How Education Can Serve a Divine Purpose for Human Culture

| December 11, 2014

The following excerpt comes from Abraham Kuyper’s 1889 convocation speech in Amsterdam at the Free University, which he called an “Opposition School” because of its commitment to seek out a divine purpose of scholarship for human culture as a viable alternative to the reigning paradigms of the day. Throughout his speech, he uses the term wetenschap—an inclusive term in Dutch that includes the arts and humanities as well as the natural and social sciences. Depending on the context, this translation renders the term as science, scholarship, knowledge, or learning. 

There are three wonderful things about scholarship: it brings to light the hidden glory of God; it gives you joy in the act of digging up the gold that lies hidden in creation; and it grants you the honor of raising the level and well-being of human life. So whatever made you think that you can become a scholar merely by studying and cramming for exams? No, I tell you, even if you had stuffed your brain full of facts and theories and had passed every examination summa cum laude, you will still be no more than a hewer of wood and a drawer of water in this elite…

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