Was Calvin a Theocrat or a Platonist?

Post-moderns Christians read both the Bible and the Reformers with a post-modern worldview, which is not only materialist but employs a fact value distinction. Materialism is

 is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are identical with material interactions.

Post-modern Christians are materialists in the sense that they believe in Jesus, but essentially believe in “Carl Sagan’s universe,” as CR Wiley put it: the universe and matter is all there is. There is no invisible realm of angles, demons, principalities, powers or authorities.

Post-moderns also reason using a fact-value distinction, which means you can’t derive ought from is. Transgenderism results from a fact-value distinction. Transgenders reason they can be whatever gender they want and it doesn’t matter whether their biological sex is male or female. When Christians reason this way, it might go like this, “Just because there’s an invisible realm doesn’t mean I ought to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come…'”

The Reformers, like Calvin didn’t reason this way at all. They were Platonists since Plato essentially describes the Biblical cosmos consisting of a visible and invisible realm and the typological nature of the visible realm to the invisible realm which is the greater reality. The visible world will be “heavenified” at the Day of Judgment by the invisible realm purified of evil. The visible cosmos is therefore only typological in the sense that it will give way to the greater reality. Consequently, they didn’t maintain a sharp distinction between heaven and earth or the Kingdom of God and the City of Man though they affirmed both. What is done on earth matters in heaven. Jesus even said this to his disciples in Matthew 18:18. Jesus tells other parables that indicate that what we do here on earth matters in the consummated Kingdom after the last trumpet.

This carried over to their advice to civil magistrates also. Every European magistrate claimed to be a Christian, so the advice of the Reformers to many magistrates was to act like a Christian. Advice was often taken from the theocratic period of the people of God when they lived in Israel under the Mosaic economy. This is a mistake, reason many post-modern theologians since Israel was sui generis and therefore typological of the New Heavens and New Earth. “Exactly,” a Platonist would say, “There’s a correspondence between the visible and invisible. What you do in the visible realm matters in the invisible realm and what matters in the invisible realm should matter in the visible.

Blasphemy laws worked this way and Reformers advocated them reasoning, wow can you allow man to blaspheme God the invisible Creator if you punish men for speaking against a visible King? Isn’t God greater than the king? “See, Calvin was a theocrat!” argue post-modern theologians. No, he was a Platonist: the invisible realm was the greater, more important reality to keep in mind during life in the visible, present evil age. (I am, btw, against blasphemy laws since they are a tool of tyrants everywhere. Our new secular blasphemy laws are just awful. )

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