Book review: Wisdom and Wonder
by Abraham Kuyper
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) penned this book in 1905, and it later became part of a three-volume set on the topic of Common Grace. This is the first translation into English from the original Dutch.
Kuyper reads the Bible literally, in particular the Garden of Eden and mankind’s fall, and ponders some provoking issues about what the Fall meant for the development of science and art. His writing, while dated and in many places relevant only to the most conservative Christian, is intelligent and opinionated, and the translation is elegant. It’s a pleasure to read.
Kuyper sees Adam’s fall from grace as a major setback in both science and art, and the beginning of human attempts to recapture the beauty of both. Never can we approach what we once shared in paradise, nor can we begin to imagine the beauty of the world to come, but God has been gracious in awarding us at least a little glimpse of the beauty of his creation, through the avenues of science and art.
Both can be misused, of course. It requires a proper Christian outlook to remain on track, lest we fall into the dangers of Darwinian thinking or (shudder) nude modeling. Certainly the charm of this book is its antiquated quaintness, while simultaneously uncovering Kuyper as a profound theologian. The translation is superb, a perfect tone for the discussion.
Whether you are a conservative seeking comfort in old time religion or a historian of post-enlightenment Christianity, this book is a gem.