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Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2

God and Creation

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"Bavinck was a man of giant mind, vast learning, ageless wisdom, and great expository skill. Solid but lucid, demanding but satisfying, broad and deep and sharp and stabilizing, Bavinck's magisterial Reformed Dogmatics remains after a century the supreme achievement of its kind."--J. I. Packer, Regent College


In partnership with the Dutch Reformed Translation Society, Baker Academic is proud to offer the second volume of Herman Bavinck's complete Reformed Dogmatics in English for the very first time. This masterwork will appeal to scholars, students, pastors, and laity interested in Reformed theology and to research and theological libraries. This classic work of Reformed theology includes enhanced documentation.



"A welcome addition to the works of Bavinck in English. Of special interest is Bavinck's insightful critique of the role of apologetics in establishing certainty in faith."--Donald G. Bloesch, emeritus professor of theology, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

"Herman Bavinck has often been unjustly overshadowed by Abraham Kuyper, especially in the English-speaking world. The unavailability in English of his crowning work, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, has been a particularly significant lack. Bavinck's breadth, thoroughness, rigor, ecumenical interests, and spiritual fervor are clearly on display in this careful and readable translation. It is a splendid gift to theological studies and will contribute to redressing the neglect of this faithful servant of Christ and his church."--Stephen R. Spencer, Wheaton College

"What a wonderful gift to the English-speaking theological world! The topics explored by Bavinck are still of the utmost importance, and he addresses them here in a theological voice that is amazingly fresh. I pray that the appearance of this volume signals the beginnings of a Bavinck revival!"--Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus and senior professor of faith and public life, Fuller Theological Seminary; Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, Calvin University

"Finally Bavinck becomes available to the English-speaking world. The Dutch version has been a constant stimulus for students, pastors, and other interested Christians. It has shaped generations of theologians and helped them to preach, think, and act on a fresh, Reformed basis. The strength of Bavinck's Dogmatics is that it's neither conservative nor progressive, but its biblical character makes it constantly up-to-date. Baker and the Dutch Reformed Translation Society deserve praise for this project, from which without doubt church and theology will profit for years to come."--Herman Selderhuis, Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn

"Those interested in Reformed theology will welcome with open arms Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. Bavinck is one of the premier Reformed theologians, but till now much of his magnum opus has not been accessible to English-language readers. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have made the treasures of Bavinck's thought available to a new world of appreciative hearers."-Donald K. McKim, editor, Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith

"Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics has been the fountainhead of Reformed theology for the last hundred years. It is by far the most profound and comprehensive Reformed systematic theology of the twentieth century. The reader will be amazed by Bavinck's erudition, creativity, and balance. Bavinck is confessionally orthodox, but he recognizes the need to rethink the traditional formulations from Scripture in the context of contemporary discussion. I hope it will have a large readership and will bring forth much theological and spiritual fruit."--John M. Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary

"This is one of those seminal works that embodies a significant portion of our Reformed theological heritage. We all should rejoice to see this material finally available in English!"--Samuel T. Logan Jr., Westminster Theological Seminary

"Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics continues to be the standard of modern orthodox dogmatics in the Reformed tradition. It not only is encompassing in content but also shows everywhere a profound insight into the basic problems that a Reformed theology has to face and a deep sensitivity for modern culture. The combination of both made his work famous, and studying his work fruitful also for a new generation."--Cornelis van der Kooi, Free University, Amsterdam

"Despite all the important contributions that Dutch Calvinists have made to North American Protestantism, Herman Bavinck remains an obscure figure, lagging behind the influential Abraham Kuyper. With the translation and republication of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, this unfortunate situation should change for the better. These four volumes demonstrate the importance and mastery of Bavinck's own contribution to Reformed theology, while providing a useful and striking point of comparison with the best-known twentieth-century Reformed dogmatics, that of Karl Barth. At a time when the scholastic nature of systematic theology has come under serious criticism, Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics reveals the advantage of careful and sustained reflection on Christian truth that is both faithful to the church and engaged with the academy. Readers will discover more than Bavinck the theologian in these volumes; they will learn about the God whom he worshiped and served."--D. G. Hart, author of The Lost Soul of American Protestantism

"Bavinck's Dutch masterwork was the Everest of which the textbooks by Louis Berkhof and Auguste Lecerf were foothills and Berkouwer's studies in dogmatics were outliers. Like Augustine, Calvin, and Edwards, Bavinck was a man of giant mind, vast learning, ageless wisdom, and great expository skill. Solid but lucid, demanding but satisfying, broad and deep and sharp and stabilizing, Bavinck's magisterial Reformed Dogmatics remains after a century the supreme achievement of its kind."--J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College

"Arguably the most important systematic theology ever produced in the Reformed tradition. I have found it to be the most valuable. English-speaking theology throughout the 20th century until now has been singularly impoverished by not having at its disposal a translation of Bavinck's Dogmatiek in its entirety. This will be an incomparable boon for generations of students, pastors, teachers, and others, serving to deepen understanding and enrich reflection in both historical and systematic theology."--Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., professor of biblical and systematic theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

The Author

  1. Herman Bavinck

    Herman Bavinck

    Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902.

