As Second Corinthians reveals, Paul forged his theology of the resurrection on the anvil of crisis. In opposition to rival apostles who preached a gospel celebrating success and self, Paul links the resurrection with the crucifixion and exhorts the Corinthians to live not for themselves but “for him who for their sake died and was raised.”.
That’s Bill Calvin, whose brain is worthy of study in its own right. Technically, he’s a theoretical neurophysiologist and affiliate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. But he’s also known as a scientist with a wide-ranging intellect and a prolific (and accessible) writer who constantly offers remarkable insights about the world around him. As I sat down to interview Calvin in his book-lined Seattle home last Fall, I recalled the comments of someone who (...) had come to GBN to hear Calvin speak. He said that he didn’t know—or care—what Calvin was going to talk about because everything that Bill Calvin said was not only interesting, but worth learning about. After more than three hours of conversation with Calvin, I couldn’t agree more. (shrink)
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
Is the God of Calvin a fountain of blessing, or a forceful tyrant? Is Calvin's view of God coercive, leaving no place for the human qua human in redemption? These are perennial questions about Calvin's theology which have been given new life by Gift theologians such as John Milbank, Graham Ward, and Stephen Webb.J. Todd Billings addresses these questions by exploring Calvin's theology of `participation in Christ'. He argues that Calvin's theology of `participation' gives a (...) positive place to the human, such that grace fulfils rather than destroys nature, affirming a differentiated union of God and humanity in creation and redemption. Calvin's trinitarian theology of participation extends to his view of prayer, sacraments, the law, and the ecclesial and civil orders. In light of Calvin's doctrine of participation, Billings reframes the critiques of Calvin in the Gift discussion and opens up new possibilities for contemporary theology, ecumenical theology, and Calvin scholarship as well. (shrink)
In Calvin's Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin's political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its (...) teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin's vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today. (shrink)
Calvin's view on the legitimacy of interest has had a great impact on the economic development of Western society. Although Calvin took a fundamentally positive attitude to interest, he also proposed several restrictions on the charging of interest. In this article, we investigate the relevance of these restrictions to the current credit crisis. We find that each of them provides a relevant interpretation of what went wrong in the buildup of the credit crisis and gives directions to improve (...) policies of banks and governments as well. (shrink)
Although Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Alvin Plantinga has developed a theodicy that is fundamentally Arminian rather than Calvinistic. Anthony Flew, although the son of an Arminian Christian minister, regards the Arminian view of ‘free will’ to be both unacceptable on its own terms and incompatible with classical Christian theism. In this paper I hope to disentangle some of the involved controversy regarding theodicy which has developed between Plantinga and Flew, and between Flew and myself. The major portion (...) of this paper is devoted to showing that Plantinga's theodicy contains some serious flaws and undesirable implications. (shrink)
Julian N. Hartt once observed that Calvin so accentuates divine causation that he denies all secondary agency. A strong statement of God's omnipotence commits Calvin to the position that divine causation is the only connection that has any foundation in reality. And this claim, Hartt noted, places Calvin dangerously close to Spinozism. I have no stake in any analysis that attempts to indicate affinities between Calvin and the Dutch rationalist whom he predates by several generations. But, (...) as Hartt suggested and as I will demonstrate, a persuasive case can be made for Calvin's commitment to a thoroughgoing causal determinism that has God at the helm directing every event. Now one should note at the outset that Calvin has solid theological reasons for stressing the role of God's all-determining will in the course of events. As a Reformation theologian, he is a persistent defender of the utter gratuitousness of grace, thereby denying that the moral, spiritual, and epistemological chasm separating the human and the divine can in any way be reconciled by human being. Yet, for Calvin, grace possesses an omnicompetence – even faith is the gift of grace – which, when examined within the total context of his thought, reveals the radical dependence of the entire created order upon the will of God. (shrink)