Fortress Press

Jonathan Edwards and the Life of God: Toward an Evangelical Theology of Participation

Jonathan Edwards and the Life of God

Toward an Evangelical Theology of Participation

W. Ross Hastings (Author)


Jonathan Edwards and the Life of God retrieves Edwards’s theology of participation, critically elucidating the concept of theosis in his Trinitarian theology. This volume brings Edwards’s rich theological work into conversation with the patristic and Reformed traditions (Calvin and, especially, Barth), in order to construct a more hopeful, liberating, and truly human version of Christian life. Participation leads, in Edwards and others, into the “beyond” of the beatific vision—the glory of God, which is the hope that, amongst other things, motivates the Christian life.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451487695
  • eBook ISBN 9781451494358
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 448
  • Publication Date January 1, 2015


1. Journey of Contemplative, Communal Intimacy towards Becoming Fully Human Persons in Christ
2. A Journey into the Union of the Trinity
3. A Journey Yet Deeper into the Union of the Trinity
4. Journey into the Bond of the Trinity: The Spirit in the Trinity
5. Journey from Heaven to Earth: The Spirit Honored in the Incarnation of Christ
6. Journey of Human Participation in God: The Spirit Honored in the Union of the Saints with God
7. Participation in the Spirit in Justification for Sanctification or for Justification and Sanctification?
8. Journey with Assurance? The Spirit Honored in the Assurance of Salvation in Believers
9. Journey of Contemplative, Communal Intimacy towards Becoming Fully Human Persons in Christ


“In Jonathan Edwards and the Life of God, we find Hastings’s true passion: the journey of human participation in the triune God. While deeply appreciative of Edwards’s Spirit-centered understanding of union with God, Hastings is not afraid to enter into probing dialogue with the eighteenth-century pastor-theologian. The result is a solid, Barthian defense of humanity’s deifying union with God, as well as a warm-hearted invitation for the reader to join a pilgrimage into the contemplation of the love of Father, Son, and Spirit.”
—Hans Boersma
Regent College

"This book is an invitation to travel with Jonathan Edwards on a journey of discovery concerning humanity’s ultimate destiny toward our full humanity in communion with the triune God. Along the way to recovering Edwards’s theology of deification, the reader meets many other important theological figures, among them John Calvin, Karl Barth, many of their interpreters, and a number of Eastern theologians. Ross Hastings deftly weaves these theological strands into a tapestry that beautifully depicts the foundation and goal of the Christian life as union with God. Like Edwards, Hastings is a pastor-theologian, who helps his readers to get beyond abstract theologies of forensic justification that result in mere ‘sin-management’ to the relational heart of the good news: the invitation to become transformed into Christlikeness by being drawn into the life of God Himself. This book is an important contribution to the ongoing effort to reinterpret Protestant theology in light of the greater Christian tradition."
Jens Zimmermann
Trinity Western University
"This lengthy contribution to the Edwardsian production-line of our day covers a wider waterfront. Hastings mines Edwards on the Trinity and incarnation, the Holy Spirit, justification and sanctification, and the structure and temper of the Christian life, exploring how he positioned himself within the Reformed tradition that he aimed to present. Hastings has today’s multiple Edwardsian debates at his fingertips; he also brings in Karl Barth to help in his assessments, with illuminating results. The book yields a uniquely comprehensive overview, and is very instructive to work through."
J. I. Packer
Regent College
“One of the most interesting developments in recent constructive theology has been the way in which Protestant thinkers have sought to retrieve accounts of human participation in the life of God from historic theologians. One of those whose work has been the subject of such interest is Jonathan Edwards. Ross Hastings takes Edwards’s thought and examines it in light of other accounts of participation, from the Cappadocians to Barth, showing how this leitmotif fits with other key aspects of Edwardsian theology, such as the Trinity, incarnation, pneumatology, and the order of salvation. The result is a rich piece of collegial and constructive theology, which makes a contribution to current debates about the shape of Edwards’s thought as well as to systematic theology more generally.”
Oliver D. Crisp
Fuller Theological Seminary

"This carefully researched and scholarly volume is arguably the most sophisticated exposition and assessment of Edwards's doctrine of the Trinity to date. Considerably more than a critical evaluation of Edwards, it constitutes a timely retrieval of the doctrine of the personal participation of believers in the life of the triune God—participation whose grammar is incarnational and pneumatological and whose goal is the joyful formation of the people of God as human persons created for relationship. This immensely significant monograph should be required reading not only for those interested in North America’s greatest theologian but for academics and students alike who are concerned to think through not only the foundational place of the doctrine of the Trinity in the interpretation of every facet of Christian faith but also its pastoral implications."
Alan Torrance
The School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews