Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Light Still Shines in the Darkness

In 1894, upon the assumption of the presidency of the Theological Seminary of the Gereformeerde Kerken at Kampen, the Netherlands, Herman Bavinck delivered a presidential address entitled De Algemeene Genade (Common Grace). Anthony A. Hoekema translated a portion of it from p. 17 of the 1922 edition Bavinck's work in Created in God's Image (1994), pp. 190-191, which is very much worth quoting here (HT: Tony Reinke):

From this common grace proceeds all that is good and true that we still see in fallen man. The light still shines in the darkness. The Spirit of God lives and works in everything that has been created. Therefore there still remains in man certain traces of the image of God. There is still intellect and reason; all kinds of natural gifts are still present in him. Man still has a feeling and an impression of divinity, a seed of religion. Reason is a priceless gift. Philosophy is an admirable gift from God. Music is also a gift of God. Arts and sciences are good, profitable, and of high value. The state has been instituted by God...There is still a desire for truth and virtue, and for natural love between parents and children. In matters that concern this earthly life, man is still able to do much good....Through the doctrine of common grace the Reformed have, on the one hand, maintained the specific and absolute character of the Christian religion, but on the other hand they have been second to none in their appreciation for whatever of the good and beautiful is still being given by God to sinful human beings.

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