The God of Love Dwells in Heaven

The following devotional is a modernized version of Edwards' powerful sermon Heaven Is a World of Love. The original sermon can be read at The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. Edwards' original of this section is reproduced at the bottom for easy comparison.

 

What I am about to say can be summarized in this proposition: The God of love dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace of the Supreme Being, who is both the cause and source of all holy love. It is the chamber where his presence is revealed.


Indeed, with respect to his essence, God is everywhere present, filling heaven and earth. But many times in Scripture we read of God being present in some places in a more special way than other places. In the Old Testament, we read that God dwelt in the land of Israel above all the other nations and in the city of Jerusalem above all the other cities in Israel. And he dwelt in the temple above all the other houses in Jerusalem, and in the Holy of Holies above all the other rooms in the temple. And he dwelt on the mercy seat above the ark of the covenant, which is above all the other places in the Holy of Holies. Though God is everywhere present, yet he is present in some places in a special way. Heaven is the special dwelling place of God above every other place in the universe.


Those places where God dwelt in a special way in the Old Testament were all merely types and shadows of heaven, but not the substance of it. Heaven is a part of creation that God designed and built for this purpose, to be the place of his glorious presence. It is his abode forever. There, God will dwell and manifest himself gloriously for all eternity. And this makes heaven a world of love. God is the fountain of love, just as the sun is the fountain of light. The glorious presence of God fills heaven with love, just as the sun on a clear day fills the world with light.


The apostle John tells us that “God is love” (1Jn 4:8). Thus, as an infinite being, he is an infinite fountain of love. As an all-sufficient being, he is a full, overflowing, and inexhaustible fountain of love. As an unchangeable and eternal being, he is the unchangeable and eternal source of love. Heaven is a world of love because the God of love lives there. Every stream of holy love—yes, every drop there is or ever was—flows out of the eternal God who makes his home in heaven.

 

Edwards' Original


And here the place with respect to the cause and fountain of love which is there. What I shall say may be comprised in this proposition; viz. that the God of love dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace, or presence-chamber, of the Supreme Being who is both the cause and source of all holy love. God, indeed, with respect to his essence is everywhere. He fills heaven and earth. But yet he is said on some accounts more especially to be in some places rather than others. He was said of old to dwell in the land of Israel above all other lands, and in Jerusalem above all other cities in that land, and in the temple above all other houses in that city, and in the holy of holies above all other apartments in that temple, and on the mercy seat over the ark above all other places in the holy of holies. But heaven is his dwelling place above all other places in the universe.


Those places in which he was said to dwell of old were all but types of this. Heaven is a part of the creation which God has built for this end, to be the place of his glorious presence. And it is his abode forever. Here he will dwell and gloriously manifest himself to eternity. And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light. And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven fills heaven with love, as the sun placed in the midst of the hemisphere in a clear day fills the world with light. The Apostle tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:8. And therefore seeing he is an infinite Being, it follows that he is an infinite fountain of love. Seeing he is an all-sufficient Being, it follows that he is a full and overflowing and an inexhaustible fountain of love. Seeing he is an unchangeable and eternal Being, he is an unchangeable and eternal source of love. There even in heaven dwells that God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is or ever was proceeds.

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