Bavinck on Nature & Grace & What It Means For SAC When Grace Restores Nature

“Bavinck frequently and forcefully underscored that the reformation Christ brought about by his revelation differs fundamentally from revolution. Moses and the prophets, Christ and the apostles ‘discriminated in an inimitable manner between healthy and sick reality.’ Whereas in other religions and philosophical systems ‘these two spheres’ are constantly confused and mixed together, the special revelation that comes to us in Christ,

keeps the two in clear distinction; it acknowledges nature, everywhere and without reservation, but it nevertheless joins battle w/ sin on every front. It seeks reformation of natural life, always and everywhere, but only for the purpose and by the means of liberating it from unrighteousness.

This insight is also determinative for the assessment of concrete events and movements in social and political affairs:

Because the gospel is concerned exclusively w/ liberation from sin, it leaves all natural institutions intact. It is in principle opposed to all socialism, communism and anarchism, since these never oppose only sin, but identify (through the denial of the Fall) sin w/ nature, unrighteousness w/ the very institution of family, state and society, and thus creation w/ the Fall. For the same reason the Gospel is averse to revolution of any kind, which arises out of the principle of unbelief, since such revolution, in its overthrowing of the existing order, makes no distinction between nature and sin, and eradicates the good together w/ the bad. The gospel, by contrast, always proceeds reformationally. The gospel itself brings about the greatest reformation, because it brings liberation from guilt, renews the heart, and thus in principle restores the right relation of man to God.

Jan Veenhof
Nature & Grace in Herman Bavinck — pg. 23-24

1.) What Veenhof is drawing out here from Bavinck is that Grace restores nature because Grace has the effect of removing from nature its participation in sin driven sick reality. Grace never turns nature into grace but the effect of grace upon nature is to restore nature to its healthy reality from the sick reality that sin has it in bondage to.

2.) Nature and Grace remain distinct for Bavinck but Grace has an impact on nature thus indication that Grace is not divorced from nature.

3.) For Bavinck Socialism, Anarchism, and Communism (SAC) had to be opposed by all right minded Christians because SAC are part of the disordered sin sick reality that nature was poisoned with. SAC creates sick reality because they identify sin w/ nature, and creation w/ the fall, and so in order to attack sin and the fall they attack nature and thus seek to pull down God’s institutional created social order that includes family, state, and society, preferring instead a sinful social order where God’s diversity is blended into a humanistic Unitarian sameness. This creates the sick reality that Bavinck speaks of.

4.) Where the Gospel flourishes and brings Reformation (i.e. counter-Revolution) SAC is brought to heel since SAC is the revolutionary antithesis based on the principle of unbelief. From this I would say that we can legitimately conclude that Reformation is being granted where SAC is seen in abysmal retreat. Where SAC isn’t in retreat there is no Reformation.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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