The Trinitarian Ontology of Jonathan Edwards: Glory, Beauty, Love, and Happiness in the Dispositional Space of Creation
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This dissertation explores Jonathan Edwards’ trinitarian logic and ontology of God’s glory which integrate the innovative facets of his thoughts that previous studies have only partially articulated. Edwards’ trinitarian framework overarching his doctrines of God, creation, and being provides an alternative ontological foundation which validates the actual reality of Christian faith and experience and reconstructs Christian theology and life. Edwards’ trinitarian logic dialectically integrates the opposing poles of God’s perfection in being and in personhood, God’s creation out of nothing and through emanation, and God’s transcendence and immanence. Preliminarily, chapter two examines how in Edwards’ theocentric thought the Christian experience of divine revelation and salvation constitutes the two poles of God’s perfection in being and personhood. Chapters three through five elaborate Edwards’ synthesis of the polarity of God’s existence. By virtue of the biblical idea of God’s glory, Edwards defines the perfection of God’s existence as the spiritual space of the Trinity, that is, the dispositional ground of being to communicate the divine self. The trinitarian being of God incorporates the christological, soteriological, and pneumatological structure of God’s trinitarian presence in relation to the world. The trinitarian being of God determines the divine act of creation out of nothing as the communication of divine ideas by the Son through the emanation of the Spirit. By way of conclusion, chapter seven demonstrates that Edwards’ trinitarian structure of God’s being and act constructs a trinitarian immaterialism of dispositional ontology that integrates the semiotic, aesthetic, affectional, rhetorical, axiological, and ethical aspects of being; chapter eight argues that the trinitarian ontology proposes a soteriological, trinitarian, and asymmetrically perichoretic panentheism of non-dualistic personal theism. Edwards’ trinitarian dialectics specifies the perfection of being as the glorious beauty of happy life in the communion of love that constitutes the relation of asymmetrical union with distinction. The trinitarian logic and ontology propose a worldview of the regenerated that is derived from the singular Christian experience of God’s salvation and revelation through Jesus Christ and his Spirit and integrates the Christian faith with life in the world by framing harmonious relations between God, humanity, and nature.