Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Calvin on the Image of God

I used to think Calvin might have believed that unbelievers did not bear the image of God, because of something he says in Institutes 1.14.18: “For as believers are recognized to be the sons of God by bearing his image, so the wicked are properly regarded as the children of Satan, from having degenerated into his image.”

But that needs to be taken along with 3.7.6, where Calvin speaks of “the image of God, which exists in all, and to which we owe all honor and love.” He then contrasts “all” in general with “those who are of the household of faith” for whom “that image is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ.” So basically, for Calvin, all human beings bear the image of God, but believers bear it more distinctly.