Calvinism on the Holy Spirit

After the fall, even "the elect" do not always follow "the continual direction of the Spirit…  They often fall" and "err…."   Yet "only those believe, whom God illumines by His Spirit."

Calvin further approvingly describes35 the "effectual working of the Holy Spirit" in the view of Augustine.   "The first man had not that grace by which he could never wish to be bad.    For the help given him was of that nature, that he might abandon it when he would — and remain in it if he would…  The motion of the Holy Spirit is so efficacious that it always begets faith….   [Thus] Augustine…calls faith the life of the soul…."

Continues John Calvin: "Let us hear Augustine…: 'God was pleased that man's approach to Him should be the effect only of His grace…; man's not withdrawing from Him should also be the effect only of His grace…   Man’s will does not obtain grace by freedom, but freedom by grace, and — in order that it may persevere — delectable perpetuity and insuperable fortitude…   Man received great powers of free-will when he was created; but lost them, by sinning.'"

Dr. Calvin also rightly observes36 that "nothing can bear the image of God, but spirit — since God is Spirit…  Colossians 3:20…enjoins us to 'put on the new man which is renewed…after the image of Him Who created him'….   He says (Eph. 4:24), 'Put on the new man who has been created after God in…true holi-ness!'"    Furthermore, "we say that man — in respect of spirit — was made partaker of the wisdom, justice and goodness of God….    Let us hold the image of God in man to be that which can have its seat only in the Spirit…!"

Calvin further asks:37 "Would you know what the death of the soul is?    It is to be without God -to be abandoned by God, and left to itself.   For if God is its life — it loses its life when it loses the presence of God."    Before man's fall, however, the very opposite was the case.

Calvin goes on:38 "I will add another passage…(I Cor. 2:11): 'Who of men knows the things of a man — save the spirit of man that is in him?   So also, no man knows the things of God — but the Spirit of God'….   Also, when He said (Rom. 8:16): 'The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit, that we are the sons of God' [as was the unfallen Adam, cf. Luke 3:38 & 3:22] — did He not use the same peculiarity of expression?"

39 Ib., pp. 456-7. 40 See Luke 1:15,35,41,80; 2:25-27,40,52; 3:22; 4:1,14,18 cf. John 3:34. 41 Gen. 3:15 cf. Rom. 16:20. 42 Comm. on Luke 1:15 & 1:35.

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Again, claims Calvin:39 "Everything which had fallen in Adam, is re-new-ed in Christ…  So much has Christ been more powerful in re-stor-ing — than Adam in de-stroy-ing!…   Man, if he had not fallen, would have been immortal….   The elect, now, are such as Adam was — before his sin…. He was created in-ex-term-inable….  So, now, have those become — who have been re-new-ed by Christ to a better nature."

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We must now consider, in greater depth, the Spirit-filled Second Adam Jesus Christ.   For this has considerable bearing on the Spirit-fullness of the unfallen first Adam from Whom He (as man) descended.

Calvin regarded the unfallen Adam as the image of God — and as the ancestor of the infallible Second Adam Jesus Christ (according to His human nature).   Adam, it seems, was already filled with the Holy Spirit (yet apparently subject to further growth) even before the fall — at his very creation.   This implicitly follows from the fact that Adam's similar descendant, the Second Adam Jesus Christ — 'made under the law' (Gal. 4:4) — was Himself 'filled with the Spirit' from His very conception onward.   That Second Adam remained full of the Spirit.   Indeed, He too increasingly kept on being filled with the Spirit — as He grew toward human maturity.40

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