Quoting Stahl on the enlightenment underpinnings of the French Revolution:

The revolution is rationalism exteriorised; rationalism is the revolution internalized. Both the one and the other are the mortal disease of our century [in 1852]. Some say that rationalism is unbelief. This is false; it believe in man. Some say that the revolution is the denigration of authority. This is false; it understands simply that mankind is the unique source of power and the only goal of society. Both one and the other set mankind free from God. One nexessarily leads to the emancipation of the flesh and to communism; the other to the apotheosis of human reason. Both together lead to the man of sin predicted by Saint Paul.

This inevitable totalitarian statism is contrast with Christian alternatives such as Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty, which does not seek to unravel the created order.

Kuyper’s ideal is profoundly unliek the Enlightenment theory, which attempted to dissolve the somewhat independent social orders and institutions of late medieval society, so as to strengthen the hands of the secular state to reform mand and society towards a paradisaical condition (that wound up with vast wars and totalitarian tyranny in many places). Instead, he returns to the biblical doctrine of creation, which lies behind ‘constitutional government’ with its ordered structure of various spheres, all directly under the law of God…


  1. Kelly, Systematic Theology - Volume 1, p. 230, 244