God’s sovereignty is an “exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet doctrine.”
True religion: fervent exercises of the heart. Religious affections are grounded in the intellect and God’s presence. Light without heat is only head knowledge; heat without light is not heavenly. Divine truths rightly understood will affect the heart.
The Spirit enlightens the mind so we can understand God better and recognize divine beauty in the world like never before. This is the difference between knowing and experiencing. Gracious affections improve the mind, enhancing our senses to experience God’s truth, beauty and movements in was the unconverted soul cannot.
Arminian – those who think that Calvinism overemphasizes the sovereignty of God while neglecting human integrity and freedom. It is God glorified in human dependence vs. man glorified in their own independence.
“The will is the ability to make choices; the power to prefer one option over another and do what we want.”
“The will always is as the greatest apparent good is.” – Jonathan Edwards
Even our choices are determined by motives, so are we really free? Motives are informed by inclinations, habits, and dispositions of the heart.
Natural necessity vs. moral necessity.
Just because choices are determined does not mean that they are not free.
Lax schemes of divinity would blind the church to the reality of sin, allowing sinners not to confront their sin, and to thus continue on their “merry way” to hell.
Original nature = affections misdirected toward worldly loves, not empowered by God, and the will is perverted toward evil. Thus, “be transformed.” Then, the end result is godly loves, wills and inclinations toward divine motives.
The lack of original sin is a theory that supports the notion of some human freedoms and goodness. Thus if it is not about good as God works, then it is about a stronger tendency to “a state of innocence and righteousness, and favor with God, or in a state of sin, guiltiness, and abhorrence in the sight of God.”
The purpose of Creation is to magnify God’s glory. He is self-sufficient and sovereign, creating all things for His glory, yet not arrogant or self-centered. He did not need to create us to glorify Him, He chose to because He wanted to. Humans were created with a special ability to glorify and commune with God. God’s highest form of beauty is moral excellence, a form only a creature with a moral sense can appreciate.
“God is an infinite fountain of holiness, moral excellence, and beauty, constantly overflowing from God to humanity.” (p. 130)
Praise is not something we give God, but it is reflecting God’s love and glory back to Him.
“Humanity was created to glorify God, to live in communion with God, and humans are only truly happy when they fulfill this purpose.” (p. 133)
“Virtue is the beauty of the qualities and exercises of the heart, or those actions which proceed from them.” (p. 136)
True virtue is “that consent, propensity, and union of heart to Being in general that is immediately exercised in general good will.” (p. 137)
True virtue is broader than our natural loves. It is general benevolence focused on God and extending forth to the whole existence of creation. It is the love of God that empowers our love for others.
“God is absolutely central to all of life – the one enduring reality in the universe. God created the world to exercise God’s divine attributes, including holiness, power, and love. All creation exists to glorify God. We fulfill our reason for living when we glorify God in our lives, allowing God to transform us to reflect true virtue.” (p. 146)
“The problem was that liberal theology preached that a God without wrath brought humans without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” (p. 168)
Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians, by James Byrd