17 June 2014

Abraham Kuyper: "Common Grace" 1.0

Per James Bratt, on the one hand, 
It would be the old pious smugness, Kuyper warned, to see the human race existing only to bring forth the elect. ... God had endowed the human race with abilities on purpose [i.e., to unfold the powers latent in creation and human nature] , and common grace was the means by which that intention was not thwarted by the fall. ... This was an invitation to celebrate the century's achievements in science and technology, and Kuyper did not pass it up.
On the other hand,
Kuyper saluted more than material gains. The "higher" levels of thinking, the "nobler" sentiments of family life, the civil tongue of bourgeois discourse ... all these were undeniable improvements over the superstition that had benighted so much life in the past .... It was Western Europeans and their American cousins, Kuyper elaborated, who best nurtured the fruits of common grace ... And Kuyper did not hesitate to link [this reading of history]  into the racial hierarchies of the day: "The Arab appeals to you by beauty of appearance, we Dutch look very common, and the Hottentot fills you with loathing."

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