Religious Education And Human Nature -- By: John Kuizenga

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 089:355 (Jul 1932)
Article: Religious Education And Human Nature
Author: John Kuizenga


Religious Education And Human Nature

John Kuizenga

“What is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?”

Psalm 8:4

There is a delightful little story coming to us from Denmark, half fable, half fairy tale, which aptly and wonderfully inculcates a definite and august point of view. It is the story of a spider. One bright sunny morning a spider came down from the branch of a tree, spinning after himself out of his own vitals the marvellous strand of thread by which he lowered himself, until he landed on a bush. On this bush he proceeded to spin his web in concentric circles, fastening two sides of the web to the bush. The third side of the web he attached to the upward strand. Then he withdrew to one side of the web to await developments, hoping some luckless fly would entangle himself in the web. Nothing happened. The spider explored his web, and then sat back again to wait. Nothing happened. Then he examined his web once more, examining all parts of it, until his eye seemed to light upon the upward strand. For some reason, perhaps in something like human huff and irritation, he attacked the upward strand, tore it asunder, and the instant he did so, the web collapsed.

Now that little story delightfully embodies at once the naive assumption of all natural religion, and the essential viewpoint of the Christian religion. The upward strand, religion, is essential to the whole life of man, and to hack asunder religion is to send all of life crashing down in utter confusion. According to this view, however congruous man may seem to be with nature below him, however he may seem of the earth earthy, he is really above nature in origin and destiny. Only as man is sustained by God and lives in fellowship with him, can man take his place in nature. Natural religions are naively super-naturalistic, the Christian religion is explicitly and supremely so. If therefore all education is but a corollary to

a philosophy1 , and Christian education supremely a corollary to Christian supernaturalism, then we may well expect that to change profoundly our view of life and of the world is to change profoundly our education. What I mean to assert in this lecture is that there is a psychology which has profoundly changed its view of human nature, and that it works havoc with Christian education.

Changed views of man have come in with the trend which springs consciously or unconsciously from evolutionism. That trend has been summarized for us in the statement that the changed viewpoint consists essentially in making man a product of na...

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