The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards: A Study in Divine Semiotics

By Stephen H. Daniel | Go to book overview

IV

THE TRINITY AND CREATION

The greatest hurdle to understanding the meaning and significance of Edwards' doctrine of the Trinity is the presumption of a classical-modernist, humanistic perspective of intentionality. From that perspective every substance is a subject whose ends or purposes can be predicated of it as part of its personal history. As the starting point for all explanation of existence and action, the subject serves as the terminus for predication through which it is related to other things in virtue of its intentionality. Because discourse itself (in such an account) is about things in relation to one another, it cannot challenge the assumption that the world is populated by substances whose objects and objectives have meaning in terms of their relation to some subject. Like all other substances, God must accordingly be related intentionally to other things, either as the object or objective of their actions or as an underlying subject causing their existence.

For Edwards, such an account inappropriately extends to God the logic of predication that describes the fractured relations of fallen creatures. It simply assumes that mind, person, intention, or purpose can be predicated of God as yet another thing in this discursive constellation, when in fact the discursive exchange of divinity designates the alternative to this way of reasoning. In contrast to the Neoplatonic via negativa, Edwards' divine semiotics does not treat God as some kind of super-substantial substance; for the uncritical acceptance of the priority of substance itself rests on the creaturely logic of predication. In its place, Edwards portrays subjects and the world in general in terms of a discourse in which substances, mind, and ends are functions in the exchange of signification.

The question of an end or purpose to the existence of the world thus does not begin with the assumption that intentionality reveals the presence of a person guiding an action, for the very notions of person and action are intelligible only in terms of a prior discourse. As will be argued in chapter 6, subordination of the place of subjects has implications for Edwards' doctrine of human freedom. The present chapter is more concerned with Edwards' recognition that a classical-modernist notion of purpose assumes a concept of person at odds with his defense of a doctrine of the Trinity. Specifically, I will suggest that insofar as Edwards links God's creation of the world to the relations of the persons of the Trinity, he focuses the discussion of God's relation

-102-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards: A Study in Divine Semiotics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 212

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.