Christ our light: The expectation of seeing god in calvin's theology of the christian life

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The beatific vision plays a prominent role in the history of Christian ethics. Reformed ethics has an ambiguous relationship to this history, on two counts. First, it offers some qualified critiques of the role of vision in ordering ethical understanding, and second, on some accounts, Reformed ethics shares some responsibility for the loss of transcendence in the modern world, and the narrowing of the ethical field that has resulted from this loss. This essay
argues that the vision of God in John Calvin’s understanding of the Christian life offers resources to defend a Reformed ethics from some recent detractors. Further, it provides a constructive contrast with the role of eschatology in a prominent strand of 20th century ethics.
This argument is sustained through a close reading of Calvin’s biblical commentaries on the role of theophanies and the promise of the vision of God, and of Book III, chapters 6-10 of the Institutes.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2020

    Research areas

  • Theology - beatific vision, ethics, Christian life, modernity, transcendence, John Calvin