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Title: God hidden and revealed in Luther and Calvin
Author: Shin, J. W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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The main purpose of my thesis is a comparative study of the theme ‘God hidden and revealed’ in Luther and Calvin, with a focus on the relation between the hidden God and the revealed God. One of the serious issues debated in theological scholarship is the relation between the hidden God and revealed God. Some say the relation is antithetical, arguing from the apparently dualistic and irreconcilable aspects such as the arbitrariness of God and God as love. Some say that it is identical, seeing that in a single event of revelation, the eye of faith discerns the Deus revelatus, where sense-perception can only find Deus absconditus. While there have been many diverse critical views surrounding the issue of Luther’s God hidden and revealed, not much attention has been given to Calvin’s doctrine of hiddenness of God. Nor has a comparison been made of the relation between the hidden God and revealed God in Luther and Calvin. In this thesis, Luther’s concept of the hidden God is put on the matrix of his central theme of theology of the Cross, a theme which runs through his whole theology. Luther’s hidden God in the theology of the Cross is characterized as the God wearing the mask, who works abscondita sub contrariis in relation to his creature. Compared to Luther, however, this thesis shows that the concept of Deus absconditus is not only as native to Calvin’s theology as it is to Luther’s, but also parallels Luther’s in large parts. If the mask is the trademark of Luther’s hidden God, the idea of ‘accommodation’ can be Calvin’s trademark. The accommodating God speaks to us like a mother babbles to her child, in baby talk. As Luther’s God hides himself in masks to reveal himself, Calvin’s God accommodates himself to our human weakness and sinfulness to reveal himself. Luther’s ideas are deeply rooted in paradox. Much more so than Calvin, Luther describes so sheer and serious a contradiction between God hidden and revealed as to threaten the unity of God hidden and revealed. At the same time, Luther never loses his strong view of unity of God. ‘Unity in contradiction’ in God hidden and revealed can be understood only in Divine paradox, which tells us that contradiction is just in the human eye, not in God’s eye.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available