Jonathan Edwards, REL 4920.40397
Calvinists in the hands of an angry scientist:
a soteriological ‘thought experiment’ regarding the Calvinist versus Arminian dilemma of volitional agency and the existential personality and theological method of Jonathan Edwards in terms of a modernly scientific, situational re-contextualization of his own Newtonian versus present-day Einsteinian understanding of space-time with the intent of demonstrating a non-conflational view of divine and creational chronologies
– or –
‘Honey, I shrunk the soteriology.’
In the classic Sherlock Holmes story, A Study In Scarlett, the central character, the master detective himself, makes the observation that “it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” (Wilson 42). It may seem a bit odd to preface a paper on the theology of Jonathan Edwards with a quote from Sherlock Holmes, but it serves well to illustrate the thesis contained herein: namely, that Jonathan Edwards, though being a masterful and diversely educated theologian, inadvertently – by nature of being a man contextually engrained in the intellectual-scientific presuppositions of his given historical age within which he lived – did just that. Edwards is hallowed within the halls of academic theology because of his bold innovation in terms of seeking a remediation between the worlds of science and faith. He was unafraid to speak out of the conventional understandings of his day in regards to how he proposed the world to actually work in terms of God’s purpose and design. His assertion that the whole of reality echoed out of the very primacy of God’s own imagination beckons us into the mind and heart of an immensely rigorous thinker who challenged the very foundations of theology in his day. Today, though he is widely known for his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, to those who have taken the time to invest in him, Edwards reveals himself to be much more than just a “hellfire and brimstone” revivalist, but rather a fearless thinker who was controversially exacting and fearlessly rigorous in both in his theological studies and his love of science. This paper will seek to propose a radical, theoretical possibility: that because of Edward’s deep love of both science and exegetical theology, that were he privy to the radical and revolutionary understandings of modern science, he may have himself embarked on a likewise radical and revolutionary alternative assertion to at least one doctrinal issue. This paper will present an argument that Edwards might have done the unthinkable: gone from being an ardent Calvinist, to having an Arminian viewpoint.
The Two Schools of Soteriology
In the interest of brevity, this author will attempt to simplify the traditionally oppositional theological traditions of Calvinism and Arminianism, by merely explaining that the emphasis of Calvinism is an uncompromising assertion of the sovereignty of God and an urging for Calvinist thinkers to defer all scripture references to God’s foreknowledge as being ontologically functionalized into a predestinationalist soteriological framework. Essentially, any ‘free agency’ on the part of humanity is subsumed/countermanded by the issue of Divine Sovereignty. This viewpoint essentially guides an interpretation of Romans 8:29 to mean that all (in the case of the argument for a so-called ‘double’ predestination) or only those “elected” (‘single’ predestination) are irreversibly committed to a specific spiritual destiny. It has been argued that the difference between single and double predestination is a rhetorical deception; because to commend only the elected to salvation is to logically damn everyone else to being lost.
Arminianism refers to the school of soteriological thought founded by Jacobus Arminius who proposed an alternate viewpoint of understanding how Election works – that essentially – we are empowered with a choice. To accept God or reject Him is always an act of sovereign volitional agency on the part of the individual and not God. Aminianism shares with Calvinism the quality of being a ‘broad heading’ in terms of there being a great deal of potential diversity among its constituents. Generally speaking, most classically Arminian groups, like their Calvinist counterparts, also hold the scriptures to a high degree of esteem, and argue their doctrinal assertions from a scriptural standpoint.
The debate is much the same today, as it was in his own. After all, the scripture verses that each camp respectively uses have not changed. We may have newer translations, and the linguistic form of the verses may have changed according to the cultural language game going on invisibly behind the scenes, but their contextual content has remained largely the same.
Edwards makes his case for a Calvinist understanding of how the dynamics of Election actually work in his treatise entitled Freedom of the Will. In it he argues that the word ‘liberty’ means a different thing to a Calvinist then it does to an Arminian (Smith 192-222). Edwards argues, in part, that it is a fallacy to assume that there is any liberty, if the original dynamic force in the will is bound over to sin, and no successive series of subsequent itinerations thereof are capable of rendering a product which can be considered to have the quality of true liberty (Smith 209). In this sense, Edwards argues for a causational blindness – in terms of mankind’s inability to choose God from within his own volitional capacity.
