Thursday, August 13, 2009

Edwards On Man's Pride

For years I have been perplexed by either comments on this blog or in personal conversations about man's abilities to do things better than God and man's moral neutrality. We saw this recently by one commenter, who agreed that the thought police should probably put conservative Christians in jail. This same commenter has also quoted Jesus to defend his position. The perplexing aspect of his strange views is that he has demonstrated his loathing of the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet Jesus loved the Hebrew Scriptures and believed they are God's Word to His people.

William C. Nichols has done the church of Christ good by editing unpublished sermons by Jonathan Edwards from the Yale Library titled, Knowing the Heart: Jonathan Edwards On True and False Conversions. Nichols comments on the sermon, Man Is Naturally a Proud Creature,
Another way in which that Edwards mentions of how men exercise their pride towards God is in their quarreling with Him. Men quarrel with God about the way in which He rules the world. They don't like it that such and so happened. They are upset that something else which they wanted to happen, hasn't. They think things would work out much better if they could decide for themselves what should occur. If they were in charge of things, the world would be a much better place. This extends also to their own views of love and mercy. Men censure God for His threats of eternal punishment. They ask , "How could a loving God torture one of His creatures in such a place as hell for all eternity?" Richard Baxter tells us: "pride maketh men set up their own love and mercy above the love and mercy of God...When they think of hell fire, and the number of the miserable, and the fewness of the saved, they consult with their ignorant compassion, which is in themselves, and that they would not thus use an enemy of their own, and therefore they censure the holy scriptures." Edwards adds, "These things show the dreadful pride of the heart and the high opinion man hath of himself. They are too proud to subject [themselves] to God as their sovereign; and they exalt themselves and set up themselves as God's judges, and presume to arraign the Most High to their bar. Romans 9:20, 'Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?'"
Nichols recognizes something that so many Evangelicals have forgotten today. Man is not some morally neutral creature. He acts as if he is above God and as if he is seated in God's place. "that they would not thus use an enemy of their own". The commenter referenced above has more than demonstrated his willingness to do what he/she supposedly loathes. This is true for all men. Until a man sees his fallen state, he will never see His true need.

Again, when a man cuts Himself off from his creator as the source and foundation for all knowledge and morality, ect, he is by definition at enmity with God and perverts his understanding of the Creator and His creation.

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