Puritanism and Total Depravity

Essay by Kgirl11531967High School, 11th gradeA, April 2007

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The Puritans see God as the sole creator who is mysteriously involved in controlling the universe, while the transcendentalists think God is connected to mankind through nature and intuition.

The perception of Puritan writing tends to be plain and insightful. Transcendentalist writing shows how nature and feelings are dominant over logic and rationality. In contrast to the plain style of Puritan writing, Jonathan Edwards frequently uses striking words to capture his audience.

He illustrates this style in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” but still shows the inferiority of human beings in relation to God’s power, another Puritan trait. In transcendentalist writing, the spiritual and ideal worlds are revealed through the physical facts of the natural world.

Edwards’ sermon called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” recalls the fact that God has more power than man. One of the main points of the sermon is to utilize the Doctrine of Total Depravity.

Total Depravity states, “People in their natural, unregenerate state do not have the ability to turn to God. Rather it is the grace and will of God through the Holy Spirit that causes men who are dead in sin to be reborn through the Word of God” (Five Points of Calvinism, Wikipedia).

Wickedness and sin, as he describes, leads man closer and closer into the depths of hell. Mankind is weak and helpless if God is provoked. “There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up,” (Sinners…..God). Edwards uses the phrase “Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up” to evidently make this point. His intention is to say that God and His powers should not be taken lightly. No matter how...