b. The good things that non-Christians are able to do are not from some inherent good that they possess, but from God’s common grace.2. Thomas Aquinas divided the world into nature and grace in order to account for the accomplishments of the unregenerate.a. Thomas believed that there was some part of nature that was not com-pletely fallen that allowed for such great accomplishments by unbelievers.b. Kuyper properly understood the extent of the fall and believed that God’s preserving work has kept people from being as bad as they could be.
54 A Survey of Church History Part 5D. Abraham Kuyper insisted that the sovereignty of spheres is the only way to protect against tyranny in the modern world.1. Throughout Western history, there has always been a struggle between the state and the church for domination.a. The church was clearly losing influence as a social power in the nine-teenth century.b. Kuyper believed the greatest problem the Western world would have to face was state control of every facet of life.i. Kuyper anticipated the tendencies of European society that would later manifest themselves in fascism and communism.ii. Kuyper also understood that the legal reestablishment of Christianity was no longer an option in the modern world.2. Kuyper believed the answer to state control was to recognize that God created the world with a variety of spheres under His direct authority.a. God did not give the state all power in society.i. The state exists to administer justice in society.b. God created other spheres in society, like the family, that are directly accountable to Him.i. The state did not create the family, and God did not give children to the state.ii. God gave children to the family, and the family is responsible for how children are raised.iii. The state’s right to administer justice extends to the protection of children from harm, but the state does not have the authority to raise children.c. Kuyper’s vision has radical implications for the education of children.i. The state does not have the authority to decide how children will be edu-cated—parents hold such authority.ii. The state should then support the freedom of parents to send their chil-dren to the schools they see fit.d. Kuyper believed that genuine pluralism was the key to genuine freedom.i. A modern society necessitates a variety of churches for a variety of fami-lies for a variety of schools for a variety of political parties.ii. These spheres would function to preserve a genuine diversity and a genuine freedom.E. Abraham Kuyper’s ideas can be incredibly useful in America today.1. Kuyper attempted to provide a pluralistic model that would actually allow for a plurality of ideas.a. Christians are often thought to be antagonistic to a pluralistic society because they believe they alone worship the one true God.