Intro: Jonathan Edwards’ s A Divine and Supernatural Light
Today, we will talk about the relationship between God and Christians, focusing on Jonathan Edwards’s A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, and Shown to be both a Scriptural and Rational Doctrine.
The fact that the human reason for recognizing the divine stays only in mythology and philosophy has not yet reached its destination. In the 18th century, American philosopher, pastor, and theologian Jonathan Edwards illustrated how people react to a divine encounter. Through amazing spiritual experiences, he is able to transform his deep skepticism into absolute conviction. In his biography, he describes it as follows.
I can’t explain how and how I became convinced. It is not just a conviction made in my imagination for a moment or sometime after the extraordinary history of God’s Holy Spirit. Instead, it is a more certain conviction now. As a result of my reason, I have also come to understand God’s sovereignty, legitimacy, and fairness.
And at this time, Jonathan Edwards began to have a profound insight into his personality and his relationship with God and the whole universe.
This insight was a Copernican revolution for him because it gave him a fresh perspective on the relationship between God and reality. It also led him to look at the relationship between God and man in a whole new way.
Then one day he had a life-changing experience reading 1 Timothy 1:17. When he read the word, he was shocked by the infinity and greatness of God in the universe, which is truly eternal and the source of all wisdom.
That experience continued after that. While meditating and walking in nature, he was able to realize the glorious and beautiful love of God in Christ.
Through this experience, Jonathan Edwards became aware of holy things that were alive internally. Jonathan Edwards wrote about his experience later.
After that, my sense of sacred objects gradually increased and I became more and more alive. Every object changed its appearance. Almost everything seemed to have a quiet, fragrant shape or form that represented God’s glory, so to speak. God’s wisdom, God’s purity and love, and God’s excellence seemed to appear in all things. In the sun, in the moon, in the stars, in the clouds, in the blue sky, in the grass, in flowers, in trees, in water, and in all nature. These things played a big role in establishing my mind.
Jonathan Edwards, in his 1784 sermon, A Divine and Supernatural Light, describes the definition of “the divine and spiritual light” as the true realization of the divine excellence of what is in the Word of God, and being convinced of the truth and reality of the things brought about by it.
The Bible and the Holy Spirit have a reciprocal relationship, according to Jonathan Edwards, who was a Calvinist.
God is the creator of all knowledge
God is the creator of all knowledge. God uses man as a mediator of knowledge or a secondary cause. God delivers this knowledge through the power and influence of natural means.
God is the only one who reveals this spiritual knowledge, and humans cannot reveal this knowledge. In contrast to other knowledge, this spiritual knowledge is not derived indirectly by natural secondary causes but is disclosed directly by God.
Jonathan Edwards provides a valuable guide to dealing with mysticism in his sermon.
The Holy Spirit works in a completely different way for believers and unbelievers. The principle of life is at the center of the lives of Christians.
On the other hand, he works as an external actor in the mind of a person who is not living. Because the Holy Spirit does not unite with them when you work for the living. Martin Lloyd Jones said the following about the Holy Spirit.
Being one with the Holy Spirit is essentially intangible. It’s really difficult to define what it is. But we can recognize it when it appears, and we can feel it when we meet another person given by the Holy Spirit. Our souls are invisible. But the soul is the most meaningful thing for humans. Also, we are about to dive into the world of soul and mind through the body. In other words, souls and minds appear through the body. That is what this union is all about.
In his words, those who are not born again are still “those who belong to the flesh and who do not have the Holy Spirit,” despite being influenced by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit combines the Holy Spirit itself with the hearts of Christians, makes Christians the residence of the Holy Spirit, and works and affects him as a new, supernatural principle of life and action.
God himself shares his own nature as evidence of the soul working in the believer. It’s holiness. Holiness is the inherent nature of God’s Holy Spirit.
The Way of the Holy Spirit Works
He uses God’s nature through the reason, understanding, and other natural functions of believers in the Union. When God has holy influence or spiritual action, he works in a way that gives of himself in particular.
