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De Moor on Science and Scripture

Creation Without Compromise


One of the reasons history is exciting is that you often find others who have dealt with similar questions to the ones you’re dealing with.  No, they’re not usually identical questions, but they are sometimes similar.  When it comes to these similar questions, it’s also interesting to compare the answers given in history to the answers we come up with today.  Here at Creation Without Compromise we’re especially interested in the questions and answers that have to do with the relationship between science and Scripture.

Today’s venture into history takes us to the late 1700s.  By and large Reformed theology had been devastated by philosophical influences associated with the Enlightenment.  There were only a few holdouts who could be described as confessionally Reformed and orthodox.  One of them was Bernhard De Moor (1709-1780).

After serving for several years as a pastor, De Moor took up a position as professor…

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Dooyeweerd, Scripture, and Creation

Creation Without Compromise

Herman DooyeweerdA while back, my fellow blogger Dr. Ted Van Raalte wrote a series of posts on Tim Keller.  In one of those posts, he mentioned (in passing) the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd.  Dooyeweerd was the founder of a school of thought which is often termed “cosmonomic philosophy.”  As noted in that blog post, this school has been subjected to some criticism from within our Reformed tradition, most notably by Dr. J. Douma.

I just finished reading John Frame’s A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.  I’ve read a number of works by Frame and this is definitely among his best.  He surveys the most influential thinkers — both those from within Christianity and those who’ve impacted Christianity.  Among those thinkers is Herman Dooyeweerd.  He gets about five pages of attention in the last chapter.

Frame’s approach in this volume is to summarize the important features of a philosopher/theologian…

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Does Man Have Free Will? We Distinguish (Pictet)

I have been asked about this on a few occasions. This is an excellent, brief explanation of the Reformed position.

The Reformed Reader

Christian Theology Do humans after the fall have free will?  Reformed theology has generally made a distinction when answering this question.  On the one hand, humans have natural liberty.  This means we can freely chose when to eat, drink, sleep, travel, etc.  However, because of Adam’s sin and our own corruption, we have wholly lost the ability to do any spiritual good.  Therefore, we cannot convert ourselves or prepare ourselves for conversion (see WCF ch. 9).  Speaking of the bondage of the will, I appreciate how Swiss Reformed theologian Benedict Pictet (d. 1724)  explained this from Scripture.

“…With regard to moral and spiritual good, we consider that man is so corrupt of his own nature, that he can do nothing acceptable in the sight of God. Now this is proved by many testimonies of Scripture. First, from those passages in which ability or power is expressly declared not to be in man…

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Where Is the Law/Gospel Distinction?

The other day I posted an article on the law/gospel distinction in Reformed theology. I mentioned Ursinus’ commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. Shane Lems has more details on that.

The Reformed Reader

One aspect of legalism, Roman Catholicism, neo-nomianism, and Federal Vision theology is a denial of the Reformation law/gospel distinction (or a blending of the law/gospel). For example, the Federal Vision Joint Statement from 2007 says, “We deny that law and gospel should be considered as hermeneutics, or treated as such. …The fundamental division is not in the text, but rather in the human heart.”

Reformation confessions, however, uphold a law/gospel distinction and do not mingle the law and gospel. One clear example is Zacharias Ursinus’ Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, the very catechism he played a major part in writing. He wrote,

“The doctrine of the church consists in two parts: the Law and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures. The law is called the Decalogue, and the gospel is the doctrine concerning Christ the mediator, and the free remission of…

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