A Tale of Two Extremes
Generally speaking most mainstream Calvinists openly accept that their doctrine of Limited Atonement and Single/Double Predestination – in terms of man’s ability to make a choice for God – is a radical position. When Calvinist pastor and theologian John MacArthur was asked at the 2010 Shepherd’s Conference, “how do we tell people that Jesus Christ did not die for them?” MacArthur responded initially, “Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells ‘ya to tell them,” adding, later – in a joking manner – “I feel your pain,” before continuing on with a standard Calvinist apologetical statement. Edwards himself pointed out the extremism that often resulted on the side of Arminianism in citing all of the various increasingly non-Christian variations that it seemingly potentially leads to (Marsden 440). The Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, holds to an Arminian position, and likewise points to the extremisms that both views potentially offer, citing their belief that it “It accepts the scriptural elements found in both teachings” (AG.org). Still others, such as Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll, refer to themselves as ‘Modified Calvinists’ in that they claim to be Arminians with an ‘expanded theology‘ (MarsHillChurch.org). Still, Driscoll argues for a Single Predestinational viewpoint, in keeping with his Calvinist background. Ultimately, the disagreement between Arminian and Calvinist viewpoints comes down to the Predestination/Election issue. Most denominations are unwilling to ‘walk between’ the traditional viewpoints, such as the Assemblies of God does, and would rather dig in their heels and offer the standard scriptural defenses when it comes to the issue of Election. Whatever degree any man-related political election process man can or has created in the past, the theological issue of how individual people come into a relationship with God through the Ordo Salutis – defined as the “theological doctrine that deals with the logical sequencing of the benefits of redemption as we are united to Christ which are applied to us by the Holy Spirit” (Monergism.com) – has more to its credit. Eventually, the difference comes down the Grace of God and the Will of man, as suggested by the likewise-titled book by the Arminian theologian Clark H. Pinnock, which traces his own process from being a Calvinist to becoming an Arminian. Could Edwards have likewise made just such a monumental traversal?
A different view on volitional agency, Part I: De-conflating Calvin – The subjective understanding of time as it was accepted in the idealism of Newton’s world; setting the groundwork for a soteriological ‘thought experiment’ using the unique personality and convictions of Jonathan Edwards with reference to the essence of his existential personality and theological method.
Jonathan Edwards lived in a world that was guided by certain scientific presuppositions; he lived in a universe that was guided by the precepts of physics, as they were understood by a Newtonian understanding. Edwards was exposed to and incorporated the thoughts and ideas of Sir Isaac Newton’s thoughts in terms of his understandings of science and philosophy (Albatrus.org). Today, when we speak of a Newtonian understanding of the world, we speak of it not as a necessarily archaic or outmoded understanding, but rather a previous or older way of understanding how the whole world was understood to work. This is because Newton was not necessarily wrong per se, but rather that great advances in the studies of physics have radically changed the way that the world, space, and even time are understood to exist together.
In this sense, we have a classist model that functions on the assumed ideals of how things worked. The classicist-idealist model of time is based on a Newton’s Clock: that essentially there is one great big clock that governs all of everything, and that for a theologian of his day, Edwards and others would have understood this in a functional way; or that there is only one chronological continuum for both heaven (Spirit/God) and earth (our lives). The idea of time in this context was understood from a subjective standpoint. The idea that there is a separate time for God and that of man (II Peter 3:8) was essentially lost in the murky mists of a subtlety imposed theological essence of subjectivity. It would be understood to be so – but assumed to be essentially a moot point, from a practical standpoint; especially when formulating soteriological doctrine and building respective worldview frameworks for subsequent understandings of Election for the 19th century theologian and those who came before him.
This subjective classification of time in the Newtonian classicist-idealist understanding therefore created a chrono-conflation, or a bringing together of these two understandings of time. It would be natural to deny such a theological subjectively was extant and active. After all, a sincere theologian strives for the essence of a foundation and concrete objectivity in his work – but in the objective application of theology; especially within a Newtonian understanding of time – it was functionally asserted that this subjective dimension was to be enforced because these two separate realms of time (that of the Divine and the Creational) were understood to be of a nature by which they would not objectively render themselves separately. Their separateness was assumed to operate entirely on subjective grounds. Any paradox, subjective or objective, automatically deferred to the Divine. In terms of God’s foreknowledge of Man’s decision towards Him, and more so importantly, those spoken of as being ‘fore-knew’ by Romans 8:29, the logically-induced, objectively-understood but subjectively-rendered, chrono-conflated, Newtonian-idealist mindset/world-view functionally resulted in Calvinian Predestination because – in a paradox – the default is always to God as the answer. This was expressed mildly in Augustine, but much more pronounced in the theology of John Calvin.
