Saturday, March 22, 2008

a mighty deluge

For he offered a sacrifice, that was sufficient to do away all the guilt of the whole world. Though the guilt of man was like great mountains, whose heads are lifted up to the heavens; yet his dying love, and his merits, appeared as a mighty deluge that overflowed the highest mountains; or like a boundless ocean that swallows them up; or like an immense fountain of light, that with the fullness and redundance of its brightness, swallows up men’s greatest sins, as little motes are swallowed up and hidden in the disk of the sun.

Christ Exalted, 1738, Hickman Works II, 215.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On arguments

From a friend:

"One of the struggles that the church continually faces is the temptation to atomistic exegesis of Scripture. This is idea that one text cannot be brought to bear on another. For instance, we sometimes hear it said that we cannot interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. The church has always affirmed that we can bring one text into proximity with another. She has also affirmed that what Scripture teaches expressly and “by good and necessary consequence” are equally authoritative. In other words, what the Bible teaches explicitly and what it teaches implicitly are equally binding. This is related to the idea that we cannot know something as true unless we know it directly or self-evidently. Jonathan Edwards has something to say about that in Miscellanies 1340,

“For therein consists all reason or argumentation whatsoever, viz., in discovering the truth of a proposition whose truth don't appear to our reason immediately or when we consider it alone, but by the help of some other proposition on which it depends. If this be not allowed, we must believe nothing at all but only self-evident propositions; and then we must have done with all such things as arguments...”

So Edwards tells us we can know something as true which we have deduced from some other truth."

Jeff Waddington, Westminster Theological Seminary.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Edwards, aesthetics, and the Eastern tradition.

Another article on JE and the Eastern tradition. Michael Gibson concludes that: 

'The core argument of this essay has been that Jonathan Edwards reconceptualized the dogmatic loci of Christian theology through an aesthetic lens, and that as a result his theological vision takes on a remarkable resemblance to the Eastern tradition, most closely resembling the thought of Maximus the Confessor. It cannot be suggested that Edwards in fact read Maximus, let alone that he consciously appropriated the vision of Maximus into his own thinking.'


' I am suggesting that a philosophical and theological line of thinking that can be traced back to Cappadocian and Eastern tradition had surfaced in Edwards's time, and that it infused the variegated sources of Edwards's thinking. Moreover, the state of theological controversy sparked similar types of theological defense and substantiation: as Maximus faced Origenism, Arianism, monophysitism, Macedonianism—controversies surrounding the definition of the person of Christ, the Trinity, creation—so also Edwards entered the dispute over Socianism, Arminianism, the Trinity, the will, and original sin. In a strange way, these two consummate theologians, though separated by over a millennium, constructed astoundingly similar bodies of theological contemplation that pivoted on the axis of God's glory and beauty.'

Much more needs to be written about this alleged connection - see also the article by McClymond in Helm & Crisp, Jonathan Edwards: Philosophical Theologian. For now just to note this latest article.

Michael Gibson, 'The Beauty of the Redemption of the World: The Theological Aesthetics of Maximus the Confessor and Jonathan Edwards'
in Harvard Theological Review (2008), 101:45-76

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