Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art
Christian's Library Press, 2011
182 pp., $14.99
Breathing Eden's Air
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
As an artist of Christian faith with a father as a research scientist, brother as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, mother as an educator, grandfather as a governmental official in the education department of postwar Japan (he was asked to document the aftereffects of the atomic destruction in Hiroshima two weeks after the bombing), and wife as a psychotherapist, I am indebted to Abraham Kuyper. Who else could cover the range of disciplines, as in a vast sweep of historical reflections, to integrate them and begin to make sense of the way they cohere? Kuyper (1837-1920), who spent his life as a pastor, a politician, a theologian, a journalist, a social entrepreneur, founder of a university, and prime minister of the Netherlands, provides a theological lens through which to view all of these disciplines. Now we are privileged to hold in our hands a new translation of his book Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art, and we are left to indeed wonder in amazement at the wisdom, simplicity, and power of the vision he laid out a century ago, so timely for our complex journey today.
Kuyper reintroduced the doctrine of Common Grace as a central theme for Reformed thinkers. The idea that God bestows his gifts to all peoples, not just those who profess to be Christians, can be traced back to Augustine, but it was Kuyper who made it a theological pillar. Common Grace is to be distinguished from Particular Grace, the grace of God given to those whose eyes have been opened to God's existence and have been given the ability to accept the gift of salvation. Kuyper notes that the sciences and the arts are gifts given before the Fall and operate principally in Common Grace arenas.
What I found as an artist of faith, associated with the so-called "secular city" of New York, is that this city does not create a "secular vs. Christian" dichotomy but rather a wild pluralism. The theology of Kuyper, exemplified ...