Friday, June 3, 2011

Calvin Loved Animals

I've been a lover of nature, and of animals specifically, for as long as I can remember. I've had a monitor lizard, a water snake, an iguana, a sulcata tortoise, many red-eared sliders, rabbits, birds, fish (Bettas, Arowanas, Oscars, etc.), a rhesus macaque, a host of mutts, a couple of German Shepherds, a couple of Rottweilers, a Bullmastiff, and about 10 or more American Pitbull Terriers at a single time (discounting the results of my breeding efforts) for pets—and that's just off the top of my head right now! All that is to reiterate: I love God's creation generally and animals specifically. And it seems Calvin did too:

"One reoccurring element of Calvin's theological language of nature—even overlooked by contemporary theologians reevaluating his theology of creation—is his fascination with the animal kingdom.....Calvin saw every living thing, no matter how humble or harmful, as a vehicle for the self-disclosure of its Maker.....Nature for Calvin was not a bare environment for humanity, but a theater alive with non-human creatures clamoring for God as their true end and possessing dignity in their own right. Nature also functioned as the rich seed bed for human language, a 'vast dictionary and grammar' (to use Bushnell's terms) for figures that enhance our comprehension of human existence and contemporary affairs. The animal kingdom in air, land, and sea may be a channel for the natural knowledge of God and a blessing to the life of humanity, but for Calvin it was also a living lexicon from which to cull provocative metaphors for the animation of human self-understanding and the quickening of theological debate." (Peter A. Huff, CALVIN AND THE BEASTS: ANIMALS IN JOHN CALVIN’S THEOLOGICAL DISCOURSE, JETS 42/1 [March 1999])

I do believe that if Calvin had lived in our day and age, he would've been glued to the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet or National Geographic during those times that he would pause from his tome-writing (which were probably few and far between). :-D

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