Oliver D. Crisp

in Jonathan Edwards on God and Creation

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755295
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979486 | DOI:

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Chapter 8 offers a critical account of the Edwardsian doctrine of the consummation of creation, focusing on the question of the destiny of the saints in theosis and the reprobate in hell, and whether Edwards's views in this matter are consistent with other aspects of his philosophical theology considered earlier in the book. This involves taking issue with several recent objections to this way of thinking about the consummation of creation by systematic theologians like Bruce McCormack and Edwardsian interpreters like Robert Caldwell III. Like other Edwards scholars such as Michael McClymond, the chapter argues that Edwards's commitment to theosis must be taken with full seriousness. He really thinks the goal or end of creation is the union of elect creatures with the divine nature. He also offers a robust defense of the justice of hell and its place in the grand scheme of creation. In so doing, says Amy Plantinga Pauw, “Edwards's Trinitarian harmony faltered.” The chapter argues that the internal logic of Edwards's position is consistent; his defense of hell may be unpalatable to some modern readers but is not a failure of nerve. The chapter also shows that such Edwardsian logic could be used to develop a much more optimistic eschatology than Edwards would have acceded to. This may be one way in which contemporary theology might reappropriate and develop basically Edwardsian insights.

Keywords: consummation; creation; theosis; divinization; asymptote; Amy Plantinga Pauw; Hell; Heaven; retributive punishment; Stephen Holmes

Chapter.  11465 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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