butter light

what is Edwards saying?

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there’s a little contest over at Desiring God to see who can best explain what Jonathan Edwards is saying in his Miscellanies #125.

here is Edwards:

Miscellanies #125[a]:

‘Tis certain with me that the world exists anew every moment, that the existence of things every moment ceases and is every moment renewed. For instance, in the existence of bodies, for there to be resistance, or tendency to some place; ’tis not numerically the same resistance that exists the next moment, ’tis evident, because this existence may be in different places. But yet this existence is continued so far, that there is respect had to it in all the future existences; ’tis evident in all things continually. Now past existence can’t be continued so that respect should be had to it, otherwise than mentally. If the world this moment should be annihilated, so that nothing should really and actually exist any more; the existence of the world could not be continued so that, if another world after a time should be created, that world should exist after this or that manner from respect to the manner of the existence of this, or should be so only because this had been thus or thus. Indeed, we every moment see the same proof of a God as we should have seen, if we had seen [him] create the world at first. Revelation 4:11, “For thy pleasure they are and were created.”

here is what I wrote:

Waking Moments

“Edward’s description here of God’s pleasure is beautiful – if you dig the esoterics of philosophy – and I do.   He offers me a unique entry point into God’s pleasure while using speech perhaps from lectures on ontology or epistemology and so on.  Yet, where these disciplines overlap Edwards explains how God gifts man with “waking moments.”

Through this philosophical maze Edwards leads us to a splendid discovery where merge time, God, pleasure.  Every moment in time is unique, but not entirely for each is indebted to the one before it and to the first one.  Thus, every moment, except the second, is a grandchild of the first. 

The splendid discovery? – the first ‘waking moment’ in time need not be the last.  Newly minted Adam awoke to hear incantations of blessings on him; then Job awakes from disaster to laud his Maker; Paul on Damascus Road; two disciples on Emmaus Road; Tumor patient, Matt Chandler, awakes to “a heightened sense of everything.”  Time has procured many such moments; not enough. 

Edwards here is heady, but we can just as well say, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” every waking moment.  To string a few of these together is to sip The Elixir.  To string a lifetime of such is to be merrily drunk with that elixir – “a God-entranced vision of” God’s vision of “all things” – then time ceases to be a line, instead a circle of revelry, a gambol.”


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