|"Falkirk Wheel" (Photo: F. MacFhionnlaigh)|
Dooyeweerd: Historical DevelopmentIn order to perceive God's ordinances for historical development, it is necessary that we search for them in the historical aspect and in its unbreakable coherence with the structures of the other aspects. If this search is not to go astray, then the scriptural ground-motive of creation, fall, and redemption through Jesus Christ must be our only point of departure and our only religious motivation.
Some may object by posing the following questions: Is such an intricate investigation really necessary to gain insight into God's ordinances for historical development? Is it not true that God revealed his whole law in the ten commandments? Is this revelation not enough for the simple Christian? I answer with counter questions: Is it not true that God placed all the spheres of temporal life under his laws and ordinances — the laws that govern numerical and spatial relationships, physical and chemical phenomena, organic life, emotional feeling, logical thinking, language, economic life, and beauty? Are not all these laws, without exception, grounded in God's creation order? Can we find explicit Scriptural texts for all of them? If not, should we not acknowledge that God put the painstaking task to humankind to discover them? And admitting this, can we still hold that it makes no difference whether in this search we start from the ground-motive of the Word of God or are guided by unscriptural ground motives?
Those who think they can derive truly Scriptural principles for political policy formation solely from explicit Bible texts have a very mistaken notion of the nature of Scripture. They see only the letter, forgetting that the Word of God is spirit and power which must penetrate our whole attitude of life and thought. God's Word-revelation puts people to work. It claims the whole of our being; where death and spiritual complacency once held sway in us, it wants to conceive new life. Spiritually lethargic people would rather have the ripe fruits of God's revelation fall into their laps, but Jesus Christ tells us that wherever the seed of God's Word falls on good soil, we ourselves must bear fruit.
Today Christians face a fundamental question, namely, what historical yardstick do we possess in this new age for distinguishing between the reactionary and the substantially progressive directions in history? We cannot derive this criterion from the ten commandments, for they were not meant to save us from investigating God's creational ordinances. To answer this basic question, one needs insight into the specific ordinances that God established for historical development. It requires in-depth investigation. Our search will be protected against derailment if the creation motive of God's Word obtains complete control in our thinking.
(Herman Dooyeweerd [1894-1977], "Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options", Paideia Press 2012, pp 59-60)