Outline for “Culture in Biblical Perspective”

This is a 1976 chronological outline for an expansion of my article Kultuur en Godsdiens and my books Calvin on the Sciences and Man’s Origin and Destiny and The Central Significance of Culture – after the latter was approved by Potchefstroom University for my M.A. status in Culture (Kultuurkunde) under the direction of Professor Drs. C.N. Venter, E. Botha, and S.C.W. Duvenage.   I had envisaged then greatly expanding this outline into a D.Culture dissertation under Professor Venter, but after his untimely death I dropped that project.  Now myself retired, I may (Lord willing) yet expand this outline into a book for non-degree purposes so as further to develop the cultural views of Augustine, Calvin, Bavinck, Kuyper, Hepp, Dooyeweerd, Stoker, Niebuhr, Schaeffer, Schilder, A.A. van Ruler, Ellul, Venter, Van Til, Rushdoony, North, Kline, van Riessen, la Rondelle and others in a cosmos-embracing eschatological perspective.

INTRODUCTION: definitions; statement of problem; delineation of material; chief sources; methodology and structure; presuppositions; importance of subject; and summary.


God’s aseitas; yet not a Deus otiosus.   Transcendent Creator, yet immanent Maintainer. Creator inchoans et Formator colens.   Father = Creator-Maintainer of nature (the raw material of culture).   Son = Recreator and Maintainer of all nature and (human) culture – Prov. 8, Ps. 19 & 33 etc.   Holy Spirit = Ruler & Completer of all nature and culture  – Pss. 33 & 104, Gen. 1:2, Ps. 33, etc.   Triune God the Author (Father: Jas. 1:17, John 5:17, ch. 17, Rom.. 9:20-23 cf. Isa. 63:8, etc.; Son-Mediator Gen. 1:26f & John 1:1f; and Spirit-Consummator Rom. 8:14-23 etc. of both nature and culture).  Cf. Gen. 2:3 le‘asoth (Kuyper); Rom. 11:36; &  Isa. 45:18.  Summary.


Adam God’s image in every respect – spiritually, materially, culturally:  in (w)holiness, in knowledge, and in righteousness.   Unfallen man thus law-abiding in respect of the cosmic implications of all Ten Commandments.   The covenant of works and the cultural mandate – decalogical, imperative, and comprehensive (Gen. 1:28 cf. Hos. 6:7-11).   Man created with indestructible continued existence yet losable life, so that by God’s grace he could attain to unlosable life by cultivating and guarding as a developer and protector.  Gold and onyxstone imply mining and adorning.   Name-giving to animals (etc.) implies care, science and poetry. God "to make" (le‘asoth at Gen. 2:3-25), through man multiplying for the cultural reward especially of everlasting life-and-sabbath after his diesseitige cultural labours.   Summary.


Cultural implications of covenant of grace (Gen. 3:15f).   The Second Adam, by His perfect obedience to the covenant of works for those for whom He so worked, graciously enables them to unfold it by way of their sanctification out of gratitude to Him for His justificatory work for them (Rom. 16:20 & Eph. 2:8-10 and WCF 7:1-6 & 16:1-7 & 19:1-7).   The Divine Logos and the human logos.   Christ enlightens the Cainites (Calvin’s Comm on John 1:4-5 & 8:12 & Inst. II:2:12 cf. Comm. on Gen. 4:20).   Christ the ark of the nature-culture covenant (I Pet. 3:18-22).

 O.T. theophanies and wisdom literature (John 8:56; I Cor. 10:1-9; Luke 7:35 & 11:49 cf. Prov. 8:7 & Eccl.).   Cultural implications of Christ’s earthly mission and heavenly session (Col. 1 to 2; Eph. 1 to 2; Heb. chs. 2 & 5 & 7; Rev. ch. 1f).   His future parousia from heaven (I Thess, 5; II Thess. 1;  Rev. 3:3-11f & 22:12 etc.).  His future apokatastasis toon panton (Acts 3:19-21; 23:34f; 17:31).  Summary.

IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT: ENGINEER OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT Life spirit of unfallen Adam cf. "Us" in Gen. 1:26 & 2:7.    Ruach hayyom in Gen. 3:8 cf. John 16:7-13. Spirit of Cainite culture (Calvin’s Comm. on Gen. 4:20 & Inst. II:2:14-16).   The striving Spirit before the Flood (Janssen van Rijssen on Gen. 6:3).   Spirit of understanding (Job 34:8 cf. Isa. 28:2.3f).   Spirit of art (Ex. chs. 31 &35 cf. Heb. 9:8).   Regenerative and task-enabling Spirit (Ezek. 37 & John 3).   Poured-out cosmos-embracing Spirit (Acts 2:4 & 2:17-21). Comprehensive fruitful Spirit (Gal. 5).   Gift-giving Spirit (I Cor. 12).   All-embracing heavenly Spirit of (re)creation (Rev. 4).   Yes, Spirit of culture (Isa. 32:14-18 & 44:1-5)!   Summary.

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