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Heaven in the American Imagination$
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Gary Scott Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738953.001.0001

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Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening

Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening

Heaven Is a World of Love

(p.29) 2 Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening
Heaven in the American Imagination

Gary Scott Smith

Oxford University Press

Widely considered America's greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards, more than any other American, asserted that love dominated and defined heaven—the love among the three members of the Trinity, the love between God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit and individual saints, and the saints' love of one another. His portrait of heaven, like those of George Whitefield and other leaders of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s, focused on the saints' praise of God, intimate relationship with Christ, growth (especially in knowledge), and social harmony. Edwards also emphasized heavenly rewards and argued that to avoid the suffering of hell and enjoy the glories of heaven, people must be born again. As Calvinists, First Great Awakening revivalists believed that God predestined people to salvation, but they also exhorted people to pursue holiness.

Keywords:   Jonathan Edwards, love, heaven, Trinity, George Whitefield, First Great Awakening, hell, salvation, holiness

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