A World Full of Images of Divine Things

Writes Jonathan Edwards in Typological Writings, page 152:

I expect by very ridicule and contempt to be called a man of a very fruitful brain and copious fancy, but they are welcome to it. I am not ashamed to own that I believe that the whole universe, heaven and earth, air and seas, and the divine constitution and history of the holy Scriptures, be full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words; and that the multitude of those things that I have mentioned are but a very small part of what is really intended to be signified and typified by these things: but that there is room for persons to be learning more and more of this language and seeing more of that which is declared in it to the end of the world without discovering all.

HT: Ann Voskamp, who perhaps more than anyone else I know consistently works this Edwardsian worldview out in her writings (and gets ridiculed for it).

5 thoughts on “A World Full of Images of Divine Things

  1. If Edwards was a panentheist (and I have no idea if he was or not), then he was wrong. I measure Voskamp’s words by the Bible, not by other people. I find it telling that people are trying to defend her panentheistic language (and it is — I read the book carefully and wrote on it) — by using Edwards or other men, and not the Bible. I could really not care less what others have written, only what the Bible reveals about God. Also, some of Voskamp’s language was much stronger than this.

  2. Edwards was no pantheist. By pantheism, I assume you mean to say that Voskamp refuses to see God as existing above and before his creation. That would be the essence of pantheistic theology. I think her quotes on pages 102 and 163 (at the beginning of chapters 6 and 9) in 1,000 Gifts will sufficiently prove that charge to be nonsense.

  3. Lue-Yee, thank you for catching that. You are exactly right, I read Marcia’s comment hastily and read into it what I’ve heard from some others in the past. That was not fair to her and I apologize. Marcia makes a worthwhile point and there certainly are serious dangers with textbook panentheism. It becomes a sort of doorway into a lot of other wacky theology. But it seems to be the case that the litmus test for panentheism centers on the question about sovereignty. Is God locked in an interdependent relationship with his creation? And of course, as the all-sovereign God, he is not. Process theology says he is, which makes it wrong. And I think, if I read Voskamp correctly, she very strongly upholds God’s omnipotent sovereign rule over creation. I see this especially on page 148. It also appears to me that panentheism has a hard time making sense of the incarnation, that Christ was fully God and fully man at the same time, yet Voskamp, fwiw, is clear on this (31).

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