In the sermon created by Jonathan Edwards, sinners are not depicted as those who are being punished, like in many other sermons and speeches. While they bring misfortune onto their own heads, the interaction often depicted as God’s anger and decision to punish his people is not present as a strong motive, That is the most important feature of the speech. Their foot slides, and it is only because they walk slippery places. It is not because sudden disaster is created by God to destroy them. When reading Old Testament texts, especially when Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned, (Gen 19) one might ask: can God become angry that much?
God, indeed, according to Jonathan Edwards, does not want wicked men to go to Hell. The speech confirms that “there is nothing that keeps wicked men at any moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God”. (3) Indeed, the hands of God hold back the “sword of divine justice”. One of the reflections that might come into the mind of a listener who is also a believer is salvation. God sent his only son to save people and erase their wicked sins.
According to the sermon, God, while holding back punishment, after humans reach a certain level of wickedness, he withdraws the protection, This also means that the punishment of people for sins is not active but passive. As if God lifted his hands up in the air saying: “I can’t protect them any more”. This idea makes people think again about the image of the “angry God” who actively punishes mankind with floods, fire and illness. Those who are given a “last chance” and refuse it by rejecting Christ would still end up in Hell.
Edwards, J. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. July, 8, 1741. Web. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html>