Hellfire and Salvation

Here is an essay by acclaimed novelist Marilynne Robinson about the theology of Jonathan Edwards who is usually presented as a two-dimensional "fire and brimstone" preacher. I have been reading and re-reading Christopher Lasch's interpretation of Edwards this past week and then along comes Marilynne. Makes me appreciate our Puritan forefathers that much more.


In his great treatises, Edwards dealt directly with aspects of orthodox teaching that were and are most problematic, taking on himself, in the eyes of posterity, the dark associations that had caused many within his own tradition to renounce them. Original Sin was a crucial element in his theology in a way dependent on his and his tradition’s understanding of it. For him it had little or nothing to do with sin as we ordinarily understand the word, taking its character instead from a kind of unawakened experience or perception that is blind to the glory of God and therefore to the glory that pervades being.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

Read the entire essay here.