A different view on volitional agency, Part II: Entering Einstein – quantum physics and objectively understood space-time continuums; understanding the difference it makes when time becomes creationally-objectively real within a soteriological framework and the resultant implications as they might have been understood by Edwards.
When the United States dropped its World War II nuclear bombs on Japan, physics essentially forever changed the dynamics of modern warfare. No longer the plaything of geeks and academics, physics had made the scientist the foremost power broker in the economies of the world. Physics could be used to advance – or destroy civilizations.
Another revolution – equally earth shattering, albeit infinitely quieter – was also occurring: General Relativity & the dawn of Quantum Physics. General Relativity, popularly adumbrated in the global lexicon as “E= MC2”, was a far more status quo-challenging understanding of the world than its simplified moniker suggested. More than just a formula to describe the relationship of energy to mass and light, it posited that time itself is not a subjective ideal but an objective reality: one as real as rain or as discernible as the ocean’s tides. Einstein postulated that time and space “act together to form the very fabric of space around us” (Answerbag.com), what is referred to as a Time-Space Continuum, and that time could be changed and/or altered by a given objects acceleration in relation to its speed and that of Light or Gravity (NASA).
In other words, Einstein showed us that time is a distinctive component of what is understood by the theologian to be God’s creation. The theological ramifications of this are an objective (versus subjective) split between God’s creation and what we understand to be that of the Divine. The Creational World can be understood to have its own creationally imparted time. This means the theologian must wrestle with a bifurcated (two by intrinsic nature) dichotomy in terms of the inter-relational dynamics between God’s time and that of His creation. The split is no longer idealistically-subjective. It is now must inescapably be understood as concretely-objective in its actual nature. A functionally classicist-idealist, Newtonian understanding of creational time is shown to be guilty of a divine-creational conflation of respective chronologies.
In summary, we are left with the conclusion that, as definitions, Newtonian and Einsteinian time have very different understandings of each other and markedly different implications on one’s understanding of how Divine Time and Creational Time interrelate.
A) Newtonian time can be defined as one clock, which is of a ‘subjective-idealist’ archetype, the subsequent understanding being that Heaven and Earth are on the same clock, in a non-implied but functional way.
B) Einstein/Quantum Physics Time – Definition: can be defined as time being of a creational dimension of an ‘Objective-substantive’ archetype, therefore its subsequent understanding is that rather than existing basically in a collective mind, time is an integral and reproducible part of the created world, as real as water or rock; which in essence means that it ‘actually exists’ as a ‘creationally-contingent essence’ and not an abstract thought/spiritual one.
A different view on volitional agency, Part III: observations of Einsteinian relativity and implied creational-contextual relations, ex situ versus in situ, in regard to volitional agencies suitably extant within creational time
The Modern Age lives at a harrowing pace of technological evolution. Technology evolves and improves at such a rate that the present generation of youth are seemingly oblivious to the possibility that previous generations lived without cellular telephones and personal computers. All of these, however, are small compared to the big questions that Quantum Theory asks: does time really exist? (Scientific American 58) In fact, a modern Einsteinian and Quantum Theory worldview, in regards to its assertion of the so-called “big bang” primeval event, is no longer looked upon with disdain but is even used by theologians to support the idea that the entire cosmos came from a genitive event (Dyke and Henry).
A worldview that takes into consideration Einsteinian relativity and quantum physics makes these assertions about time:
▪ It can literally be controlled. Atomic clocks have been observed to slow down (lose time) in relation to their speed in ratio with the speed of light, or that for as long as clocks were at a given percentage of the speed of light – they lost that degree of time (hyperphysics.phy-astr.gs u.edu).
▪ When you look out through the universe, you are looking at an actual, tangible fabric of time and space – a “time-space continuum.” It can be observed to be bent and warped, in relation to gravity of stars and black holes (Britannica.com). In this sense, time is bent and warped as well, as it is a literal, concrete, objective part of creation and not a Newtonian subjective-idealist archetype used to abstractly understand relationships between events and or positions of objects in changing relations to each other.
