This post is part of a series walking through the third volume of Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace
“Sin,” Kuyper tells us with understatement, “has caused a certain darkening of our understanding.” (542) Certainly what we see is skewed–as with a cracked mirror. But also how we see is skewed. That is, there’s a problem with our reason, as well, as with what we see. The way our minds engage with what they receive is twisted by sin. We can all “see”, but the scientific sight involves a deeper and more complex observation. But this is still just “seeing”, and involves lists of phenomena. These lists must also be compiled into a narrative, which is also a part of what science does.
Some people want to restrict science to the natural world and call it “neutral”, as opposed to the disciplines that involve subjective human perspectives. More, science is not the source of truth, and here ego has no place. Unfortunately while this may work in areas like physics and chemistry, it collapses when we move into history, philosophy, and politics. But we also sense the falseness of this division, and so we become increasingly materialistic. We also have to remember both subjectivity and the spiritual realm, and some will understand why contradictions arise in the world.
True sciences hold to both external realities and the spiritual world that drives them. The very act of thought proves this is so. Thought proves the very thing it explores, as it has one foot in the physical world and one in the spiritual world. Order proves the same thing. [Kuyper uses the term “coherence,” and I’m not sure if that’s a Dutch term or a translation choice, but in context “order” seems to catch the sense of it.] Even the presence of rational systems shows that the spiritual realm intersects with the material order. The same is true of destiny–we know there will be an end of existence, but observation doesn’t show us this.
Theologians have also retreated from science [remember the evolution debates had solidified in Kuyper’s lifetime]. The furthers the divide between the materialists and the spiritualists and just furthers the war between science and religion. We need to see the union of matter and spirit, which means we need eyes made new. God provides us this in regeneration–something only partly accomplished in this life.
More on Kuyper on science in the next post.