    Continue reading about Herman Bavinck


"Represent[s] some of the finest and most integrated theological reflection of the twentieth century. . . . [Volume Two] not only gives us a fresh English translation, but also binds it into the larger context in which Bavinck was writing, linking the doctrine of God with that of creation. . . . Bavinck's whole approach takes us to the heights of theological reflection. . . . There is no doubting the fact [this volume] represent[s] systematic theological reflection of monumental significance."--Mark G. Johnston, Banner of Truth

"Widely praised for his precision and depth, Bavinck's work certainly plumbs the depths of inquiry regarding time-honored doctrines, but even though he wrote over one hundred years ago, his discussions have surprising relevance and apologetic freshness for engaging the modern world. . . . While biblically centered, Bavinck's scholarly care is marked by the excellent and consistent interaction he has with landmark historical figures in both philosophical and theological traditions. . . . Bavinck provides the best of apologetic interaction with orthodox theological construction and scholarly care. Perhaps the most enjoyable element of this work is Bavinck's ability to tie together precise dogmatic construction with personal application and ethical relevance which he does without compromising his thorough-going, theocentric point of view. . . . Translator John Vriend is to be praised for the outstanding translation work that captures the potent theological substance in a very enjoyable style. If this volume is indicative of the two more to be released in the future, then students of theology and scholars alike are in for a real treat. I highly recommend this book."--Mark Liederbach, Faith and Mission

"Bavinck's writing . . . is astonishing in the freshness and vitality of the approach. Though Bavinck was a contemporary of the great Abraham Kuyper, his treatment of subjects, such as Trinitarian relations, still has much to teach us. . . . [This work] retains its power and a bit of elegance."--Bill Nikides, Foundations

"What a magnificent achievement! . . . Although this appears more than a hundred years after the Dutch first edition, it is amazing how up to date are the presentation and discussion. . . . A fine general bibliography and indices of persons, Bible text discussion, and subjects treated, not available in Dutch until volume 4, do now enhance this edition."--Roger Nicole, Founders Journal

"Even as the first volume demonstrated that Bavinck was a Reformed theologian of superior rank, who evidenced a rich knowledge of the history of Reformed theology and the Christian tradition, with a peculiar gift to cut through theological tangles and arrive at sane and biblical balanced formulations, this second volume further illustrates these traits, and is indicative of the lasting achievement of Bavinck's work. It is not hyperbole to say that Bavinck's four volumes not only represent the best confessionally Reformed dogmatics produced in the twentieth century, it is probably the best confessionally Reformed dogmatics written, in any language, since the mid-eighteenth century. . . . Bavinck's work, though reflective of the rich diversity of theological discussion characteristic of the early-twentieth century, proves itself to be relevant for the academic and ecclesiastical world of our times. . . . This work remains a marvelous theological triumph."--J. Mark Beach, Mid-America Journal of Theology

"Bavinck deals with matters that are still relevant today. The issues raised by philosophies and theologies of the nineteenth century are still with us. This volume is still worth reading for its intelligent presentation of orthodoxy. This volume will be of use to anyone seriously interested in doctrinal theology, for constructive as well as historical purposes. Christian colleges should add this volume to their collections."--Ron Highfield, Stone-Campbell Journal

"Bavinck's serious engagement with the biblical text, the history of Christian theology, non-Christian thought, and with other non-Reformed theological traditions, particularly Roman Catholicism and liberal Protestantism, makes for enjoyable theological reading. His critical interaction with Enlightenment thinkers is a helpful, contextualized model for theology in the post-Enlightenment world, making this a very timely work. . . . The discussion of the Trinity . . . is almost worth the price of the book. . . . The translation of these volumes into English is a welcome addition to the resources for study of Reformed theology. Even those who are not Reformed in their theological heritage can gain much from Bavinck's clear presentation of Christian theology. This is not easy reading, but the effort is worthwhile to mine the depths of Bavinck's comprehensive and thoughtful summary of the Dutch Reformed tradition. Those who desire to understand the faith once for all delivered to the saints will be rewarded by a careful and systematic reading."--Glenn R. Kreider, Bibliotheca Sacra

"The theological world has been blessed by being the recipients of the translation of . . . Herman Bavinck's magnum opus the Gereformeerde Dogmatiek in English. As one who has read the entire 4-volume Dutch work from cover to cover 5-6 times, I can attest to the fine job of editing and translating John Bolt and John Vriend have done, respectively. . . . John Bolt has performed a great service by his editorial introductions and notes in the English translation. Far from hindering the reader's grasp of the material, Dr. Bolt provides us with highly helpful and pertinent comments in each of the chapters of material. By the same token, the translation team has done an admirable job in what is often a thankless task of a kind of theological midwifery. What is of greater import, however, is that the translation team was able to put older Dutch into a highly readable English format. . . . These volumes have been anticipated by the theological world for a long time and now that they are available, it would behoove every professor, theological student, Elder, and serious Christian to purchase them. . . . It would not be saying too much to state that reading any chapter of [Reformed Dogmatics] will have the effect of thoroughly grounding the Christian in the most important aspects of the subject under discussion. The reader is more fully equipped to understand the motivations as well as the theological constructions behind each of the respective movements. What this translates into is a theological orientation from a decidedly well-balanced Reformed persuasion that enables the reader to critique more modern 20th and 21st century theologies and theologians. . . . You will find yourself taking these volumes from the shelf and pouring over the rich history of dogma, the profound and continued use of Scripture, and the thorough grasp of theology and theological positions that Herman Bavinck offers. . . . John Bolt and John Vriend have done us the great service of putting the works of this outstanding Dutch theologian into our hands in the English language. You will only be the richer for studying Bavinck's theology."--Ron Gleason, Reformation21

