An Outline of the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards Part II: The Unity of God -- By: John H. Gerstner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:530 (Apr 1976)
Article: An Outline of the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards Part II: The Unity of God
Author: John H. Gerstner


An Outline of the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards
Part II:
The Unity of God

John H. Gerstner

[John H. Gerstner, Professor of Church History, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles delivered by the author its the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, November 4–7, 1975.]

Extraordinary theologians such as Thomas Aquinas and Jonathan Edwards find more of God in the ordinary revelation of nature than ordinary theologians find in the extraordinary revelation of Scripture. So, before coming to the special, supernatural revelation of God in Scripture, Edward’s view of natural revelation must be considered. In fact, he sees virtually every attribute of God shining brilliantly in the things He has made, as Edwards descends and proves “many of His perfections a priori.”1

The Deduction Of Divine Attributes

Some of the attributes Edwards deduces will be enumerated before considering one of them, viz., unity, more particularly. All possible perfections are implied in this divine Being.”To have some and not all is to be finite. He is limited in some respect, viz., with regard to the number of virtues or perfections. This is, as has been shown, inconsistent with independent and necessary existence. To be limited as to the virtues and excellent qualities is a contingent thing.”2

Again, God is independent and His creating does not imply any dependent need. God created, not from deficiency, as some have

argued, but from abundance. Making creatures to participate in His fullness was not for the purpose of meeting a need of His own; instead, it stemmed from His outgoing love. God was independent and self-moved when He created the world.3

In this connection, it is to be observed that if God did not possess all perfections He would be dependent.4 Likewise, the creation of the world does not imply mutability in God.5 Changing would mean a beginning to be something He was not and would therefore deny God’s eternality which has already been demonstrated.

Again, God is infinite. As shown, “Nothing” does not exist.”Nothing is more certain than that an unmade and unlimited Being exists….”6 Furthermore, that which is necessary and independent must be infinite. And there c...

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