Friday, August 19, 2005

Admiring Jonathan Edwards

I am currently working through, for the umpteenth time, Jonathan Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World.  I cannot help but think that if he were alive today, he would go virtually unnoticed by evangelicals as a whole.  The reason is because we are, for the most part, too dense to understand him.  And for that very reason, we miss tremendous insight.

Here’s a mind-blowing quote for you to work through, it falls under the heading:

God’s Moral Rectitude Consists in his Valuing the Most Valuable, Namely, Himself

“If moral rectitude of heart consists in paying the respect of the heart which is due, or which fitness and suitableness requires, fitness requires infinitely the greatest regard to be paid to God; and the denying of supreme regard here would be a conduct infinitely the most unfit.  Hence it will follow, that the moral rectitude of the disposition, inclination, of affection of God chiefly consists in a regard to himself, infinitely above his regard to all other beings; in other words, his holiness consists in this.”

Wow.  If I wrote like that, I couldn’t even get my wife to read this blog, even if I did link her website.  It’s a pity though.  Jonathan Edwards is a super-genius.  But you may be thinking, “Genius Schmenius, what in the world did all that mean?”  Since you asked, I’ll give you the modern cliff note version:
”The Chief End of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself for ever.”

That’s the cliff notes version because it’s only part of what Jonathan Edwards said in the above paragraph.  And yes, I did take that “translation” straight from John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad.  I think that he learned it from Edwards.  Would you like my understanding of Piper understanding Edwards?  (I believe I got it right, if not, commentators be merciless!)

My version of the above:

“If it is proper to love things which are truly lovely, then it is proper to love that which is most lovely most of all.  Since God Himself is infinitely, completely, and perfectly lovely, and since there is nothing so magnificent as He, all things are required to infinitely esteem, exalt, and glorify God.  If such love and praise is withheld from God, who is Himself the sole picture and object of perfection and goodness, then it is infinitely shameful to the being or beings who refuse to acknowledge God’s superiority in all virtue and greatness.  This adoration of God is not exclusive to creatures.  If God would be moral Himself, and if He would continue to be good, then God must also love Himself more than anything else in all the universe.  Further, it is the delight of God to lavish praise upon himself and to exalt himself.  His holiness consists in this.”

Since no one really reads long posts because they are deathly afraid of their employers catching them surfing the net, I will examine the ramifications of this statement in the next post.  In the meantime, please feel free to correct my paraphrase of Edwards, or even to amen it or add to it.  And, you can get ahead of the game and guess some of the results of Edwards’ thinking.


ColinM said...

Amen! Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Hubby recently came across scriptures alluding to amen to that!

JIBBS said...

I really like your paraphrase. Perhaps you could endeavor to 'translate Edwards' some more?

Sojourner said...


I'll try. If I could mine the gold that Edwards has to give, then I will have a long life as a blogger. Or, I could just save some time and recommend John Piper's "Desiring God" to everyone.