Andy Naselli draws attention to a passage in Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards, in which the authors show that Edwards felt the need to explain the rationality of the atonement against the following charges of the deists:-
- that justice could be satisfied by earnest human efforts,
- that God was not obligated to fulfill his threats, and
- that the merits of one person could not be imputed to another.
Against the second of these – the presumption that God does not have to fulfill his threat to Adam and his descendants that they “would surely die” (Gen. 2:17) – Edwards suggested that ‘the “fitness of things” requires that a lawgiver give regard to his own threats and their fulfillment. And if it is fitting that the divine Lawgiver pay such regard, it is apparent that the fulfillment of threats is an issue of truth. If the Lawgiver sets aside the rule he had made one time, why not twice? Or four times? And in that case, “how can the subject know but that he will always depart from it [the rule]?” Then God would not be trustworthy.’