By Robert W. Jenson
Very much has lately been written approximately Jonathan Edwards. such a lot of it, despite the fact that, doesn't make critical Edwards's personal goal to talk fact approximately God and the human state of affairs; his systematic theological purpose is appeared in simple terms as an old phenomenon. during this ebook, Robert Jenson offers a special kind of interpretation, asking not just, "Why used to be Edwards great?" but additionally, "Was Edwards right?" As a scholar of the guidelines of Newton and Locke, Jenson argues, Edwards was once greatly a determine of the Enlightenment; yet in contrast to so much different americans, he used to be additionally a discerning critic of it, and used to be in a position to use Enlightenment concept in his theology with out yielding to its mechanistic and individualistic trends. on my own between Christian thinkers of the Enlightenment, Edwards conceived an authentically Christian piety and an artistic theology now not inspite of Newton and Locke yet through advantage of them. Jenson sees Edwards's realizing as an intensive corrective to what dedication to the Enlightenment led to in American existence, spiritual and another way. might be, Jenson proposes, restoration of Edwards's imaginative and prescient may well make the mutual selection of yank tradition and American Christianity extra fruitful than it has but been.
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Additional info for America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards
According to Edwards, it is reasonable to think that 22 THE FOUNDING INTUITION God reveals himself; the alleged truth proposed by the actual revelation to Israel is satisfying to reason; and the processes by which we become convinced of this revelation's actuality are rational processes. Edwards can and regularly does sound like the most unchastened rationalists of his period. " 34 Accordingly, in the entries from his years at Stockbridge, argument after argument begins with the posit of "a Creator," made in common with the deists, and argues that "without a revelation, mankind must be forever in the most woeful doubt" about all the most important "things that concern their welfare"—the future state, the content of God's will, the possibility of forgiveness, etc.
Human creatures are the goal of creation in that they will "enter" the state after "these revolutions," and in that thereby the entire creation has purpose. For man is the consciousness and so will be the memory of the cosmos. To cite again a key passage already instanced: "Man is the consciousness of the creation whereby the universe is conscious of its own being and of what is done in it. Except the world had such a consciousness of itself, it would be altogether vain that it was. . For the creation was known as much .
23 Much evil would have been avoided. Edwards' answer is again beautifully Calvinist: the history between the first creation and the end is needed in order that all God's glorious attributes may be displayed, and the creature, whose happiness is the beholding of God, not left in an incomplete blessedness. "Without [a period of testing] there would not properly have been . . a divine moral government over intelligent creatures. . " 24 The glory of God simply is such as to be only historically communicable.
America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards by Robert W. Jenson