John Calvin's view of the Kingdom of God
This thesis examines John Calvin's concept of the Kingdom of God. There are four basic terms for this concept: regnum Dei, regnum Christi, regnum caelorum and regnum caeleste. All of these terms are more or less interchangeable. With the Christian church Calvin recognizes that one aspect of the Kingdom of God is its transcendent, heavenly, eternal dimension. This is the unique meaning of regnum caeleste. Yet most of Calvin's discourse on the Kingdom refers to the presence of God's Kingdom or rule on earth. The term regnum can mean either kingdom or reign. Regnum Dei therefore refers to God's reign or his Kingdom, or in many cases both aspects together. There are two dimensions to his reign: the general rule over the world and the special redemptive rule through his Word and Spirit. In the broader sense, the regnum Dei is basically equivalent to God's providence. The special, redemptive dimension of God's reign is the Kingdom of Christ or the regnum Christi. The regnum Christi is the rule of Christ from the time of his ascension up to the time of the Last Judgement, at which time Christ will hand back the reign to the Father. The product of Christ's reign is the church, which is Christ's Kingdom. Calvin uses the concept of the regnum Christi to interpret some important prophetic passages in the Old Testament. Many Old Testament prophecies are seen by Calvin to point forward to the New Testament age when Christ will rule. There is also an individual dimension to the Kingdom of God in Calvin's theology. The Kingdom of God is often the life of sanctification which is found in the individual believer. But collectively, as we have seen, the Kingdom of God on earth often refers to the church. Although Calvin urges princes and rulers to submit to the rule of Christ, it is perhaps inconsistent when he does not include 'lq Christian political institutions in his concept of the Kingdom of God. Thus in respect to the city of Geneva, over which he exerted so much influence, Calvin sees the church in that city as a part of Christ's Kingdom, but the city as a whole is not considered to be Christ's Kingdom.