Two Tensions in Edwards’s View of History
One of the great challenges for those of us who love and embrace “the supremacy of God in all things” is to push this glorious truth into the corners. We must get specific. The supremacy of God in science. The supremacy of God in technology. The supremacy of God in literature. And, in light of our reflections on Jonathan Edwards’s “A History of the Work of Redemption,” the supremacy of God in history.
In addition to what we’ve seen so far, Edwards also helpfully highlights two recurring motifs that appear throughout history; for simplicity’s sake, let’s call them the cyclical motif and the progressive motif (see the obscenely-expensive-but-good book, Encounters with God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards [New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998]).
History is a Cycle
On the one hand, history is repetitive and cyclical. What goes up must come down. Civilizations, movements, kingdoms:…