By Robert W. Jenson
Very much has lately been written approximately Jonathan Edwards. so much of it, even if, doesn't make relevant Edwards's personal goal to talk fact approximately God and the human state of affairs; his systematic theological goal is appeared in basic terms as an historic phenomenon. during this publication, Robert Jenson offers a unique type of interpretation, asking not just, "Why was once Edwards great?" but additionally, "Was Edwards right?" As a pupil of the information of Newton and Locke, Jenson argues, Edwards was once a great deal a determine of the Enlightenment; yet not like so much different american citizens, he used to be additionally a discerning critic of it, and used to be in a position to use Enlightenment suggestion in his theology with out yielding to its mechanistic and individualistic trends. by myself between Christian thinkers of the Enlightenment, Edwards conceived an authentically Christian piety and an artistic theology no longer despite Newton and Locke yet through advantage of them. Jenson sees Edwards's figuring out as an intensive corrective to what dedication to the Enlightenment caused in American existence, non secular and in a different way. probably, Jenson proposes, restoration of Edwards's imaginative and prescient may perhaps make the mutual selection of yank tradition and American Christianity extra fruitful than it has but been.
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Extra info for America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards
Necessarily, Edwards' analysis of God's self-regard begins with something about the object that God thus regards, that is, God. Edwards' teaches that "the glorious attributes of God . . " 21 With that, his whole argument is determined. The first step: in that God, necessarily and rightly, supremely values himself, he supremely values also his "acts and effects," since his own attributes are nothing but sufficiency to these. Second step: given the nature of divine being, God's acts are communicatings, and their effects therefore knowledge, so that in supremely valuing his acts, God supremely values other minds' knowledge of them, and that is, of himself.
Edwards was one of the first to see this with full clarity. Edwards had no quarrel with physics' operational concept of matter; it was an inspiration to him. At the end of the metaphysical reconstruction whose goal we have just described he insisted: "We would not, therefore, be understood to deny that things are where they seem to be, for the principles we lay down . . do not infer that. " As to the laws of physical process, he wrote, "the case is the same . . " 18 Whatever "mass" or "matter," or "space" or "motion," mean within Newton's laws, they mean for Edwards.
16 As for the angels, a reader of the Miscellaniess may well wonder why the themes of their test, by which some fell, and of the others' eventual "confirmation" in eternal righteousness, so occupied Edwards. After a bit, one sees why. In order for the spiritual community to be truly communal, it must be neither naturally undifferentiated nor practically hierarchical. The angels are created spirits naturally superior to humans, yet set by the Creator to serve these inferiors. The proclamation of this plan was the test against which Satan revolted and in which the good angels stood; thus they too acquire the history of human salvation as their own history.
America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards by Robert W. Jenson