According to Jonathan Edwards’s sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," what is a constant threat to all human beings?

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missflusk14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonathan Edward's sermon is rife with dark suppositions and assertions in regards to his views of God and the afterlife. He warns of various threats to humanity, the inevitable destruction of man (particularly the Israelites), and the inescapable nature of sin. However, what all of this boils down to- in Jonathan Edwards's view- is the constant threat of God's will. 

Edwards argues that all that occurs in life, and all that man enjoys and endures, exists by the will of God alone. In fact, Edwards says of all of mankind, "they are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell." Here he says that mankind is already damned, and each one of us has brought the wrath of God upon our own heads, and it is utterly inescapable. Though all of mankind here on Earth is not yet burning in the pits of hell for their sins, it does not mean that they are safe from this fate. Edwards says, "The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him." Here, Edwards even employs the Devil as a servant of God, a creature dedicated to the torture of wicked human souls for all of eternity because God wills it. There is nothing in all of Creation that God does not have a hand in, though others many contest that the acts of the Devil are against God's will.  It is his will that most- if not all- of humanity will spend eternity in the depths of hell. It is this- the Will of the Angry God that has created us- that is the one constant threat to all of Humanity. 

moniesnotes | Student

One of the threats facing all humans according to Jonathan Edwards is man's tendency to rely on his or herself instead of God. Edwards sees hypocrisy and overly pious acts without true righteousness as the downfall of Christianity.

Read the study guide:
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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