27 September 2010

Bavinck: Grace Restores Nature

It is largely agreed that the center of Herman Bvinck's theology is the notion that grace restores nature. God's grace, exhibited through a history of salvation and climaxing in Christ, is not a second attempt at creation but a restoration of the first one.

In a striking expression of this, Bavinck once wrote:
It would have been much simpler if God had destroyed the whole fallen world and replaced it with an entirely new one. But it was his good pleasure to re-establish the fallen world, and to liberate from sin the same mankind that had sinned.
Part and parcel with this central thesis is a robust doctrine of creation. Bavinck even says that creation
is in itself of no less value than grace. . . . Because sin does not belong to the substance of creation, but is a deformation of that which exists, God can still love the world in spite of the corruption brought about by sin.
And Christ's resurrection is, among other things, a powerful statement about God's aim to restore nature, not sweep it away and start over from scratch.
The bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is conclusive proof that Christianity does not adopt a hostile attitude toward anything human or natural, but intends only to deliver creation from all that is sinful, and to sanctify it completely.
--quotes from Jan Veenhof, Nature and Grace in Herman Bavinck (trans. Al Wolter; Dordt College Press 2006)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thanks. I've been reflecting a bit on a verse I saw recently, "...and for destroying those who destroy the earth..." Rev. 11:18

a rich scripture, in it's implications

Martha

mlwj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dane Ortlund said...

Hi Mark,
Go to the very end of vol 4 of the Dogmatics. Stuff on new creation etc.

mlwj said...

You're fast, Dane. Actually, I deleted my comment because it sounded like I hadn't read your existing citations!

Thanks for the tip on where to find this in the Dogmatics.