The reason we have to live a holy life is that we are the ones who are saved
The first. The reason we have to live a holy life is that we are the ones who are saved. It is right not to sin, and it is also right to follow a Christian life. It’s a self-evident fact that these are positive things. But the fundamental reason we have to live a holy life is that we are the ones who are called to do this
An impression of God and spiritual light is not a result of imagination. Also, this spiritual light does not present any revelation or truth, or proposition that is not contained in God’s Word. Instead, it helps us understand what God’s Word is teaching us.
Spiritual or divine light is not all that exists just because people are moved by faith. Only God can spiritually reveal divine things for man.
Jonathan Edwards says that the divine and spiritual light is the true realization of the divine excellence of what is in the Word of God. It is an assurance of the truth and the reality of what comes out of it.
This spiritual light is primarily about realizing and understanding the divine excellence of the things that are revealed in God’s Word.
The spiritual and salvation conviction of the truth and reality of the things in God’s Word comes from seeing the divine excellence and glory of it.
Therefore, confidence in the truth of the Bible is a natural result of seeing the divine glory of the Bible.
The sense of true excellence is realized by the divine and spiritual light.
When Christians feel this excellence of the things in God’s Word
Second, when Christians feel this excellence of the things in God’s Word, they are convinced of the truth and reality of these things. And this assurance is made in two ways, directly and indirectly.
Intelligence with a sense of excellence becomes deeply aware of divine objects.
Increasingly, intelligence becomes more powerful to achieve its purpose. A beautiful and sweet object stimulates the brain and makes it move.
As a result, the reason is more efficient and accomplishes its own purpose beyond darkness and deception.
The sense of truly realizing divine excellence in God’s Word
The sense of truly realizing that there is divine excellence in God’s Word verifies us more directly that the things in God’s Word are truth.
Faith that is truly saved is one that is based on the sense of realizing this divine excellence. And this is essentially distinct from the general intellectual consent that those who are not born again may have.
Jonathan Edwards has further developed these statements to show us the excellence of divine and spiritual light.
First, natural functions such as reason are subject to this light.
Secondly, this is not to say that external means like the Bible play no role in this spiritual light.
Lastly, there is clearly a secondary cause, but God creates this divine light directly.
The indirect method is again divided into two ways.
First, if the spiritual sense removes the prejudice of the mind against God’s truth, intelligence becomes sensitive to the power to rationally argue this truth.
Second, the spiritual sense not only removes obstacles to reason but also actively helps reason.
Here we’re seeing Edwards once again confirming the importance of the reciprocal and organic relationship between the Bible and the Holy Spirit. When a Christian reads the Word, you can see that the Holy Spirit works and activates the natural functions of the saint through this divine and spiritual light. This allows Christians to see God’s strange law. Jonathan Edwards summarized this truth as follows.
Therefore, the content of light is delivered to intelligence as the word of God. However, the sense of mind that constitutes the content of light is given directly by God’s Holy Spirit. For example, the idea that there is Christ and that Christ is holy and gracious is delivered to intelligence through the Word of God. However, the sense that Christ’s holiness and grace are excellent is directly due to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Edwards said that these doctrines are true because they are biblical and reasonable. So the benefit of this doctrine is, first of all, it allows us to meditate on God’s goodness.
Secondly, based on this doctrine, we can examine whether we have already experienced this divine light that we have described. Thirdly, everyone should be desperate for this divine light.
And I’d like to end with a quote from John Owen.
All the holy truths that are supposed to have the effect of benefiting our souls are pearls that make us rich. When we meet the precious pearl, the glory of Christ, the believer’s soul should be obsessed with it.
We will only discover the spirit’s form in the word of truth when we see the glory of Christ. Then you’ll realize how gracious God is, and then you’ll see how the Bible cools us like living water.
Because we are eager to keep the Bible against everything that would take it away or discourage us from studying it every day, we do not want to lose Christ’s glory. When we struggle desperately with that motivation in our minds, we are fulfilling our greatest duty.
The Bible is the only mighty and only outward way for us to express the glory of Christ. Here’s the glory of the Bible. Christ is the sun floating above the earth’s palace. Only the sun shines and transmits light to everything next to it.