16 December, 2019

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) on John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

About the word, world, in Scripture, Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian (1837-1920) wrote:

For if there is anything that is certain from a somewhat more attentive reading of Holy Scripture, and that may be held as firmly established, it is, really, the irrefutable fact, that the word, world, in Holy Scripture, means “all men” only as a very rare exception and almost always means something entirely different.

In explanation, specifically, of the “world” of John 3:16, Kuyper went on to say that the reference is to the “proper kernel” of the creation, the elect people of God, “which Jesus snatches away from Satan.”

... out of this kernel, out this congregation, out of this people, a “new world,” a “new earth and new heaven,” shall one day appear, by a wonder-work of God. The earth does not merely serve to allow the elect to be saved, in order then to disappear. No, the elect are men; these men form a whole, a collection, an organism; that organism is grounded in creation; and because now this creation is the reflection of God’s wisdom and the work of His hands, God’s administration of it may not come to nothing, but in the Great Day God’s will with this creation shall be perfectly realized.

(Source: Dat De Genade Particulier Is [That Grace is Particular]; above translation of the Dutch by David Engelsma—see also the RFPA version of this same book entitled Particular Grace, translated by Marvin Kamps)

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