The Metaphysics of Jonathan Edwards’s “Personal Narrative”: Continuous Creation, Personal Identity, and Spiritual Development

Bibliographic Information: 

Christopher Woznicki, "The Metaphysics of Jonathan Edwards’s “Personal Narrative”: Continuous Creation, Personal Identity, and Spiritual Development" Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 61.2 (2019): 184-206.

Description

Central to evangelical piety is the theme of “conversionism”. Among historical figures who embody this characteristic of evangelical piety one finds that Jonathan Edwards plays an important role, in part, because of his 1740 “Personal Narrative”. In this essay I examine the metaphysics underlying Edwards’s view of conversion in his “Personal Narrative”. Special attention is given to Edwards’s doctrine of continuous creation and to a feature that underlies his understanding of spiritual development, namely the One-Subject Criterion. I weigh two options for how Edwards may coherently hold to continuous creation and the One-Subject Criterion: Mark Hamilton’s relative realism/endurance account and Edwardsean Anti-Criterialism. I conclude that given the textual evidence Edwardsean Anti-Criterialism is to be preferred over Hamilton’s view.

Publisher: 
Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie