Robinson’s most famous character, the Congregationalist minister John Ames, is devoted to Calvin—as is Robinson herself. She is a careful student of the Reformer and mimics his form: The Gilead novels, like the Institutes, should be read as a summa pietatis rather than a summa theologiae. This means that for both Calvin and Robinson, the goal is doxology.
The Institutes’ subtitle describes the work as “almost the whole sum of piety and whatever is necessary to know about the doctrine of salvation.” In the same vein, Robinson seeks to express in her novels a theology that has worship as its end. In her work, delight in the created order is a precursor to knowledge of God’s sustaining presence.
Moriah Speciale. There’s been some warranted criticism of Marilynne Robinson of late, but I think this piece rightly refutes one of the more recent and less persuasive attempts at taking down Robinson’s theology.