Calvin’s application of the truth of Scripture brought great hope not only to himself but to countless others. Calvin believed that even government should be rooted in biblical truth. Government was a covenant between the people and their leaders. Law should be an overflow of biblical truth, as all people, even kings, are accountable to God. Courageously, he emphasized that the government shouldn’t control the church and that resistance to kings is necessary if they require violation of God’s commands. The Pilgrims and Puritans fled persecution, carrying these ideas of liberty in their hearts. These reformation ideas were again stirred to life during the Great Awakening between 1735 and 1750. The Great Awakening, as well as the widespread memorizing of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, unified the colonists and laid a reformed, spiritual foundation for the birth of a new nation. Specifically, the founding fathers of our nation embraced the belief that man is sinful, having been greatly influenced by Calvin’s writing. This vital foundational principle was the reason that our government was designed as a system of checks and balances. The founding fathers knew that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and thus were cautious to not allow one monarch to rule the newly established nation. Because of Calvin’s diligent endeavors the principles of the Reformation spread from nation to nation. His exposition of biblical doctrines were understood and practiced by thousands following him. Calvin’s studying and understanding of truth brought enduring hope.
Darwin and Calvin clearly had opposing ideas. Darwin’s rejection of the Bible as the source of truth resulted in the devaluing of human life and the acceptance of false philosophies such as psychology (see my dangers of Psychology posts parts 1 and 2). These ideas bring hopelessness because they bring death. Calvin on the other hand brought hope to many through his thorough understanding of Scripture and belief that biblical truth should rule all areas of life. In indirect ways he influenced millions, birthing denominations, churches, and a new nation. All ideas have consequences. Accepting Darwin’s evolutionary ideas leads to a gloomy, self-focused hopelessness. Embracing Calvin’s belief in Scripture alone leads to a glorious, God honoring hope.