Theology of Everything or Exhaustive Typology

I wanted to open up a discussion of Jonathan Edwards’ typology. It’s been too long.

Edwards believed that absolutely every thing in the world is an image of Jesus and his spiritual truth, much like Moses and David were “types” of Christ.

He says, “I expect by very ridicule and contempt to be called a man of a very fruitful brain and copious fancy, but they are welcome to it. I am not ashamed to own that I believe that the whole universe, heaven and earth, air and seas, and the divine constitution and history of the holy Scriptures, be full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words” (Typological Writings 152).

Edwards qualifies this by saying that the Scripture gives us specific types (like Moses and David) to teach us how to see types in everything. Once we are able to be tutored by the Scripture, we can then see more types within Scripture, and from there we can see types in all the world around us.

He kept a journal called “Images of Divine Things” in which he made dozens of notes about things like roses, birth, lightning, human breathing, and such and explained how these were pictures of Jesus and his truth.


Is Edwards a profound theologian or is he a “a man of a very fruitful brain and copious fancy”?


2 thoughts on “Theology of Everything or Exhaustive Typology

  1. Since I have not read Jonathan Edwards’ ‘Typological Writings’, nor have I read anything in full that he wrote, I cannot with good conscience respond to your question here. I am open to being persuaded that Edwards’ view that “absolutely every thing in the world is an image of Jesus and his spiritual truth” is forceful and requires serious consideration. But having no experience with his thought and not finding it convincing on the face of things, I am reluctant to accept this as a good and cogent theological argument for understanding Christ. It’s novel, to be sure. I’ll give you that. But why should I consider it to be true? Would you persuade me? Or would you direct me to specific items in Jonathan Edwards’ writings that would persuade me to its forcefulness?


    1. Chris, first off, thank you for the response. I hope the dialogue continues, since these kinds of paradigms take a while to shape either way they go.

      One of the keys for me is, how is Jesus related to the glory of God? And can God be glorified apart from a display of the person and work of Jesus? I would say no. Every aspect of Gods beauty and goodness and glory is wrapped up in the person and work of Jesus.

      So since creation is clearly wrapped up in the beauty and glory of God in every nook and cranny as it were, therefore the creation is also wrapped up in the beauty and glory of Jesus.

      I like using typology as a way to express this, because 1) Jesus seems to live and teach like this, calling himself the Light, the Vine, the Shepherd, etc, and 2) the Bible seems to present him in terms of the culmination of creation (John 1:1-3, col 1:15), and 3) it’s just lots of fun to think about how the creation points to Jesus.

      Anyways, there’s some thoughts. Lots more to come in these next years my friend!

      But lastly id say I am not following Edwards alone, but also the paradigms of Lewis, Barth, Augustine, and other christocentric people.


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