One of Jonathan Edwards’ most outstanding traits was his discontent with the superficial. With deep, penetrating analysis he would explore a question until he got to the bottom of it.
The Big Question
And what bigger question could there be than the question, Why did God create the world? Did God need us somehow? Does creation somehow contribute something to him that he did not already have? And if he did not need us, and if he was in fact perfectly content forever in the three Persons of his divine being, then why bother?
It’s the old “full bucket paradox”: If the bucket of divine glory was already full, creation can contribute nothing to the glory he already has. Yet why else would he choose to create, if not for his glory?
Of course God created for his own glory, but just how is this so? And how do we untangle this knotty paradox?
Or we might just as well ask the question more broadly, What is the meaning of everything?
And by the way, what difference does it make? Or is this just another of those “How many angels can stand on the head of a pin?” kind of questions?
Edwards’ Famous Answer
Jonathan Edwards famously unpacked the answer to this question in his A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World, which was published along with his The Nature of True Virtue. This is the work that lies behind John Piper’s Desiring God and the all-encompassing theological vision he has made so wonderfully popular.
Edwards Made Easy
If you fear that you are not up to plowing through Edwards, fear no more. Ben Stevens has tackled it for you. We won’t call it an “Edwards for Dummies,” but in his Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation Stevens does deliver Edwards and his famous work to the common man. Marked by brevity, simplicity, and clarity Edwards important work is now accessible to all – “At a Glance,” we might say.
This new book is an important and valuable service to contemporary Christian readers.
Fred G. Zaspel