The Fall

By Jonathan Edwards


186. Fall. Seeing the beauty of the corporeal world consists chiefly in representing spiritual beauties, and the beauties of minds are infinitely the greatest, we therefore may conclude that God, when he created the world, showed his own perfection and beauties far the most charmingly and clearly, in the spiritual part of the world. But seeing spiritual beauty consists principally in virtue and holiness, and seeing there is so little of this beauty to be seen now in that part of the spiritual world that is here on earth, hence we may conclude that there is a great fall and defection in this part of the spiritual world, from its primitive beauty and charms.

Corollary. Seeing this is so agreeable to the account that the Christian religion gives of the matter, and seeing it is evident (from many arguments), that God intends not to give over man as lost, but has a merciful intention of restoring him to his primitive beauty, and seeing we are told this, and the manner of it, in the Christian religion alone, and seeing the account is so rational, it is a great confirmation of the truth of the Christian religion.

It is also evident to me that the lower corporeal world has not its primitive beauty, but that only the ruins are to be seen. Seeing this is so exactly agreeable to the account which the Christian religion gives of the matter, and the account of the marring of the beauty of the world by the fall and flood being so rational, this also confirms the Christian religion.



290. Fall. ….If it be inquired how man came to sin, seeing he had no sinful inclinations in him except God took away his grace from him that he had been wont to give him and so let him fall, I answer, there was no need of taking away anything that had been given him, but he sinned under that temptation because God did not give him more. He did not take away that grace from him while he was perfectly innocent, which grace was his original righteousness, but he only withheld his confirming grace, given now in heaven, such grace as shall surmount every temptation….



291. Fall and Free Will. See M 436. Man has not so much freedom now as he had before the fall in this respect: now he has a will against a will, an inclination contrary to his reason. Judgment which begets a contrary inclination, and this latter inclination is often overcome and suppressed by the former, but before the fall the inclination that arose from reason and judgment never was held down by the inferior inclination, so that in that sense he was more free, or as they speak, had more freedom of will.