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Jonathan Edwards And The Discourses Of Nature

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Chapter Summary

Jonathan Edwards had a lifelong interest in the religious significance of nature, as well as an abiding interest in modern science. And as a theologian working within the legacies of Puritanism and Calvinism, the Bible had a prominent place in Edwards?s understanding and articulation of the Christian faith. For Edwards, the discourses of nature were several. Nature could reveal itself to the human mind through rational, empirical investigation, a method of discovery that, while perhaps hinted at in Scripture, nonetheless produced a body of knowledge unanticipated within its pages. Nature thus possessed an epistemological integrity of its own. Edwards?s approach to theology was fundamentally shaped by his appropriation of critical methods of interpretation. Important aspects of his thought were partly determined by his reading of natural philosophy, and by the widely shared belief that a unified discourse could be derived from theology, science, and Scripture, when these are understood properly.

Keywords: Bible; Calvinism; Christian faith; Jonathan Edwards; modern science; natural theology; Puritanism



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