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Common Grace and the Ends of Creation in Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck

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Despite its marginal place in contemporary dogmatics, the doctrine of common grace potentially has much to offer to a theological account of the created order. Describing its relationship to special grace, however, to salvation, is no easy task. This article finds that Abraham Kuyper—the most prominent supporter of the doctrine—attempts to describe this relationship in two ultimately irreconcilable ways. In addition, it argues that only one of these ways—one in which common grace is always ordered to special grace—is acceptable. Such an account, which is defended by Kuyper’s contemporary Herman Bavinck, provides the basis for an understanding of the created order that should resonate with Christian theologians both inside and outside the Neo-Calvinist tradition, including those who have been influenced by Karl Barth.

Affiliations: 1: Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, USA


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