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Common Grace, 2.75

Common Grace, 2.75 December 28, 2021

This post is part of a series walking through the second volume of Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace

Two chapters in, and Kuyper has yet more to say about insurance. Kicking off this chapter, Kuyper makes a financial comparison with the Gospel. Our ‘accounts’ are both personal and corporate before God. Our personal account is settled at the final judgment. Today, there are three types of “personal settlement”

  1. Direct, as revealed through special revelation (this is what we saw with Cain or Judas). This approach is now closed to us. (642-643)
  2. Some “personal settlement” is “entirely mysterious.” An accident happens to us, and we are convicted of our sin–yet there is no clear link between the two. We may not claim causality in these instances, as we lack the Divine perspective on events.
  3. Direct causal relations between sin and judgment. For example, if one drinks too much, one has a hangover or misses work. These events are calls to repent, rather than instances of final judgment.

With those three things in mind: back to insurance. Our communal debt does not affect our personal account. What’s more, our communal account has levels: family, nation, the human race as a whole. There is guilt attached to each of these, and the guilt/punishment is often jumbled between them (both within the levels and between the levels).

To summarize all of this:

  1. There is both personal and communal guilt;
  2. Suffering is directed at communal guilt, not personal guilt.

The Reformed have always held to the ideas of communal guilt and sin. The world opposes this and holds to Pelagianism or Arminianism–always at least to some form of individualism. Whichever form it takes, the world ultimately denies organic unity. This denial is ultimately an denial of the cross.

We must also not forget the connectedness of people in sin, guilt, and suffering. We all by nature forget this and fall back on individualism. Jesus teaches directly contrary to this. But! There are two kinds of suffering:

  1. Causal: where we do things to ourselves that result in suffering;
  2. Non-causal: where we do not directly cause our suffering.

The latter of these we may not attribute to our own sin, while the former we sometimes (often?) should. Insurance deals with non-causal suffering, which means that it is fair game for the believer. We are allowed to protect ourselves from non-causal suffering. Whether we are allowed to protect ourselves from the first kind of suffering Kuyper doesn’t consider here.

More on insurance ahead!

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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