3 October, 2018
“Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God”: A Brutal Enlightening
On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards gave a sermon known as “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” The sermon was given inside the Enfield congressional church in Connecticut. On this day, church attendants experienced one of the most important sermons in American literature (Arkin). This sermon describes how the passage Deuteronomy 32.35 relates to the religious faith of believers and the powerful Wrath of God. This passage best describes the message Edwards attempts to spread to his listeners. Edwards explains how the passage relates to everyone, and that those who sin, don’t have faith in God, and those who haven’t felt the great change from God will fall down a slippery slope shall fall into the darkness. Edwards then goes on to describe the wrath of God, and the fiery depths of hell with powerful imagery. He describes how God is almighty and powerful using statements such as “The strongest have no power to resist him” (The Norton Anthology 193). Through the use of vivid imagery, biblical passage, and his to interpretation of Deuteronomy 32.35, Edwards portrays to his listeners, the only thing that can keep one out of hell is “The mere pleasure of God.”
Edwards uses the biblical passage Deuteronomy 32.35 as a metaphor to those who commit sins. The passage is about the God’s wrath towards the Israelites who don’t have faith in him. The last line of the passage is “Their foot shall slide in due time,” (The Norton Anthology 192). In the biblical passage, this means that the Israelites will at some point see the wrath of God. Their feet sliding on a slippery slope means that at some point you will fall. This is a metaphor for those who don’t have faith in God. The Israelites will at some point fall victim to the wrath of God. Edwards uses this metaphor to convince people that God will inflict his wrath upon them if they don’t feel the faith of God. He implies that those will fall down a slippery slope exactly like the Israelites in the bible.
Edwards explains the four specific things this biblical quote implies. It implies that those without faith were always exposed to destruction, because someone who always stands in a slippery place will fall at some point. This applies to people similar to the Israelites in that they have no faith in God. Next, Edwards explains that the destruction is eminent at any point and can happen at any point in someone’s life. Edwards next explains that the destruction of God is generated by one’s self. Finally, Edwards explains that those who haven’t fallen to the hand of God will eventually fall because God is holding back for the right time. Edwards portrays God as an all-powerful being all Christians should fear.
Edwards then goes on to explain the true power of God and the fiery depths of hell using figurative language. Edwards uses powerful imagery in his sermon to scare his...