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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Predestination without Stoicism and Epicureanism

In the Enchiridion Theologicum, Niels Hemmingsen urges that any ideas we have about “the mystery of predestination” must be taken only from the Word and not “from reason.” Otherwise, trouble awaits, in the forms of Stoicism and Epicureanism:

Regulae itaque observandae hae sunt: Prima, Nequaquam ex ratione, sed ex solo verbo Dei nobis patefacto, iudicandum est de praedestinationis mysterio. Haec regula confirmatur ex eo, quod aliunde non sit de voluntate dei iudicandum, quam ex verbo. Regulae usus, ut excludas ex hoc negocio stoicas de necessitate opiniones, quibus tollitur contingentia, et laeditur gloria Dei, pravique mores confirmantur, et epicurismus invehitur.

Therefore the following rules must be observed: first, we must not judge concerning the mystery of predestination from reason, but from the Word of God alone that has been revealed to us. This rule is confirmed by the following consideration–[namely,] that we must not judge concerning the will of God from any other source than from the Word. The use of the rule is to exclude from this matter Stoic opinions concerning necessity, by which contingency is destroyed, and the glory of God is harmed, and depraved morals are strengthened, and Epicureanism is smuggled in.1

  1. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.