© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2006
Glossary of Terms
The Christian Ground-Motive is that of Creation, Fall and Redemption. Many Christians will fail to understand Dooyeweerd's meaning here, because they interpret these words in a dualistic way. But Dooyeweerd emphasizes that this Ground-Motive can only be understood with the “key of knowledge”–the supratemporal selfhood and religious root (Twilight of Western Thought, 125). The Christian Ground-motive is “radical and integral,” and this means that everything is related to God in its religious root (Roots, 38).
Creation is of the root, as an undifferentiated unity. The fall is in this root; that is why temporal reality fell with man. And redemption is of the root; that is why Christ was required as the New Root.
If we look at the first point, creation in the root, several points must be emphasized.
(1) The creation is outside of time. It was “in the beginning,” “in principio.” The “days of creation” transcend cosmic time (NC I, 33).
The order of creation was present in God's plan before the foundation of the world. Dooyeweerd Cites Acts 2:23 (NC II, 559).
Baader also holds that creation was outside of time. Because God did not create in time, it is meaningless to ask the how or the why of creation. Creation is the boundary of our knowledge (Werke X 318; V 260).
(2) The supratemporal creation was complete [voltooid]. It is only being “worked out” in time.
Another reference for the completion of creation is in "De leer van de mensch in de W.d.W." Corr. Bladen V (1942), p. 143. This has been translated as “The Theory of Man: Thirty-Two Propositions on anthropology.”['32 Propositions']. It refers to the creation of man as body and soul, which according to Scripture was fully completed [volkomen voltooid]. See also “Na vijf en dertig jaren,” Philosophia Reformata 36 (1971),1-10 at 9.
(3) Dooyeweerd emphasizes that the creation by God “in the beginning" was not a temporal event. But this does not mean an ideal pre-existence in the Spirit of God. The finished creation exists as created. (“Schepping en evolutie," 116).
(4) Creation was of humanity as an undifferentiated totality. Man's embodiment was a second stage. There is therefore a “double creation.” However, Dooyeweerd speaks of the second stage not as a creation, but as the forming of a previously existing and created material. He says that Gen. 2 speaks of becoming “living souls”--that is the bodily forming process. That is not creation, but giving form to “an already existing material present in the temporal order.” This distinction between creation and becoming is wiped out by a historicistic interpretation that sees creation as a temporal event:
And in '32 Propositions' (De leer van den mensch in de W.D.W., Corr. Bladen 5 (1942), he states:
Steen says that this becoming of man to a living being presupposes that man already was created and gives clear indication that becoming follows creation. Body is the expression of an undifferentiated unity and fullness, refraction of a root. The body, the functie mantel, finds its concentration point in the heart. (Steen, 63).
(5) I believe that it is at this second stage that man was “fitted into” [ingevoegd] the temporal order.
(6) Now these two stages may also imply that the fall preceded the fitting into the temporal order. Without the fall, man's "nature" or “body” would have been different. That is certainly Baader's view. It also seems to be Dooyeweerd's view. Dooyeweerd also says that we fell into time. In the fall, the human selfhood “fell away into the temporal horizon.” (NC II, 564).
(7) It is true that man's appearance “in time” does not occur “until the whole foundation for the normative functions of temporal reality has been laid in the creation” (NC II, 52). But this temporal priority does not refer to our creation as the supratemporal religious root and creaturely fullness of meaning. For he goes on to say,
And Dooyeweerd adds,
(8) Man as the image of God is the expression of God (I, 6). We do not find in Dooyeweerd an emphasis on “creatio ex nihilo” (creation out of nothing). I believe that that doctrine refers to our dependence on God. Baader's view is that creation out of nothing refers to the “spontaneity" of creation, creating out of nothing except oneself (Philosophische Schriften I, 71). God was under no necessity to create the world. If by 'nothing' it intends to refer to a principle outside of God, so that our existence does not derive from God, then that would be a dualism. Dooyeweerd makes this point:
And in his Response to the Curators, Dooyeweerd says that the idea of a boundary between God and creation is a reference to our deep dependance on God, and not a separation between God and creature:
(9) Dooyeweerd emphasizes here that the fullness of meaning particularizes itself into the diversity of meaning. This is what he means when he says that the temporal is an expression of the supratemporal fullness. Steen comments:
This view of differentiation has not been emphasized by Reformational philosophers who claim to be adherents of Dooyeweerd. I suspect that this is because they begin with a different view of creation, preferring to see creation of an original diversity and individuality of meaning. I believe that this is the fundamental cause of dualistic thinking in contemporary American evangelicalism. Similarly, to say that God is Wholly Other than creation is to ultimately base creation on some principle outside of God. But to say that we are the expression of God does not necessarily imply a monism. I see it in terms of nondualism.
(10) Man in turn expresses himself in the coherence of his temporal functions (I, 6).
(12) We are not identical with God. The law is the boundary between the Creator and creation (I, 57). But Dooyeweerd disagreed with Vollenhoven as to the place of the law. For Vollenhoven, the law is outside the cosmos. for Dooyeweerd, it is a side of the cosmos.
(13) It is questionable whether Dooyeweerd's philosophy is compatible with Creation Science. Some have used his work to argue that reality cannot evolve from prior aspects to later aspects, and that there can be no evolution from one realm of being [inorganic, organic, animal] to another.
However, a letter from Dooyeweerd seems to show that he himself took no position on this issue. He writes to Prof. Dr. JJ. Duyvené de Wit of Bloemfonein, South Africa. De Wit had written to him about creation science. Dooyeweerd says in a letter Feb. 11, 1964:
Whether we say that science can show that there is a phylogenetic relation from the first cell to man, or whether we deny such a relation–both arguments will lead to a falsification of science, to speculative philosophy and to false prophecy. Dooyeweerd says that it is hard for a scientific person to acknowledge that he stands here before a boundary (grens). Remarkably, Dooyeweerd places this boundary question in the context of the Cross of Golgotha.
Kuyper was familiar with Baader's view of a double creation. Kuyper refers to Baader’s Fermenta Cognitionis. Kuyper discusses the nature of beauty in relation to the situation before and after man’s fall into sin. Kuyper says that there is a question as to what existed in Paradise before the fall–whether the ‘Tohu Wa Bohu’ refers to a still unformed chaos or whether it refers to the result of a destruction that had already occurred. He says that Baader’s theosophical position on this is ‘well known,’ as is Milton’s position. His reference is to Baader’s view of a double fall and a double creation. (“Calvinism and the Arts" [Het Calvinisme en de kunst: rede bij de overdracht van het rectoraat der Vrije Universiteit op 20 October, 1888], (Amsterdam: J.A. Wormser, 1888). See Werke 9,83 for Baader’s discussion on the ‘Tohu Wa Bohu.’ It is significant that Kuyper does not regard these views as necessarily unorthodox; he merely says that nothing further can be proved.
As already pointed out, Dooyeweerd distinguishes between a Gen. 1 creation and a Gen. 2 forming. He says that we are supratemporal beings that are called to existence [aanzijn] by God's Word. The idea of a double creation, with an intervening fall, is suggested by his Inaugural address (Oct 15/26), where he says that God created the cosmos out of chaos, light out of darkness.
Baader emphasizes that creation is not by chance, but the result of a plan willed and established by God; those who see only chance and disorder hate the light (Werke XI, 6).
Notes revised Sept. 8/07