Belden C. Lane, Ravished by Beauty: Jonathan Edwards

[Jonathan] Edwards’s conception of creatio ex nihilo was a very dynamic one, insisting that in every moment, an “immediate production out of nothing,” this, out of nothing outside of God’s own infectious desire. Everything emerges in each instant as something new, sensuous, and alive, overflowing from God’s hand–calling attention to itself and what it mirrors of the divine longing. Reacting to the crass materialism of Thomas Hobbes, Edwards wanted to understand the entire world as dependent upon God. Nothing is self-reliant.

-Belden C. Lane, Ravished by Beauty, p. 176

On the Beauty of the Cross:

[Edwards] knew that God’s most astonishing beauty lies hidden in the earth’s suffering, because the anguish of nature points to the agony of the cross. For Edwards, the highest expression of God’s glory revealed in creation is witnessed in the God-become-Creature who died on Golgotha. In the humiliation of Christ we find the greatest consent of the creation to the Maker. The Creator becomes in this moment the lowest of all creatures on earth. The power of consent, the unity of being, the persuasiveness of the senses, the centrality of embodiment to the apprehension of God’s glory–all of these are discovered here at the cross.

-Belden C. Lane, Ravished by Beauty, p. 191

Edwards found Christ’s highest beauty in “the greates degree of his humiliation.” “Never [more than on the cross] was his divine glory and majesty covered with so thick and dark a veil…yet never was his divine glory so manifested by any act of his, as in that act of yielding himself up to these sufferings.” Here, in the agony of the cross, the beauty of the Holy Trinity is finally discerned most perfectly–at least to eyes made able to see. Through the gift of the [sense of beauty] one can know, even in the midst of despair, that the world is saved in the end by beauty.

-Belden C. Lane, Ravished by Beauty, p. 192


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