The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Genuine Conversion Experiences Part II - Jonathan Edwards

So, I’ve been going into more depth in trying to get a deeper understanding of my psychic change or spiritual experience or experiences and I turned to the expert on the subject - Jonathan Edwards. I call him an expert because he describes it perfectly in his magnum opus - The Religious Affections. Let me share some quotes from him that show what a true Christian is like after the psychic change called ego death. It completely contradicts a large number of people who call themselves Calvinists. Even some of those who claim the New Calvinism of John Piper. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not attacking John Piper. For he has grown a lot through the years and his most recent works shine with God’s glory. Nonetheless, here’s Edwards:

To be continued…

P.S. The book is online:

To be continued…

Speaking of Jesus Christ Edwards says:

[size=120]“Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!”

1785 “Here all judges have a mixture of mercy, but the wrath of God will be poured out upon the wicked without mixture. Imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven…and imagine also that your body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, as full within and without as a bright coal fire, all the while full of quick sense; what horror would you feel at the entrance of such a furnace? Oh! Then how would your heart sink if you knew that after millions and millions of ages your torment would be no nearer to an end than ever it was. But your torment in hell will be immensely greater than this illustration represents.” Works, vol. Iii. 260

“The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive the wicked: the flames do now rage and glow. The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much in the same way as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked…He will trample them beneath His feet with inexpressible fierceness; He will crush their blood out, and will make it fly, so that it will sprinkle His garment and stain all His raiment.” Works, vii. 499.

“You cannot stand before an infuriated tiger even; what then will you do when God rushes against you in all His wrath?” Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” [/size]

:frowning: :frowning: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Ah that famous quote: ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’

So many evangelicals will default to that thinking. :confused:

Sad, Sad, Sad :open_mouth:

That comes from 2 Kings 2:24. What Edwards meant by infants is evil young boys:

The other comes from Revelations 14:10

I agree with Edwards in that sin against an infinitely glorious God is severe and serious and demands intense pain of judgment. I just think that those in the lake of fire are destroyed both body and soul and turned to ashes but that they will rise from the ashes like the phoenix bird. This is what we see in the destruction of the heavens and earth by fire yet a new heavens and earth is created.I base that on scripture and how God hates the wicked and destroys them. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But we also know that His anger is but for a moment. After destruction in the lake of fire the wicked are made new as they enter the gates.

Leviticus 20:23 - “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”

Leviticus 26:30 - “And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.”

Deuteronomy 32:19 - “And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.”

Psalm 5:5 - “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

Psalm 5:6 - “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.”

Psalm 10:3 - “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.”

Psalm 11:5 - “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”

Psalm 53:5 - “There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.”

Psalm 73:20 - “As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.”

Psalm 78:59 - “When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:”

Psalm 106:40 - “Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.”

Proverbs 6:16-19 - “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Proverbs 22:14 - “The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.”

Lamentations 2:6 - “And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.”

Hosea 9:15 - “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”

Zechariah 11:8 - “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.”

Malachi 1:3 - “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

Romans 9:13 - “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

Jesus said that His Father is kind to ungrateful people and to evil people (Luke 6:35).
Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s essence (Hebrews 1;3). If we want to know the Father’s character, we need only to take notice of Jesus’ character.
Jesus revealed the Father as He really is! The OT writers that you quoted, Michael, knew God’s character only partially.

The apostle John learned the truth about the Father from Jesus. That is why he was able to write, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all!” (1 John 1:5). He also wrote that God IS love (1 John 4:8,16). Yes, God’s very essence is LOVE! LOVE doesn’t dangle you over the pit of hell, much in the same way as one dangles a spider or some loathsome insect, as Jonathan Edwards declared. LOVE doesn’t abhor you, as Jonathan Edwards affirmed.


I gave NT scriptures that speak of God’s hatred and fiery wrath unmixed without mercy and the background of the OT from which it was taken. Here’s the passage from Romans:

This isn’t hyperbole for when we turn to the OT from which it was taken it tells us that God destroyed Esau:

Here’s a couple more speaking of God’s wrath:

The Bible speaks of this fiery wrath as a cup unmixed without mercy:

This fire is the same fire that turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes

Just as the Heavens and earth undergo a fiery judgment of destruction under God’s wrath so do the ungodly. But like Sodom and the Heavens and Earth the ungodly will be made new after destruction.

God’s wrath, that is, His anger against sin, does not imply that He hates the sinner and will either destroy (annihilate) him or send him into eternal torture. Sin is that which harms other people or oneself. That is why God is so angry with it. He doesn’t WANT people harmed. It is a great injustice to the character of God to proclaim that He Himself harms people. ALL OF GOD’S JUDGMENTS ARE REMEDIAL.