"Offers a sweeping account of the doctrines of God, predestination, creation and providence."--Benjamin Myers, Reformed Theological Review

"A welcome addition to the English-language theological oeuvre in general and to Reformed theology in particular. . . . Bavinck represents the best of Reformed theology around the turn of the previous century. He combines theological and philosophical erudition, clear insight into the pressing issues of life in the contemporary world, and a deep pastoral passion for the life of followers of Christ. Not only is he deeply immersed in the Reformed theological tradition, but he is also thoroughly conversant with the great variety of modern theological and philosophical schools of his day. . . . His analyses remain surprisingly relevant. . . . Not only are his insights themselves of great value, so, too, is his style--his empathetic entering into the worlds of thought that he rejects. One finds no shrill, let alone facile, polemics in Bavinck's discussions. Rather, his conversations with opposing thought forms are models of clarity and grace. . . . The translation from the original is excellent. . . . [John Vriend's] finely honed skill in both the source and the target language is difficult to equal. The arrangement of this work into six parts, the introduction of new chapter headings and the many subheadings, and an extensive index make the translation far more accessible and useful than the original. The introduction by the editor helps to orient the reader to the setting and import of Bavinck's theology."--George Vandervelde, Calvin Theological Journal

"[Bavinck's] broad scholarship, Reformed piety, and irenic spirit shine through every chapter of this second volume. . . . This translation is particularly valuable because it makes available the insights of the outstanding Dutch theologian of his day. Pastors and theologians who have been shaped by reading more recent theologians will discover that Bavinck has much to offer. Not only does he provide clear definition of the issues, but in interacting with the theology and social currents of his day he gives us a model of how to deal with those abiding issues today. Those who turn to Bavinck's first volume are likely to find him to be especially helpful in matters of epistemology and the inspiration and authority of scripture. In this second volume, his exposition of the names and attributes of God is spiritually warm and intellectually satisfying. . . . Bavinck's exposition of the nature of human destiny, predestination, and providence is helpful in clarifying the issues and reminding us of the strength of the Christian tradition. . . . The Dutch Reformed Translation Society and Baker Academic are to be congratulated not only for this outstanding translation of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, but also for making available such an attractively produced hard cover book at such a modest price. I recommend that all four volumes be purchased, read, underlined, and digested; the study of them is an edifying and enlightening theological journey."--Eugene Heideman, Reformed Review

"[Bavinck] brings the breadth of his mental acumen to the topics of the person and nature of God and his work in creation. . . . Bavinck's work is nothing short of magisterial. He engages the topics with a thoroughness and clarity that few scholars achieve. . . . Although the text is over a hundred years old, readers will discover that Bavinck's insights . . . remain useful. . . . Few theologies present the feel of being a theology and a devotional work at the same time. For as well as being the product of a brilliant intellect, Bavinck's work is an act of worship. . . . This text will thoroughly educate and enrich its readers. . . . The editor and publisher should be commended for a well-made book. . . . English-speaking readers will find the text to be very readable. . . . A worthy addition to any theological library."--Stephen Vantassel, Emmaus Journal

"We should be extremely grateful to the Dutch Reformed Translation Society for their work in bringing this important, stimulating publication to an English readership. . . . There is much here that will delight and edify the reader. . . . [This volume is] presented very attractively in hardcover, with a bibliography and Scripture, name, and subject indexes. All of Bavinck's own footnotes have been retained and updated in form, and the subparagraph numbers of the second Dutch edition (and following editions) have also been retained in this edition. Both are excellent editorial decisions which render the final product that much more useful. . . . [Bavinck] was an extraordinarily astute, knowledgeable man with a depth of commitment to his God that is just as palpable in these pages as is his fervent love of the gospel and the Church. Some of the more doxological portions of his Dogmatics compare favorably with the most familiar, lofty, moving passages in Augustine and Calvin. What especially impresses, however, as one moves methodically through these tomes is Bavinck's integrity. . . . Ongoing work in systematic theology will not advance much if it neglects to wrestle honestly and frequently with the gems in this great work. . . . The student of Bavinck will find that patient pondering over the Reformed Dogmatics is a spiritual feast. . . . This is truly a publication event worthy of rejoicing. We can hope and pray that this project will encourage the kind of theological work for which its author is so greatly revered--the constant commitment to patient exegesis, the responsible and informed interaction with history, the churchly sensibility, and the keen perception into the concerns and needs of the present time. These are the classic priorities of Reformed theology, and they--and we--are deepened and advanced in Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics."--Mark A. Garcia, American Theological Inquiry