Monday, July 5, 2010

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 - March 22, 1758) has been called America's greatest theologian and most influential thinker. During his life time he worked as a parish pastor, missionary, and college teacher. He published many books and works which have never gone out of print and are widely read today.

One of my goals this summer is to both read about Jonathan Edwards and read him. A couple of months ago I read Jonathan Edwards And The Ministry Of The Word: A Model of Faith and Thought by Douglas A. Sweeney who has published a number of works on Edwards and knows his subject well.

This morning I started reading Jonathan Edwards on Beauty edited by Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney from The Essential Edwards Collection published by Moody Publishers. The book has five chapters on the beauty of God, Creation, Christ, the Church, and the Trinitarian Afterlife.

Edwards identified seven attributes that demonstrate God's beauty - eternality and self-existence, greatness, loveliness, power, wisdom, holiness, and goodness.

I was struck by something Edwards wrote about God's goodness, "God delights in the welfare and prosperity of his creatures; he delights in the making of them exceeding happy and blessed, if they will but accept of the happiness which he offers." Edwards asserted of God's goodness, "this is goodness that never was, never will, never can be paralleled by any other beings." When kings give good things to their subjects, "they do but give that which the Almighty before gave to them."

According to Edwards God's greatest gift of goodness is seen in the giving and self-sacrifice of his Son for the sin of the world. "There never was such an instance of goodness, mercy, pity, and compassion since the world began; all the mercy and goodness amongst creatures fall infinitely short of this."

It is plain to see that I am going to feast on Edwards over the next several days. He is God-centered in a manner in which few of us are today.

1 comment:

  1. Tim, I started reading about him also. It is sad that he as gotten a bad rap for so long and so many missed his emphasis on beauty and goodness. I loved his quote about happiness. Living here in a new culture, a house that takes me back 30 years, I can still be happy knowing that we are in the will of God and whatever he brings in this crazy adventure it is for our good. God desires us to have fun and happiness if we are willing to bend to his will and take life and circumstances as they come, through His hand.