Love, Beauty, Holiness, and Happiness: The Narrative of Union in Jonathan Edwards's Theology
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Recent Edwards scholarship, particularly the work of Amy Plantinga Pauw and Ross W. Hastings, has firmly established Trinitarian union to be the consistent, driving theme of Edwards’s theology. In this thesis, I aim to contribute to this conversation by organizing Jonathan Edwards’s theology into the narrative of God bringing the saints into an eternally perfecting union and thereby making them supremely happy. I derive this narrative of union from Edwards’s dissertation, The End for Which God Created the World. My thesis evaluates the extent to which Edwards’s major theological, philosophical, and pastoral texts fit into and contribute to this narrative. The discussion follows a redemptive historical trajectory, driven by Edwards’s major works. I begin with Edwards’s theology proper. I then treat Edwards’s understanding of the fall and original sin, salvation by union with Christ, and the doctrine of the Christian life. I conclude by considering Edwards’s vision of heaven and hell. Throughout the paper, I use the centrality of union in Edwards’s thought to explore the relationship between love, beauty, holiness, and happiness.