Common Grace and Learning

Engaging God's World is a wonderful book by Cornelius Plantinga. Dr. Plantinga, one of the foremost philosphers in the country is also President of Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the preface, Plantiga provides a wonderful connection between our learning and how we love God.

"Thoughtful Christians know that if we obey the Bible's great commandment to love God with our whole mind, as well as with everything else, then we will study the splendor of God's creation in the hope of grasping part of the ingenuity and grace that form it. One way to love God is to know and love God's work. Learning is therefore a spiritual calling: properly done, it attaches us to God. In addition, the learned person has, so to speak, more to be Christian with. The person who studies chemistry, for example, can enter into God's enthusiasm for the dynamic possibilities of material reality. The student who examines one of the great movements of history has moved into position to praise the goodness of God, or to lament the mystery of evil, or to explore the places where these things intertwine. Further, from persistent study of history a student may develop good judgment, a feature of wisdom that helps us lead a faithful human life in the midst of a confusing world. And, of course, chemistry and history are only two samples from the wide menu of good things to learn...

"This thoroughgoing vision of Christian higher education may be traced to John Calvin, and to others before him, but its nearer proponent for Calvin College was Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), an extraordinary Dutch theologian, newspaper editor, and prime minister. Kuyper took a large view of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, assuming that when Scripture says God has made Jesus Christ 'the head over all things' (Eph. 1:22), 'all' means what is says. Thus Kuyper's most famous saying: 'There is not a square inch on the whole plain of human existence over which Christ, who is Lord over all, does not proclaim: This is Mine!' As generations have seen, the implication is staggeringly clear: those who follow Christ must bring all the parts and passions of their lives - including education - under the Lordship of Christ."

- Cornelius Plantinga