VI. Pighius' Arguments

We shall now summarily gather such of Pighius' objections as have any plausibility, so that our readers may understand that the weapons with which he fights are no better than the cause for which he evoked such a great conflict. He says[1] that the whole question turns on this: To what end was man created? And first, he holds it as very absurd to suppose that God expected any return out of the creation of man; for God being self-contained lacks nothing. I indeed admit that God has no need of any external support; but I say it is an ignorant conclusion to draw from this that He has no regard for Himself in making men for His own glory. For what is the meaning of that word of Solomon (Prov 16.4): The Lord has made all things for Himself? Hence there is nothing absurd in saying that, though He lacked nothing, He yet created the race of men for His own glory. And this ought deservedly to be considered the chief end of man. The sophism of Pighius is the more ridiculous when he reasons that God was moved by no regard to His own glory in the creation of man because He is most perfect in Himself. But it is worth attention to hear how he extricates himself from that passage of Solomon: God made all things for Himself; but the reference is not to His own glory but on account of the immensity of His goodness. And lest this exposition should lack weight, he denies that any interpreters agree with me, except a few detestable heretics, as he calls them.[2] Why should I spend time refuting such futile frivolities?[3] The Hebrew word lammaanehu[4] which Solomon uses means the same as if he said: for His own sake. This man, inflated with semHatin garrulity explains what the word propter means. But had he a spark of sanity, the context itself would plainly show that the wicked were created for the day of evil simply because- God willed to illustrate His own glory in them; just as elsewhere He declares that Pharaoh was raised up by Him that He might show forth His name among the Gentiles (Ex 9.16). Further,[5] to give plausibility to his absurd error, he adduces the testimony of Moses: Now, Israel, what does the Lord thy God demand of thee but to love and worship Him? I trust that none of my readers is so silly as not see that we have here a man wanting in intellect and chattering without shame. What? does God will to be worshipped by us more for the sake of our good than His? is respect for His own glory so buried that He regards us alone? And what then is to be done with the testimonies of Scripture that establish the glory of God as the chief and ultimate end of man's salvation? Hence this principle must be held fast: God had such regard to our salvation as not to forget Himself but to set His own glory in the first place, and the whole world is constituted for the end of being a theatre of His glory. Not that He was not content with Himself or had need to borrow anything from elsewhere, but that He dignified His creatures with honour by impressing on them the plain marks of His glory (Eph 1.6).

Having made so dexterous a beginning, Pighius subjoins another end. God, having regard to the nature of His own goodness, wished to make a rational creature capable of receiving it; and this could not be done without the bestowal of freewill. If this is admitted, he thinks it is the ruin of what I teach The discrimination between elect and reprobate cannot then be determined by the eternal decree of God, because man is arbiter of his future condition and has either fortune in his hand. Here readers must be first warned and exhorted to hold God, their maker and creator, in the honour due to Him, not to obtrude with bold eyes to consider His purpose in creating the human race, but to regard Him reverently, soberly and with the clear eyes of faith. I know that hardly anything can be said about the eternal predestination of God without many perverse and absurd suppositions immediately creeping into the mind. For this reason, there are some modest people who would suppress all mention of the doctrine, lest material be offered to undisciplined minds for exalting themselves. But I must pass over such too nice speculations and leave them to others. I do not think it right to shun the honest confession of the truth lest it be exposed to the grimaces of the impious. For nothing is more precious to God than His truth; nor does He will that His justice be protected by our dissimulation, as if He stood in need of such patronage.[6] We shall later deal with this at greater length. Now I shall reply briefly to the point at issue. Pighius contends that men were so immediately created for salvation that no counsel of God concerning the contrary event of destruction preceded. As if indeed the Lord had not foreseen before the first man was made what the future of the whole race would be! As if He had not decreed what He wished to be done. That he might be the image of God, man from the beginning was endowed with the light of reason and rectitude of nature. Therefore God, as if blind, awaited the outcome in doubt and suspense. Such is Pighius' reasoning.[7] From this he boldly infers that God so disposed all men at their creation without distinction or discrimination to be partakers of His goodness and blessedness. But godly minds cannot by this reasoning reconcile the two matters, that man when first made was set in such a position that by voluntarily falling he should be the cause of his own destruction, and yet that it was so ordained by the admirable counsel of God that this voluntary ruin to the human race and all the posterity of Adam should be a cause of humility. For, though it pleased God to arrange things so, yet man did not the less precipitate voluntarily his own destruction though formerly endowed with an upright nature and made in the image of God. I again repeat, I am aware how much absurdity and contradiction these things carry with them for profane men. But, over against a thousand witnesses, the voice of one conscience ought to suffice for us.[8] If we listen to it, we shall be ashamed to deny that man perished justly for voluntarily preferring to follow Satan rather than God.


[1] Lib. 8, cap. 2.

[2] Lib. 7, cap. 2.

[3] And lest this exposition ... frivolities - lacking in the French.

[4] So Amsterdam; other principal editions and Beza: lamaannihu; Gallasius: jamaannihu; French: The word which Solomon uses, for His own sake, carries quite another sense. And in fact what follows sufficiently shows that the wicked, etc. (rest omitted).

[5] Further ... regards us alone--French omits.

[6] French has. defence or excuse.

[7] Such is ... blessedness - wanting in the French

[8] French has: whatever he prates or prattles.... Now let each one of you hear what conscience says....