The image of God in fallen human beings in Herman Bavinck


Bavinck in a nutshell says that sin wants to destroy everything.  God however has held evil and sin in check through punishments, pestilences, judgements, and devastations by natural forces. Bavinck uses Noah as an example of his time to show this (pages 148-149 Reformed Ethics, by Herman Bavinck edited by John Bolt)

Bavinck then talks about how God in general has held back eternal and temporal death.  Though common grace is still a gift to the unregenerate (unsaved) so we can speak of natural theology, natural morality, and natural law. (page 149)

This is an interesting sentence from the master theologian; “Natural humanity is outside paradise and not yet in the Kingdom of God, but also not yet in hell.” God is active in his forbearance (patience)not only passively “forbearing, suffering, allowing, or permitting.  It should also be understood as active… God causes us to exist, leads up and directs us” (page 150)


Sin would have completely wiped out the whole of the human race.  The judgement is not completely about getting what we deserve… Judgements are also about God’s mercy to stop evil and sin taking over.  This I find very interesting. Today the pestilence that has hit the world is really bad and many people are either ill or dead.  Yet, the discovery of these vaccines helps us to save many more lives.  I think these come under common grace.  If it wasn’t for the greed of the nations possibly this pestilence would have been stopped.   The USA and China are in the middle of an economic war.  China kept the virus a secret, not to show economic growth and has not been transparent.  Trump has also been selfish unwilling to help his own people.  Let us see how this unfolds. However, having people stuck in their homes for long periods of isolation will have a certain effect.  In the countryside cows are usually kept in for the winter and let out in spring.  When they are released, they literally jump for joy, so do people.   Some sociologist said that at the end of the this covid-19 there will be a modern roaring 20s.  With joy and friendship comes a baby boom.  I am expecting this, but I also hope for less abortions.  It saddens me that there are so many abortions that the common person on the street does not see anything wrong with it. 


·        1.  What would happen if God did not intervene?

·        2.  Should God’s judgements always be seen in a negative light?

·        3.  What does Bavinck mean by ‘common grace’?

·        4.  Bavinck uses the word ‘natural’ when talking about theology and morality.  What         does he mean by natural?



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