Is Government a Product of the Fall?

| January 29, 2015

What if the fall had not happened? Would institutions like the government have a place? Or is it just a necessary evil that exists only as a means to govern sinners and our selfish impulses? In this excerpt, Richard Mouw explores the goodness, purpose, and design of government, showing that—when functioning properly—government can be life-giving.

The basic cultural spheres have been, for [Dutch theologian Abraham] Kuyper, “there” from the beginning. They are somehow “contained in” the creation. In saying that kind of thing, Kuyper is once again going beyond the explicit biblical data. It’s not like we read the Bible saying that God proclaimed, “Let there be art! Let there be economics! Let there be politics!”

So what does it mean to say that these were a part of the original creational design?

Politics and Creation

The Kuyperian insistence that the political sphere was a part of the creational design is especially interesting in this regard. Like any Calvinist, Kuyper insisted that under sinful conditions governments have a God-ordained ministry of the sword. In a fallen world, political authority has a remedial function. For one thing, it holds our sinful impulses in check with the threat of punishment. I might…

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