Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Analysis
During the time of the Great Awakening, religious spirit flooded throughout America. This was a time for puritans to repent to God, guaranteeing an eternal life in Heaven. The wise theologian, Jonathan Edwards, wrote a vigorous and persuasive sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Edwards’ use of imagery, figurative language, and angered arguments shaped this sermon, to show the congregation the gruesome consequences of sinning. The use of imagery in Edwards’ work lets the audience experience a three dimensional view of God’s wrath. The horror and trepidation pending the sinning congregation is remarkably effective, helping Edwards’ purpose of persuading sinners to repent. He describes how man is held in God’s hand over the fiery pits of Hell, knowing he could drop you at any second. God is always there holding you, until he decides that it’s your time to burn eternally in Hell. This image frightens the listeners, and is a way to make them feel uncomfortable enough to convince them to stick with God. Edwards’ compares God’s wrath to “great waters”, which have the potential to rise above and cause people great destruction, if God chooses to let the flood gates open. A similar image that was used is a comparison of God’s wrath to a bow and arrow, with the bow bent and the arrow waiting to penetrate the sinner’s heart. These two examples helped the congregation view Edwards’ purpose in a more familiar and relatable way. Simple and vivid metaphors were used and were also very effective. The corrupt ways of sinners and their state of evil were as “heavy as lead,” which is God pulling souls down to Hell. Another frightening message Edwards’ conveys is the likelihood of being accepted into heaven. He compares the acceptance with the chance of “A spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock.” This metaphor shows the seriousness of sin, and why a sinner should want to repent. The comparison of a...
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