Thursday, June 01, 2017

John Calvin: Women Will Be Saved by Having Babies


John Calvin: Women Will Be Saved by Having Babies

By John Calvin
“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” (1 Timothy 2:13-15 NIV)

BUT WOMEN WILL BE SAVED:

The weakness of the sex renders women more suspicious and timid, and the preceding statement might greatly terrify and alarm the strongest minds. For these reasons he modifies what he had said by adding a consolation…
Paul, in order to comfort them and render their condition tolerable, informs them that they continue to enjoy the hope of salvation, though they suffer a temporal punishment.
It is proper to observe that the good effect of this consolation is twofold.  First, by the hope of salvation held out to them, they are prevented from falling into despair through alarm at the mention of their guilt.  Secondly, they become accustomed to endure calmly and patiently the necessity of servitude, so as to submit willingly to their husbands, when they are informed that this kind of obedience is both profitable to themselves and acceptable to God.
If this passage be tortured, as Papists are wont to do, to support the righteousness of works, the answer is easy. The Apostle does not argue here about the cause of salvation, and therefore we cannot and must not infer from these words what works deserve; but they only shew in what way God conducts us to salvation, to which he has appointed us through his grace.

THROUGH CHILDBEARING:

To censorious men it might appear absurd, for an Apostle of Christ not only to exhort women to give attention to the birth of offspring, but to press this work as religious and holy to such an extent as to represent it in the light of the means of procuring salvation…
Whatever hypocrites or wise men of the world may think of it, when a woman, considering to what she has been called, submits to the condition which God has assigned to her, and does not refuse to endure the pains, or rather the fearful anguish, of parturition, or anxiety about her offspring, or anything else that belongs to her duty, God values this obedience more highly than if, in some other manner, she made a great display of heroic virtues, while she refused to obey the calling of God.
To this must be added, that no consolation could be more appropriate or more efficacious than to shew that the very means (so to speak) of procuring salvation are found in the punishment itself.
Source: Calvins’s Commentary, Vol. 21, p. 71. Published originally by the Lutheran theologian Charles D. Provan in his book “The Bible and Birth Control” by Zimmer Printing in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., in 1989.
Portuguese version of this article: João Calvino: As mulheres serão salvas tendo bebês
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