ABRAHAM KUYPER AND THE REBIRTH OF TRUE KNOWLEDGE – The 1980 Commencement Address Graham Bible College
Today we live in a very explosive world!
There are political explosions. For bombs are detonated in post offices and airports, and insurrectionists seek to overthrow governments from Chile to Cambodia. There are population explosions. For there are a score of countries with a limited territorial area or with a chronic food shortage — from India to Israel, and from Holland to Hong Kong. And there is also a knowledge explosion, especially in the sciences and in technology — in schools and colleges and universities throughout the entire world.
It is especially the knowledge explosion which is so very characteristic of our modern age. Even the prophet Daniel referred in days of old "to the time of the end" when "knowledge shall be increased."1 In recent times, it was particularly the learned Kuyper who addressed himself to this problem of knowledge. And inasmuch as the Christian world still gratefully remembers his famous Stone Lectures here in the United States less than a century ago, it is fitting to draw attention to the significance of Abraham Kuyper to the rebirth of true knowledge.
Dr. Abraham Kuyper Senior (1837-1920) was the Christian Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the Christian Professor of Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam. He traced his doctrine of knowledge via John Calvin2 back to Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit — according to the Scriptures!3 And from the work of Jesus Christ as the Second Adam,4 Kuyper went back still further to the works of the first Adam as the father of the whole human race.5 For all men everywhere can only know anything at all because their forefather Adam, in whose nature they share, was created in the image of God in true knowledge.6
Before the fall, held Kuyper, Adam had true knowledge of both the Creator and the creation.7 For Adam was a true prophet, priest, and king.8 As a king, he was to rule over all creation to the glory of his creator. As a priest, he was to keep and to dress or to cultivate all creation and to bring it as an offering to his Creator. And as a prophet, he was to understand all creation as a love-service to his Creator.
1 Dan. 12:4. 2 Cf. Dr F.N. Lee: Calvin on the Sciences (London, England: Sovereign Grace Union), 1969. 3 Dr. B.B. Warfield: Introductory Note to Kuyper: Principles of Sacred Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1963), p. xiv. 4 I Cor. 15:1-4,22,45-47; cf. Rom. 4:3. 5 Rom. 5:12f & Gen. 1:26-28; cf. Kuyper: Calvinism a Life System p. 19, and Calvinism and Religion p. 36, and Calvinism and Politics p. 56, and Calvinism and Science p. 72, in Lectures on Calvinism (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Associated Publishers and Authors Inc.), n.d. 6 Col. 3:10 cf. Eph. 4:24 & Eccl. 7:29 & Job 31:33. 7 Cf. Kuyper: De Leer der Verbonden (The Doctrine of the Covenants), Kampen , Netherlands: J.H. Kok, 1909. 8 Kuyper: Ca1vinism and Religion p. 36, & Calvinism and Politics p. 56, in Lectures on Calvinism.
This Adam could do, because he was the very image of God.9 Therefore, as a prophet, Adam resembled the all-knowing God Himself.10 This is why Adam could truly know. By investigating the animals in Eden, for example, he could look into their souls and give them appropriate names.11 By looking at his wife, he immediately knew what she was.12 By looking around him, he was able to acquire true knowledge of both human society and his general environment. But he was able to do all this solely because, as the image of God, he remained in vital contact with the Omniscient Trinity13 Who foreknew and created and upheld all things.14