by his ruin into death and hell, after staining himself with so many defilements nay, even stinking in his corruption and all overwhelmed with misery?’** [The Calvin Institutes 2.12.1: Henry Beveridge translation varies slightly]”

The more Calvin is studied, the more it is realized that he sought to upend every element of truth in the Bible. The root of this is Calvin’s Platonist underpinnings that of course would have to see a problem with man before the fall because of his material essence.

Again, in regard to the pastorate of our day, who knew what and when? And in regard to those who didn’t know, why not?



* Inst., 2.6.4.  Among numerous similar passages, the Course upon Hosea, Opp. 42, 264: “Deum a nobis quaeri non posse, nisi in mediatore Ghristo. . . . Nisi Christus se medium nobis offerat qua via possemus ad Deum accedere?” Or again, the sermon on I Ephesians 1.1-3: “Without this Mediator, it is certain that we are all foreclosed [by God] and the majesty of God ought to make the hairs of our head stand on end.” Opp.9 51, 256.

** The Institutes 2.12.1.

One Response

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  1. alexguggenheim said, on May 18, 2015 at 7:10 AM

    Apparently Calvin is clueless on the nature of man’s condition before the fall. His use of the descriptor “man…was too base for him to attain to God” is eye opening regarding Calvin’s thought process and the faulty theology which followed.


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