Miscellanies Project

Volumes 13, 18, 20, and 23 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards are the “Miscellanies”—private notebooks containing thirty-six years of Edwards’s profound, and sometimes controversial, theological reflection. The goal of the Miscellanies Project is to visually unlock his notebooks, map the intricate connections in his thought, and produce an interface that is navigable by touchscreen, mouse, and keyboard.

“Image” no. 1, Temporal Death

This visualization reveals the creational and theological network surrounding “Image” no. 1 of Jonathan Edwards’ “Images of Divine Things.” Edwards sees a dead body as a fit picture of the spiritual second death. In a similar way, sleep is a type of death, but it is also a state of spiritual unpreparedness.

Grass, Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees

In “Image” no. 13, Edwards sees the beauty and benevolence of Creator God and his Spirit and profound typological significance in grass and other flora: “Thus I believe the grass and other vegetables growing and flourishing, looking green and pleasant, as it were rejoicing, blossoming and bearing fruit from the influences of the heavens, the rain and wind, and light and heat of the sun,

Music of the Spheres

Edwards waxes Miltonian in his meditations upon the heavens and spiritual realities. “… the incomprehensible height of the heavens, etc. is but a type of the infinite magnificence, height and glory of God’s work in the spiritual world … How different is the idea from that which we have in the consideration of the dark and dire caverns and abyss down in the depths of the earth.”

Temptation and Sin

In “Image” no. 182, Edwards compares lengthy prosperity with long summertimes which allow “many flies and other insects that are hurtful and noisome” and other pestilence to breed unrestrained. “So a long continuance of a summer of prosperity, of outward or spiritual comforts, breeds hurtful and noisome and corrupting insects as it were in the soul. Many evil things, contrary to the humility and simplicity that is in Christ, gradually creep in till they swarm.”

Natural Man

“There are many things in the constitution of the world that are not properly shadows and images of divine things, that yet are significations of them; as children’s being born crying is a signification of their being born to sorrow. A man’s coming into the world after the same manner as the beasts is a signification of the ignorance and brutishness of man, and his agreement in many things with the beasts.”


Edwards recorded in “Image” no. 27 that the tempests of the ocean and the dangerous white waters of rivers are shadows of the omnipotent God’s wrath and judgment. “The waves and billows of the sea in a storm and the dire cataracts there are of rivers have a representation of the terrible wrath of God, and amazing misery of [them] that endure it.”


The Bible is full of water. Within its pages we find the deep, floods, storms, rivers, brooks, waves, seas, fountains, springs, wells, droughts, baptisms, washings, rain, cups, drinking, gardens, growth, and many other instances laden with meaning. In the Scriptures, water represents people and their posterity, blessings and curses, cleansing and deliverance, violence and judgment, and much more.

The Heavens

An early entry in Edwards’s “Images” notebook serves as a concise summary of his reinscripturated reading of the heavens: “The heaven’s being filled with glorious, luminous bodies, is to signify the glory and happiness of the heavenly inhabitants; and amongst these, the sun signifies Christ and the moon, the church (“Image” no. 4).”

Darkness and Light in the Bible

Light is good and dark is bad. White is virtuous and black is evil. These metaphorical concepts are basic to human understanding and communication. Edwards notes that the sum of all beautiful colors is white, which is emblematic of,

Light to Come

Christ is the true Light, the true Vine, and the true Bread (John 1:9; 15:1; 6:32). The temple and its rites were also “copies of the true things” in heaven (Heb 8:5; 9:24). The repeated sacrifices were types that were fulfilled in the perfect and final sacrifice of Christ which “put away sin” (Heb 9:26).

Darkness, then Light

In “Image” nos. 54, 58, 72, 188, and 211, Edwards meditates on light following darkness—the sun breaks forth each day to dispel the night, often with a rich profusion of color refracting through the clouds and sky. Dangerous beasts of the nocturne hours retreat into their dens.

Light, Darkness, and Eternity

In “Image” nos. 1, 21, 61, 64, 204, Edwards contemplates the spiritual significance of darkness and light: “The purity, beauty, sublimity and glory of the visible heavens … denotes the exaltedness and purity of …

Edwardsean Natural Theology

Alister McGrath notes Edwards as an example of a theologian who employs “affective imagination” in a correlation of doctrine and natural theology: “… Edwards … perhaps America’s greatest Christian …

Regions of Creation

Edwards’ theological meditations on the created order included all regions: Heavens, Earth and Waters, Plant Life, Birds, Animals, Insects, Humanity, and Man-made Objects and Activities …

Earth and Waters

Edwards frequently expounded the analogous relationship between nature and spiritual reality and in “Image” no. 82 he highlighted the three-storied structure of the created order: 82. There are three sorts of inhabitants of this world …

Image no. 78, TREES

In “Image” no. 78, Edwards finds “wonderful” analogies between TREES and the mysterious workings of Divine Providence. Trees have many hidden roots and crooked branches which twist and turn unpredictably, typifying the vicissitudes …

Up and Down

Above is a visualization of ASCENT, DESCENT, HEAVEN, & HELL in the matrix of biblical images. In “Image” no. 21, Edwards notes the revelation contained in the Creator’s up/down ordering of the world: 21. The purity, beauty, sublimity and glory of the visible …

Core Emphases

This visualization reveals the core theological emphases in Edwards’ “Images of Divine Things” notebook. The visualization can be animated by clicking or tapping on the legend or the image itself. The image also responds to …

Part 1, Introduction

Jonathan Edwards’ biographer, George Marsden, observes that, “Edwards’ universe was similar to that of many of our own moral tales, from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings to countless lesser entertainments.” Marsden highlights …

Image no. 204, the OWL

Owls and certain other creatures of the night belong to the theological category of Supernatural Beings—they typify demons with their haunting voices. Their noise points to the wailing of demons and lost souls …