Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why It Is a Blessed Thing That The Fall Happened

In one of his sermons ("East of Eden"), Jonathan Edwards spends time briefly reflecting upon the blessedness of Adam (if he had obeyed God and been confirmed in righteousness).  He then spends some time talking about why we, as fallen creatures, experience greater joy and blessedness than if Adam had never fallen.  "But there are many things that greatly contribute to the happiness of those that are saved that Adam, if he had stood, would not have had."  I'll bullet-point Edwards' seven things:

1. Saints have union with Christ to enjoy, which they would not have enjoyed if Adam had not fallen.
2. Because of their union with Christ, "they also enjoy nearer relation to God the Father, and are partakers of a greater love of the Father."
3. Christ's obedience, Edwards argues, is a more glorious obedience than Adam's would have been, and therefore was "rewarded with a better reward."
4. Because of their redemption, Christians also share in Christ's exaltation on his throne, "which was the reward of his mediatorial righteousness."
5. Edwards argues that Christians have a more intimate knowledge and enjoyment of God, since Christ was incarnated: "he has taken upon him the human nature and so is nearer to them."
6. We experience a higher manifestation of God's love in Christ.  "This will make all their enjoyments and blessedness the sweeter, the consideration of their being the fruits of such a wonderful love and grace."
7. Finally, Edwards says that as a consequence of the Fall, the redeemed "will have a greater manifestation of the glory of God, God having taken occasion from the fall of man to make a more wonderful display of his glory in the work of redemption. And the more is seen of the glory of God, the greater advantage is there for happiness in the contemplation of it."

Notice the decidedly God-centered character of these answers.  It's just another thing which makes Edwards such an admirable thinker, worthy of emulation.


  1. Adam,

    Despite E2k's (which I don't agree with) ripping (1) & tearing down (2) of Edwards, I thank you for this because there is much to be gained by putting time into him as you have over time so ably demonstrated. Now, Bringing the Books, has always jumped up and defended R/E/W/2k. I know it has been Josh and not you, but, where does Bringing the Books draw the line, given your edifying potraits of Edward's theology. I'm just asking for further clarification from y'all. Sorry about the footnotes, I couldn't make it work.



  2. James,

    When it comes to Edwards, I take the good with the bad. The bad, in my opinion, is his postmillenialism, his hunting the headlines for prophecy news, and some of his views on revivalism. The Religious Affections may be what most people think of when they think of Edwards, but I recognize him for what I've gained from him - mainly his book 'The End for Which God Created the World,' 'The Freedom of the Will,' and a massive number of his sermons. His studies of religious experience hold little interest for me, at this point in my own studies.

    The good, however, so handily outweighs the bad that it's beyond forgivable. Listen to the latest episode of Christ the Center if you want to hear some fellows who see much to appreciate of Edwards while at the same time recognizing that it's not all that it could be.

    I'm just guessing at your labels, because I've never heard of E2K or W2K, but I'm assuming the E means Extreme or something like that. For my own part, I find myself wishing that Hart was not the poster-boy for 2K like he seems to have become. I like him, and find myself agreeing with almost all of his posts, but I see no connection, myself, between 2K and Hart's views on revival. I'm glad to have someone point out that connection for me since I often miss the forest for the trees, and my theology is not, as of yet, a beautiful and seamless garment.

  3. Adam,

    E: Escondido

    W: Westminster

    W is dated. I haven't seen it used in a while. It seems that most of the 'R' group right now refers to themselves as '2k'.

    After reading these two posts:

    and their comments it seems unfair to those at Escondido to lump them (E2k) in with R2k. Both post have comments from prominent WSC profs which an R2ker seems to take a fairly sharp contrast with. Note in the first post a R2ker proclaiming liberty as a prominent feature of 2k while he is attempting to twist an E2ker's arm behind his back.

    R2kers attempt to claim '2k' as their position but isn't almost all of the Reformed world 2k?

    Anyway, you should enjoy this:

    Thanks for your hard work, Adam.

    It is much appreciated



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