June 1, 2013

A Note by John Calvin (1509–1564) on Isaiah 45:7

Fanatics torture this word evil, as if God were the author of evil, that is, of sin; but it is very obvious how ridiculously they abuse this passage of the Prophet. This is sufficiently explained by the contrast, the parts of which must agree with each other; for he contrasts “peace” with “evil,” that is, with afflictions, wars, and other adverse occurrences. If he contrasted “righteousness” with “evil,” there would be some plausibility in their reasonings, but this is a manifest contrast of things that are opposite to each other. Consequently, we ought not to reject the ordinary distinction, that God is the author of the “evil” of punishment, but not of the “evil” of guilt.
John Calvin, “Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah,” in Calvin’s Commentaries, trans. William Pringle, 22 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), 8:403.


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