Edwards on Why Seeing God Would Kill Us

From a sermon on James 1:17

God is arrayed with an infinite brightness, a brightness that doesn’t create pain as the light of the sun pains the eyes to behold it, but rather fills with excess of joy and delight. Indeed, no man can see God and live, because the sight of such glory would overpower nature, . . . ’tis because the joy and pleasure in beholding would be too strong for a frail nature.

According to Edwards, it isn’t God’s holiness that would incinerate us. It’s the joy that would erupt within us that we can’t handle.


–Jonathan Edwards, ‘That God is the Father of Lights,’ in The Blessing of God: Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, p.346

(HT: Dane Ortlund)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s