Sunday, November 4, 2012

happiness (joy) the goal

Edwards writes in his first notebook of Miscellanies that it is not simply the glory of God that is the end, or goal, of creation.  Rather, it is the enjoyment of the glory of God.  God eternally enjoys his glory within the Trinity.  Creation becomes an arena of God's revealed glory, specifically revealed to sentient creatures.  And it is not the knowledge of this glory only, nor the communication of it, that is the goal, but the enjoyment of it...  


as appears by this, because the creation had as good not be, as not rejoice in its being. For certainly it was the goodness of the Creator that moved him to create; and how can we conceive of another end proposed by goodness, than that he might delight in seeing the creatures he made rejoice in that being that he has given them?

It appears also by this, because the end of the creation is that the creation might glorify him. Now what is glorifying God, but a rejoicing at that glory he has displayed? An understanding of the perfections of God, merely, cannot be the end of the creation; for he had as good not understand it, as see it and not be at all moved with joy at the sight. Neither can the highest end of the creation be the declaring God's glory to others; for the declaring God's glory is good for nothing otherwise than to raise joy in ourselves and others at what is declared.

Wherefore, seeing happiness is the highest end of the creation of the universe, and intelligent beings are that consciousness of the creation that is to be the immediate subject of this happiness, how happy may we conclude will be those intelligent beings that are to be made eternally happy!

(--Jonathan Edwards, 1722, The "Miscellanies": WJE Online Vol. 13 , Ed. Harry S. Stout) 

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