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John Calvin's Ideas$
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Paul Helm

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199255696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199255695.001.0001

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The Power Dialectic

The Power Dialectic

(p.312) 11 The Power Dialectic
John Calvin's Ideas

Paul Helm

Oxford University Press

Develops the theme of divine power raised in the previous chapter. Is God for Calvin a tyrant, a God of pure will? In the light of a consideration of the mediaeval 'power dialectic between God's 'absolute' and ordained' power, it is shown how Calvin upholds the essence of this distinction but deplores separating God's power from his righteousness. There is a discussion of the relation between the will of God and the atonement of Christ, and of the extent to which it is reasonable to think that Calvin was a 'Scotist'.

Keywords:   acceptio, atonement, divine power, Duns Scotus, 'ordained' versus 'absolute power', power dialectic, the will of God

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