Original Research

The doctrine of providence in the Institutes of Calvin – still relevant?

C.F.C. Coetzee
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 44 | a186 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v44i0.186 | © 2010 C.F.C. Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2010 | Published: 26 July 2010

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C.F.C. Coetzee, Faculty of Theology, Potchefstroom Campus , North-West University, South Africa

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In the reformed tradition and theology, the doctrine of provi- dence has always been important and relevant, so much so that it forms an integral part of the reformed confessions. At the same time some of the most difficult theological questions are raised regarding this doctrine, questions like the following: Is God in control of everything? What is the relationship between the providence of God and sin, suffering, man’s responsibility, et cetera? In our times the doctrine as such is questioned or even rejected. What makes this topic even more important is the commemoration of the publication of Darwin’s book, “The origin of species”, coupled with the renewed emphasis on Darwinism, evolutionism and atheism.1 From the perspective of the Calvinistic-reformed theology and in the light of the com- memoration of Calvin’s birth 500 years ago, it is important to determine the relevance of Calvin’s thoughts on a number of important issues in the current debate, e.g. the doctrine on God, providence and creation, sin, suffering, et cetera. It is also determined that Calvin’s thoughts are reflected in the reformed confessions, which is still the living faith of reformed churches all over the world.


Calvinism; Darwinism; Institutes; Providence; Reformed Confessions


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