I am a sympathetic critic (with emphasis on critic) of Abraham Kuyper. I fully reject what he says on covenant, common grace, and the church. This book, though, is quite interesting and worth reading.
Argument: theologically science should begin organically because knowledge is inter-related. It is the unbelieving world that can’t integrate knowledge (I:iv).
Science: a collected body of knowledge independent from the activity of the knower. It is a “connected form of knowledge.”
If there were no organic relationship between subject and object, “then thinking man in our age would have an entirely different object before him” than in other times (II:1). Kuyper is addressing the old problem regarding the relationship of universals to particulars.
- Organic relation between object and our human nature
- Relation between that object and our consciousness.
- Relation between that object and our world of thought.
Older scholastic view of faculty:
“The formal function of the life of our soul which is fundamental to every fact in our human consciousness” (37).
Chapter 3: The Twofold Development of Science
The Christian is determined by a palingenesis, which leads to an enlightening, which changes a man in his very being (50). Kuyper: “This regeneration breaks humanity in two.”
Chapter 5: Theology in the Organism of Science
Theology finds its object in the revealed, ectypal knowledge of God (81).
Chapter 1: The Conception of Theology
The Influence of Palingenesis upon Theology and Science
It implies that all existing things are in ruins and that there is a way they can be restored (83).
Conception: the way of knowledge which we travel.
Idea: views the end independently
Man: man is no spirit but a spiritual being and exists simultaneously psychically and somatically, so that a great deal of his inner life manifests itself without the person being conscious of it (97).
(Kuyper rebuts the donum superadditum on pp. 104-105)
Common grace: the act of God by which he negatively curbs the operations of Satan (111).
Revelation, Humanity, and History: revelation goes out to humanity taken as a whole. Since humanity unfolds itself historically, this Revelation also bears an historic character. Since this humanity exists organically, having a centrum of action, this Revelation also had to be organic, with a centrum of its own (112).
For Hegel and Schleiermacher, man is the archetypal theology and God is the ectypal theology. True being and knowledge is only in man, while knowledge of God is a dim imprint.
Regeneration and Knowledge, Again
“Regeneration is not an element in knowing, but in being” (142ff). What I think he is saying is that regeneration penetrates to the whole man.
A principium of knowledge is a living agent, and it is from this agent that knowledge flows. As such, obviously, the bible is not an agent. Nevertheless, it is proper to call Scripture the principium unicum theologiae if understand as a plant, “whose germ as sprouted and budded” (143).
Sharpening our antithesis: if Holy Scripture is the principium of theology, then there is an antitheis between this principium and the common principium of our knowledge (153).
Really good section on the relation of natural and special revelation. Rather than two mechanical principles that never really integrate (e.g., as in Protestant and Roman Catholic scholasticism), they “possess a higher unity, are allied to one another, and, by virtue of this unity and relationship, are capable of affecting each other” (157). Their unity is God, as he is the source and object of both kinds of knowledge.
Question: Can Natural Revelation judge Special Revelation (159ff)?
Muslims isolate the principium of knowing from the principium of being (175). I think Kuyper means is that there is no organic connection between the two. Kuyper mentions a “dictated inspiration” in connection.
But for the Christian, what binds these streams together–the recreative divine energy? Kuyper wants to avoid the idea of “inspiration” as some kind of donum superadditum.
Summary of sub-section: the special principium in God directs itself as the principium of knowledge ot the consciousness of the sinner, bringing about inspiration/illumination. As principium of being, its spiritual and material re-creative acts are called miracles. The world of thought and the world of being do not lie side by side, but are organically connected (178).
Miracles organically recreate the cosmos from within. Away with silly discussions of “violating natural law.” Renewal in Scripture is not a new power or a new state of being, “but simply a new shoot [that] springs from the root of creation itself” (182).