Church Fathers – Calvin

Calvin on God Predestining Evil for Good

From the City of God:

It is with reference to the nature, then, and not to the wickedness of the devil, that we are to understand these words, This is the beginning of God’s handiwork; for, without doubt, wickedness can be a flaw or vice only where the nature previously was not vitiated… And because God, when He created him, was certainly not ignorant of his future malignity, and foresaw the good which He Himself would bring out of his evil, therefore says the psalm, This leviathan whom You have made to be a sport therein, that we may see that, even while God in His goodness created him good, He yet had already foreseen and arranged how He would make use of him when he became wicked.

For God would never have created any, I do not say angel, but even man, whose future wickedness He foreknew, unless He had equally known to what uses in behalf of the good He could turn him, thus embellishing, the course of the ages, as it were an exquisite poem set off with antitheses. For what are called antitheses are among the most elegant of the ornaments of speech. They might be called in Latin oppositions, or, to speak more accurately, contrapositions; but this word is not in common use among us, though the Latin, and indeed the languages of all nations, avail themselves of the same ornaments of style… As, then, these oppositions of contraries lend beauty to the language, so the beauty of the course of this world is achieved by the opposition of contraries, arranged, as it were, by an eloquence not of words, but of things…