Kelly brings some of the pillars of Christian Theology in support of the idea that our true knowledge of God is inseparable from our knowledge of Jesus Christ and not derivable from creation and conscience.

Martin Luther:

Begin your search with Christ and stay with Him and cleave to Him, and if your own thoughts and reason, or another man’s, would lead you elsewhere, shut your eyes and say: I should and will know of no other God than Christ, my Lord…But if you abandon this clear prospect, and climb up into God’s majesty on high, you must stumble, fear and fall because you have withdrawn yourself from God’s grace and the have dared to stare at the Majesty unveiled, which is too high and overpowering for you. For apart from Christ, Nature can neither perceive nor attain the grace and love of God, and apart from Him is nothing but wrath and condemnation.


But the voice which reigns, the voice by which we were taught by God Himself concerning God, was the voice of Jesus Christ…In avoiding the difference sources of error, we saw that they had one feature in common: the negligence or arbitrariness with which even in the Church the attempt was made to go past or to go beyond Jesus Christ in the consideration and conception and definition of God…But when the theology allows itself on any pretext to be jostled away from that name, God is inevitably crowded out by a hypnotised image of man. Theology must begin with Jesus Christ, and not with general principles…Otherwise, the highest reality can, and inevitably will, be reduced to the flattest unreality.


After citing Calvin on Kingdom of God, Kelly quotes Calvin as saying:

In the first two points - and especially in the second - the greatest geniuses are blinder than moles! Certainly, I do not deny that one can read competent and apt statements about God here and there in the philosophers, but these always show a certain giddy imagination…the Lord indeed gave them a slight taste of his divinity in such a way that their seeing did not direct them to the truth, much less enable them to see it…Besides, although they may chance to sprinkle their books with droplets of truthm how many monstrous lies defile them. In short, they never even sensed that assurance of God’s benevolence toward us (without which man’s understanding can only be filled with boundless confusion). Human reason, therefore, neither approaches, nor strives toward, nore even takes a straight aim at, this truth: to understand who the true God is or what sort of God he wishes to be toward us.



  1. Kelly, Systematic Theology - Volume 1, p. 155
  2. [[ Barth, Church Dogmatics - Volume 2 ]], II.2.4-5