Acton Institute Powerblog

When Christianity Was Still Friendly With Science and Art

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Phillip Long is a professor of Bible and Biblical Languages at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and blogs over at Reading Acts. Phil does not normally review this kind of book, but was drawn to it due to Abraham Kuyper’s popularity and his contribution to worldview issues today.

Long shares some good observations and this book and its relevance for Christianity today, particularly those with an aversion to the study of science and the pursuit of a career in art.

This book is a historical artifact, written at a time when Christianity was still friendly with science and art. In conservative Christianity today, there is a strong aversion to the study of science or the pursuit of a career in art.

Yet this distrust of science and fear of artists is not the historic Christian view. Not all that many years ago, Science was the study of God’s creation and the church sponsored most of the art created in the western world for a thousand years.

For Kuyper, art is a reflection of the beauty and truth of God. After the Reformation, art began to be a reflection of God’s grace to the world (p. 120). Where there is beauty, there is God.

Check out Phil’s review of Wisdom & Wonder here and my thanks to Phil for reviewing this important work.

Chris Robertson Originally from the suburbs of Cleveland Ohio, Chris Robertson graduated from Cornerstone University with a Bachelor of Science in Bible with minors in Greek and Spanish. Chris is the Program Outreach Coordinator for the Acton Institute. He comes to the Acton Institute from The Salvation Army where his work focused on Social Media, eCommunications, Project Management, and Administration. Chris’ interests include spending time with his wife Rebecca and son Levi, international news, travel, social media, the web and technology. Chris and his family are members of City Hope Ministries in Grand Rapids.


  • RogerMcKinney

    I must not travel in the same circles, but I don’t see among Southern Baptists an animosity toward science or art. Even young earth creation science has no problem with any aspect of science other than evolution and evolution is such a tiny part of science that it is easily ignored.

  • Dan Hugger

    I’m not certain I’m following this notion of contemporary Christianity or even just contemporary conservative Christianity being hostile to science and art.

    Aside from certain traditions of the radical reformation (The Anabaptists and their descendants along with elements of the radical English reformation such as the Quakers) it doesn’t seem to exist.

    Particular lines of scientific inquiry (Embryonic stem cell research) and particular scientific theories (Heliocentrism) as well as particular artistic forms (Iconography) and particular content in art (Pornography) either have been or have been and continue to be objectionable to many Christians.

    I think that’s true of most everyone and is not a uniquely Christian situation. A general hostility to the arts and sciences is something I’ve never really seen.

    Kuyper is valuable precisely because he gives us a way to start thinking through these issues.

  • Laura Sotka

    Imagine me – an artist and lover of science – reading that, as a conservative christian,  I’m suppose to have a diversion to art and science so as to live up to Long’s pigeonholing based purely on elitist assumptions about “those people”. You know. Christians. Fearfully clinging to their Bibles and guns, and young earth and all. Ah! That we could all be such free-thinkers as the professor, where there is no Truth in art and science, only theories based on assumptions, like Biblical language, ever changing with the times.