If we accept then that time is in fact a concrete, objective, tangible, aspect of creation and not merely an idealistic and subjective vapor – one that is resident only within the intangibility of the imagination as some kind of universal tracking system for orientations of intervals and events – then we are confronted with a second question: what is our relation to it? More specifically, within the context of a discussion of the Free Will of Man, or his associated Volitional Agency, can we be found to be contextually inside or outside of it? Contextual Relation is defined as either ex situ or in situ.
▪ Ex Situ: A primary dynamic/situation which is functioning or existing outside the whole content, posit and/or relational continuum of another given dynamic/situation.
▪ In Situ: “a primary dynamic/situation functioning/existing from within another given dynamic/situation’s content, posit or relational continuum.
The thought experiment posed herein is that Jonathan Edwards was more than just a theologian and a philosopher – but that he was deeply concerned with the issues of science. If Edwards understood time to function as we understand it today, would this have had serious implications on his theology? Is there ample evidence of a radicalism within him that could allow him to see the paradox between man’s Free Choice and Divine Foreknowledge to be radically restated when re-contextualized with an Einsteinian understanding of Time?
Edwards’ concern against Arminianism was always his perceived lack of a preservation of the Sovereignty of God (Marsden 439). This is, in essence, the very basis of Calvinism (Marsden 442). Yet the idea of Divine Restraint, especially for the biblical theologian is not a neologistic concept, but one that can be and is scripturally embraced. It would not have been a questionable precept for Edwards. As Spurgeon said later, “the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed.” All good theologians are familiar with the concepts of God forgiving our sins and throwing them into the proverbially-spoken of ‘sea of forgetfulness’ which is understood to be the meaning of Micah 7:19. An argument for God’s self-constraint of his own knowledge of our sin is standard, conservative theological doctrine. Either in terms of God’s own knowledge or the exertion of his Sovereignty – a proposed doctrine of ‘Divine self-constraint’ is exegetically sustainable, even from a conservative Biblicist standpoint. Self-constraint (in knowledge or in power) in no way countermands God’s Sovereignty or his Omnipotence.
Edwards was possessive of the existential fortitude to assert radical assertions in his age, and he likely would have done the same in our own. Edwards could easily have argued for Volitional Agency on the part of man as being capable of being expressed exclusively within Creational Time. He could have easily argued for the time of man to have a nature such as it being creational and fully abstracted from that of Divine Time. He would have no logical problem of any divine self-constraint operating within God’s own Creational Intent and design – or God’s revealed soteriological process (Salvation) intrinsic to it. Furthermore, he could easily go on to further argue for a paradox-displacement: that the puzzle is no longer between Human Freedom and Divine Sovereignty, but that it is instead suitably frameable as a paradox of how there can even be a Divine Time and Creational Time, instead. This is also a mystery, but one that does not have the soteriological implications that a subjective, conflated, Newtonian understanding presents. Neither does it have expressly soteriological implications. Either by Creational Design, or Divine Constraint – both God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will can arguably be preserved and seen to no longer be in direct conflict when understood through an Einsteinian understanding of time.
Edwards could argue that God’s foreknowledge is ex situ to the creational time-space continuum, and likewise, that our Volitional Agency is in situ to it, therefore, there is no paradox between the two dynamics. An apologist can argue that the only paradox observed is in the scriptural eisegesis intrinsic to a Newtonian Mindset, whereas if the scripture is true, then it references the relation of Divine Foreknowledge as ex situ to Creational Time and Human Volition Agency as in sito to it – which correlates to a Einsteinian View, and by doing so, the paradox resolves itself once this reality (represented indirectly in the scripture) is seen to be demonstrateably (more or less) extant in the real scientific world.
Why Jonathan Edwards?
It is arguable that there is poverty in influence when it comes to many of the great issues in modern Christianity. Primarily, it can and will be argued that Jonathan Edwards represents the embodiment of the rare transformational zeitgeist: one who was truly capable of radically moving a given conversation forward and into the forefront of thought and even through the process of a generational or possibly even a millennial-equivalent paradigm shift.
