For That Very Reason

277738If God is totally sovereign over all things, then do our choices and actions have real meaning? If God is in control, aren’t we all just puppets? Bavinck explains two extremes, Deism (in which God is totally removed and only creatures have meaningful action in the world) and Pantheism (in which God is the only one doing anything at all), and then spells out the wonder and glory of the Christian doctrine of God’s providence:

Always to be a theist in the full and true sense of the word, that is, to see God’s counsel and hand and work in all things and simultaneously, indeed for that very reason, to develop all available energies and gifts to the highest level of activity — that is the glory of the Christian faith and the secret of the Christian life.

Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2 p 605


“Like gold from a mine”

Bavinck on the preparation for and “threefold task” of theology:

Believers who want to devote themselves to the study of theology, accordingly, must prepare their minds for the task awaiting them. There is no admission to the temple of theology except by way of the study of the arts. Indispensable to the practitioner of the science of theology is philosophical, historical, and linguistic preparatory training. . .

This thinking, thus prepared and trained, has, in the main, a threefold task in theology.

First, it offers its services in finding the material. . . Like gold from a mine, so the truth of faith has to be extracted from Scripture by the exertion of all available mental powers. . .

Next,the theologian must intellectually process the material thus acquired. . . Scripture above all came into its own in all its splendor–not when a single text was literally cited but–when the whole truth contained in many texts was condensed and reproduced in a dogma. . .

Finallyit is the task of the thinking theological mind to gather up and recapitulate all truth in one system. . . Theology does not rest until it has discovered the unity underlying revelation. It may not impose that system from without, nor press the truth into a philosophical system that is foreign to its nature But it keeps searching until the system that is present in the object itself has been reproduced in the human mind. . .

The Christian religion is a “reasonable form of worship”.

From Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1: Prologomena, pp. 617-18