Russell Brand Meets Jonathan Edwards

Today in 1758, Jonathan Edwards died. Not many books have caused me to sob audibly, and even fewer while reading in a public library, but Edwards’ Images or Shadows of Divine Things is just such a book.

Though his vision of creation emerges organically from the Bible, I’d never seen it so clearly before: everything in the world (literally everything) is a tiny shadow of some corresponding, infinitely more valuable reality in heaven. God has created these “shadows” to point us toward Him. Rather than becoming fixated on the shadows themselves, says Edwards, we must look up to see who is casting them. And just as shadows are impossibly dim compared to the sun which creates them, so even the world’s most dazzling beauty is as nothing compared to the beauty of the God who made it.

On any other day it would be awkward to transition from this to Russell Brand. But not today. Just watch this clip of his interview with Jeremy Paxman to see what I mean.

“Someone told me once that all desire is the desire to be at one with God in substitute form. So perhaps we can draw attention not to the shadow on the wall but to the source of light itself.”

So what do you think? Are Russell and Jonathan right?

(HT: the eagle-eyed Alice Brockman, who pointed me to the clip)


  1. I would say Mr. Edwards is right ( if only to avoid a roundhouse kick to the throat from Mr. Piper)

    Russell is on to something and asks compelling questions, but is far from finding a satisfactory answer. He seems to be content with chasing after some esoteric form of transcedence. Whatever god would quench his insatiable thirst for validation he may very well assent to.

    I hope Brand comes to the revelation that he can never reach this selfless idealism without the cross of Christ. Then maybe J Edwards and he could share their theological reflections over coffee…or tea. : )

    Enjoyed your website!


    1. Thanks chiefofleast.

      I wonder how “content” he is simply to chase after an “esoteric form of transcendence” though. We’ve all met lots of people who take up questioning as a way of life, with no intention of actually settling on an answer. But Russell strikes me (here at least) as being utterly bored of materialism and fame – in fact, he says as much. It looks as if he is actually hungry for an answer.

      “Whatever god would quench his insatiable thirst for validation he may very well assent to.” I think even here I detected a sense of weariness at his own neediness. How wonderful it would be for him to discover himself fully and finally satisfied in Christ. Praying that there might be some loving, bold and gospel-hearted people in his immediate circle of friends.


  2. Ohhhh dear Russell.. I sooooo would love to sit down with him and talk about Jesus. You can hear his hunger and longing indeed in his talking.

    I love that you managed to coherently connect Russell Brand and Jonathan Edwards in a post. 🙂 haha. Okay I am now going to stop stalking your blog and go to sleep!


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