Luther: Humans After the Fall are Philosophers

Martin Luther on the natural state of being human after the Fall; Luther thinks that when it comes to God people in their fallen status can only elevate to the level of philosopher. It is an insight that Feuerbach, in his own way, would develop, but in a more antagonistic way towards religion in general; i.e. the idea that god is simply a human projection.

. . . Since the Fall every man has been a philosopher, for he has taken his experience of the world and his knowledge of reality — which he has succeeded in describing scientifically — as a standard by which to measure God. But the intellect does not suffice to grasp the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He must be apprehended through the Scriptures. The “God” created by man is a false god of his own making.[1]

In a nutshell it is this reality that evangelical Calvinists press into; i.e. the idea that without God Self-exegeting Himself for us in Jesus Christ (which is exactly what John 1.18 says He does); without being given Christ’s heart in the resurrection (Rom. 6–8; II Cor. 3; Ezek. 36; etc.) all we can do is philosophize and conjure categories about God that we claim to have discovered by reflecting upon nature refracted by our personal and collective experiences as human beings. As evangelical Calvinists we are saying a loud Nein to this, and affirming what Luther holds true about humans after the fall.

[1] Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, 170.

 

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