Archive Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

God’s Existence Proven From Excellence and Wonder

In his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Zacharias Ursinus has a section entitled “From What Does It Appear That There Is A God?” where he lists 11 arguments for God’s existence. Many of these are familiar, the argument from creation, rational causality, and morality, but the 8th argument stands out as delightful. We might call it the argument from wonder. Ursinus writes:

Heroic enthusiasm, or that wisdom and excellent virtue in undertaking and accomplishing works surpassing the ordinary powers of man, as the dexterity and delight of skillful artificers and of governors in discovering and furthering the arts, and in devising various counsel; also such greatness of mind in performing deeds of renown, and in managing affairs, as there was in Achilles, Alexander, Archimedes, Plato, &c., all give evidence that there must be some superior and omnipotent cause that excites and urges men on to these things.

~Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pg. 123

The logic itself is striking. A purely naturalistic universe might produce variations of quality, but it cannot produce wise and excellent virtue. There’s a non-utilitarian aspect to wonder and delight, and yet it is a universal and universally praised aspect of this world. Note also the great minds named, as Ursinus retains high praise for the ancient Greeks.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the Rector of Christ Church Anglican in South Bend, Indiana. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a founding member of the Davenant Institute.