Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos
If I could wear one of those “Jonathan Edwards is My Homeboy” T-shirts and get away with it, I would. Edwards has influenced my thinking and theology in many ways. One of those ways is small, but it is unique and has been a great blessing. Edwards rightly noted that God is Redeemer and Creator. Therefore, Edwards saw a close relationship between the natural and spiritual worlds. This led him to believe that regenerate men and women should be able to comprehend spiritual types or shadows in natural things. At times, He may have taken it a little farther than I am comfortable with, but the practice of looking for types and shadows of spiritual things in the natural world has been a delightful part of my Christian life for the past decade. Here are a few from Edwards’ own pen:
“The mole opens not his eyes till he be dead.” (179)
“The silkworm is a remarkable type of Christ. Its greatest work is weaving something for our beautiful clothing, and it dies in this work. It spends its life in it, it finishes it in death, as Christ was obedient unto death; his righteousness was chiefly wrought out in dying. And then it rises again, a worm, as Christ was in his state of humiliation, but a more glorious creature. When it rises, it leaves its web for our glorious clothing behind, and rises a perfectly white (butterfly), denoting the purity from imputed grace which He rose as our surety, for in His resurrection He was justified.” (142)
“As one ascends a mountain, they get further and further from the lower world, and the objects of it looks less and less to him. So it is in one that ascends in the way to heaven. Commonly near the foot of a high mountain there is a deep valley, which must be descended in order to come to the mountain. So we must first descend low by humiliation to fit us for spiritual exaltation.” (151)
“When summer has continued uninterrupted for some time, then begin to come many flies and other insects that are hurtful and noisome. But after they are come, they remain long after the weather grows cool, and it must be a very hard frost to kill. A small frost may chill ‘em and restrain ‘em, but they will revive again at the return of every warm day. So a long continuance of a summer or prosperity, of outward or spiritual comforts, breeds hurtful and noisome and corrupting insects as it were to the soul. Many evil things, contrary to the humility and simplicity that is in Christ, gradually creep in till they swarm. So it is in a particular person, and so it is in the church of God. And after they have go in, and have got foothold, ’tis a hard thing to root ‘em out. If the prosperity and comforts are withdrawn, there must be very much of the contrary before they will be killed. The insects in summer signify the same with the worms in the manna.” (182)
“The sun makes plants to flourish when it shines after rain; otherwise it makes them wither. So clouds and darkness and rains of affliction fit the soul for the clear shining of the Sun of Righteousness. Light and comfort, if the heart is not prepared by humiliation, do but make the heart worse. They fill it with disease of pride, and destroy the welfare of the soul instead of promoting it. II Sam. 23:4.” (83)
Journey outside this afternoon, look at the sky, look at the trees, look down at the blades of grass, think about the bread you are baking or the dirty hands you are washing, and let your spiritual eyes (grounded in Scripture) wander around looking for types and shadows of spiritual things to the encouragement of your soul. And if you are really ambitious, you may even think about starting a notebook like Edwards and myself. This has to be the first step if you have any dream or hope of being able to wear the coveted T-shirt.