This author makes no bones about the radicalness of the given proposal – as it has been outlined and explained, insofar as it might be unlikely – but inasmuch as it could have been fathomed to be possible by Edward’s immense & powerful, theological imagination. It is into this possibility, which we will have endeavored to thrust our own retroactive theological imaginations.
Secondarily, as mentioned before, Edwards demonstrated an exacting, thorough desire to be both faithful not only to Scripture but also to a scientific understanding of the world. In this sense, he was a Compatabilist in that he saw no necessary contradiction between Science and Faith when both are understood as they actually are and not as we may perceive them to be in a sense of immediacy.
Thirdly, Edwards possessed intense passion and energy. There was no “middle way” (Marsden 38) for him. He would have been a likely candidate to make radical assertions in light of radical new understandings.
A “Philosopher and Collector of Evidence” – but would he?
The purpose of a thought experiment is to examine a subject and entertain the various possible, allowable permutations in regards to the changing of situational dynamics and/or assumptions with the goal of gauging the probability of change and/or different outcomes. It is equally arguable that Edwards could have become an Arminian if his Newtonian understanding became Einsteinian. Die-hard Calvinists would argue that he certainly would not, whereas dyed-in-the-wool Arminians would argue that he certainly would. Edwards was never afraid of science. His concern was that it would lead to materialism (Marsden 73), not a default disproof of Faith. Edwards was humble, (Marsden 45) but he had a passion towards a hope and belief that God could and might use him in potentially “grand historical moments” (Marsden 378) of change. What remains is that it certainly provides a great degree of fascination in regards to exactly how he would have processed the information which, in life, he was always gathering and thinking about (Marsden 240) and what the outcome would have been. This should be the focus of any student who aspires to be a theologian. If future theologians are to possess the same intellect and courage as Edwards, it would certainly benefit them to ponder both the strengths and the limitations of the Edwards’ courage. In studying him, they just might find the courage to be like him for this present generation.
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Albatrus.org. Jonathan Edwards’ Life, a Summary. n/a n/a n/a. 4 11 2010 <http://www.albatrus.org/english/potpourri/historical/edwards-jonathan.htm >.
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Henry, Ph.D, Hugh and M.Div., M.Th., Daniel J. Dyke. DID GOD CREATE HEAVEN AND EARTH—OR JUST SEPARATE THEM? AN ANALYSIS OF ELLEN VAN WOLDE’S “HYPOTHESIS,” PART 1 (OF 2). 23 4 2010. Reason to Believe. 7 12 2010 <http://www.reasons.org/did-god-create-heaven-and-earth—or-just-separate-them-analysis-ellen-van-woldes-hypothesis-part-1-2 >.
Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu. Hafele-Keating Experiment. n/a n/a n/a. 4 12 2010 <http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/relativ/airtim.html >.
Mars Hill Church. Mars Hill Church – Unlimited Limited Atonement. n/a n/a n/a. Mars Hill Church. 7 11 2010 <http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:URkA9lL6Tu0J:assets.marshillchurch.org/media/2005/11/20/20051120_unlimited-limited-atonement_document.pdf+Driscoll+limited+unlimited+atonement&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShEzho9WbrCsLn2bmtfGUNC7Dm3cmF3AoMPvieBF7ZKsMDhH8yCz3sMJdRAoc46le5tDJN965Wj- hIUchNJuh7b71hwbKynsISVAgCxYk0hlZVKykleFQLf3fKRNXIHM0E1iLjc&sig=AHIEtbTyZCUbz0lPliwePg83Too9J-FjkQ >.
—. Mars Hill Church | Religion Saves. 20 1 2008. Mars Hill Church. 7 11 2010 <http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves>.
Marsden, George M. Jonathan Edwards – A Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.
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 “The reason why it is so exceedingly natural to men to suppose that there is some latent substance, or something that is altogether hid, that upholds the properties of bodies, is because all see at first sight that the properties of bodies are such as need some cause that shall every moment have influence to their continuance, as well as a cause of their first existence. All therefore agree that there is something that is there, and upholds these properties, and it is most true, there undoubtedly is. But men are wont to content themselves in saying that it is something; but that “something” is he by whom all things consist.” The Mind, A Jonathan Edwards Reader, pg. 34.
 Edwards demonstrated this aspect of himself in his classic work, the so-called Spider Letter, in which he explores and investigates the behavioral dynamics of spiders. (A Jonathan Edwards Reader, pgs. 1-9.)
