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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Kuyper's Common Grace #CG1.1 Chapter 18

18 Natural or Supernatural?

Kuyper now looks at Adam’s “inner existence”. He maintains that: “The doctrine of ‘common grace’ cannot be known nor understood without having a clear perception of the scriptural truth, especially with regard to the state of righteousness.” 

In the Roman Catholic view original righteousness was  added as a “supernatural gift”, it was not part of Adam’s original creation. Grace is an addition to nature. So, in the fall what was affected was what was added, not was created. Hence, we can still be free to choose and this then leads us to (semi-)Pelagianism. 

Kuyper uses a number of interesting images including bridles on horse, spiders and bees, the pressure valve on a boiler. For example:
“for a bee, merely its ability to gather honey, to make a honeycomb, and to fill that honeycomb belongs to the bee’s nature, but that the fact that instead of spilling the honey, as many species of wasps do, the bee delivers the honey to the comb is a mysterious function that is added to the nature of this insect, then we have a depiction of the view of Rome concerning original righteousness. On the other hand, if our answer is, no, God created the bee not only with the ability to do it but also with the impulse and the instinct to actually do it, so that both the ability to do it and the doing itself belong to the nature of the bee, then we have the Reformed system.” (169)
In contrast, then to the Roman Catholic system the Reformed have argues that our nature became so corrupt after the fall, we did not lose something that was added but rather something that was part of our nature: “What has changed is not his essence but the functioning of his nature. Undamaged in his essence, he has become depraved in his nature.” (171)

To think that something has to be added is an affront to God as Creator:

“When he creates, he is not dependent on anything. He speaks and it is. And it is as he has willed it. And if we say that in creating human nature, God ordained that nature to be so in- sufficient, so imperfect, so inadequate that at an incalculable moment after creation, something had to be added, affixed to it, coupled to it, dripped in, or whatever you want to call it, but nevertheless always in such a way that this human nature as created constituted a danger, and that in order to avert this danger a safety valve had to be installed—does not such a view detract from God’s honor? ” (173)

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