Herman Bavinck – Agnosticism, Kant, and the Adorable Mystery of Knowing God

17 Jun

Although Scripture and the church, thus as it were, accept the premises of agnosticism and are even more deeply convinced of human limitations and the incomparable grandeur of God than Kant and Spencer, they draw from these realities a very different conclusion. Hilary put it as follows: “The perfection of learning is to know God in such a way that, though you realize he is not unknowable, yet you know him as indescribable.” The knowledge we have of God is altogether unique. This knowledge may be called positive insofar as by it we recognize a being infinite and distinct from all finite creatures. On the other hand, it is negative because we cannot ascribe a single predicate to God as we conceive that predicate in relation to creatures. It is therefore an analogical knowledge: a knowledge of a being who is unknowable in himself, yet able to make something of himself known in the being he created.

Here, indeed, lies something of an antinomy. Rather, agnosticism, suffering from a confusion of concepts, sees here an irresolvable contradiction in what Christian theology regards as an adorable mystery. It is completely incomprehensible to us how God can reveal himself and to some extent make himself known in created beings: eternity in tim, immensity in space, infinity in the finite, immutability in change, being in becoming, the all, as it were, in that which is nothing. This mystery cannot be comprehended; it can only be gratefully acknowledged. But mystery and self-contradiction are not synonymous.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 48-49.

Books by Herman Bavinck

Kindle Books

Biography of Herman Bavinck

More Bavinck Quotes

2 Responses to “Herman Bavinck – Agnosticism, Kant, and the Adorable Mystery of Knowing God”

  1. mydelightandmycounsellors June 17, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

  2. lacykitkat June 17, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Reblogged this on HE STILL SPEAKS!.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: