The Nature-Grace ground-motive (NGGM) arose from a synthesis of the Form-Matter and Creation-Fall-Redemption ground-motives around 500 AD when European Christian thinkers recognised the glories of ancient Greece. Grace refers to the realm of the sacred and nature to the secular. To some extent one might see nature and grace as 'Christened' versions of matter and form, but reason, which used to be in form, became part of the nature realm; the type of knowing that we find in the grace realm is faith. Theology became the 'queen of the sciences'.
Just like FMGM, originally a duality, it became a dualism in which nature was seen to be a hindrance to grace and even inimical to it. This led to those types of oppression and injustice which characterised the pre-Reformation period in Europe.
As a philosopher, Dooyeweerd saw such problems as an inevitable result of the dualistic divorcing of secular from sacred. Religion was elevated into a separate sphere with no relevance to ordinary life. Ordinary life became seen as of lower value, a necessary evil and not worthy of respect or study. Another was that it separated natural humankind (as bearing the Divine stamp) from the rest of reality, and made God the ultimate cause and end of it, independent of humankind [NC,II:52-3]. This opened the way to the humanistic notion, under the Nature-Freedom ground-motive which followed it, that humankind could do with Nature whatever it wished. Today this has led to destruction of the planet.
However, our concern here is to understand NGGM. As Nature became dualisticaly divorced from Grace, the Church became ever more powerful and religious oppression became rife, and reactions occurred in the Renaissance and Reformation. The Reformation believed that the root of the problem was the synthesis that gave rise to NGGM in the first place, and sought to return to Sola Scriptura, while the Renaissance saw the root of the problem more in religion itself, and from this emerged the Nature-Freedom ground-motive. (The Reformation, arguably, failed and merely returned to NGGM under the onslaught of militant atheism and anti-clericalism.)
Compiled by Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.
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Created: 3 May 2007. Last updated: 1 November 2010 link to gm.html.