Abstracts Of Recent WTS Doctoral Dissertations -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 70:2 (Fall 2008)
Article: Abstracts Of Recent WTS Doctoral Dissertations
Author: Anonymous

Abstracts Of Recent WTS Doctoral Dissertations

The Merit Of Christ’s Obedience To God’s Rule Of Righteousness In The Theology Of Jonathan Edwards

Craig Biehl

Historically, the tendency of scholars to modernize and distance Edwards from his biblicist, exclusivist, evangelical, and Reformed tradition has resulted in relatively little attention being given to the importance of the person and redemptive work of Christ in Edwards’s Trinitarian thought. The contention of this study is that the foundation, center, and unifying thread of Edwards’s thought is the person and work of Christ in accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose to display and communicate his glory to unworthy sinners by perfect obedience to God’s unchanging rule of righteousness. Edwards’s theology cannot be properly understood in abstraction from the person and redemptive work of Christ as revealing and communicating the glorious perfections of the Trinity, nor can revisionist interpretations of Edwards’s soteriology as inclusivistic or Catholic be tenable without an entire overthrow and re-write of the entirety of Edwards’s theology. Salvation of a single soul apart from perfect conformity to God’s rule of righteousness would render God unrighteous and prohibit the fulfillment of his ultimate purpose to display and communicate his glory. Indeed, God could not be God.

Chapter 1 examines the ultimate Trinitarian purpose to display and communicate his glory through the Father’s gift of a bride for his Son and the Son’s purchase of his bride by his perfect obedience to God’s rule of righteousness. Chapter 2 probes the pre-temporal Trinitarian and covenantal foundation of Christ’s obedience, highlighting the Father’s love in his purpose to save a people and the Son’s love in freely undertaking to accomplish that salvation. Chapter 3 examines the nature of the command to Adam as representative of God’s unalterable rule of righteousness that requires perfect obedience for the obtaining of eternal life. Chapter 4 probes the absolute need for Christ’s perfect obedience in light of Adam’s sin as surety for mankind, the immutability of God’s righteousness and law despite Adam’s sin, the infinite guilt of sin and the need of an infinite remedy, God’s requirement of a perfect positive righteousness and

exclusion of an imperfect righteousness for justification, Christ’s perfect satisfaction of God’s unalterable rule of righteousness, and God’s nature as a righteous judge to eternally uphold his rule of perfect righteousness. Chapter 5 examines the basis and infinite extent of the merit of Christ’s perfect obedience as the righteousness by which sinners are justified, the free act of Christ giving ...

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