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)