 “Theology dealing with salvation especially as effected by Jesus Christ.” From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soteriology
 Jonathan Edwards – A Life, pg. 439.
 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29, from the King James Version.
 A step in the process of salvation. “The doctrine of Calvin that God chooses certain individuals for salvation without reference to their faith or works,” or “The doctrine of Arminius and others that God chooses for salvation those who, by grace, persevere in faith and works.” From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/election
 “Limited Atonement” is the Calvinist understanding/doctrine that there is salvation available only to those who have been pre-chosen by God to receive it. “The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not limited in its power to save, but in the extent to which it reaches and will save certain individuals.” From http://www.apuritansmind.com/tulip/LimitedAtonement.htm
 “The Calvinist stresses, rightly, God’s sovereignty and divine prerogative, while the Arminian stresses, also rightly, man’s free will and responsibility. The two positions, however, must be considered together if they are to be properly understood. The General Council of the Assemblies of God believes in the sovereignty and divine prerogative of God untainted by arbitrariness or caprice. It also believes in the free will and responsibility of man.” http://ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_4178_security.pdf
 “Simply, by dying for everyone, Jesus purchased everyone as His possession and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies his wrath to the non-elect. Objectively, Jesus’ death was sufficient to save anyone, and, subjectively, only efficient to save those who repent of their sun and trust in Him.” This position is called Unlimited Limited Atonement or “Modified Calvinism.” From http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:URkA9lL6Tu0J:assets.marshillchurch.org/media/2005/11/20/20051120_unlimited-limited-atonement_document.pdf+Driscoll+limited+unlimited+atonement&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShEzho9WbrCsLn2bmtfGUNC7Dm3cmF3AoMPvieBF7ZKsMDhH8yCz3sMJdRAoc46le5tDJN965Wj-hIUchNJuh7b71hwbKynsISVAgCxYk0hlZVKykleFQLf3fKRNXIHM0E1iLjc&sig=AHIEtbTyZCUbz0lPliwePg83Too9J-FjkQ
 “Therefore, Modified Calvinists like Mars Hill elders do not believe anything different then Arminians; we simply believe what they believe and more.” From http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:URkA9lL6Tu0J:assets.marshillchurch.org/media/2005/11/20/20051120_unlimited-limited-atonement_document.pdf+Driscoll+limited+unlimited+atonement&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShEzho9WbrCsLn2bmtfGUNC7Dm3cmF3AoMPvieBF7ZKsMDhH8yCz3sMJdRAoc46le5tDJN965Wj-hIUchNJuh7b71hwbKynsISVAgCxYk0hlZVKykleFQLf3fKRNXIHM0E1iLjc&sig=AHIEtbTyZCUbz0lPliwePg83Too9J-FjkQ
 A neologism, employed here, for purposes of illustration.
 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” II Peter 3:8, from the King James Version.
 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29, from the King James Version.
 Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, From February 22 – PM. From http://m-c-n.us/elm/ages/heritage/LIBRARY/Spu_moev.pdf
 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (King James Version)
 “Eisegesis is the approach to Bible interpretation where the interpreter tries to “force” the Bible to mean something that fits their existing belief or understanding of a particular issue or doctrine. People who interpret the Bible this way are usually not willing to let the Bible speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may. They start off with the up-front goal of trying to prove a point they already believe in, and everything they read and interpret is filtered through that paradigm. Stated another way, they engage in what the Bible refers to as ‘private interpretation’.” From http://www.creationists.org/definition-of-eisegesis.html
 A Compatibilist is one who believes that Science and Religion can and do inhabit the same space, in so far as they can be seen to be agreeable with one another when each is properly understood. Edwards could potentially be seen as being a ‘hard’ compatabilist. A ‘hard’ Compatibilist believes that both science and religion can inhabit the same rhetorical landscape and/or language, whereas a ‘soft’ compatabilist argues for each as having the same idea, but using different language tools in regards to expressing their respective statements. http://machineslikeus.com/news/accommodationists-best-case-part-1-3. It could be argued that Edwards was of the ‘hard’ varietal, as he argued that language was not just used to create arbitrary “ideas of reality as Locke might describe it, but preeminently to arouse affections that would excite vital knowledge among the hearers.” Jonathan Edwards – A Life, pg. 221.