It does nothing of the sort. God is infinitely great and gloriously precious and all sin is against Him. This is why the punishment for sin is so severe. All justice and discipline has some pain attached. God’s judgments in the NT and the OT are in direct proportion to the sin. God’s justice is never cruel and unusual. God is infinitely holy and precious. You didn’t deal with any of the NT texts that show God’s holy hatred and wrath against sin with the OT as the inspired background from which it is taken and refers. Instead you just blaspheme a holy God and quote from Origin. Mother Mary warned in an apparition about this:

“You have but two final destinies: Heaven and hell. Know that Satan will try to remove the reality of the existence of his kingdom, hell, from you. If he makes a farce of his existence among you, he will deceive you so that you will sin and remove yourselves from the Spirit of light. And when you remove yourselves from the Spirit of light, you remove yourselves from eternal life in the Kingdom of your Father, the most high God in Heaven.” - Our Lady of the Roses, February 1, 1975

Indeed the holy St. Teressa of Avila warns against the same thing. Born in 1515 in the kingdom of Castile in Spain, St. Theresa of Avila was the youngest child of a virtuous nobleman. When she was seven years old, Teresa fled from her home with one of her young brothers, in the hope of going to Africa and receiving the palm of martyrdom. Brought back and asked the reason for her flight, she replied: “I want to see God, and I must die before I can see Him.” She then began, with her same brother, Rodriguez, to build a hermitage in the garden, and was often heard repeating: “Forever, forever!” She lost her mother at the age of twelve years, and was led by worldly companions into various frivolities. Her father decided to place her in a boarding convent, and she obeyed without any inclination for this kind of life. Grace came to her assistance with the good guidance of the Sisters, and she decided to enter religion in the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila. For a time frivolous conversations there, too, checked her progress toward perfection, but finally in her thirty-first year, she abandoned herself entirely to God. A vision showed her the very place in hell to which her apparently light faults would have led her, and she was told by Our Lord that all her conversation must be with heaven. Ever afterwards she lived in the deepest distrust of herself. The following is her description of hell:

"A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I’ve mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins. This experience took place within the shortest space of time, but even were I to live for many years I think it would be impossible for me to forget it. The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated.

"What I felt, it seems to me, cannot even begin to be exaggerated; nor can it be understood. I experienced a fire in the soul that I don’t know how I could describe. The bodily pains were so unbearable that though I had suffered excruciating ones in this life and according to what doctors say, the worst that can be suffered on earth for all my nerves were shrunken when I was paralyzed, plus many other sufferings of many kinds that I endured and even some as I said, caused by the devil, these were all nothing in comparison with the ones I experienced there. I saw furthermore that they would go on without end and without ever ceasing. This, however, was nothing next to the soul’s agonizing: a constriction, a suffocation, an affliction so keenly felt and with such a despairing and tormenting unhappiness that I don’t know how to word it strongly enough. To say the experience is as though the soul were continually being wrested from the body would be insufficient, for it would make you think somebody else is taking away the life, whereas here it is the soul itself that tears itself in pieces. The fact is that I don’t know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains. I didn’t see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.

“Being in such an unwholesome place, so unable to hope for any consolation, I found it impossible either to sit down or to lie down, nor was there any room, even though they put me in this kind of hole made in the wall. Those walls, which were terrifying to see, closed in on themselves and suffocated everything. There was no light, but all was enveloped in the blackest darkness. I don’t understand how this could be, that everything painful to see was visible.”

[Source: The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 1, Chapter 32: paragraphs: 1,2,3. Published by Institute of Carmelite Studies Publications, Washington, D.C.]

As someone with mental health problems of my own, I can safely say I think Edwards was mentally ill.

Edwards was admitted into Yale at the age of 13. He was a very loving and tenderhearted Christian that believed God was infinitely glorious and beautiful. Thus, we can see why he thought God’s holy wrath against sin was so severe. For all sin is against God as it belittles the infinite worth of His glory. Edwards believed that vengeance belonged to God. The same goes for the holy mystic St. Teresa of Avilla. Not mentally ill at all. I have this up in the other thread but I will share it here. In Richard Beck’s book “The Authenticity of Faith” he shows the laboratory evidence that confirms Freud’s hypothesis that religion is a delusion. It’s based on wishful thinking to console and relieve existential anxieties including death. Those who use faith for this reason don’t have authentic faith. A way they tested this is that they showed that people who have inauthentic faith become defensive when an outsider to their worldview comes along. They will denigrate and demonize the outsider as they become defensive of their self-esteem project. Fortunately William James in “The Variety of Religious Experience” shows that not all experiences are of this sort. People who embrace death and tragedies of the world don’t try to suppress the existential anxieties of life and the neurotic death anxieties. These are the ones who have genuine faith and don’t get defensive to outsiders of their worldview. James calls these people the “sick souls”. People like Mother Teresa and the saints fall into this category. Their doctrines don’t involve a suppression to avoid the unpleasantness of existential anxieties including death. Those with genuine faith are willing to engage outsiders without denigrating and demonizing to protect a self-esteem project. The “sick souls” are the ones who hold God accountable for the pain and suffering of life. According to the Apostle Paul who was sorrowful yet always rejoicing. Their communion with God has doubts and shows lament. True faith keeps it’s eyes open to the suffering of others. The more a person has genuine faith the more he will experience pain over the suffering of the world.