Abraham Kuyper's Theology of Spring for Winter-Weary Souls

via Acton
March 25th, 2017

Spring is a parable telling us that there is resurrection ahead, not just in eternity but for our winter-weary souls today.

A post at Acton featured a powerful essay by Abraham Kuyper with a beautiful theology of spring. Here are excerpts to help us all consider the God who gives us Spring.


Before there ever was a spring, your God has entertained the thought of it in Himself. What spring should be, what it should do, how it should operate in nature, how it should affect man when created, God has thought out by Himself, and determined in His counsel long before the earth had existence. And when the creation took place God arranged the course of the earth in its orbit, its rotation on its axis, and its position in the solar system, so artistically and so wonderfully that spring has to come of itself, and with it all the goodness which, of joy in the rejuvenation of life, He intended that this season should bring. …

In spring God returns to nature with His Omnipotence to waken her from her winter sleep, to raise her up from her long rest, and, animating her with new vitality, to call her to newness of life.

It seems as though in spring the Lord speaks out from every tree and plant, from every blade of grass and bud that opens, saying: Behold, here am I, your God, who have fed you by the earth, and fostered you by the sun and who now returns to cause the bread again to come forth from the earth, to fill your barns with plenty and your storehouses with wine that maketh glad the heart of man.

And see, now it comes, for spring is again in the land. And what was withered takes on new color and what was deathlike for stillness becomes vocal with new life. Here also was a valley of death, and behold life arises as from its winter grave. …

And when each time again after the long, hard winter spring comes back from the treasure chambers of our God, and gladdens the heart with its beauty, it ever repeats the glad tidings from of old that with God there is resurrection from death. Not as though life could ever come forth out of death, but because God is beneath, behind and above death, and because, stronger than death, He compels death each time again to loosen his hold on his prey and to let life come out anew. …

It is not all of spring. There would be no spring if it were not for winter. The very significance of spring is, that first there was winter, when Death swayed his scepter, and that now his dominion is broken and life is renewed. In this way all nature is one holy symbolism.

And that same God who raised Christ from the dead, is He who, in the language of spring, has prophesied unto us a like resurrection from the grave.

This applies also to the life of the soul. There, too, it is oftentimes winter. When the heart is like the brown earth, and the soul like a leafless branch, and all our spirituality as a bush without bud; when a deathlike stillness prevails in the inner life, and no ray of sunlight breaks through the clouds of indifference; when nothing spiritual springs up within us; when we bear no fruit, and when the feeling takes hold of one as though held in place to no purpose. …

And this same God comes to you in this season of spring to raise you up out of your spiritual languishing and to tell that it will not always be winter in your soul.

That after the winter the genial rays of the sun in spring can shine again in your heart and that from the withered soul of your inner life new fruit can and will be produced.

This coming of spring to the soul you have known from earlier experience, when after great discouragements you felt yourself lifted up again, and after the chill of indifference, grace glowed again within you, with all its fostering warmth, and when what seemed dead was quickened within you to a new life.

Thus, we have spring in nature. So, there shall be an eternal spring in the day of resurrection.

And so, let there be spring in the life of the heart here and now; not merely for the sake of returning joys for ourselves, but rather that fruit may again be borne in our lives to the glory of God."


QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When has your heart been "like the brown earth, and the soul like a leafless branch, and all our spirituality as a bush without bud?" When has the ray of God's grace broken through the clouds of indifference and quickened your soul to life again? 

PRAYER: Father, You are stronger than death and darkness. As Spring returns to earth, awaken the resurrection life in me, break death's dominion so that my withered soul can bring forth new fruit. 

Read Kuyper’s full essay on the Acton Institute website


Channel(s): Culture and Worldview