Sunday, 13 April 2008

A history of the work of redemption

A few days ago I started reading 'A history of the work of redemption', by Jonathan Edwards. This is the first book that we are reading in the recently formed Manchester Dead Theologians Society.

I haven't really read any meaty old books before I don't think and, althought I haven't read an awful lot of this book yet, it looks like it is going to be excellent!

In the introduction, Edwards outlines the terms of the redemption, which is really useful and interesting. He then goes on to out line the design of Redemption - what things are designed to be accomplished by it. He outlines five things:

1. To put all God's enemies under his feet, and that his goodness may finally appear triumphant over evil.
2. To perfectly restore all the ruins of the fall, so far as concerns the elect part of the world. Man's soul was ruined by the fall; the image of God was defaced; man's nature was corrupted, and he became dead in sin. The design of God was to restore the soul of man to life and the divine image in conversion, to carry on the change in sanctification, and to perfect it in glory.
3. To gather in one all things in Christ (all elect creatures) in heaven and in earth in one body, under one head.
4. To perfect and complete the glory of all the elect by Christ - to bring them to perfect excellency and beauty in his holy image.
5. To accomplish the glory of the blessed Trinity in an eminent degree.


opentoesandals said...

Interesting stuff - I look forward to hearing more of what the book has to say.

A couple of questions:

In point 1 do you mean that redemption is where God's goodness appears and is finally and ultimately demonstrated in being triumphant over evil; or merely that he appears to be triumphant over evil in redemption?

In point 5, what do you mean by "accomplishing the glory of the blessed Trinity in an eminent degree"?

Scott said...

Good questions! (Though it's more what Edwards means than me, as I copied almost word for word from the book, haha). Here's my understanding of what he meant:

1. Edwards describes some of the ways that Jesus is triumphant over evil in redemption. So, for example, he talks about God triumphs over sin and roots it out of the hearts of his people by conforming them to himself. He talks about how Jesus Jesus has bruised the serpent's head, destroying the works of the devil and confounding him in all his purposes. After going through these things, he says 'Thus God appears glorious above all evil, and triumphant over all his enemies by the work of redemption. So, what he means, I think, is that God as he works in goodness is finally shown to be triumphant over evil through the act of redemption.

2. Gods purpose in redemption was eminently (supremely, of first importance) to glorify himself - which of course means to glorify each person of the trinity.

Does that help? Let me know if anything needs clarifying further!