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The Theology of Jonathan Edwards$
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Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199791606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.001.0001

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Providence and History

Providence and History

(p.224) 15 Providence and History
The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Michael J. McClymond

Gerald R. McDermott

Oxford University Press

After surveying previous attempts to classify Edwards's History of Redemption, this chapter moves beyond Goen and Heimert by arguing that Edwards's view of history cannot simply be identified as optimistic and progressive. The pattern is more complex than that. Satan and Antichrist are responsible for decline, and yet God's work continues to move forward. Even the millennium arrives in progressive stages, thus blurring the boundaries between the well-defined premillennial and postmillennial viewpoints. Characterized by a contrast motif, Edwards's redemptive history contains both cyclic and linear dimensions. Although scripture contains clues, the full pattern of history is discernable only from God's perspective. Only God and the departed saints can view the larger pattern traced out by the “river” of divine providence.

Keywords:   providence, history, redemption, patterns, knowledge, optimism, progress, millennium, postmillennialism

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