Jonathan Edwards and “the nature of things”: Reclaiming a doctrine of creation for the Reformation tradition
October 18th, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Some have claimed that the Reformers put so much emphasis on the doctrine of redemption that a proper doctrine of creation was obscured or lost. Karl Barth went so far as to claim that there can be no Reformation natural theology—that nature can be seen as creation only by those who know the Redeemer, that nature cannot be known apart from special grace. Edwards, however, argued that nature has its own integrity apart from the order of grace. For the greatest Reformed theologian between Calvin and Barth, God created “the nature of things” with its own objectivity apart from the order of redemption. Thus the regenerate can discuss creation with the unregenerate in the public square without having to appeal to special revelation that the unregenerate do not share.
Gerald R. McDermott holds the Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, where he has served since 2015, and he teaches in the areas of history and doctrine. He is the author, co-author or editor of eighteen books, including A Trinitarian Theology of Religions (with Harold Netland), Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods, and Christianity Today’s 2013 award for Top Book in Theology/Ethics, Theology of Jonathan Edwards (coauthored with Michael McClymond). His academic focus has been three-fold: Jonathan Edwards, Christian understandings of other religions, and the meaning of Israel. An Anglican priest, he is associate pastor at Christ the King Anglican Church, and is married to Jean. Together they have three sons and ten grandchildren.