As you may know, Calvin & Hobbes contains religious and philosophical significance in its very title. In a nod to his political science classes in college, creator Bill Watterson named Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th-century theologian and reformer, and Hobbes after the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes.
Here are 12 times that philosophy and religion spilled over into the strip itself:
1) Divine Providence
The idea that God’s will intervenes in the world.
2) Original Sin
Also known as ancestral sin, it’s the belief that the sin of Adam and Eve impacted all of human nature. Here Calvin and Hobbes illustrate a difference between Christians who believe original sin is passed on biologically and those who believe that human beings are simply impacted by the effects of original sin in the world.
3) Divine Infinity
In the Christian understanding, human beings are but a drop of oil in the ocean of divine infinity.
The idea that God (or “the stars”) has already determined all of our fates. A sort of religious determinism that conflicts with the concept of free will, predestination picked up steam in 16th century with the rise of John Calvin. ?
5) Materialistic Hedonism
The idea that one’s ultimate happiness is found in material possessions.
6) The Human Act
In ethics, the morality of a “human act” is evaluated not only on the basis of the action performed, but also the intention and circumstances.
The notion that God has no physical form (chicken or otherwise).
A philosophy focused on the human ability to tolerate pain and hardship.
9) Total Depravity
Also known as radical corruption or pervasive depravity, it’s the idea that man is utterly unable to refrain from evil and is only able to be saved by the grace of God. It is a central doctrine of Calvinist Christianity.
The Christian idea that we should extend forgiveness and love without limit. Jesus of Nazareth conveyed this message in various ways, including through parables such as the Prodigal Son and the Unforgiving Servant.
In Christian theology, it’s the concept that man’s desires are now fundamentally disordered, and that, in the words of St. Paul, we don’t do the good we want to but the evil we don’t want to do.
12) Imago Dei
The idea that God created humans in his own image, not in a physical form but in a spiritual likeness.