The psalmist goes on to give even more evidence that God's creation speaks to us. This is where Calvin starts: Our knowledge of Him, and of ourselves.
Chapter 1 brings us to basics... man's wisdom, his knowledge consists of two broad categories ... knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves. Whether our knowledge of God comes from knowledge of ourselves, or the other way around, matters little, for in the end, we must conclude that any of our knowledge comes from Him, and the more we contemplate ourselves, the more we are driven to God, and the more we are in the presence of God, the more terrible He is to us.
Take Home Pearl: Him with Whom we have to do ... the Source of all knowledge, indeed the Source of our very ability to think at all!
Chapter 2 teaches us that mankind can know God as Creator, and thus worship Him. When we come to this knowledge, the pious mind thus concludes that He also upholds His creation. Calvin reminds us that had man no need of redemption, he would come to know and worship and adore God simply because of His creating and upholding all things. This would produce a desire for obedience and fear of straying from the authority which God thus exerts over His creation.
Take Home Pearl: Mankind has an innate knowledge of God and His Creation and His Goodness, and an inborn fear of transgressing His authority over His creation, however supressed and stifled it may be.
Chapter 3 Calvin refutes the claim that religion and the fear of a god is an invention of politicians to keep people in fear and subjection. He answers that there has yet to be found a group of people in the most primitive reaches of the world who do not subject themselves willingly to base objects in God's creation, to fulfill the innate need to worship diety. Though men
make themselves merry with whatever has been believed in all ages concerning religion, ... it is but a Sardonian grin; for the worm of conscience, keener than burning steel, is gnawing them within.
Take Home Pearl: Those who claim no knowledge of God are whistling in the dark!
Chapter 4 ... Most men stifle and suppress the inborn seed of religion. Calvin uses Romans 1 to show that this is more than passive ignorance, but a willful rejection of the knowledge given them. He uses the Psalmist to show that rather than denying the existence of God, men willfully create gods of their own imaginations. He claims that every man at some time is
dragged before the divine tribunal, ... and are hurried on by the blind impulse, and their prevailing state of mind in regard to him is brutish oblivion.
Calvin further then claims whenever man thinks of God it is only when dragged kicking and screaming. Motivated by fear, man hurries back to the gods of his own invention.
Take Home Pearl: Lactantius says: No religion is genuine that is not in accordance with truth.
Chapter 5... Calvin here goes in some depth to show that God's nature and essence are revealed in His creation. He uses examples from astronomy and the functioning of the human body. We shamefully fail to recognize, even when confronted with the miracle of the workings of our body, to give God the glory. Amen. (How much the more men, who today have orders of magnitude more information, rush to give naturalistic explanations of the impossibly intricate workings of human physiology!) He then uses the normal course of human events as another revelation of the knowledge of God, how that good is rewarded and evil is punished. The fact that evil is often reward and good goes unreward should point to a future time when these discrepancies will be made right. This revelation, too, is lost on mankind, attributing even the most blatant of God's interventions in man's affairs to chance and fortune. Calvin's conclusion:
For no sooner do we, from a survey of the world, obtain some slight knowledge of Deity, than we pass by the true God, and set up in His stead the dream and phontom of our own brain, drawing away the praise of justice, wisdom, and goodness from the fountain-head, and transferring it to some other quarter.
Take Home Pearl: Even though I am stamped with the image of my Creator, wild horses can't get me to admit it!