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Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art Paperback – November 10, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Abraham Kuyper was a profound theologian, an encyclopedic thinker, and a deeply spiritual man who believed that it is the believer's task 'to know God in all his works.' In a day when secular science is seeking to establish hegemony over all knowing, and when postmodern art is threatening to bring an end to art, Kuyper's solid, Biblical insights can help to restore perspective and sanity to these two critical areas of human life. --Chuck Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

The appearance of this treatise in English translation is for me the beginning of a large dream come true. Kuyper's writings on common grace are much needed 'for such a time as this', and Wisdom & Wonder is a marvelous foretaste of more that is to come! --Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy of Fuller Theological Seminary

About the Author

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) is a significant figure in the history of the Netherlands and modern Protestant theology. A prolific intellectual, he founded a political party and a university, and served as the prime minister of Holland from 1901 to 1905. His enduring passion was to develop a theology for the general public and was seen in his extensive elaboration of the doctrine of common grace.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Christian's Library Press (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937498905
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937498900
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art by Abraham Kuyper

This new translation by Nelson Kloosterman is a wonderful addition to the existing works of Kuyper's already in English translation. Vincent Bacote guides us through the political and social ramifications of Kuyper's theology in a short but insightful introduction. Seeking to understanding Kuyper and common grace, Bacote writes, "Common grace is God's restraint of the full effects of sin after the Fall, preservation and maintenance of the created order, and distribution of talents to human beings" (26). While modern people might still make sharp distinctions between science and art, Kuyper brought together both fields under the domain of scientific investigation. This new translation is a great joy for many, including myself, because we need Abraham Kuyper to help elucidate a vision of cultural engagement and theological maturity that is neither `Club Christianity' nor dominated by a secular worldview. How does Abraham Kuyper engage the cultural capital of his time while remaining true to the faith he held so dear?

In his first section on Wisdom, Kuyper makes a claim regarding humanity made in the image of God that is more than just a recognition that we belong to God's race. He writes, "If this is so, then it follows automatically that in relation to the image of God, no single human being bears this feature of God in its fullness, but that all talent and all genius together comprise the capacity for incorporating within itself this fullness of the thought of God" (43). Rather than keep the discussion of the image of God and humans to a description of attributes (communicable and incommunicable), Kuyper reveals that there is a harmonious functionality to the rich talent and aptitude of human nature.
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Format: Paperback
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) penned this book in 1905, and it later became part of a three-volume set on the topic of Common Grace. This is the first translation into English from the original Dutch.

Kuyper reads the Bible literally, in particular the Garden of Eden and mankind's fall, and ponders some provoking issues about what the Fall meant for the development of science and art. His writing, while dated and in many places relevant only to the most conservative Christian, is intelligent and opinionated, and the translation is elegant. It's a pleasure to read.

Kuyper sees Adam's fall from grace as a major setback in both science and art, and the beginning of human attempts to recapture the beauty of both. Never can we approach what we once shared in paradise, nor can we begin to imagine the beauty of the world to come, but God has been gracious in awarding us at least a little glimpse of the beauty of his creation, through the avenues of science and art.

Both can be misused, of course. It requires a proper Christian outlook to remain on track, lest we fall into the dangers of Darwinian thinking or (shudder) nude modeling. Certainly the charm of this book is its antiquated quaintness, while simultaneously uncovering Kuyper as a profound theologian. The translation is superb, a perfect tone for the discussion.

Whether you are a conservative seeking comfort in old time religion or a historian of post-enlightenment Christianity, this book is a gem.
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Format: Paperback
Common Grace is the idea that there is a measure of grace extended to everyone--common to all. Wikipedia defines it this way: "It is "common" because its benefits are experienced by, or intended for, the whole human race without distinction between one person and another. It is "grace" because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God. In this sense, it is distinguished from the Calvinistic understanding of "special" or "saving" grace, which extends only to those whom God has chosen to redeem." Source: [...]

Last fall, a friend of my husband's recommended that he read Abraham Kuyper's book on Common Grace. So, I was excited to come across a new translation from Christian's Library Press titled Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art. Kuyper's book De Gemene Gratie was actually a large three volume work. There aren't any full translations of Kuyper's book into English, but the Acton Institute (which published this book) has embarked upon a project to fully translate this book. Wisdom and Wonder is the first selection from this project--it is two sections that were mistakenly omitted from the first edition of De Gemene Gratie and were added to a later edition.

Abraham Kuyper lived from 1837-1920. He founded a university and political party in the Netherlands. He also served as prime minister of that country for four years from 1901-1905. He believed strongly in the role and responsibility of Christians to be involved in the culture they live in.

Kuyper saw common Grace ..."(as) God's preserving work in the created order." Pg. 25 Interestingly, "Common grace is God's restraint of the full effects of sin after the Fall, preservation and maintenance of the created order, and distribution of talents to human beings." pg.
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Kuyper writes about the subject of common grace, specifically applied to the subjects of science and art. I appreciated the recognition that both of these topics are foundational to God's creation and that, even if Adam and Eve had never sinned in the Garden of Eden, we would still study science and produce art - albeit quite differently than we do now. Also, Kuyper argues convincingly that these subjects are both a blessing to the world by means of God's common grace and only truly understood through the lens of Scripture for the purpose of revealing God and worshiping Him. Any other approach to these two subjects, while still able to portray truth about God and His world, still falls short of God's original design for them. Several passages were strange to read because, as Kuyper is only a man, his discussion of people's in Africa and other developing countries contradicts his own stated view of human dignity and the value of human life. Still other passages were downright scary to read because of how prescient they were - accurately predicting what happens when science or art are idolized and abused and the breakdowns in society to which those abuses can inevitably lead.

Recommended reading for any Christian wanting to grow in the ability to recognize God's common grace in the world and think critically about how to engage a secular world of art and science from a Biblical worldview.
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