Kuyper on Overlapping Magisteria

20121015.163211[All knowledge] proceeds out of faith. All science presupposes that we ourselves believe; presupposes a belief that the laws of thinking are correct; presupposes beliefs about life; and presupposes above all faith in the principles from which we proceed…. The conflict is not between faith and science, but between the claim that the present state of the cosmos is normal or abnormal…. It is not faith and science, but two scientific systems that stand, each with their own faith, over against each other…. They are both in earnest, disputing with each other across the entire domain of life and cannot desist from the attempt to pull to the ground the entire edifice of each other’s contradictory claims.

—Abraham Kuyper’s 1898 Stone Lectures at Princeton

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

2 thoughts on “Kuyper on Overlapping Magisteria”

  1. What he’s getting at is that the present state of the cosmos is abnormal because of the Fall, that Genesis 3 and Romans 8:20–21 ought to be part of our lenses as we view the world. Otherwise we’re going to conclude what David Barash did in the L.A. Times a few years back:

    Current believers in creationism, masquerading in its barely disguised incarnation, “intelligent design,” argue similarly, claiming that only a designer could generate such complex, perfect wonders. ¶ But, in fact, the living world is shot through with imperfection. Unless one wants to attribute either incompetence or sheer malevolence to such a designer, this imperfection — the manifold design flaws of life — points incontrovertibly to a natural, rather than a divine, process, one in which living things were not created de novo, but evolved. Consider the human body. Ask yourself, if you were designing the optimum exit for a fetus, would you engineer a route that passes through the narrow confines of the pelvic bones? Add to this the tragic reality that childbirth is not only painful in our species but downright dangerous and sometimes lethal, owing to a baby’s head being too large for the mother’s birth canal.

    What the Bible attributes quite directly to the Fall (Gen. 3:16), Barash calls “natural.” If a Christian who works in science won’t bring the Fall into his work, he has no way of disputing Barash. Because Barash is right: if there’s a designer and there’s no Fall, that designer is malevolent.

Leave a Reply