In "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", what traits does Edwards attribute to God as the sermon progresses?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the title alone, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards positions God as vengful, angry and serverely judgemental and punishing. He is waiting to cast the sinner into the fires of Hell. 

"Edwards believed strongly that only a genuine conversion experience should qualify a person for church membership. Revivalist preachers, therefore, sought not only to address the intellect but also to engage the emotions so as to convince the listeners of the seriousness of their sin and activate them to seek salvation from the punishment they could expect from a righteous God."

This is his tone, he preaches the message of repentance because if you don't turn away from sin, you will be cast into the burning fire for eternal perpetual suffering.

"There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men's hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands.-He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it." (Edwards)   

The intended audience for Edward's sermon was the Puritan who now had been in America for 100 years.  The revival or Great Awakening attempted to shake up the congregation who had become complacent in their faith, living in the new world, they had grown attached to material possessions and belief that they worthy due to their work ethic.

Edwards attempted to humble the Puritan population in front of a fiery God who was disappointed with his people for turning their backs on his intended lifestyle of simplicity, humility and freedom from the temptation of materialism and personal achievement. 

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

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