Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week: Accommodation


“God’s appropriation of humanly intelligible means to communicate real knowledge of himself.”1 God speaking to us in a form that is suited to our human capacity.

  • From Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, 1.17.13:
  • Because our weakness cannot reach his height, any description which we receive of him must be lowered to our capacity in order to be intelligible. And the mode of lowering is to represent him not as he really is, but as we conceive of him.

    After forming humankind in his image, God then spoke. That’s right, the infinite, transcendent incomprehensible God used words, and these words revealed not only who he is but what duty God requires of humans. His word established a covenantal relationship between God and his people. 

    Theologians have a word for this: “accomodation.” The parent talking to his two-year-old, speaking “inarticulately because of the child” since it is impossible for the parent to be understood by the child apart from “condescending to their mode of speech.” John Calvin compared God to a nurse caring for an infant. The nurse bends low to speak a language that the infant can understand.

Learn more:

  1. Tom Ascol: The Biblical Doctrine of Divine Accommodation (audio)
  2. Hans Madueme: Inerrance and Divine Accommodation
  3. Vern S. Poythress: Rethinking Accomodation in Revelation


Related terms:

Filed under God’s Nature and His Work

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