Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Reality: The Relationship of God to the World, Redemption History, and the Reprobate

Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Reality: The Relationship of God to the World, Redemption History, and the Reprobate


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Since the publication of Sang Hyun Lee's revolutionary commentary, The Philosophical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, scholars have considered the possibilities of understanding Jonathan Edwards's thought in terms of dispositional laws, forces, and habits. While some scholars reject the notion of a dispositional ontology in Edwards, others have taken the concept of disposition in his thought beyond the usage the Northampton minister ever indicated, especially with respect to soteriological considerations. The preacher of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is made to be an inclusivist, if not a crypto-universalist.

Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Reality substantiates that Edwards, in an effort to combat deistic and materialistic Enlightenment paradigms, employs dispositions in his philosophy, but that his radical theocentrism and Calvinistic particularism established its boundaries within his apologetical reconsideration of spatiotemporal and metaphysical reality. Within his "spiritual vision" of reality, Edwards leaves no stone unturned: history and even the reprobate find inherent value and a positive functional role not only in God's program of self-glorification but as manifestations of divine being--the damned are "deformities" in God. The logic of Edwards's theocentric vision of reality pushes his ideas to the limits of acceptable Reformed orthodoxy, and sometimes beyond those limits.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498260800
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 10/19/2011
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Frank D. Macchia is Director of Graduate Programs in Religion and Associate Professor of Theology at Vanguard University of Southern California. Paul S. Chung is Faculty Lecturer at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, which is part of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations xii

Introduction 1

1 Jonathan Edwards's Spiritual Vision of Reality 25

2 A Personal Narrative of the Vision of God 37

3 Comprehensive Theocentricity 53

4 The Formulation of Jonathan Edwards's Theocentric Metaphysics (Part I) 71

5 Divine Comprehensiveness and Edwardsean Panentheism: The Formulation of Jonathan Edwards's Theocentric Metaphysics (Part II) 79

6 The Becomingness of God: The Formulation of Jonathan Edwards's Theocentric Metaphysics (Part III) 94

7 The Application of Jonathan Edwards's Dispositional Concepts 106

8 The Beauty of Being: An Aesthetic Ontology of Human Being 127

9 Re-conceiving Human Being 146

10 God Glorified in Man's Existence 185

11 The First Sin 207

12 Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Salvation 233

13 Dispositional Peculiarity, History and Edwards's Evangelistic Appeal to Self-Love 254

Conclusion 289

Appendix A Panentheistic, but not Process Philosophy 297

Appendix B Sufficient and Efficacious Grace 300

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"There are a number of studies on the theocentric metaphysics of the Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards. This work distinguishes itself by its careful attention to detail, its comprehensive scope, and its sympathetic interaction with much of the recent Edwards scholarship. Bombaro presents his readers with a picture of the Sage of Northampton's theology, which emphasizes the glorification of God in the creation—and even in the reprobation—of human beings. This will be welcomed by scholars and readers of Edwards as a helpful addition to the expanding literature on the subject."

—Oliver Crisp

Professor of Systematic Theology

Fuller Theological Seminary

"A bold and carefully crafted challenge to current interpretations of Edwards, this work seeks a synthesis of those who insist that Edwards was an orthodox thinker and those who portray him as a modern one. Beginning with Edwards' theocentricity, with its vision of the unity of all in and for God, it grapples with what is for modern minds the more distasteful aspects of his theology—his adherence to the teachings of reprobation and the eternal destruction of the damned."

—Kenneth P. Minkema

Executive Editor and Director

The Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University

"Jonathan Edwards worked out a vivid personal view of the relations of God and humanity. In this rigorous engagement with Edwards's philosophical theology, John Bombaro shows that the theologian's vision was the fruit of his conversion and found a place even for reprobates in the glorification of their Creator."

—David Bebbington

Professor of History

University of Stirling

"John Bombaro's book on Edwards is most welcome. It shows in clear, well-argued prose with considerable learning that Edwards's theology is definite and clear and not a nose of wax, a plaything for the theologians. Indeed, as he shows, Edwards's Calvinism has some extreme elements to it. The publication of this book should curb excessive and speculative interpretations of his theology."

—Paul Helm

Teaching Fellow

Regent College, Vancouver

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