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Jonathon Edward Essay

1297 words - 6 pages

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Claire Moore  Mr. Willard  11 American Lit Flex  25 August 2014  Often in religious literature, nature is used as proof of God’s love and mercy. In Anne  Bradstreet’s “Contemplations, 2” Bradstreet asks if  “so much excellence abide below, how  much excellent is he that dwells on high?” (6). She praises God for his “power and beauty by his  works” (6), referring to his creation of the world, and writes that the beauty of the natural world  is evidence of God’s “goodness, wisdom, glory, light” (6). Anne Bradstreet’s views God’s  character, however, starkly contrast those of Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan preacher. In “Sinners  ...view middle of the document...

 This comparison of humans to serpents  reveals Edwards opinion that God is full of vengeance and hatred and to go further, alludes to the  Garden of Eden, where Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden by a serpent who was Satan in  disguise. The serpent is symbolic of Satan, thus comparing humans to snakes expresses Edwards  belief that humans are satanic and devilish. The use of imagery of bugs and animals reveals the  understanding that God is merciless towards humanity because they are filthy, sinful, and  deserve to be destroyed.  In addition to wildlife, Jonathan Edwards uses imagery of water and flooding to describe  God’s great power and fury towards all sinners. Edwards says the wrath of God is like “great  waters that are damned for the present” (111) and are ever increasing as they “rise higher and  higher” (111). He believes that God withholds his fury for now, but eventually his anger will be  unleashed and come upon all sinners. If God were to change his mind the “floodgate would  immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth  with inconceivable fury” (111). Edwards also creates a play on words with his usage of  “damned” (111). Edwards compares God’s anger to a river that is dammed, but this word takes  an interesting twist as Edwards declares that all of their souls are damned and God has destined  them for eternal damnation. Edwards goes on to illustrate the buildup of God’s anger, “the longer  the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose” (111).  God has the power and is ready to destroy us all without a second thought, determining the fate  of all sinners, whether they be spared or consumed. Furthermore, as more and more time passes, 

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God grows angrier and angrier and his desire to consume sinners becomes stronger and stronger.  This water and flood imagery is an allusion to the Biblical story of Noah, where God annihilated  all of the inhabitants on Earth because they did not repent of their sins, sparing only Noah and  his family. Edwards chooses to use dark imagery of water, as opposed to other positive  references of water in the Bible. The imagery of water breaking through a dam is compared to  the wrath of God towards all sinners, unveiling Jonathan Edwards’ belief that God will  vehemently punish all sinners.  Another image of God described by Edwards, is a storm depicting God as ominously  waiting punish all sinners in a downpour of His wrath. Edwards says hanging above sinner’s  heads are “black clouds of God’s wrath, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder”(109).  He compares God to a dark storm cloud about to explode with lightning, thunder and rain. He ...

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